Back in April, Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, in a move that shocked everyone, announced that the company was ending support for Unity in Ubuntu. For the uninitiated, Unity was the company's plan to build a converged Linux desktop that would work on mobile devices, desktops, and even TVs. Its latest release, Ubuntu 17.10, marks the first version of the OS to ship without Unity, employing GNOME instead. After several months of speculation, Shuttleworth has finally outed the rationale behind the decision.
In an interview with eWeek, Shuttleworth emphasized that some of their private ventures will not be sustainable when the company goes public. Displaying remorse at the decision, the executive said:
"Lots of people will complain about the options that they have and don't go and create other options. It takes a bit of spine and as it turns out, quite a lot of money to go and try and create those options."
As Ubuntu moves "into the mainstream in a bunch of areas", as Shuttleworth puts it, they cannot afford to have ambitious projects that have no commercial output. The company's Initial Public Offering (IPO) will deter Canonical from taking on such risky endeavors but he doesn't regret working on the Unity project in the first instance.