Ubuntu abandons Unity8/Mir/Phones... WHAT?


I think I can see the next five years;

  • Canonical adopts GNOME shell as their desktop (begrudgingly)
  • Canonical works with GNOME team to bring some of Unity’s ideas into GNOME (maybe)
  • Canonical and GNOME work together on a simplified version of the interface for phones
  • GNOME makes convergence happen with GNOME shell for desktop and mobile
  • Canonical unveils prototype Ubuntu phone with GNOME Mobile

The dream is not dead. It’s only in the hands of GNOME team now. This does mean, however that MATE is at risk of becoming nothing more than a panel-based GTK3 UI that would feel sorely out of place with other GNOME apps.


The alternative exists today : get Sailfish OS on a Fairphone…


Happy I did not purchase a BQ tablet!
The good news is, Ubuntu should now focus more on the desktop beyond Unity and Mir development.
I have the feeling that on the main Ubuntu flavor (the Unity one) there was little improvement to remark between each 6-month release cycle in the last years. Hopefully that should change, and all flavors will benefit for this upstream work.


The power of GNU compels you! You must leave now! Now! In the name of St IGNUcius, leave this distro for another!



Not sure where to post this, please feel free to move it to a more suitable location.

Sincere question, will recent Canonical news (dropping Unity and returning to GNOME) impact on Ubuntu MATE? Depending on the type of GNOME interface adopted/created for Ubuntu, wonder if Ubuntu MATE + Ubuntu GNOME = (the new) Ubuntu?

May I also add, I sincerely hope you are not affected by Canonical’s employee reductions.


Came here specifically to see if there was any news on these things. Especially the employee reductions (and no one can pretend the two aren’t related.)

News article here for anyone who hasn’t heard about the reductions.


There is also Plasma Mobile:


Thanks for the heads-up, @bornagainpenguin. It’s been a busy week and I haven’t had time to read the news.

I feel a bit stupid now. Mr Shuttleworth said in his announcement (and I have quoted this already, earlier in this thread):

“I respect that markets, and community, ultimately decide which products grow and which disappear.”

I was naïve enough to read that as finally listening to the people who use their products. But no, in The Reg’s article:

“The cuts came after Canonical founder and millionaire Mark Shuttleworth’s decision to seek potential outside investors. These investors determined that Canonical was overstaffed and some projects lacked focus.”

So it wasn’t the community that suddenly got its voice heard but the Money Men.

That said, Canonical going public is something I remembered hearing before. Did some digging and yes, it was in May 2015 when it was reported that Shuttleworth was “considering an IPO for his privately held business”:



Plasma is great, I had the first phone with Ubuntu, I liked the interaction of the screens, it was unstable in some updates and I did not like that every time you had to stop or back, always raising your finger to the top bar, that Ends tired, the phone chosen Bq E4.5 was a terminal of poor power and bad camera, was not a mobile candidate to fight with Android, measures 4.5 are perfect, because it is medium screen and because you carry it in the pocket of the pants, To see how Plasma continues, has the use buttons on the bottom bar, as it should have done Ubuntu phone, is very good candidate.


So has Martin just been laid off?


Canonical should have gone with Ubuntu for Android. In 2012 it seemed more usable than Ubuntu Touch in 2017. AOSP is open source and has a potential eco-system of every app in the Google Play Store.

Now there is MaruOS for those that like that sort of thing:

I’m not saying Ubuntu Touch wasn’t a usable phone OS, it’s just that people want those Android apps.

I have made mistakes myself so I don’t blame Canonical. Hopefully they learned something and can move forward 100 %. I don’t think Canonical is in a bad position, they just need to focus on fewer things. Windows also failed on phones, only difference is that Microsoft has very deep pockets.


I think he meant exodus but didn’t English right or spellcheck was a poltergeist. :ghost:


I’ve had grave concerns about that myself. With Ubuntu now seemingly using GNOME shell in the future, GTK2 appears completely dead which may make MATE and Compiz Reloaded lose relevance in the GTK space.

By that i mean, Ubuntu being completely GTK3 will make future application writers consider specialized titlebars similar to what’s in dconf-editor and gnome-disks right now and break away from the old titlebar aesthetic that MATE uses for its DE-specific applications.

Compiz altogether loses out because of Canonical’s abandonment of Unity. That was Compiz’s last vestige of relevance in the major GTK space, the bastion of Compiz 0.9 (Compiz++ far as I know) and now that’s gone. That means for GTK users who want Compiz at all they’ll have to get 0.8 for the “Full” experience with all the plugins on either Xfce or MATE.

For people who hate both the convergence of GNOME shell and the datedness of MATE, Linux Mint Cinnamon will probably see a surge of interest from people who’ve accepted that GTK3 is the way forward, but want a UI that is tailored to the desktop without much of the guff from GTK2. (A little misguided because of how Linux Mint handles packages but said users may not mind that.)

Interesting times are ahead, certainly.


Hello guys, it seems that Unity 8 and Ubuntu phone continues, the project will go ahead, MaruOS I liked it enough, the pity is that it only works on Nexus.




GTK2 is still alive for bugfixes, there was a minor release (2.24.31) back in September 2016. GIMP, the image manipulator is still based on GTK2, but they’re porting it to GTK3. I’m still on 16.04 LTS which is a mix of both, so it seems they’ll still co-exist for a little longer.

New versions of MATE are GTK3 only, so MATE is just another GTK3-based desktop, like Cinnamon, Budgie and Pantheon – but MATE is the one that sticks to that GNOME 2 look.

GTK2 is increasingly becoming “if you need me, I’m on the side”… then may it R.I.P. with GTK1 once all desktop environments (including LXDE, XFCE) and GTK2 applications port to GTK3.

They’re called CSD Headers, a feature of GTK3. I guess it depends what design guidelines the developer follows.

Compiz may become obsolete once Wayland becomes the default window manager :scream: There doesn’t seem to be any plans to port Compiz to Wayland either. So it makes sense that Canonical loosen its ties with Compiz (Unity 7 is just a plug-in after all).

If Canonical do use the GNOME Shell… the question should be… what happens to Ubuntu GNOME? :thinking:


I’d say that depends on the extent of our super-powers. Do we have any super-powers? What are they? What can we do with them? What do we WANT to do with them? Do we want to bother?

It’s easy to ride along and bellyache occasionally. People are naturally lazy. Especially programmers, if we weren’t the laziest creatures on the planet we’d be doing actual work instead of writing code. :slight_smile:

On the other hand, if you can actually get a developer interested in something, you’re likely to find a new toy on your doorstep just a few all-nighters later. Assuming that the nest of gotchas hidden in umpty-dozen libraries don’t make the fellow crazy before he can get the job done.

Sure, we can let they boys at RedHat own this, and the boys at Canonical own that, but that’s been the process since forever, letting corporate interests drive things, basically because we all have to pay rent, and i’m not seeing all that much benefit coming out of the GNOME group, every release is more dumbed-down and less-capable than the previous ones because everybody wants to be rich and famous, they want to make computers run on emojis so 4-year-olds can use them. That’s great for the 4-year-olds, they can have their worldviews shaped by the paradigms people thought of 5-10 years ago and didn’t work out thoroughly because they were in a hurry to pay the rent. But what about people who want to do some computing instead of play the latest games or watch the latest videos?

The linux kernel rocks. userspace not so much. GUI-space even less imo. Too many libraries, too many conflicting details, it’s a mess. The symptoms are clear enough if you just look at grub. Grandiose Unified Bootloader, trying to do everything for everybody, so everybody will love it for having done the two things they actually need done. The “capture-and-hold-customers” game has just about ponzi’ed itself out of existence, the customers have been captured and held and are getting restless about being held captive in this garden or that, you can hear the drums if you listen for them.

Okay, talk is certainly cheap, no argument there. And i’m off in my own little world working toward cross-system binary portability, so i’m not much use. But here’s the thing…

When i was in college studying computer-science, there were a few guys actually excited about software. And some of them are probably still interested in software even if they’ve mostly been beaten into conformance. And those guys are retiring now, those of us who aren’t already retired. When i retired from the world of conforming to other peoples’ standards it took at least a decade to scrape the crust off my thinking and get back to my own standards. Retired people may have to pay rent or not, but the survivors have time on their hands.

I say they’re gonna start showing up any time now, asking “where’s the beef?” We don’t all have to sit on our hands all the time until the bosses give permission to wear jeans on hawaiian shirt day. The thing about computers is that if you can decide what you want you can make one.


Hi guys, I have read this and some things I agree and others I did not know, it’s a shame that ubuntu phone could not be an alternative to Google and Apple,

regards …


Not everyone has given up.


Hello guys, this is important too, install Ubuntu Mate on my phone, it would be great.


Oh, there are phones which have Linux systems on them. The Huawei Mate 10 is a recent example which comes to mind; the desktop can use the phone as a trackpad when plugged in via HDMI.

But, I never saw how deep the integration is beyond that. And if Microsoft can’t hoist their phone OS to make their convergence play after Canonical flopped… :shrug: