Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Ubuntu and the company behind it, Canonical, surprised the hundreds of Ubuntu programmers at the Ubuntu Developers Summit when he announced that in the next release of the popular Linux operating system, Ubuntu 11.04, Unity would become the default desktop interface.
Unity is Ubuntu’s new netbook interface. While based on GNOME, it is own take on what an interface should look and act like. Shuttleworth explained that Canonical was doing this because “users want Unity as their primary desktop.”
What’s interesting is that this parallels what Apple is attempting to do with Mac OS 10.8 (“Lion”) – move the the default desktop metaphor away from the windowed environment that we’ve had for years in favour of something else.
I’m not surprised that this is coming from Canonical, though. If any company has pushed Linux away from being something that’s only suitable to hobbyists to a genuinely user-friendly OS, it’s Shuttleworth and his team.