Canonical ditches Unity 8 and focusses on IoT and Cloud

No april's fool: Canonical ditches Unity 8 and switches to Gnome as default desktop for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.

Focus on IoT and Cloud

In a blog post Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical is "writing to let you know that we will end [Canonical's] investment in Unity8, the phone and convergence shell. [Canonical] will shift [the] default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS".

Additionally Shuttleworth announces that Canonical will further "invest in the areas which are contributing to the growth of the company". These are "Ubuntu itself, for desktops, servers and VMs, [Canonical's] cloud infrastructure products (OpenStack and Kubernetes), [...] cloud operations capabilities (MAAS, LXD, Juju, BootStack), and [...] IoT story in snaps and Ubuntu Core.".

For me these changes came to no surprise. After Firefox abandoned their Firefox OS and since the mobile market is mainly controlled by Google's Android, Apple's iOS and Microsoft's Windows Phone there was almost no room left for Firefox OS or Ubuntu Phone.

Additionally, Shuttleworth admits that he was wrong with his assumptions about Canonical's goals on phone and covergence and that "in the community, [Canonical's] efforts were seen fragmentation not innovation [as well as] industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a ‘better the devil you know’ approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms".

End of investment in Unity 8

As in the afore-stated announcements and decisions it is now clear that Canonical will end it's investment in Unity 8. With it their work on Mir will most likely be stopped as well.

While I welcome the end of Mir and the seperation in display server technology for Linux I am a bit sad about the end of Canonical's support for Unity 8.

Although I have never been a fan of Unity I saw a lot of potential in it and was looking forward for a stable release in the near future. Chances are that their work will be continued by the community but resources will be limited and a lot of work is still waiting until a stable release.

So let's see what will happen to all the work already done.

Further reading

Pierre Böckmann
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