When most people think about Linux, they think about Ubuntu. Ubuntu is a distribution of Linux designed and maintained by a company called Canonical. The distribution holds the largest portion of the Linux desktop market. Major computer manufactures, such as Dell, pre-install Ubuntu on some of their high-end computers. Ubuntu functions in many ways like Windows. One could actually say that Ubuntu is the Windows of Linux. In 2010, Canonical decided to buck the norm and design their own graphical (desktop) shell, which they named Unity. At the time, most distributions of Linux ran either Gnome or KDE. Since its introduction, Unity struggled to gain support from the organization’s users.
On April 5, 2017, the Chief Executive Officer for Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth, announced that the company’s work on Unity will end. The upcoming Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, will abandon Unity and instead use Gnome 3 desktop. In addition, Canonical will be moving away from the mobile phone operating system and integration that they have been working on for several years. Instead the organization will be shifting their focus on their new release of their desktop operating system, cloud computing, and Internet of things platforms. This announcement has stunned the Linux community. The overarching question I have is, will this damage Ubuntu? Will it become just another Gnome distro? Only time will tell, but I hope not. For many, Ubuntu is a gateway distribution that allows normal computer users the chance to try Linux.
Gnome 3 Desktop (Image courtesy of gnome.org)