There are few things that super charge a Linux Community quite the same as fundamentally changing the look of the OS. Ubuntu experienced some quite severe backlash when it made the decision to move from Gnome to Unity a couple of years ago. For me it was no problem as I had seen Unity evolve over time as I had been using it on two Netbooks as with the Ubuntu Netbook Remix. That was an challenge for Canonical and Ubuntu but I think the constant evolution, tweaks and constant improvement of the Unity Desktop have made it not only better…but more suited to modern computing needs.
Once again though, Canonical has woken the sleeping beast that is its user community with the most recent announcement that it will be moving away from the venerable X Window. For those non-Linux Geeks this is the underlying Linux Code that enables the Linux system to present graphics on a screen.
The move away from X Window, by all accounts is needed to enable the creation of a Unified Desktop experience that takes users from Phone, to Tablet, to TV, to Laptop, to Desktop to Server to the Cloud and that is incredibly important. The diversity of hardware that one setup will need to be able to converge upon and work well, consistently and be easy to maintain…the ground work needs to be put in place now!
I can go on and on in my support for this vision but it is probably easier to let you see for yourself why the decision was made. On the Ubuntu Wiki the decisions are well communicated and even the case for not going with Wayland/Weston (a progressive and unique update to the X Window System). The debate and reasoning is also very well communicated over at Olli Reis’s Blog (and he just happens to be the Current Director of Product Strategy Engineering).
For me, I think that while it will be sad to see the underlying technology that helped make Linux what it is today leave…the number of times that X Window has created complete and utter frustration for me…well I say that if MIR will do what is promised and then fair well X Window…and hello MIR!
Chris J Powell