With the launch we had by Canonical last October, we had the first version of Ubuntu to load a “full GNOME” desktop, including Shell, setting aside the Unity interface that has become a registered trademark of the system for the first time in almost 7 years.
Before I tell you about Ubuntu Unity it will be (or could be) I would like to make a brief reflection on the topic; in fact, I even made this reflection in my lecture “Diolinux Dossier» that you can watch on YouTube. I remember as if it were today how much the members of the Linux “community” criticized Unity (not that it did not deserve criticism for some things, but it has gone too far in some cases) and now we see an opposite movement, full of “orphans” of the interface. Did you notice that too or was it just in my timetines?
In the lecture I talked about the issue of “only gives value when you lose” and, deep down, I think the Linux community still criticizes too many initiatives from within the community itself, people who try to make small or large gestures within them that in a way or another will take free software and the technology culture forward, such as the eventual “massacre” of criticism that occurs in national projects. Maybe it’s time to think about adding and not subtracting, don’t you think?
OK. Skipping the part of my “half complaint” today, let’s talk about Ubuntu Unity. Yes, the project really seems to be back.
The Ubuntu Unity Remix
When Canonical announced GNOME Shell as the interface for future Ubuntus I remember that in the comments people asked if we couldn’t have a “flavor” (aka flavor) of the system with Unity, “UUbuntu” or something like that, just like there is Xubuntu (XFCE + Ubuntu), Kubuntu (KDE + Ubuntu) and so on.
I remember that I suggested this name “Ubuntu Unity Remix”, on second thought, I think that only “Ubuntu Unity” would be a more “marketer” choice, but names aside, whenever someone asked me about the return of Unity I would say something (which in my head makes sense) that contradicted some people.
Unity is a plugin for Compiz, a window composer who was once much more popular than he is today, especially in the time of GNOME.
But what’s the problem with that?
It’s not exactly a problem, however, the point is that keeping Unity the way it is today is not just maintaining the interface, quite simply, it is maintaining Compiz as well.
In turn, Compiz is a software that does not receive as much attention from the community (I think the MATE people usually give a boost), within the Launchpad the last information that has to be done by the developers in any way date 2015, as if that were not enough, it still has all the work of applying Patches in GNOME software so that they fit the interface from Ubuntu 18.04 LTS, as in Nautilus for example, GNOME Agenda, among others that would follow and that would not follow the system. After all, the system is made not only of software that accompanies the distro, but also of third-party applications that have to maintain visual cohesion with the rest of the system.
I don’t think it’s impossible, but the volunteers / developers will definitely need help, so if you enjoy the project and cute Unity, here’s a way for you to collaborate with the Linux community.
It’s still in the beginning
Although I have seen several media outlets talking about the “return of Ubuntu Unity” the truth is that the project is just beginning, with people doing small experiments to see how things work. In my opinion, the «new Unity» could just be a Shell for GNOME, to some extent similar to what Canonical itself is doing, it would be better than maintaining software that is poorly supported, like Compiz, even more afterwards from Canonical let it go.
The result would probably be something like Zorin Shell from Zorin OS, Endless Shell, from Endless OS, among others.
Unity is still available in the Ubuntu repository and will be in the future, but simply installing the “Unity Session” will not guarantee a solid experience for many factors, including visuals and if there is no active development, over time it may not even become more completely compatible with new generations of GNOME due to the updated GTK and other factors.
The developers who are trying to bring Ubuntu Unity back have created an ISO with the Caja file manager (the MATE Desktop Enviroment manager) in place of Nautilus, perhaps to just avoid what I said about having to patch the GNOME manager. .
A contributing factor for this is that “Munity”, which is a Tweak of the MATE interface that exists in Ubuntu MATE natively and transforms the traditional “GNOME 2 Like” interface into something very similar to Unity in usability, already shows a little bit of how the path can be. Apart from Dash’s behavior, the rest is already very similar and functional.
Want to test Ubuntu Unity?
Want to try the new Ubuntu Unity Remix (Ubuntu 17.10)? So just access this link with information and a download link, developers are looking for feedback from interested parties on these first builds.
In fact, it seems that they have already contacted each other in order to transform this into a flavor official Ubuntu, as well as Ubuntu MATE, Xubuntu, Lubuntu, etc. Canonical appears to be in favor of the project.
I always liked Unity very much and I think it was the best interface of all systems, regardless of platform (Windows, macOS, Linux), in terms of «using» screen space, something very good to use with computers with smaller screens . I always thought that for the user, it would be better if instead of abandoning Unity 8 and 7, Canonical had stayed with the development of 7, or created a shell that would replicate the GNOME experience (maybe that even happens).
It remains for us to cheer and help the project, who knows there are good fruits from there, if you go there and simply say that you are following and cheering, I am sure it will be a great incentive for what you are doing.
If you want to know more about the “developer side” in the Linux world, I suggest the interview with Georges Basile Stavracas that I posted on the channel recently, there you will understand how small gestures of support make a difference, go over there and watch (listen). Georges works on Endless OS and GNOME, it was very interesting to take the perspective he gave.
To the next!