Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Canonical will end its investment in the Unity8 desktop for Ubuntu.
From the 18.04 long-term support version of the OS, due in April 2018, Ubuntu will switch back to the GNOME desktop.
“I’d like to emphasise our ongoing passion for, investment in, and commitment to the Ubuntu desktop,” said Shuttleworth.
“We will continue to produce the most usable open source desktop in the world, to maintain the existing LTS releases, to work with our commercial partners, to support our corporate customers, and to delight the millions of IoT and cloud developers who innovate on top of it.”
Shuttleworth added that Canonical is abandoning its investment in Ubuntu for phones and TVs – the “phone and convergence shell”.
Abandoning phones and Unity8
Shuttleworth said he was passionate about convergence, and engaged with the people and the product, making the decision difficult.
The choice was shaped by commercial constraints and he chose to invest in the areas which are contributing to Canonical’s growth.
Shuttleworth said his assumptions about delivering free software alternatives for converged computing were proven wrong.
“In the community, our efforts were seen as fragmentation, not innovation. And 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,” he said
“What the Unity8 team has delivered so far is beautiful, usable, and solid, but I respect that markets, and community, ultimately decide which products grow and which disappear.”
Projects at Canonical which have shown success are:
- Ubuntu for desktops, servers, and virtual machines.
- OpenStack and Kubernetes cloud infrastructure products.
- MAAS, LXD, Juju, BootStack cloud operations capabilities.
- IoT and Ubuntu Core.
“All of those have communities, customers, revenue, and growth, the ingredients for a great and independent company.”