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.