Open Ballot: Is Ubuntu on the way out?

TuxRadar

Pop over to the DistroWatch popularity stats page and you'll see something very interesting: Ubuntu is sliding down. As each set of data gets more recent, you can see the gap between Ubuntu and other distros narrowing - and in the last month, Mint and Fedora have overtaken it. So this leads to perhaps the biggest Open Ballot we've ever posted: has Ubuntu had its day? Has the switch to Unity, the talk of Wayland, and all the upheaval on the desktop driven traditional Linux users away?

Maybe this is inevitable, and Canonical isn't concerned, as it's chasing bigger markets. Or conversely, perhaps Canonical should try harder to keep old-time Linux users, as they're the advocates who will spread Linux in the future. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, choosing a hipper name than Anonymous Penguin, and we'll read out the best in our upcoming podcast recording.

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Your comments

Yes, No, I mean VIM!

I don't think Ubuntu is on the way out as opposed to perhaps being used by a slightly different market these days.

I get the feeling that those of who are more power-users are moving over to other distros such as Fedora and Arch. There are those who are not keen on Unity and (shock, horror) do not want to use KDE are more likely to have moved to the likes of Xubuntu or Mint (or Fedora if Gnome 3 is more their thing). Then there are those who used Ubuntu for media centres who are likely to have moved to more specific variations such as Mythbuntu. And then there are those who have discovered Linux through Ubuntu but now want to explore other distributions.

Add all of these people to those who are more natural defectors (Banshee, Unity, PR disasters) and you'll probably find Ubuntu is more levelling out with it's intended target audience. Which is actually probably a good thing as they are then no longer in a position of trying to please all of the people all of the time, IMHO anyway.

Ubuntu, I think is not on

Ubuntu, I think is not on the way out but on the way to becoming the "Desktop" system the end users will snap up.

All the top distros are going down

In the last month, all the top distros are going down:

1 Mint 2258<
2 Fedora 2174<
3 Ubuntu 1898<
4 Debian 1350<
5 openSUSE 1258<
6 Arch 1189<
7 PCLinuxOS 1004<
8 Puppy 952<
9 Mageia 803<
10 CentOS 770<
11 Mandriva 691<

Only Zorin in 12th place is gaining popularity

Normalizing?

Maybe Ubuntu's just becoming normal? Every week all the other distros shuffle around depending on what's hot that week - what released or made the news. But Ubuntu was always on top because it was the distro to look at when you were first starting. So maybe, and it pains me to think this, there just aren't as many new people coming to Linux as there once were? Or maybe it's just that everyone recommends Mint nowadays. I know I do. Partially because stupid laws mean that Ubuntu, Fedora, et al can't include codecs for MP3s, videos, etc

All change on the Desktop

Everything is changing.

Ubuntu has Unity
Fedora has Gnome Shell
Mint has Gnome Classic.

I think people are worried about such big changes to what they know and love. Therefore people are just staying with what they have for now.

In the long run, everything will return to normal. Providing the big distro's haven't done a KDE 4 ;)

Chris

New users

I think the real question is 'Is Ubuntu on the way out for new users?'. Maybe new Linux users, seeking Linux advise on which distro to install, see the negativity surrounding Unity and are unwilling to challenge their previous computing experience (via Windows) with something a little different. Not helped by the most vocal of the Linux community either...

It is still a lovely distro though and has a lot of nice features. Could the lack of growth be contributed to by Ubuntu hitting some level of peak use?

To many questions surrounding the interpretation of stats.

Repositioning?!!!

It would seem from the current selection of desktop that Ubuntu is repositioning itself. It obviously is no longer targeted at the new comer. That role has been taken over by mint. I am using Lucid now and I will use 12.04 when it is released, but I will ignore unity and install cairo dock and cover the top panel with the gnome panel. If I were switching from Windows today, I am guessing I would be far more likely to use Mint.

I have no idea what ubuntu's repositioned market is though.

Ubuntu isn't going anywhere.

With Unity I have been considering a move to another distro, but really I'm unlikely to go very far. The stuff I love about ubuntu is the software centre, PPAs, the non-free repos etc so Mint or the other *buntu flavours are just fine for me.

I've said it before and I'll

I've said it before and I'll say it again - it's all about choice! I choose Ubuntu (and Unity) for my netbook but Fedora (now with GNOME 3) for my main laptop.

That said, GNOME 3 is far from perfect and irritates me at times more than Unity has - but I've not heard too much negative comment on the subject, it appears to be OK for GNOME to fundamentally change everything but not for Canonical.

Like it or not Canonical have done a lot for Linux in recent years and have provided an excellent entry point for users who want to move away from Windows. My previous experience with RedHat (8/9) and early Fedora releases led me to ignore Linux for a few years - it was just too hard. About 5 years ago I heard a great deal of buzz about Ubuntu and it gave me a route back in without too much pain. Stuff just worked and the community was supportive.

Ubuntu may be suffering from people taking a look around at other distros at the moment but without it I doubt whether many of them would be considering Linux at all.

It depends who you look at

I have the feeling that Ubuntu is seen by more and more more experienced users as being dumbed down to much, and that quite a lot of them are moving to Arch. This is certainly dangerous, as those users are the ones that help with the distro - bug reports, paper cuts, new applications, bug triaging etc.

For many new users, Mint is simply the better distro these days - stable, a clear, good looking and well sorted interface and very beginner-friendly. It is certainly the distro I recommend when someone wants to try out Linux.

But I still think that for many people with limited Linux knowledge, Ubuntu has become a synonym for Linux. I hope it will continue to grow, and I believe that the 200 million users Mark Shuttleworth saw as a goal have some foundation in the real world - maybe Canonical has a big OEM / school / public offices deal in the back of their hand.

By the way: these captchas are ridiculously hard!

Distrowatch

I personally don't believe too much in the reliability of distro watch statistics in any case - I guess for example that a lot of the Fedora growth comes from the fact that many are curious about reviews of Gnome 3 in action.

Distrowatch

I personally don't believe too much in the reliability of distro watch statistics in any case - I guess for example that a lot of the Fedora growth comes from the fact that many are curious about reviews of Gnome 3 in action.

Recommending Linux is easy now

Recommending Linux is easy now, and the major distributions will all give the features that new users expect, in roughly the place that they expect them. There is no huge incentive to promote Ubuntu as there was once, when some major distributions required too many command-line hand-holding sessions.

On the other hand, the new Ubuntu is a total turn-off for large numbers of people who find the interface alien. Ubuntu's sponsor, Canonical, is also frequently stepping over ethical boundaries that put many Linux users off ever recommending it.

Probably Fedora is the most logical recommendation right now, with sensible defaults, easy regression to classic desktop and no major ethical compromises.

My Experience

My personal experience, which I suspect reflects a lot of people's, is that, after coming to Ubuntu near the beginning because I didn't want to pay for Windows for my new computer and was savvy enough to explore, I've felt for some time that I should try a distro without (or at least with fewer) training wheels, because I'd like to further my skills, having -- thanks to Ubuntu! -- become someone who not only "gets", but even prefers and advocates Linux (and FOSS in general). But I was comfortable with Ubuntu, because it worked.

Now that I've experienced the frustration of Unity (and eventually fallen back to Metacity, which I also have to start manually after every restart) and perceive Canonical to be dumbing down the desktop more and more with every release, I've become pretty convinced that it's time to change.
I like Gnome, so I tried the Fedora live CD, and Gnome Shell seems to have the same basic stupdity behind it's redesign (Unity is basically a different implementation of Gnome Shell), which is that they're assuming that because tablets and netbooks are "the future", desktop users should have to use the same mouseless interface.

So now I'm considering a move to OpenSuse (which offers multiple Window Managers, and has stuck with Gnome 2.3, for now).

In summary, I have felt ready for "big boy Gnu/Linux" for sometime, but never had a compelling reason to switch, and now Canonical (and Gnome, to an extent) have given me a reason, and the switch hasn't happened yet, but seems imminent.

As I said, although this is just my experience, I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one.

Lies, damned lies and statistics...

I'm not sure a huge amount can be inferred from this. Do page views from a single website really tell a coherent story?

If you wanted to put a positive spin on this, you could argue that so many people are now happily using Ubuntu that they are not browsing through Distrowatch for something else and that Ubuntu's marketing is so good that everyone who wants it just goes direct to the Ubuntu site to download it.

^ Spam website not very

^ Spam website not very interesting.

Anyhow, I'm still using Ubuntu, but I'm seriously considering installing Fedora instead. I really don't like Unity, nor that there's no proper support for Gnome 3.

I think Fedora will be able to polish the Gnome 3 desktop, because currently on Ubuntu there's a few small niggling issues that just make me frown.

I will definitely miss software PPAs, I can only hope that Fedora will (is?) doing something similar. Although launchpad.net itself is very confusing.

@avilella, Fedora may have gone down over the last month, but it's still quite a way up from where it was 3 months ago, and also from where it was 6 months ago.

The Ubuntu team is making it hard on themselves

I feel that the Ubuntu team has made it difficult for themselves by their extreme patching and changing of defaults. I have found Ubuntu somewhat buggy, which makes it unusable for me.
Still, it is a powerful package with a lot of inertia and a team willing to experiment, and I don't see it weakening. With things like Unity, they do set themselves up for some of the same lessons that Mandriva learned when they shipped with an experimental X server version which rendered that release notoriously unstable, and they lost a lot of users on that one.

Ubuntu's not on the way out, other distros are on the way in

That's a definite trend. The 12-month average shows Ubuntu with 30% more clicks than Fedora. The 3-month average shows Ubuntu and Mint less than one percent apart, then the 1-month average shows both distros ahead of Ubuntu. That's not the rise and fall of attention based on release cycles- two different distros gaining 30% hits in 12 months and pushing Ubuntu out of first place for what looks like the first time since it came out in 2004 is a change in the Linux landscape.

The interesting thing here is Ubuntu isn't declining- it still has roughly the number of clicks this month as it did over the last 12 months, and in the 2010 average. Mint and Fedora appear to be gaining popularity, but not at Ubuntu's expense.

Where are the additional users coming from? Maybe Sabayon, which fell from 700 hits 6 months ago to 400 this month. Or Slackware, which had a 22% fall in popularity over the same period (-126 votes), or Mepis (-20%, -87 votes), or Ultimate (-26%, -100).

The Linux community seems to be consolidating- migrating to a small number of dominant distros instead of being scattered across a lot of mildly-popular distros.

I don't think...

that Ubuntu is going away. But I think that it is doing the inevitable and level out. I think that Ubuntu has done a lot of things right from the start, but I would argue that that doesn't suffice to most users. There is always that little thing that will annoy someone to the point of switching to something else, be it Unity, Mono or even the "not contributing back" argument. Some people are lazy(like me) and some other distro offers a chance to save time during the install/everyday use.

I will say though, this is an interesting time with Gnome shell/classic, Unity, KDE, XFCE or [insert name of one of the 2342 other combinations] really starting to differ from one and other.

Fashion

Isn't Distrowatch simply an indicator of the fashions of what people are *looking* at? I agree with Tobi and bascule and think we could be more careful about spinning these statistics too far? It's not actual usage figures. I wonder if activity on things like the Ubuntu forums are heading down.

So no, I don't think Ubuntu has had it's day - it's just not shiny and new anymore but neither, for example, are Windows or toothpaste and they still do well. Interesting times though.

[Of course *radioactive* toothpaste used to exist didn't it, and that's not so popular now. Maybe Ubuntu is *radioactive* toothpaste - in that case definitely "yes"]

People whine about Unity

People whine about Unity because it is new and they have to relearn what they've known for years. Knowing something doesn't make it better. Thr guys and gals at Canonical are smart people (just like In Cupertino and Redmond) they won't have taken this decision lightly. This backlash slowing Ubuntu's growth is a short term reaction from some loud people in the community. Some people will leave but come back when their new distro isn't supported as well and don't have the time to work it
out.

My personal experience

All I can say is is that I always used to use ubuntu just because of the documentation and community. I'd tried a lot of other distributions, but in the end there were just a couple of things which didn't quite work meaning that I always went back to ubuntu.

However, when 11.04 came out, I bit the bullet and swapped to arch, just because I didn't like the way canonical / ubuntu were going, and also I found it too unstable.

When ubuntu sorts out its problems and if I run into difficulties with arch, I'll probably migrate back.

yes, no and maybe

You can support any of those positions if you look at the data in the right way, the real question is "Does it matter if Ubuntu is slightly less popular than before?" (and even if it matters does it matter that it matters? ;) ) As long as people are still using Linux it is all fine right?... Right?

Ubuntu effectively peaked at Jaunty (9.04)

Karmic was already an indicator (albeit a somewhat hindsighted one) of the impending doom brought about by change for change's sake. Some of the reasons you see ubuntu declining are:

Shuttleworth's utter disregard for the community, which started the ongoing exodus of what were once staunch ubuntu using linux-savvy users. Myself included. 9.04 was the last ubuntu I used, hoping they would eventually come to their senses, but the less than lucid choices made in 10.04 were the straw that broke the camel's back.

If you log into the ubuntu forums and IRC channel, you will find the quality of available information is also on the decline, due to the dumbing-down-effect having driven away many of the so-called power users. Hence the recent PR-buzzword infested attempts of jonobacon to create some kind of group dedicated to Ubuntu power users. Got some news for you, Jono. We're gone. And we're not coming back!

And then Unity and the anti-GNOME fiasco. Yes, I guess when you go off the deep end, why not dive in head first, right? Explain to me, somebody will you please, just how is it exactly would a non-technical Windows or Mac user be in any way attracted to Ubuntu today, given the prospect of having to completely relearn their entire workflow (yes, the one they had been just fine with for years,literally) just because some rich South African thinks it's "innovative"? Really?

I think not, my friends. Ubuntu is going exactly where those of us who left predicted it would go..... DOWN!

As some of the others here have already said, these days I recommend Linux Mint (even LMDE) to new users, because the only real way to attract new users to Linux is by providing the smooth and stable transition based on *familiarity* of UX. It's not quantum physics.

Eventually Ubuntu will go away, much like other distros over the years have gone away. And life goes on. With bigger and better distros. Hopefully not named after increasingly ridiculous animals.

Depends...

Many don't like the new interface, because it's not like how they are used to, and think it is a bit too much like Mac OS.
I used to use Mint, but then tried Ubuntu 11.04. Now I use it as my main desktop and I consider myself one of the more traditional/geeky Linux users, as I have been using Linux since Suse 9.2

People who are used to the old way want Mint as it hasn't changed and this means we have Gnome-shell, Unity and Gnome 2.32 as more choice but within the same GTK framework so its all compatible. Ubuntu is on the way out for 'traditionalists', and people who don't like the change/dont want to change, but for new users who just want The Shiny, it is still a viable option.

Currently using a mix

No.

Because right now I am on a Pinguy OS, my desktop is using Mint.
The thing is that this are all ubuntu distros, just like ubuntu is bast on debian.

And my other two laptops, run ubuntu 10.10,

my nr 2 argument:
Distrowatch is not a good stats indicator. Sure it's one indicator, but I would not give it more then 20% creedence to the real world use of distros.

Interesting. but the numbers dont mean squat

Is it a blimp or the edge of a cliff. Has Ubuntu fallen or has everyone else risen. Also the stats only count page views and don't relate to installations.

Personally I think Canonical has shot Ubuntu in the foot with the way it has handled Unity. I think the stats reflect the dissatisfaction of some users looking to jump ship. It doesn't mean they have left, or wont be back when they remember Ubuntu ROCKS!

By the way I am using Ubuntu with the classic interface. I will try Unity again after the next release

Why does Ubuntu have to be

Why does Ubuntu have to be the centre of attention?

I don't use it, don't intend to and really don't care if its
popularity is waning...

Nuff said.

Bazza...

I jumped ship...

about four months ago---to Archlinux. No regrets so far and glad to feel I am back 'in charge' of my own system; well, as much as I'm ever in charge of it! Thanks Ubuntu, it was fun while it lasted, but time for me at least to move on.

I think Ubuntu has plenty of potential at the 'mass market' end of the Linux spectrum, but the way things are going it seems like it's getting less fun to play with and call your own, maybe less useful for people who need to do serious work too, but I'm not really qualified to comment.

But Unity rocks!

When Mr Shuttleworth first announced that Unity would be featured in Ubuntu proper, I thought it would be a complete and utter disaster, but then I tried it and realised that I could not have been more wrong. Unity has to be the most unified and cohesive Linux desktop I have ever used, and I have tried many!

I think Mark and the Ubuntu developers have shown great vision by introducing Unity at this point -- it has invigorated the project and turned Ubuntu from being a run-of-the-mill GNOME desktop distribution, into something new and exciting with huge potential.

Unity rocks! Really, it does.

-- an ex Debian Openbox user

Maybe Just Maybe....

The distrowatch numbers aren't exactly a good basis for argument. They only show how many times a website has been visited?

Maybe a way to look at it is though, People started on Ubuntu and now are moving away to other systems to see what else is going on, or the stability and constant change is becoming a problem for people.

Personaly? I moved to Arch (I'm in no way a linux god) because I wanted to learn more about how everything works and I learned more installing Arch than I did using Ubuntu for years.

Yes it looks pretty, But my desktop ISNT a notebook. Nor a laptop. Unity just doesnt make sense on the desktop (In my opinion, Neither does Gnome 3 really)

But an alternative view? didn't all this malarky occur with KDE4 aswell? Calls of Heracy at the change? People went back.

Let's jsut ride it out and see how it goes.

Not going away

I've been using Ubuntu since 6.06 (Dapper Drake). I think it's got better and better, as I'm sure have other distros - Fedora, Linux Mint, etc.

I like Natty Narwhal with Unity. I understand why some don't like it: it's new and different. But it is also the future of the desktop GUI. Gnome 3 is similar, MS Windows looks like it's heading in a similar direction as is Mac OS.

It'll take a while but Ubuntu will be top of the pile again.

@Anonymous Ubuntu

@Anonymous Ubuntu Fanboy

It's no more innovative than Gnome 3, and still comes across as a "dick" move from the Ubuntu guys who seemingly couldn't be bothered to work with the Gnome team.

Ubuntu doing a Microsoft

I hate Unity. I hate most of the "Improvements". Software centre, big and slow. Indicator Applet showing icons as menu items with no tooltips. I used to love Ubuntu. Now seriously considering switching to Mint or Debian. Wouldn't recommend Ubuntu anymore.

Canonical is changing Ubuntu as Microsoft did with Vista - making it nasty.

I said it in April...

I PREDICTED this when 11.04 came out.

Go back a few open ballots, and you will find my rant.

I personally reverted to 10.04 (for the extra year of updates) and added another partition with Xubuntu 11.04 on both of my machines when it happened. I stated plainly that Mint was going to pass Ubuntu by.

I was right.

XFCE forever (or until they screw THAT up too...) !!

One more thing...

I too no longer suggest Ubuntu, but Xubuntu.

All the taste, fewer calories, Unity-free...

Mint is Bland

I switched an old computer I use as a media center running Ubuntu 10.04 to Linux Mint, after reading all the glowing reports of this distro. I still have 10.10 on my main workstation and have been hesitating to upgrade given the negativity around Unity.

Actually I'm not really impressed with Mint. It has an old-fashioned windows xp feel. It's Linux for people that would rather be on windows and don't want to take any risks. And the whole attitude of 'Ubuntu done right' is frankly cloying.

It's good that Canonical is trying to mix things up a bit. More choice and risk-taking is a GOOD thing.

Is Ubuntu declining?

Ask yourself, do you picture the average member of the Ubuntu target audience visiting DistroWatch?

I think you have your answer.

Don't care

I started using Ubuntu since it's second release, as the first on was a brown Debian. I was amazed at how it worked well. It had the right drivers for the Voodoo 3000, and the right resolution for my monitor and stuff (this was on my secondary computer). So I started using it more and more and it converted me as 100% Linux user, before with Red Hat/Mandrake/Fedora I kept taking it off ever other month and going back to Windows as it didn't work well at all. So I don't care if Ubuntu is #1 or if it's #3000 I will use it as it's my distro of choice.

For People That Don't Like Unity..

Give Pinguy OS a try.

No Ubuntu is not on the way out

Ubuntu (Unity) may not be for old school Linux geeks but the kids are going to love it.

Not at all!

There is no way that Ubuntu is on the way out... people are just exploring the alternatives at the moment because Unity has given Ubuntu haters, Fedora and Arch lovers the opportunity to spread FUD.

People are just checking out websites of Ubuntu based distros like Mint because of all the FUD about Unity.

I tried Unity with a neutral point of view and I must say for a first release Unity is amazing and Canonical did a great job on it! Im using Unity 2D on my Netbook and now Unity on my desktop. Ive realised that its the more efficient and elegant way to use Ubuntu.

Even if people decide to go with Mint, Pinguy or Zorin OS... I don't care.. its still Ubuntu thats winning on the desktop!

Canonical is Killing the Linux Desktop

When users come from Windows, the first thing they want is UI familiarity. Mint doesn't resemble Windows Vista/7, and Ubuntu doesn't even resemble Windows!
If Canonical supported KDE, users would realize that dozens of desktop effects, and thousands of one-click installable themes/widgets ARE A GOOD THING!
Not to mention blurred translucency, and the unparalleled feature-set. For example, KDE 4.7 has GRUB integration, and allows you to reboot into any GRUB entry, including Windows, right from the menu.

Ubuntu is Ubuntu

1. The Distrowatch hits are a measure of nothing.
2. Ubuntu goes up and down on Distrowatch. It means nothing (see 1)
3. Canonical is driving toward that initial IPO and the cash windfall. Popularity of the Ubuntu desktop is not 100% of that effort, but only a part. "Ubuntu" is the mythological component of Canonical.
4. The question is nonsensical. Only Mint has come close for "hits". "Hits" are mythology. And Mint is Ubuntu_friendlier_to_user.
5. The linux desktop accounts for less than one (1) percent of net traffic, except perhaps in Cuba.
6. Because of the reality of (5), this whole issue is mooted.
7. Ubuntu is what it is. Any of the pre-(uber)configured distros are a bear to reconfig and Ubuntu is the worst.
8. Slackware trumps them all. Slackware favors the user.

You knew Ubuntu was a scam immediately, with its phony definition. If you think the definition is solid, you've never heard Jacob Zuma sing "Umshini wami". "Umshini wami"trumps Ubuntu.

Try this distro, or this distro, or maybe this distro

Also you should keep in mind that the rankings on Distrowatch may be unrealistically inflated. I know when I was first searching for a Linux distro to call home, I downloaded and installed several before I found the one that made me happy. I would think that the Distrowatch does not take that into account, as you can't tell what a user will do when they download a distro.

With Fedora releasing with GNOME 3, my guess is that a lot of unhappy Unity users downloaded Fedora just to have a look, therefor inflating Fedora's numbers, and the same can be said for Linux Mint, Unhappy unity users downloading Mint for the older style Gbnome desktop.

Distrowatch numbers should not be considered a true measure of the popularity of any one distro over another.

menu

You can't convert a windows user to Linux using something like Unity or Gnome 3, so, for now, Mint is the way. These new 'desktop paradigms' just confuse people. It's just bored developers. Why take away the 'start' menu, as EVERYONE from MS world still calls it?

After Gnome 2 series gets too old to include in any distro, I suspect that XFCE will become the new tool for us folks trying to get new users to Linux.

200 million users Mark? Not without a start menu.

changes

Is Ubuntu on the way out? No, but I think the latest change of forcing Unity down people's throats has bruised the brand. The people who push Unity seem overzealous in the belief that it is the future. In my opinion, Linux has thrived because it offers so many choices and Ubuntu became the most popular distro because it
1. provided a reliable version that "just worked" regardless of the hardware you were using
2. made the installation process simple for newbies looking to try it.

I think those 2 perceived advantages over other distros are now gone and there is a sizeable collection of Ubuntu users who are unhappy with Unity and the loss of choice and are looking around for other alternatives. If Ubuntu gets rid of the option to use Gnome in future releases then I will definitely move on. Unity has brought disunity into the Ubuntu camp and that's why the gap is narrowing.

more pertinently, is distrowatch.org no longer relevant?

i'm sure if you were to look at the download figures for each distro the figures would tell a different story.

Ubuntu is no longer "easy"

The new Unity is the first desktop that I have ever used that I have had to look for tutorials on how to open an application!

Strange thing is Debian now seems easier than Mint or Ubuntu, it plays videos and mp3 without making the user search for codex.

Perhaps it will now become more popular to respin Debian than Ubuntu?

I agree with eoinmcg

... that it is download stats that really count, and not DistroWatch hits.

However, I think it almost inevitable that Ubuntu's desktop innovations will lead to confusion, and to many of their users looking around at what else is on offer.

My main fear is that people new to desktop Linux will find this all really confusing too, with the shipping of an immature DE as default on the best known distro and the simultaneous departure of Gnome into unproven territory. If only Shuttleworth and the Gnome Foundation had been able to resolve their differences in a mature fashion.

I am a Minter and I applaud their decision to keep on with the Gnome 2 desktop. If and when this ceases I shall be moving to XFCE.

I do not like KDE 4 at all, but I do think that the KDE devs are right to work on separate editions for netbooks and portables, rather than attempting a 'one-size-fits-all" desktop solution.

Agree with comments above that XFCE is becoming more and more important to the future of desktop Linux. Let us pray that this is not messed up too! For many of us, the traditional desktop metaphor is NOT 'broken' or 'outdated'.

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