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Ubuntu’s Unity interface: What to expect


Recently, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu shocked the Ubuntu Linux world when he announced that the next release of the popular Linux, Ubuntu 11.04, would use Unity instead of GNOME as its default desktop interface.

Why move from pure GNOME to Unity? As Shuttleworth explained to the Ubuntu developers, “Lots of people are already committed to Unity — the community, desktop users, developers, and platform and hardware vendors.” In particular, he noted, “Original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) favor Unity. They’re happy to ship it.”

That last part is important. Shuttleworth had told me that Dell, which he said had sold several million Ubuntu desktops, laptops, and netbooks, supports the project. In addition, Canonical has desktop deals in place with Lenovo and Acer. These arrangements may lead to these, and other, major PC OEMs finally releasing Ubuntu desktops in the U.S and European markets.

You see, Unity is Shuttleworth’s (and Ubuntu’s) attempt to capture not just a bigger share of the desktop market, but a lion’s share of the netbook, desktop, tablet, and even smartphone market. Shuttleworth said that providing one interface for all user devices will improve quality assurance and make it easier for OEMs to integrate and support Ubuntu across their PC platforms. In short, “There will be no fault-line for OEMs between desktops.”

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