Yesterday, Mark Shuttleworth posted a blog post about this change, that is going to happen with Ubuntu as we know it now. And the big change is, that starting with Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, we have to say goodbye to Unity and say welcome to GNOME. Yes, you heard it. The loved and hated Unity desktop is going to be replaced. This change also involves no other investment in phones and convergence. Or as Mark would say:
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.
I won’t write more quotes from the post itself, you can just click the link and read it. But I’ll write some of my thoughts about this decision.
In the Linux world, Unity is known to be loved and to be hated. And maybe something between those two. There are people who like it, there are people who don’t like it, and maybe there are people who don’t care or who don’t belong to any of these groups. I would say, that the last part is about me. I’m not saying, that Unity is the greatest desktop environment. I’m not saying, that Unity is the worst desktop environment. And at last, there were times, when I was not in my distro/DE hopping mood, in which I used Unity as my main desktop environment. Another big plus, my girlfriend has Ubuntu installed on her laptop because of Unity (she likes the look of it). Oh boy, she is going to be sad. Another thing is, that I guess I don’t remember those days, when Unity was supposed to be super buggy and unusable. As far as I remember, when the big change happened to Unity, I was in XFCE world. And when I had switched to Unity, it was pretty ok. So I don’t dare to talk about how bad it was (or is?).
I would say, that I feel neutral about GNOME too. But when I watch videos about changes in the latest version, I’m pretty impressed. On the other hand, I think there is more work to do on default GNOME than it is on default Unity. Some of the parts of GNOME might be confusing for new users coming from Unity: “Where is my panel, what are these extension, where do I get them, why is it all so ugly?” So I hope, that people at Canonical will do something about the default setup you get from GNOME.
So to sum the first part: I’m not going to cry my eyes out. I’m actually on KDE Plasma at the moment and I don’t miss Unity. On the other hand, I don’t think that Unity was doing so bad.
The second part is about phones and convergence. First of all, I did use Ubuntu Phone and I still have it. But you can read the past tense there. Unfortunately, in my opinion, it was not ready. The idea was good, but … I don’t know. And even though I liked it, I don’t miss it. But I think that I’ll miss the idea of convergence. Having one OS, that runs on my desktop, tablet and mobile? Great, bring it on! Now though, Canonical is not going to be the one to bring this idea to life.
And one last question that popped into my head while reading the blog post: What’s going to happen with Ubuntu Gnome, the official Ubuntu flavor?