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"Canonical could have done what you suggest, they instead chose to develop their own desktop environment, and pursue their own vision of what a Modern Desktop should be like. I think this will in the end turn out to be the right decision."
Working on unity may be the right direction for the present. However gnome 2 was still the most popular useful mature desktop at the time, they should have kept an option for it. I understand that you want users to have Unity, but I don't understand why you don't want them to have gnome 2. The controversy over this doesn't make any sense - if they cared about users, they would have left gnome 2 in as an option just like the other desktop choices available.
"Obviously Ubuntu is not asking you to, they want you to use Unity and the new functionality."
Exactly, they did not give users a choice. I don't understand why anyone would consider this a good thing.
"I haven't tried to return to Gnome 2, but I do have two WMs installed Blackbox, and Fluxbox. It really was as easy as running a single command"
Ok, but that's shifting the goalpost.
"Mint is quite cool, time will tell if either Ubuntu or Mint got it right. In my opinion Canonical made the decision to advance the Linux desktop in a new and unique direction and I think that will turn out to be right decision."
Only if you continue to treat these as mutually exclusive, which they are not. I never suggested (or even thought) that Ubuntu should not pursue Unity. My beef is that they unilaterally removed gnome 2 for many who were still asking for it and who's needs were not being met by the replacement. That move was obviously not done in the interest of users. I keep agreeing that they have every right to do it, it may even be well intentioned. But it has a totalitarian nature to it "do it this way because I want you to, not because you want to". I think this is bad for an open source operating system.
If you respond again please clarify why removing the choice of gnome 2 was good for users, not why having unity was good for users (I don't disagree with this). Edited 2012-07-18 14:42 UTC