Ubuntu's Experiments With Unity And Phones Are Over

Android users who are familiar with the community surrounding the Linux blobs at the core of Android have likely heard of Ubuntu, and may be a bit shocked to hear that the controversial Unity desktop is no more, as is all that it stood for, including integration with mobile devices. Ubuntu is one of the most popular versions of desktop Linux, and was supposed to go cross-platform. Even after developments that effectively amounted to the demise of Ubuntu Touch, Canonical, Ubuntu's developer, continued operations with the new Unity desktop with the goal of eventually building out a cohesive ecosystem. Today, they announced that goal is being scrapped in the name of focus; Ubuntu is going back to GNOME and halting Unity development, trading that for a more universally usable interface, with more hooks under the surface that will allow it to be built out for IoT and cloud purposes.

The work on Unity coming to a halt means that Ubuntu will focus more development time on other things, while the halting of mobile and convergence efforts means that those who wanted Ubuntu on their phones out of the box are pretty much out of luck. That crowd can take comfort in the fact that the touch-friendly GNOME interface is much less resource-intensive than Unity, meaning that people who like to use various virtual machine and interpreter tools to run desktop Linux on Android or Chrome OS devices will have an easier time. This goes double, since Ubuntu is easily the most popular and well-supported Linux distribution among those that usually have support built in with such tools.

It all began when Debian, one of the most popular "base" desktop Linux distributions, lost serious ground a few years back as Ubuntu became popular, but Ubuntu's fanbase was split when they introduced the resource-eating, love-it-or-hate-it Unity desktop environment. Offshoots of Ubuntu started popping up left and right, as well as alternative desktops that were pretty and resource-light. The goal of Unity was more than just looking good and implementing Canonical's services, however; with Unity, Canonical wanted to have a truly convergence-ready OS, interface and all. That goal has met its end today, and Ubuntu will likely follow in the footsteps of other future-facing distros like Arch and Kali Linux.

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Daniel Fuller

Senior Staff Writer
Daniel has been writing for Android Headlines since 2015, and is one of the site's Senior Staff Writers. He's been living the Android life since 2010, and has been interested in technology of all sorts since childhood. His personal, educational and professional backgrounds in computer science, gaming, literature, and music leave him uniquely equipped to handle a wide range of news topics for the site. These include the likes of machine learning, voice assistants, AI technology development, and hot gaming news in the Android world. Contact him at [email protected]
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