Experimentation vs. Tradition: The Future of Innovation on the Linux Desktop

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A few years ago, users had two -- maybe three -- major choices for a Linux Desktop. Now, several user revolts later, they have eight or more.

But while this increased choice may be good for users in the short term, how will it affect long-term development? It may be that this diversity means either less innovation in the future, or a constraint of innovation to one or two unpromising directions.

The possible consequences are overdue for discussion. The current diversity has been accompanied by several user revolts, and the accompanying flame wars have left their mark. As a result, many users seem less willing to consider innovations than they were a few years ago.

Rumor suggests that some desktop developers, discouraged by the reception of their work, have either quit or reduced their activities. Others seem to be in denial, refusing to consider the possibility that they might have made mistakes. Those attitudes could easily discourage the consideration of desktops that are very different from what already exists.

Nor has much reconstruction taken place in the aftermath.

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