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Desktop Linux: Diversity is the New Reality

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Everyone agrees that desktop Linux has become more diverse in the last couple of years. But how diverse? And how are the dethroned dominant environments responding?

Several indicators are available from Distrowatch, the site that attempts to track distributions.

To start with, as I write, Distrowatch's last ten updates (from September 27 to October 8) include two distributions that offer a choice of default desktops, one that offers GNOME or KDE, and one apiece that uses IceWM, LXDE, and Xfce. Four use GNOME, but none use precisely the same version: one uses Cinnamon, Linux Mint's recreation of GNOME 2: one ships Mate, Linux Mint's set of extensions that converts GNOME 3 into GNOME 2, one offers GNOME 3 with a large number of extensions, and the fourth ships GNOME with its own modifications. Neither KDE nor Unity are among the default desktops of the distributions mentioned.

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