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GNOME 3 vs. Unity: A Schism in the Making?

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The face of the Linux desktop is drastically evolving. While the Linux communities struggle to bring more business and home users to the Linux desktop, existing users face choices about adopting redesigned desktop shells or finding suitable replacements. The fallout might well be the start of a Great New Linux Schism.

The Linux desktop has always been rife with choices. The big two in the ongoing contest for desktop environment users is GNOME and KDE. Both recently underwent massive redesigns. GNOME 2 morphed into version 3.0 with a radically different look and feel. KDE 4 is also graphically much different from the KDE 3 lineage. KDE 4's Plasma Desktop Shell brings considerable new eye candy and performance hikes.

But the XFCE desktop environment is a popular alternative. Plus, LXDE and more bare-bones systems such as FVWM and IceWM add to the growing options list confronting Linux users.

Not to be outdone, Ubuntu Linux operating system developer Canonical recently released version 11.04, known as "Natty Narwhal." This latest version marked the official roll-out of the redesigned Unity scheme as the default desktop.

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