First, I must say that all that follows here is my own demented view. But blog thingy already implies that, and about the 'demented'... well, going against the flow might always be demented, no? Our topic here is Linux Mint. It is very popular right now, but does it really deserve that much popularity?
I don't think Linux Mint is really important enough to give that much attention. Most of they have, they have because of Ubuntu. And all they contributed to the FOSS is some shiny panels and menus together with some non-crucial tools for package management, hardly worth mentioning in the greater scheme of the things. Cinnamon is still in the works but more on it later. Ubuntu greatly changed their Debian base and started projects like Upstart (which I am fond of), they made great leaps in desktop hardware recognition and use; Mint made some panels and menus. Comparison here is quite clear that I don't think my intelligent readers (let me butter you up a bit) might need more clarification.
Now, I know that those panels and menus are the face of Linux for the uneducated user, but those menus and the such do not really matter that much now, do they? I used their Gnome Shell menu(only the menu) in my Arch setup and I admit it was nice. But this goes on to show that it was just an extension. I am not sure how an extension can be claim to fame like we are seeing right now.
Usual argument here is “but Mint did what users wanted”. As an anarchist myself, I thing democracy is a bad, bad thing and seeing this mob rule working here is actually has quite bad implications. A FOSS project does not belong to the community, community only uses it for free and if they like it, they report bugs and do all the other assorted things they can do. A FOSS project belongs to those who wrote it and if you don't like how they do it, you can do it yourself if you are capable of. Cinnamon project is a respectable thing from this point of view and may claim some fame but as it came much later from this the fame I am talking about here, it is not really relevant to our discussion. Proprietary software needs to listen to the customers because of their own virtues and and thus conforms to their wishes, but FOSS has no such compulsions. Beauty of the FOSS, for me, is the underlying anarchy. “The Customer Is Always Right” writes Swapnil Bhartiya of Muktware, I don't understand this: What customer? Those who donated to Mint? As far as I know the laws, donation is a one sided transaction. Strength of FOSS is how it brings change and innovation without the great sword of customers floating on the top of its head. There is a strength in whims and in dreams of nerds. If you bring that sword into the fold, we have infinitely more to lose than we have to gain, foremost of them of the losing side is the freedom that seems so important to FOSS.
Linux Mint got their recent fame from this customer idea. While giving people what they want, thus making them happy is a good thing; it is really disturbing me how people on the forums and the blogs are starting to say that everyone should act like Linux Mint and cater to the wishes of 'the customers'.
PS: As a unrelated sidenotey question, Do you know any old anime that is similar to Full Metal Panic?