Saturday, July 01, 2017

Back to GNOME

With recent changes in Ubuntu I found myself suddenly swung back into the GNOME orbit. It’s been a long journey and my GNOME contributions had reduced over time but it’s good to be back! Iain has written an excellent post about the challenges we face trying to balance the best possible experience for Ubuntu users while also having a mutually beneficial relationship with our upstreams.

After missing the last five GUADECs, I will be at Manchester this year. I hope to catch up with as many people as possible including many old friends I haven’t seen in person for quite some time. If you have any questions about Ubuntu please find me or others from our team, we’re excited to collaborate.

I’ll be spending a lot of my time this development cycle working on GNOME Software particularly around snap support. We’re already delivered some good changes to upstream GNOME like reviews and paid application support. GNOME Software has changed from being a stop-gap solution in Ubuntu to being our permanent software management solution (and has been working really well for us).

It is with some sadness that I say goodbye to the Unity desktop. In particular some things I will miss:
  • The performance and stability of Unity. After some early teething troubles Unity was rock solid and reliable.
  • Fullscreen window management. Unity was super efficient at making use of screen space and reducing distraction. I hope we can get a similar solution into GNOME Shell .
  • Convervenge. While we weren’t able to make a commercial success of it in Ubuntu I hope it will return in the future when the time is right.
  • The development experience of Ubuntu phone and clicks. I hope we can get that experience (and better) soon as next generation packaging systems start to take over. Luckily the click packages I worked on for the phone are being taken over by others in the community (as is the whole Unity 8 project). So I wish these projects success in the future.
  • Unfortunately we have decided it’s not possible to continue to use LightDM in the default Ubuntu install. This project has had wide support amongst many distributions and has a number of features that I will miss.

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