Ubuntu to use Unity as default desktop system

Unity desktop

Mark Shuttleworth, Ubuntu's founding father, made a surprising announcement at the Ubuntu Developers Summit yesterday. Shuttleworth stated that starting with Ubuntu version 11.04, the primary desktop would be Unity rather than Gnome. Shuttleworth said, "users want Unity as their primary desktop."

Unity, a desktop system based on Gnome, has already been announced for Ubuntu's netbook version of the operating system, but after the announcement yesterday it will also be the primary desktop on the PC version of Ubuntu. Because Unity was intended for netbooks Shuttleworth said they have lot to do to prepare the windows management system for a desktop PC. He went on to say:

"[We have] a lot of work to do around windows management. We are committing to the biggest change on the desktop. Unity will become the default, when we're sure that it will work. Lots of people are already committed to Unity -- the community, desktop users, developers, and platform and hardware vendors. [Unity] is a significant, risky step. It will throw people's confidence. I will preempt one important question: Unity is a shell for GNOME, even if it isn't GNOME Shell. We're committed to the principles and values of GNOME."

In an interview with ComputerWorld after his speech at the Developers Summit, Shuttleworth said that Canonical has made deals with Lenovo and Acer which may lead to Ubuntu being shipped from these companies.

Shuttleworth indicated that users will still be able to choose the Gnome desktop when they install Ubuntu but Unity will be the default choice for users.

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49 Comments

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Just when I was thinking I could recommend Ubuntu to some computer newbies who think Internet Explorer IS the internet.

If the UI changes, those people are going to kill -9 <outspoken's pid> me.

I think I would recommend Windows 7, at least it has got a start menu that they are familiar with!

JUst be honest . ITS UGLY...Thank goodness for Windows and even OSX for that matter vs this. Is this what you get with an 'open system'. You programmers can't come up with anything better than this? It looks so cheap. Like it was made with Mac Draw of Mac Paint from the early releases of Mac OS and Windows.

Oh wait, I fogot...ITS FREE. Can't afford to pay for real artist who know how to use shading and gradients properly. What dod you use to make the UI? GIMP? Why not Photoshop? To expensive i guess.

Looks cheap. Oh wait, thats why its free. Its as cheap as you can get.

TechieXP said,
JUst be honest . ITS UGLY...Thank goodness for Windows and even OSX for that matter vs this. Is this what you get with an 'open system'. You programmers can't come up with anything better than this? It looks so cheap. Like it was made with Mac Draw of Mac Paint from the early releases of Mac OS and Windows.

Oh wait, I fogot...ITS FREE. Can't afford to pay for real artist who know how to use shading and gradients properly. What dod you use to make the UI? GIMP? Why not Photoshop? To expensive i guess.

Looks cheap. Oh wait, thats why its free. Its as cheap as you can get.

Before I even bother to point out the dimness of your comment (wait, actually I've decided not to waste my time), I figured I should pose you a question. Have you ever taken an English course before? Usually, when you have a point to make in a declarative statement, you back it up with proof.

Not "LOLZ OMG EVERYTHING IZ UGLY HAW HAW"

I normally do not use Gnome & was more of a KDE user myself. I'll try their new desktop (provided they have native support for my hardware).

But the thing I think many here seem to forget is with LINUX, you can always change the desktop. YES, they maybe using this as their default, but you can always just install & use Gnome or KDE or what ever you prefer. The shell is interchange able.

Hmmm... Not sure if I like this more than the current one.
I guess I will have to wait and see how it turns out...

Unity for desktops... I can't imagine my 22'' screens with that shell right now, it just doesn't feel right to me (not that I use Ubuntu anyway).

Problem is, Gnome Shell will be the Gnome 3.0 shell and I think it's not an option either so for some people it's probably time for a desktop manager change.

Users want unity as their primary desktop ? Yeah sure, just as they wanted window widgets on the left.

This guy needs to get his head out of his ego bubble and into the real world. He doesn't have ab RDF

somethingelse said,
Needs more eye candy.

Needs different colors. With all the glass and transparency in the commercial successes (Mac/Windows), Ubuntu's obsession with gradients is feeling very...1994.

When you watch the videos on unity on ubuntus site it reminds of that pre release google OS. Ive not used unity so I cant comment but it looks nice and looks structured. I can see unity working well on netbooks but im not so sure in a desktop environment if dumping everything for unity is such a great idea.

for folks saying superbar, not really. it's more of an app icon type thing. look on the droid and iphone etc... they all have that big box button type thing. i think that's very nice. good going!

This is one of the reasons I don't use Ubuntu or other Linux distro. It's all a mess. Why replace GNOME (One of the best free software projects) with Unity which isn't as mature as GNOME? I don't get it. It seems like when they start using, and develop software they end up ditching it and using something else. Ubuntu has to start adding features to their operating system instead of just packaging a bunch of open source components into a distro. Can you name one decent piece of software that Ubuntu has added to Linux? FSF, Red Hat, IBM, and Novell actually add features to Linux, Canonical has not. All they do is distribute a "absolutely free" OS. Nothing innovated, nothing to look forward to.

RainJones said,
This is one of the reasons I don't use Ubuntu or other Linux distro. It's all a mess. Why replace GNOME (One of the best free software projects) with Unity which isn't as mature as GNOME? I don't get it. It seems like when they start using, and develop software they end up ditching it and using something else. Ubuntu has to start adding features to their operating system instead of just packaging a bunch of open source components into a distro. Can you name one decent piece of software that Ubuntu has added to Linux? FSF, Red Hat, IBM, and Novell actually add features to Linux, Canonical has not. All they do is distribute a "absolutely free" OS. Nothing innovated, nothing to look forward to.

Oh look, you didn't read the article.

They're not ditching GNOME.

tomjol said,

Oh look, you didn't read the article.

They're not ditching GNOME.

Oh look, you didn't read the comment

He said "replace GNOME" not "ditch GNOME"

RainJones said,
FSF, Red Hat, IBM, and Novell actually add features to Linux, Canonical has not.

No. But at least give them props for bringing linux to the masses. They must be doing something right, being the most known name in the less-technical circles. Us techies may stick with our slacks and gentoos, but Ubuntu is the Kleenex of the linux brand.

Goldenlotus said,

Oh look, you didn't read the comment

He said "replace GNOME" not "ditch GNOME"

What's the difference?

mjedi7 said,
Sweet and sexy!!

But if the linux distros are so nice and cool why they aren't a great success?

they look nice in screenshots because they are so different from windows. The moment you use them you realize they are a hassle that has nothing to offer...not to mention there hasnt been a distro i couldnt crash from general use on several PC configurations.

mjedi7 said,
Sweet and sexy!!

But if the linux distros are so nice and cool why they aren't a great success?

Because every average Joe thinks a computer should have a Start Menu and a "C:\" drive.

Neoauld said,

there hasnt been a distro i couldnt crash from general use on several PC configurations.

I'm not trying to be rude here, but what exactly do you mean by crashes....drivers? Software?

I installed Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) a couple weeks back on my laptop, and I have not had a single problem with it! I also didn't have to install any drivers, everything was detected during setup.

The Guardian said,

I'm not trying to be rude here, but what exactly do you mean by crashes....drivers? Software?

I installed Linux Mint (based on Ubuntu) a couple weeks back on my laptop, and I have not had a single problem with it! I also didn't have to install any drivers, everything was detected during setup.

Likewise. I use it (Ubuntu) as the primary OS on my work machine, and its been running solid for over a year now.

Jared- said,

Because every average Joe thinks a computer should have a Start Menu and a "C:\" drive.

The average computer joe has never seen and does not know what a c: drive is

Neoauld said,

they look nice in screenshots because they are so different from windows. The moment you use them you realize they are a hassle that has nothing to offer...not to mention there hasnt been a distro i couldnt crash from general use on several PC configurations.

"nothing to offer"

Speak for yourself.

Jared- said,

Because every average Joe thinks a computer should have a Start Menu and a "C:\" drive.

So whats wrong with that? Its more simple then trying to remember those long stupid naming convention Unix based OS' use. They are very confusing. Just because you may know them, doesn't mean they are the best way.

Stuff it. If it breaks my current Gnome customizations, I will go through the hassle of finding the next big thing in desktop *nix.

Just when Gnome is getting really good, nice an customizable with very little effort, they have to go and break it/dump it for something else.

If the upgrade from 10.04 to 11.04 leaves my customizations in place, then I'll tone down my crotchityness.

p.s. Where the heck is the workspace switcher on that Unity screen cap? Workspaces are like a combination of Air and Water on the Gnome desktop - without them, life becomes untenable.

Grelmar said,

Just when Gnome is getting really good, nice an customizable with very little effort, they have to go and break it/dump it for something else.p.s. Where the heck is the workspace switcher on that Unity screen cap? Workspaces are like a combination of Air and Water on the Gnome desktop - without them, life becomes untenable.

You clearly haven't give the UI a try, its a pretty good idea, for me it was "not there yet" but I like the fact that they are going to put people to work in order to optimize it for desktop use. Linux is highly customizable so if there is something that you don't like you can change it yourself, this are just defaults. I love win7 but the bar is a crippled OSX dock version, I read this article as a commitment from Linux guys to improve that. BTW I use Ubuntu as my primary OS and win7 as secondary, and I'm a happy customer of both.

Edited by Meconio, Oct 27 2010, 6:58am : bad spelling

Grelmar said,
Stuff it. If it breaks my current Gnome customizations, I will go through the hassle of finding the next big thing in desktop *nix.

Just when Gnome is getting really good, nice an customizable with very little effort, they have to go and break it/dump it for something else.

If the upgrade from 10.04 to 11.04 leaves my customizations in place, then I'll tone down my crotchityness.

p.s. Where the heck is the workspace switcher on that Unity screen cap? Workspaces are like a combination of Air and Water on the Gnome desktop - without them, life becomes untenable.

You will be able to chose from unity and gnome during installation

Shishant said,
You will be able to chose from unity and gnome during installation
what are some notable reasons for choosing one or the other? I wouldnt know which to choose when installing.....

este said,
what are some notable reasons for choosing one or the other? I wouldnt know which to choose when installing.....

If you prefer minimalism and utility, stick with Gnome and go for a single taskbar configuration. There's no reason any regular computer user with a widescreen monitor needs a top+bottom bar like the default Gnome setup, and there's no reason to give up a huge chunk of space on the dock+superbar ****** in Unity, which has essentially attempted to copy the one thing that's been wrong with Mac OS for ten years: a unified menubar.

Gnome never even suffered the crappy multitasking Mac users put up with in the 90s, so I don't know why Unity wants to wear the same scars.

Co_Co said,
win7 superbar much

Nah, the Unity sidebar is sorely lacking in features compared to the Windows superbar. A more accurate observation would be "OS X dock much".

Except for the absence of eye candy.

And that horrible default wallpaper. I remember a discussion about whether that one should be the new default, and I was amazed by how many people fawned over it, gushing about how gorgeous it is. Looks like someone threw a few 15 year old Jasc effects on top of something even less interesting. Ah well, at least it can be changed.

If you want an exercise in lameness, check out Engadget's post about how "touch" friendly Unity looks in a tablet demo. It's horrific, and sad to the eyes of anyone who's spent 30 seconds playing with Windows 7 on a tablet.

Joshie said,
And that horrible default wallpaper.
It looks very similar to some of the wallpapers supplied with Windows Vista

ThomMcK said,
It looks very similar to some of the wallpapers supplied with Windows Vista

Not at all. The default Unity wallpaper looks like the generic cinematic look of waking up to a flashlight in your face after passing out drunk. To me, if I had to guess, I'd say they took a very small tile image (like some old 16-bit Windows wallpaper), zoomed in extremely close on one of the seams, over smoothed it, and threw on some cheap shareware effects. This image was purely a result of filters, while Vista wallpapers were at least drawn.

It's not Ubuntu's fault, really. Everyone with design sense is on a Mac, not contributing to FOSS. -_-

ThomMcK said,
It looks very similar to some of the wallpapers supplied with Windows Vista
You must be blind. That looks nothing like ANY wallpapers you ever seen in Vista.

Linux desktops were always ugly. At least Apple and Microsoft add some glitz to it.