I have to admit, Ubuntu and I had a bit of a falling out several years ago. I really hadn’t even been paying attention to El Reg or Reddit streams about the U in so long I missed an announcement: Unity is finally dead.
Ubuntu 18.04 has reverted back to Gnome for the default desktop.
So, backstory. In 2011, Ubuntu was King of Consumer Linux. Red Hat and it’s army of clones had the server segment locked up pretty tight, but Ubuntu was easy to install on your PC or laptop. Even your Mac. Gnome had been around a while, and was pretty stable. Sure it wasn’t as flashy as the new Vista interface, but …. wait…..seriously? That’s what Canonical thought people wanted? Aero? Ugh.
Anyway, the Unity desktop was foisted upon us, and I hated it. Sure, it was an improvement on the little 1024×600 netbooks that were everywhere at the time, but the 1600 x 1200 res on a good ol’ 4×3 LCD was perfectly good to run Gnome.
What was worse- they made it damn near impossible for a user to revert back to Gnome if they wanted to- even Windows does that at new releases. No, they wanted to be like Apple, and tell users that “trust us, is better.” The problem with that thinking is that Linux users actually do their own thinking. If we wanted to be mindless fanboi drones, we’d have just got Macs.
At any rate, yes, we don’t like change for the sake of change. Unity was to be this new centerpiece of Canonicals attempt as Convergence. Unfortunately, the phones, laptops, smart TV, etc., never really materialized, and Unity became the reason droves of people switched to other variants, Linux Mint being the chief landing spot for the dissenters. Mint pretty much *was* Ubuntu, but with a few fewer locked binaries, and a non-American pedigree that allowed for DVD playback without all sorts of stupidity that the DMCA gave us It still offered Gnome or MATE, another spin off of Gnome from a previous version that was even more beloved than the current release of Gnome. It seems like Canonical took that dislike of Gnome 3, and mistakenly thought they could just roll their own. Plan Fail.
Well, now they’ve finally reversed course (only took 7 years) and 18.04 (which is an LTS offering, to boot!) is now defaulting back to Gnome.
They still switched to systemd, le sigh. Slackware is the only major distro still using SysV init. Dammit. Slackware is great for homebrew systems, but not for corp environs. At least now I won’t feel quite so dirty using Ubuntu desktop to dual-boot my Macbook.