> What I see is a need for every distribution to offer the following desktops for installation: * GNOME 3 * KDE * Enlightenment * Xfce Those four desktops cover such a wide range of styles that they should please just about any type of user.
This comment strikes me as mildly ridiculous. Do you really think that those four options would satisfy everyone? What about people who use one of the following?
* AHWM: about as minimal as a floating window manager can get
* dwm: about as minimal as *any* window manager can get while still being efficiently usable
* Fluxbox: about as minimal as you can get while still using menus and taskbars
* FVWM: simplistic and highly customizable
* i3 : about as user-friendly as a tiling window manager can get
* IceWM: for people who like a "classic" taskbar-oriented desktop feel without a bunch of layers of extra garbage on top; I'd like to see you try to pry this from my girlfriend's fingers in favor of one of the sluggish leviathans you favor
* Sawfish: highly configurable via a minimalistic LISP-like syntax
* TWM: the least frills, for a "didn't install anything" experience
* WindowMaker: the famously usable NeXTSTEP environment ported to open source Unix-like systems, with its famously usable development framework reimplemented as GNUStep
* xmonad: arguably the most powerful and flexible tiling window manager available
Note that I chose exemplars of a nice, round 10 different sets of characteristics someone might want in a given window manager. This is far from a comprehensive list of various preferences in window manager functionality and interface compositions that are absolutely not satisfied by anything you've listed. The idea that GNOME 3, KDE, Enlightenment, and XFCE compose the sum total of UI styles people would want is patently absurd. Hell, the only one of those that could reasonably be operated without a mouse is Enlightenment, and if you do so you end up giving up much of what makes Enlightenment at all desirable in a manner distinct from other window managers; you'd be better off with Sawfish, then.
The fact that you like your "desktop" to look like a knock-off of MS Windows or Apple MacOS with as many unnecessary features packed into it as humanly possible does not mean it's what everyone wants. Some of us prefer to actually get some work done -- to spend screen real estate on what we're doing rather than stupid WM frippery; to have efficient workspace navigation and window manipulation; and most of all to have the window manager enable what we want to accomplish, enhance our productivity in accomplishing it, and stay the hell out of the way . There are options far superior to anything you listed for all of these preferences, whether you like to use the mouse a lot, avoid it, or mix mouse and keyboard shortcuts liberally; whether you like having widgets all over the screen or not; whether you prefer menus or not; whether you prefer to tab your windows, hide them, or segregate them by workspace or virtual desktop; and so on. Some of these are far more configurable than any of the options you suggested, except possibly Enlightenment, and all Although I really feel Classic GNOME is one of the most solid desktops Ive ever used, it cannot be an option if GNOME 3 is to continue and flourish. That would be like insisting KDE 3.5 still be an option. Is the Linux desktop in trouble? Im not saying that the only desktop with any merit is the one that I use.
That's obvious. It's equally obvious that what you are I would hate to see either of these scenarios: * Users abandon Linux out of frustration with the desktops. * Distributions start locking down their releases so that no other desktop can be installed.
Users who actually develop a strong sense of what they want often abandon Linux-based systems for greener pastures already -- including the various BSD Unix systems, Haiku, Plan 9, and even MacOS -- because the Linux community is so overrun with people who both consciously and unconsciously emulate the stupidities of Microsoft's attitude toward customer service and software development. People mostly adopt Linux-based systems out of a desire to escape those stupidities, and over time they find their new operating system choice inflicting such stupidities on them -- in lesser degree most of the time, but still substantially more so than it should.
If you don't want distributions locking down their releases to particular expectations and assumptions of how everybody will use them, you shouldn't be using anything like Ubuntu anyway. The entire philosophy of the Ubuntu project is predicated upon such assumptions. Choose a distribution (or non-Linux OS) that doesn't assume you want GNOME frameworks installed, with end-user applications you many never use as dependencies for those frameworks, if you don't want to be locked into such narrow usage pattern expectations.
In the final analysis, if you really want more choice, you're doing it wrong . In fact, if anything, you're part of the problem, judging by this article.
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