Since the dark ages of Linux desktop, both Fedora and Ubuntu have sported the overly familiar GNOME 2 look. It goes without saying that the simple, clean and fast desktop environment enjoys a heavy fan base in the Linux world. However as time went on, many people agreed that GNOME was in need of something fresh, something completely new. Hence, developers started working on a totally revamped user interface, now known as GNOME 3 or GNOME shell. This newly designed shell interface was also supposed to be the default desktop environment for Ubuntu 11.04.
Due to philosophical differences between Canonical and the GNOME team, Ubuntu ditched GNOME 3 and started working on their own desktop environment called Unity. Since this announcement, Unity has received some heavy criticism from the Linux community. GNOME 3 too has had its share of bad feedback following some major UI decisions like removing minimize and maximize buttons. Despite these early apprehensions, both projects have managed to bring a much-needed burst of freshness to the stagnating Linux desktop.