At least, Red Hat has a Fedora community that is free to do whatever they like as long as it is within the parameters of its free software license. Red Hat is wise in that, it separates the social-norm Fedora community from its market-norm, proprietary RHEL offering.

Canonical, on the other hand, has unilateral control within its Ubuntu community (This is not a democracy). It does not distinguish social norms from market norms. What a mistake (see Dan Ariely’s book Predictably Irrational). Since Ubuntu is the exclusive undertaking of Canonical, the Ubuntu community is basically a second-class citizen with respect to Canonical’s paid developers. As Mark Shuttleworth puts it,

Good feedback, good data, are welcome. But we are not voting on design decisions.

So you should not be surprised that Ubuntu is rooting for its Unity desktop. The buck stops with Canonical as far as design is concerned.

Now, I don’t know how GNOME 3 departed its look and feel from the traditional GNOME 2.32 user interface. I don’t like GNOME 3. If Windows has its Metro interface and GNOME has its 3.0 interface, I’ll just  stick with Linux Mint MGSE. MGSE offers you a choice: you either

  1. disable it and get pure GNOME 3 desktop or
  2. enable it and get traditional GNOME 2.32 desktop.

It is your choice.

I call it the GNOME CheckMATE.

MATE is a fork of Gnome 2 which is compatible with Gnome 3. Thanks to MATE, you can run both versions of GNOME on the same system.

You get around the GNOME 3 desktop with MATE. Unlike chess, GNOME is not a zero-sum game. With MGSE, you get the best of both worlds.

That is the power of open source. With choice comes freedom, the freedom to choose whatever suits your preference. For now, Linux Mint 12 still has its rough edges. It is just a matter of time when future releases will be on par with GNOME 2.32 functionality.


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