This is true not only when it comes to pâtisserie. I have been a Ubuntu Linux user for almost 10 years and I love it. During my college times I tried multiple GNU/Linux flavors, including Debian (Ubuntu's father), openSUSE, Fedora, Knoppix, PCLinuxOS (and its relative Mandriva) among others, but I always ended up coming back to Ubuntu. The reason for this recurrent pattern was its simplicity. At that time, the GNU/Linux world was tough and installing a new distribution in my computer implied to invest a significant amount of time and effort compiling and installing drivers or searching for hacks to make the computer useful. This was real fun for me at that time, though I used to crawl back to my comfort zone whenever I had to work seriously. Even though the GNU/Linux world is more user-friendly nowadays, I do not have anymore the time to change my GNU/Linux distribution every few months.

Ubuntu Linux owes its success (at least in the GNU/Linux market) to the generous investment made by Canonical to build a user-friendly open source operating system. Its large and active user community is, of course, another important factor. At that time, Ubuntu was delivered with the GNOME (version 2) desktop environment, but there were other flavors such as Kubuntu (using the K desktop environment, i.e., KDE), Xubuntu (using the XFCE desktop environment), Lubuntu (using the very lightweight LXDE) and Gobuntu (for free software purists). I tried Kubuntu and Xubuntu and even though I like them, I always found GNOME provided the perfect trade-off between aesthetics and functionality. In 2011, Ubuntu switched to Unity, a desktop environment implemented exclusively for this OS and running GNOME behind the scenes. This led to polarized opinions among the users. Personally, I miss the conservative approach of GNOME 2 but I learned to live with Unity, specially after having tried the hideous GNOME 3 by itself.

Recently I realized that there was no reason to settle with Unity. Linux Mint is a GNU/Linux distribution based on Ubuntu. It was released on 2006 and used GNOME 2 as official desktop environment until 2011 when it switched to MATE (based on GNOME 2) and then to Cinnamon (built upon GNOME 3). As of January 2016, Linux Mint is the most popular GNU/Linux according to Distrowatch. It dethroned the king Ubuntu in 2012, which was in the first place since my college times (it used to compete with PCLinuxOS for the first place). For this reason, I decided to try it somehow by installing Cinnamon on my Ubuntu 14.04. The installation was straightforward and the results wonderful. I am in love with Cinnamon! It took me a few minutes to customize it (adding panels, applets, launchers, keyboard shortcuts, etc.) with almost no need to google for anything. If you are Unity or KDE fan, you will probably find it a bit old-fashioned and gnome-ish (no surprise given the fact that it is based on GNOME 3), however this is probably the only complain you can make about it. Nevertheless, a bit of research on the web suggests that Cinnamon is very resource intensive, which makes it infeasible for old computers. I do not have this problem as both my personal and work computer are pretty powerful (iCore 7 both, 8 and 16 GB of RAM respectively). I should mention, though, that Cinnamon feels faster than Unity in my case and some evidence suggests that it performs better than KDE. If you are resource-constrained but still want a fully functional desktop environment, XFCE and LXDE are your best choices.

Finally, Ubuntu provides a GNOME classic session in addition to Unity for those nostalgic users like me. Unfortunately it looks a bit under-developed and the customization is not as straightforward as in Cinnamon.

A brief review about Unity

First of all, I do not consider myself a detractor of Unity. It is indeed a very clean and quite user-friendly desktop environment. I feel, however, that it was targeted to the standard "office" user, namely those who only browse the web and write documents in Open Office. The dock on the left comes by default with launchers for these applications so that users get all what they need in front of their eyes. The problem comes when you need to do a task but you do not know the name of the associated application. I personally like the standard menu that groups applications by category, so that, if for example I want to do a configuration change, record sound or edit an image, I can easily guess the category and look at the available applications. In Unity there is no a straightforward way to navigate through all the applications installed in the system. While the Unity menu search is quite handy, its usability is impaired if I do not know exactly what I am looking for. In addition, I always found cumbersome the way windows are grouped in the dock when they belong to the same application. I personally prefer the old-school way, where I can access each window with one click.