Shuttleworth Gives Up Hope for Convergence Breakthrough

Shuttleworth Gives Up Hope for Convergence Breakthrough

By David Jones

Apr 7, 2017 11:38 AM PT

Canonical’s long and winding quest for a unified user experience came to a sudden halt on Wednesday, as founder Mark Shuttleworth announced the firm’s decision to stop investing in its struggling Unity8 shell and revert to Gnome for its Ubuntu 18.04 LTS desktop OS release.

The 6-year-old Unity plan was to create a user interface that could work on various types of devices, ranging from a mobile phone to a personal computer or tablet.

The project had been the subject of rampant speculation over the past couple of years, as public updates were scarce.

There was speculation that the company’s own resources were insufficient to carry the project where it needed to go — yet there seemed to be a reluctance to collaborate.

Canonical remains committed to the Ubuntu desktop that millions already rely on, Shuttleworth said, and it will continue to produce what is touts as the most usable open source desktop in the world, maintaining existing LTS releases and working with commercial partners to deliver the desktop.

He extended that commitment to corporate users who rely on the desktop and millions of IoT and cloud developers who use it to innovate.

Shuttleworth believed that convergence was the future and that a converged product would appeal to the free software community, but “I was wrong on both counts,” he said. “In the community, our efforts were seen [as] fragmentation not innovation. And industry has not rallied to the possibility, instead taking a ‘better the devil you know’ approach to those form factors, or investing in home-grown platforms.”

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