Mark Shuttleworth Makes More Comments On Ubuntu GNOME, Mir, Convergence

Written by Michael Larabel in Ubuntu on 8 April 2017 at 07:41 AM EDT. 163 Comments
By now you have probably read Mark Shutttleworth's Google+ comments from Friday concerning Ubuntu GNOME, including the continuing of Snaps, UBports looking to take over Unity 8, and the desire to move quickly in supporting Ubuntu GNOME. He has now provided more follow-up comments.

In going through that thread setup by Mark, below are some of his more interesting follow-up comments about his view on Mir haters, Unity, and more.

One of his first comments yesterday was making it clear Ubuntu will be going for an "all-GNOME" desktop:
We will invest in Ubuntu GNOME with the intent of delivering a fantastic all-GNOME desktop. We're helping the Ubuntu GNOME team, not creating something different or competitive with that effort. While I am passionate about the design ideas in Unity, and hope GNOME may be more open to them now, I think we should respect the GNOME design leadership by delivering GNOME the way GNOME wants it delivered.

Our role in that, as usual, will be to make sure that upgrades, integration, security, performance and the full experience are fantastic.

But Mark does hope GNOME developers may consider some Unity ideas:
sad days indeed. But code is ephemeral, and ideas are forever, so lets see where those ideas take root. I am sure that Ubuntu GNOME will be something the GNOME community is proud of, and perhaps they will be open to embracing some ideas from Unity too.

But don't expect GNOME (or KDE) to pickup on the Unity 8 "convergence" goals. Mark says both GNOME and KDE had shot down convergence.
I did, personally, attempt to get the convergence movement going in both GNOME and KDE. In both cases, the ideas were resoundingly rejected. We hired designers initially, but the feedback from GNOME (well, Red Hat really ;)) was "who do you think you are to show up and tell us what GNOME should look like when you are not bringing code". And that's fair enough really, it's their desktop. Although I would say, code got rejected pretty aggressively too ;)

In the KDE case, it was more about the personality of the leader at the time, who I think felt threatened and insecure.

For those that love Unity 7 and don't want to switch away, it will likely be found in the "universe" package repository for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. But no word yet of any official Unity flavor for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS.
Unity7 packages will continue to be carried in the archive, I know there are quite a few people who care enough about it to keep it up to date. I expect it will be in universe for 18.04 LTS.

Mark had some very interesting comments to make regarding Mir. While Mir won't be used on the Ubuntu GNOME desktop, it looks like they will still be maintaining it in a limited capacity for ongoing IoT projects already using it. He also had some colorful words for Mir haters.
we have lots of IoT projects using Mir as a compositor so that code continues to receive investment. I agree, it's a very fast, clean and powerful graphics composition engine, and smart people love it for that.

The whole Mir hate-fest boggled my mind - it's free software that does something invisible really well. It became a political topic as irrational as climate change or gun control, where being on one side or the other was a sign of tribal allegiance. We have a problem in the community when people choose to hate free software instead of loving that someone cares enough to take their life's work and make it freely available.

I came to be disgusted with the hate on Mir. Really, it changed my opinion of the free software community.

I used to think that it was a privilege to serve people who also loved the idea of service, but now I think many members of the free software community are just deeply anti-social types who love to hate on whatever is mainstream. When Windows was mainstream they hated on it. Rationally, Windows does many things well and deserves respect for those. And when Canonical went mainstream, it became the focus of irrational hatred too. The very same muppets would write about how terrible it was that IOS/Android had no competition and then how terrible it was that Canonical was investing in (free software!) compositing and convergence. Fuck that shit.

Snaps will continue, so don't expect them to defenestrate that too in favor of Flatpak.
yes, snaps continue for Ubuntu and other distributions (now Fedora, openSUSE, Debian and others). They will also integrate fully with GNOME, KDE, and I hope Elementary, MATE etc too. They are an amazingly clean way to deliver apps and since most of the major software companies target Ubuntu this is a good way to enable other distros to benefit too.

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Michael Larabel is the principal author of and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter, LinkedIn, or contacted via

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