Ubuntu to feature Unity interface for desktop version 11.04

October 25th, 2010 at 9:06 PM  2 Comments

In a move likely to irritate as many people as it satisfies, Mark Shuttleworth announced today that the next version of the Ubuntu Linux distribution, due in April of 2011, will dump GNOME as the default desktop manager in favor of their Unity interface. The Unity interface is currently the interface used by the Netbook specific Ubuntu distribution, present since version 10.04 LTS.

Ryan Paul over at Ars Technica had a chance to talk to Shuttleworth about the plan:

I also asked Shuttleworth why Canonical is building its own shell rather than customizing the GNOME Shell. He says that Canonical made an effort to participate in the GNOME Shell design process and found that Ubuntu’s vision for the future of desktop interfaces was fundamentally different from that of the upstream GNOME Shell developers. He says that GNOME’s rejection of global menus, for example, is one of the key philosophical differences that would be difficult to reconcile. Canonical has accumulated a team of professional designers with considerable expertise over the past few years. They want to set their own direction and create a user experience that meets the needs of their audience. The other major Linux vendors, who are setting the direction of GNOME Shell’s design, have different priorities and are arguably less focused than Ubuntu on serving basic desktop users.

As Ubuntu has become more and more home-user oriented over the last few releases, it won’t be long before most of the Linux power users (who aren’t already rolling their own distro) turn to Fedora or openSUSE as the new standard. This also almost guarantees that 11.04 will be a very buggy release.