I read today that Ubuntu-Gnome is now an official flavour of Ubuntu! Great work, you’ve achieved the same level of recognition as KDE has. Establishing Kubuntu, and other flavours of Ubuntu, was a very canny move on Canonical’s part to control and contain dissent within the Ubuntu big tent. The Kum-ba-ya, lets-all-make-a-circle-in-our-vests hype that Ubuntu generated in 2005 was so strong that it sucked in KDE users as well as users of GNOME, then the anointed Ubuntu desktop. Pretty soon they formed an unofficial forum, in Germany (where else) and started talking about a KDE Fork. The answer from Canonical was to throw them Kubuntu, with “infrastructure and support benefits“, hiring the Debian KDE maintainer, and to pour blandishments into the credulous ears of the KDE leadership of that time, who were mighty unsettled by the acquisition of their then-darling distribution by Novell and its earlier Ximian purchase. This sackful of glass beads and liquor was sufficient to prevent ornery KDE users roaming all over the place doing what they liked, and especially not over the border to other distributions, and in doing so increase Ubuntu’s momentum.
Now fast forward to 2013 and we’re seeing the same happen to GNOME. No longer the standard desktop, but still with significant suction among Ubuntu users, GNOME is neatly herded on to the reservation and congratulated on its wise decision. Now look to your Kubuntu colleagues to see how that is going to work out for you down the road. PS: If Mark promises to install GNOME Ubuntu, don’t believe him for a second. He has an office by now full of desktop computers representing official flavours that he never turns on. Sound familiar?
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