Canonical is ditching the GNOME desktop environment for a custom user interface, called Unity, currently only available in the netbook edition of Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat). According to Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth, the next release of its Linux distro,
Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narwhal,” will ship with the Unity shell as its default user interface.
The decision was taken following a rift between Canonical and GNOME over certain design issues. "We were part of the GNOME shell design discussion, we put forward our views and they were not embraced by designers," Shuttleworth said at the ongoing Ubuntu Developer Summit.
"We took a divergent view from the GNOME shell folks on key design issues, for example how application menus should appear on the system, how one should search to find applications, [and] how one's favorite applications should be presented."
However, users will be allowed to install GNOME through Ubuntu’s software installation program. Natty Narwhal is scheduled to be released in April, 2011.
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