"For the times, they are a-changing"
Oh yes sirree Bob, that they are indeed. A few years ago, I dabbled with the SuSE Linux distro, and then a chap from Bristol introduced me to the Hoary Hedgehog. What, no advanced disk partitioning?! I was hooked and have been reeled in ever since.
Until now. Until 10.10.
This was when I installed Ubuntu Netbook Edition onto my ageing yet trusty Acer Aspire One netbook. And this was the first time that I have ever uninstalled Ubuntu. And the first time I won't recommend Ubuntu.
As I've said before, UNE is cramped, slow and unconfigurable, and I don't think it should have been released in that state. There has been a vast amount of talk about Unity, the new desktop for Ubuntu, and the fact that it is due to be shipped with 11.04 gNarly Narwhal.
According to the venerable Jack Wallen, this shift from GNOME to Unity (and from X Windows to Wayland) is "Business, first and foremost." It's about providing one Ubuntu (hence Unity), as "Shuttleworth wants Ubuntu to be easy for companies to support".
The potential problem is, will this move obscure the cadence, design and quality which Shuttleworth is so passionate about? I hope not.
In the meantime, us 1% Linux Users are very lucky indeed. In an apparently counter-intuitive fashion, Free Software provides far more competition than traditional proprietary business models. Just pop along to DistroWatch and marvel at the smorgasbord of Linux flavours.
So now, I am mostly recommending Linux Mint, a very user-friendly distro based on Ubuntu. I'm not the only either; when Linux Mint 10 "Julia" was released, their servers were overloaded.
What is interesting is that there is a version of Mint founded on Debian, which means that there is an alternative path if Ubuntu takes the high road alone.
As for the future, que sera, sera but I may well be recommending Ubuntu again.