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Ubuntu becomes one with Unity

by Pete Mason on 26 October 2010, 11:57

Tags: Canonical

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Ubuntu has come a long way since the project's first release way back in late 2004, but one of the constants throughout has been the use of the GNOME interface. That's all set to change, though, as Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced at the Ubuntu Developers Summut (via ComputerWorld) that future desktop releases of the OS will default to the new Unity interface.

Unity is the name of the UI designed by Ubuntu developers specifically for the netbook version of the OS and introduced in Maverick Meerkat, released earlier this month. Though it's a shell based around GNOME, it focuses on a simplified program-centric approach, rather than lists and menus.

Obviously some changes will still be required. The netbook version of Unity is designed to focus on a single full-screen application at a time, whereas desktop users will demand more advanced window-management.

Unity - coming soon to Ubuntu desktops everywhere

According to Shuttleworth, the idea has already garnered a lot of positive feedback. As well as desktop users and developers, OEMs are very happy about the decision to make the very user-friendly interface the new default. This comes as little surprise, given that a unified OS across all of the consumer Ubuntu releases will make testing and supporting the OS much easier for manufacturers.

Since there's still a fair bit of work to do on preparing Unity for desktops, Shuttleworth hasn't committed to a firm release date. However, he expects that it will be ready for the release of Natty Narwhal next April.

This is a fairly major departure for Ubuntu, and could cause some waves among the development community - especially among GNOME developers. Shuttleworth admitted that it "is a significant, risky step. It will throw people's confidence," acknowledging that "there is a group that will take offence". However, he added that he felt that it was the best move for both users and developers in the Linux community.



HEXUS Forums :: 2 Comments

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Makes sense to me. Make the simplest easy to use GUI as default. Advanced users can then pick something else if they like. Thats the joy with Linux! I bet they end up releasing a gubuntu (kubuntu is kde version) with gnome as default anyway!
Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has announced at the Ubuntu Developers Summut (via ComputerWorld) that future desktop releases of the OS will default to the new Unity interface.
If by “default” Marky means that there will be some easy-to-get-at switch that gives back "ye olde fashioned desktoppe", then that's fine with me. Better still if Unity is an option on login or user setup.
cheesemp
I bet they end up releasing a gubuntu (kubuntu is kde version) with gnome as default anyway!
Nooooooooooooooooooooo - that's just what the world needs - yet another respin of Ubuntu. :(

Actually joking apart, I was quite impressed with Unity on my netbook, at least until I came across the interface that ships with Meego. That one seems to be more responsive, more attractive and hence nicer to use than Unity. That said, I was one of the folks that moved their Lynx buttons back to the right-hand side - so maybe I'm not the best judge. ;)

At this rate, I'll be replacing my current Ubuntu installs with “raw” Debian…