Ubuntu has been using the Unity environment developed by Caonical Ltd. since the netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10, initially released on June 9, 2010. However, it has been decided that the Unity environment would no longer be the standard environment used for the popular GNU/Linux distro.
In a blog post by Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, he says, “We are wrapping up an excellent quarter and an excellent year for the company, with performance in many teams and products that we can be proud of. As we head into the new fiscal year, it’s appropriate to reassess each of our initiatives. I’m writing to let you know that we will end our investment in Unity8, the phone and convergence shell. We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.”
It has been the goal of Canonical and the Ubuntu teams to create “Convergence,” with multiple different avenues having been traversed such as Unity and Ubuntu for phones.
Shuttleworth said, “I took the view that, if convergence was the future and we could deliver it as free software, that would be widely appreciated both in the free software community and in the technology industry, where there is substantial frustration with the existing, closed, alternatives available to manufacturers. I was wrong on both counts.”
Shuttleworth went on to talk about how they are comitted to the Ubuntu distribution, and that he recognized the opinion of the community on their design and utilization of Unity on past releases.
Shuttleworth said, “In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation. And industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a ‘better the devil you know’ approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms.”
Ubuntu GNOME developer Jeremy Bicha posted on the Ubuntu GNOME website the release of Ubuntu GNOME 17.04, and discussed the future of the GNOME featured distribution, including the news that the project was being shut down and merged into the main Ubuntu releases in the coming release of Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
In his post, Bicha says, “As announced last week by Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will include GNOME instead of Unity. Specifically, it will be GNOME (including gnome-shell) with minimal Ubuntu customization.”
The developers of Ubuntu GNOME are also members of the Ubuntu Desktop team, and so they will still be actively working, and there at least appears to be no loss or changes to the teams.
Ubuntu is probably the most famous GNU/Linux distribution, and for many years was also the most popular choice for home users. Ubuntu is also used frequently on many server environments, although falls behind in ranking on that front behind it’s ancestor; Debian.
When Ubuntu made the switch from using GNOME 2.x to the Unity desktop it caused quite the stir amongst the community with many users opting to leave Ubuntu and move on to other distributions. While there have been some users who supported Unity, it was widely seen in poor light.
What’s your take on this move? Let’s hear what you have to say in the comments below.