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Special Report: First Look at GNOME 4

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Almost exactly one year ago, GNOME 3 was released with much fanfare. But to the surprise of many, it was not warmly welcomed. Indeed, it has polarized the Linux community.

Seeing the lack of love being heaped on GNOME 3, several projects were born to preserve GNOME 2. Examples include MATÉ (a GNOME 2 fork by Argentine hacker Perberos), Cinnamon (GNOME 3 extensions to make it resemble GNOME 2), and Ubuntu's Unity which ditches GNOME altogether.

GNOME 4 - the Swiss Army Knife

Despite the backlash, not everyone agrees that GNOME 3 was overambitious. Indeed, one experienced GNOME developer assured me that the opposite was true. "The real problem with GNOME 3," he said, "is that it wasn't ambitious enough. We made too many compromises to suit desktop users. In fact, computers that do useful work are so 20th century - we've moved on."

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