When I switched to Linux, I remember the first two months I used Ubuntu. Later on to ease the path of learning Linux, I started using Linux Mint. Today, I use Ubuntu and most of my life is around its derivatves. Yesterday, I was shocked when I read that Ubuntu is no more going to invest into Unity8 development and the Ubuntu 18.04 LTS will ship with GNOME. It really broke my heart.
Not in my wildest dream I had ever thought that this day would come. I was happily using Ubuntu unity, suddenly I hears the Unity8 development to stop from Mark Shuttleworth.
On 5th, April, Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Ubuntu and Canonical announced this bad news.
Why They Decided To Kill Unity Development?
You must be thinking what went wrong that they decided to end Unity, a unique desktop environment. There is no body who does not face the situation, when he/she needs decide one from two favorite things. I remember the time when I was asked to choose either technology or Chartered accountancy. I loved both but could choose only one. At that time, I decided technology and became a web developer and sysadmin. And today I find the decision was cool.
Actually, Ubuntu is not just an operating system that runs on our desktops or it's not only to fork other beautiful Linux distributions. Ubuntu is a lot more than that.
The cloud and IoT story for Ubuntu is excellent and continues to improve. You all probably know that most public cloud workloads, and most private Linux cloud infrastructures, depend on Ubuntu. You might also know that most of the IoT work in auto, robotics, networking, and machine learning is also on Ubuntu, with Canonical providing commercial services on many of those initiatives. The number and size of commercial engagements around Ubuntu on cloud and IoT has grown materially and consistently.
So no doubt the company has the pressure to deliver best in the field it's known for. Most Linux cloud infrastructures are based on Ubuntu. So Mark chose to focus more on cloud and IoT part rather than Unity8 and Ubuntu phone. Though, it does not mean it's end of Ubuntu on desktop. It'll continue providing support and will improve system with OSes updates/upgrades.
Is Ubuntu less popular now?
A couple of days before Linux Lite posted the last 7 days' distrowatch page hit ranking on it's plus profile.
The #1 is Linux Mint, #2 is Ubuntu, #3 is Manjaro, #4 is Debian and #5 is Linux Lite. This is just 7 days page hit ranking but when you see last 12 months, 6 months, 3 months, and 1 month ranking, Ubuntu stays at #3 and #4. As far as I remember when I started using Ubuntu, it was on top. Then Linux Mint got its position and Ubuntu could hardly come back to top. I'm not saying Ubuntu is no more popular or is uninteresting to most people now.
Ubuntu is what it was for it's users like me. What I want to say is that when there are a lot of new distros are coming with different point of focus, then it's becoming somewhere unnecessary for Ubuntu to focus on new stuff such as Unity8 and Ubuntu phone.
When Canonical focuses on bringing Unity8 then it perhaps notices KDE Plasma, XFCE, Cinnamon development and its users. Perhaps this can also be one of the reasons that Ubuntu is no more thinking to focus on Desktop environment. The decision of bringning back GNOME in next Ubuntu LTS will save a lot of time and money that the team can invest in cloud and IoT.
I don't know what more to say on this topic. I know people using Ubuntu unity and people who were watching Unity8 development as a revolutionary environment for Linux users are sad. But I support the decision of Mark and his team to focus on Cloud and IoT. I hope Ubuntu will always do best in cloud and will help Linux bring it to desktop computers. So Best Of Luck!
And you know I even changed my Laptop from AMD to Intel. Because unity8 beta was not supporting AMD processors. :) So now I need to find my AMD laptop once again and install fresh Ubuntu.