As part of our new direction, I am proud to announce that Shift Linux will be moving away from Ubuntu, and instead switching over to Arch Linux. There are many reasons for this, including a more customizable distribution for us as developers to work with, and a faster and more streamlined start point.
In my letter to the community about our new direction, I said that Ubuntu would suit our needs fine, and when the time felt right, we would consider a move. Since then, the outpouring of support from the Neowin community has been unbelievable, and so we decided to take advantage of the moment. If our goal was to one day move away from Ubuntu, it seemed futile to continue down the same path.
Using the technologies already available and our own coding ability, I and the developers of the team feel we can get back to the point in development we were already at within a matter of months, or maybe even less. It will not be Ubuntu, mind you; we want something different. But it will have the same, or better, level of user friendliness.
After some research, we have also learned that we can still utilize "Wubi", which allows you to install Shift on the same partition as Windows, and even uninstall using your Windows control panel, without really risking your data. A few changes are all that is needed, which contributed a fair bit to this decision being made.
One big reason, that many people wouldn't really understand, is that Ubuntu is actually very difficult to develop for. Replacing packages is very difficult, as the Ubuntu developers have integrated everything so closely. Many things we wanted to change simply couldn't be done easily because of Ubuntu's use of "meta packages"; for example, if we wanted to remove Evolution, which is a mail and calendar application, we would not only end up removing half of Gnome, but many other applications would no longer be willing to install. It was a roadblock in our development, and Arch offers us a way around that. Package management even still exists through "pacman", rather than through APT, and there are loads of applications already packaged for use with Arch. This will benefit everyone, developers and users.
We hope this decision works out as we plan, but we need your help to reach our ambitious goal of really changing the way Linux is known. If you're a developer, a designer, a tester, or if you would like to be any of these, just let us know in our thread on the matter.