How Microsoft shattered Gnome's unity with Windows 95
There never will be a year when Linux conquers the desktop, because desktop computers are going to merge into tablet-style touch-driven devices and disappear. But desktop Linux was getting close, until Microsoft derailed it a few years back.
The GNOME project’s recent release, GNOME 3.8, served to remind me of the significance of Microsoft’s actions.
That’s because GNOME 3. 8 introduces a new GNOME desktop, something it’s calling Classic mode and which the project describes as "the traditional desktop experience".
GNOME Classic mode brings to six the total number of GNOME desktops and takes the Linux and open-source community down a path of fragmentation they seem only too willing to venture down.
But if there was one product that nearly put a single FOSS desktop onto tens of millions of PCs, it was GNOME 2 that was released in 2002. According to the GNOME Project, GNOME Classic mode is a return to GNOME 2 "with the underlying power of GNOME 3 technologies" and "enhanced" by GNOME 3's growing library of extensions.
You can thank Microsoft for this fragmentation.