Once upon a time, the GNOME Linux/Unix desktop team could do no wrong. That was a long time ago. More recently, ow the GNOME developers' proposed changes to Nautilus, the GNOME file manager, is losing them more fans. The Linux Mint developers have started work on their own fork of Nautilus: Nemo.
Clement “Clem” Lefebvre Linux Mint's lead developer told me, that the Mint, or more properly the Cinnamon desktop, itself a fork of the GNOME 3.x desktop, programmers reacted “to the upcoming regressions in Nautilus 3.6 (loss of the compact view, loss of some desktop icons, changes in paths hierarchy..etc,) by creating a fork in github called 'nemo.'”
From where he, and a lot of other GNOME users sat, the GNOME 3.6 changes to Nautilus made the file manager far less useful than it has been before. These changes included: getting rid of the compact view for files, dumping the tree model for file directories for a list model, remove extra panes that enabled you to view two files at the same time, and removing the text besides icons from the icon view.
GNOME 3.4 Gallery
Still Lefebvre isn't ready to give up on Nautilus... yet. He said “no decision was made as to whether 'nemo' was to replace 'nautilus' yet. We'll see how nemo evolves and we'll use the best solution at the time of releasing Cinnamon 1.6.”
However, Lefebvre concluded, “Long term, it's also important for Cinnamon to better integrate with file browsing and desktop management, so whether or not nemo is ready for 1.6, it's likely to become a part of Cinnamon in the future”
A walk through Mint Linux's new/old Cinnamon desktop (Gallery)
In the meantime, if neither GNOME 3.6 or Cinnamon sounds attractive to you, there's always, , Ubuntu Unity, or even the brand new KDE 4.9 Linux desktop with its Dolphin file manager.
Fedora 17 & GNOME 3.4: Return to a useful Linux desktop (Review)