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'whoami', is a command to help you figure out what username you are currently logged into a linux system under. But it's also what many desktop users in the Linux community are waiting to find out. As one desktop user describes it, "I have no sense of self in Linux any longer. I'm not a PC, or a MAC, but I'm not sure I like the current Gnome or KDE offerings at the moment either."
Part of the freedom of the open source community is that any project can decide what direction they want to take without obligations to any outside entity. Recently we have seen Gnome 3 replace Linux's nearly standard Gnome 2 layout with more of a netbook or smart-phone desktop, with further reaching effects than most of us anticipated. The average Linux user came to identify the Gnome 2 layout as THE Linux desktop they could rely on. Although there are several other desktop options under Linux, many people came to equate the Gnome 2 desktop layout with Linux PCs, in much the same way as the layout of Microsoft Windows has been expected to stay pretty much the same from one version to the next since Windows 95. So when Gnome 3 completely abandoned the look and feel people expected, many Linux users have found themselves wondering 'whoami'.
But how did it get this way, and where do we go from here? To answer the first part of the question we'll have to look back more than ten years ago as Linux on the Desktop began to take off.
For several years, beginning even before the turn of the century, the Linux and Open Source communities rallied around a single ideal as far as desktop usage was concerned. It wasn't which desktop was best, although there were plenty of opinions in that department as well. It wasn't about making money, or leveraging the market. It was about creating a desktop environment that rivaled Microsoft Windows! Not a release nor review could be found that wasn't compared to Windows.