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"Change happen, deal with it."
Respectfully, it is a terrible excuse to justify anything. You could say the same thing about government surveillance, etc. It's right to stand up against change when it is contrary to your freedoms. Yes, Ubuntu (and Apple, Microsoft, Google, etc) have a right to do what they want with their products, but the resulting criticism is never going to be appeased by a line like "change happen, deal with it". This line is as though someone is disappointed with criticism, but lacks a better rebuttal, you can do better!
"And we still do with Fedora, Suse, Mint, (X|L)ubuntu etc etc all being available."
Yes, it's great to have alternatives. We're fortunate in this case to have some. Most Ubuntu users could immediately switch to Mint, assuming they know about it in the first place.
A little quid pro quo...
The more things change, the more they stay the same. Edited 2012-07-17 16:28 UTC
"This is a lot like a 'damned if you do, damned if you don't' situation. On one hand people complain that OSS does not invent and change but on the other hand when they do people complain that things aren't the way they used to."
Well, I think one can be inventive without breaking things and eliminating functionality. Reading your post I get the impression you think I object to Ubuntu shifting it's resources to something new and "better", but that's not actually it at all. It's how they unilaterally removed the ability to run the old desktop as is despite objections and despite that the old desktop still ran just fine for the majority of their users. Stop spending resources to develop the old desktop, but don't remove it as a choice in the desktop selections.
This has many parallels with microsoft coercing users into metro by making it unavoidable instead of allowing metro to gain popularity on it's own merits. There's a clear intent to control users instead of serve users, and this should be frowned upon - *even* if we like the changes. It's their prerogative, as always, but I think Ubuntu's defiance of their own users tarnishes the linux brand as a whole, especially given their market position.
I want to be able to say "look, microsoft doesn't want you to have choice as a consumer, but if you switch to a linux distro, that would never happen". I can't say this in good faith any more *because* of Ubuntu.