I agree with most everything you are saying here except for the reasons around the hate as you put it. I do agree that Unity was a big milestone in changing the popularity of this flavor of Linux but not because it switched from Gnome to Unity. More because the first release of unity was frankly horrible. I personally tried about 3 other flavors of Linux settling on Mint for a time and then finally switched back to Ubuntu after a lot of the issues with Unity had been worked out. Had Unity been better on the first release you would not have seen the backlash. You would then have it down to the people that prefer Gnome over Unity.
The other issue here for Ubuntu is that they are changing to adapt to the future in a way that other Linux flavors are not. People dont like change. What Ubuntu is doing is opening up Linux to a new audience. So it stands to reason that some of the old audience may not follow.
Im excited about the changes and looking forward to seeing just how far they can penetrate other markets. I truly believe that they are heading in the right direction.
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