Today has been quite moved after the announcement made by Mark Shuttleworth where he details Ubuntu's abandonment of convergence and the phone, in addition to the replacement of the Unity 8 desktop environment in the next version of the distro.
And how well the title of this opinion piece says, «And colorín colorado, Ubuntu from Unity 8 has been spared«, What in principle is only a change in the desktop environment may in the future become a movement that directly influences the growth of Canonical, in addition, the consequences of this decision will not only affect Ubuntu but will have an effect direct on the various distros that are derived from it and on the entire GNU / Linux ecosystem.
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Ubuntu 18.04 will come with Gnome
Ubuntu LTS 18.04 will have GNOME as the default desktop environment, so the official flavor Ubuntu GNOME it will once again be the workhorse of one of the most famous GNU / Linux distros.
Similarly, we assume that the organization will continue to maintain the different flavors that it distributes, leaving aside the distribution of any flavor that contains Unity 8.
Late but safe?
For no one is a secret that Unity had many more detractors than supporters, the project that emerged as a project «innovative»By Canonical and aimed at convergence on any device, was seen by most communities as an attempt to minimize all the achievements obtained by the desktops that exist today and in turn was accused of fragmenting the reigning philosophy in the development of desktop environments.
Unity it also directly affected the user quota that it maintained Ubuntu in recent times, making in many cases that its users will migrate to other distros including those that are based on Ubuntu but that maintain other desktops or carry out various modifications.
In the past months I read a user nicknamed Fernando say: "With so much unfulfilled promise, unity 8 will be born dead (and years from now). Ubuntu should never have abandoned gnome«. What an interesting way to predict the future of Unity 8, although many of us knew that Canonical was paddling against the current and that sooner or later the raft was not going to be able to stay afloat.
The decision to abandon Unity as Ubuntu's default desktop environment evidently came late but surely, because Canonical is having a good time in other areas that will surely help reverse the negative consequences that the abandonment of a project brings. to whom so much has been given and for which so much has been wagered.
«It's never too late when bliss comes", Y "Better late than never«These are two sayings that fall like a glove to Canonical's current situation, that despite their determination to follow a project that was adrift, today they take on the responsibility of assuming failures and focusing on more realistic objectives.
In this sense it is worth highlighting the words of Shuttleworth, in which it clearly states that markets and communities decide which products grow and which disappear.
«In the community, our efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation. And the industry preferred known solutions or the creation of self-made platforms. What the Unity8 team has delivered so far is beautiful, usable, and robust, but I respect that it is the markets and the community ultimately who decide which products grow and which disappear. "
Personally, as I read your words, I assume that the cancellation of Unity8 has been a decision very against its objectives, which it has only taken in view of the difficulties that it would bring to your organization to continue maintaining this project. That is, Unity8 is out of Ubuntu because there was no way it could keep standing without affecting performance (Economic interests) from Canonical.
Is Ubuntu abandoning the battle for desktop users?
A question that today I have read repeatedly, in the various social networks and blogs of the Linux world, is if with this announcement, Is Ubuntu giving up the battle for desktop users?. I think the answer to this question is quite clear in the statement made by Shuttleworth where it states:
“I would like to emphasize our commitment to continue investing in the Ubuntu desktop. We will continue to produce the most widely used open source desktop environment in the world, maintaining existing LTS releases, working with our business partners to distribute this desktop, to support our corporate customers who depend on it and to delight of the millions of cloud and IoT developers. "
Ultimately, the choice is to invest in the areas that are contributing to the growth of the company. Those are Ubuntu on desktops, servers, and VMs, our cloud infrastructure products (OpenStack and Kubernetes), our cloud operations capabilities (MAAS, LXD, Juju, BootStack), and our history of IoT on snaps and Ubuntu Core. They all have communities, customers, income and growth, the ingredients for a great independent company, with scale and momentum. This is the time for us to ensure, across the board, that we have the aptitude and rigor for that path. "
The words of Shuttleworth make us understand that sacrificing Unity8 development, Ubuntu for phones and convergence, do not mean abandonment by Canonical from Desktop usersInstead, they are restructured to bet on the areas where they can really make a significant contribution to these users.
Personally, I believe that this movement will make Canonical end up increasing support for the various communities in charge of the development of the different desktops from which it has benefited, in the same way, it means that Canonical's contributions at the development level will be more oriented to projects with results. in the short term and that the organization will look more in the sense of not reinventing the wheel.
Finally we must understand that Canonical makes it clear that their priority becomes the Cloud and IoT (because it is the one that brings you the most profitability) and that the desk becomes an element that they need to consolidate their objectives.
“The cloud and IoT story for Ubuntu is excellent and continues to improve. You probably all know that most public cloud workloads, and most private Linux cloud infrastructures, depend on Ubuntu. You may also know that most of the IOT work in auto, robotics, networking, and machine learning is also in Ubuntu, with Canonical providing business services on many of those initiatives. The number and size of business engagements around Ubuntu in the cloud and IoT has grown materially and consistently. "
Probably who else gains with the replacement of Unity 8 by Gnone are the distros that derive from Ubuntu; I personally assume that Linux Mint it will have the greatest benefits as it is one of the most used distros today, mainly because it is offered with a different environment than Unity and with good performance and visual finish.
It will dawn and we will see, but for my part I feel a bit of joy for Ubuntu that finally got rid of nothing dear Unity.
What do you think of Ubuntu's decision?
PD: This opinion piece has been written by someone who did not like Unity one bit, who migrated to OpenSuse and then Manjaro because of the stubborn philosophy in some Ubuntu cases, so many of the arguments can be far from the reality of some readers.