Short bio: Computer Scientist, FOSS supporter (read more)
Tux Machines (TM)-specific
Until the release of Ubuntu 11.04, Gnome 2.x seemed to have become the standard desktop interface for Linux. It was the default for Ubuntu, Fedora and Linux Mint, three of the biggest distributions, and many others relied on it too. Of course, lots of people use KDE, but since they released version 4, things seemed to have swung in Gnome’s favour.
Then came 2011. With the release of Ubuntu 11.04, Ubuntu switched to Unity; shortly after that, Gnome 3 was released with the Shell interface, and this was quickly put to work in Fedora.
Many users hated both interfaces. They broke their traditional work patterns, made strange decisions, such as removing shutdown buttons, and all kinds of other $terror. The result was that many users flocked to Linux Mint – the only one of the big three not to pursue a new desktop for much of 2011.
Everyone was left asking what Linux Mint would do when their next big release came out. Would they take the path of least resistance and follow Ubuntu, their parent distribution, by accepting Unity? Or would they stick with upstream and make Gnome Shell their default? Maybe they might give Gnome 2.x a new lease of life and keep that as the default – it would certainly win them a lot of fans! Linux Mint 12 is now out, and we know the answer to this question: none of the above.