It has been six years since Canonical made Unity the default user interface on Ubuntu desktops. It was part of the company’s vision to expand Ubuntu to devices like smartphones and tablets as well. Even though it did try, things didn’t work out as the company might have hoped. Canonical today announced that it’s giving up on Unity which means there’s not going to be an official Ubuntu shell for smartphones and tablets either. The default Ubuntu desktop will be switching back to GNOME.
Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu and Canonical, confirmed in a post on the company’s official blog today that the company is giving up on Unity and that the default Ubuntu desktop will be shifted back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
Shuttleworth reiterated the company’s commitment to the Ubuntu desktop that millions of users across the globe rely on. It says that Canonical will continue to produce this open source desktop, maintain existing LTE releases, work with commercial partners to distribute Ubuntu, and provide support to corporate customers. Nothing is changing on that front.
He points out that the community viewed the Unity effort as fragmentation and not innovation even though the aim was to deliver it as a free software, an alternative to the closed alternatives currently available to device manufacturers.
It is out of respect for the market’s wishes that Canonical has decided to shelve this project and shift the desktop back to GNOME starting next year.