A Flutter based Desktop Environment for ubuntu?

Here it is, it’s time to talk about the topic everyone is speculating about (it was predicted by @popey, @Wimpy and @mark.johnson in their last ubuntu podcast episode, and came out again recently in episode 438 of the linux unplugged podcast). Is in fact a Flutter based Desktop Environment like Pangolin cooking behind the scenes at Canonical? And what are you guys thinking about this whole idea of a new Flutter future for ubuntu in the Desktop?


I think that nobody needs “yad” (yet another desktop) since there are already too many around. If flutter apps integrated well with existing desktops (and it is still GTK in the background) that would be awesome.


We do not currently have any plans on creating a new desktop shell. As we’ve mentioned in a number of places, our efforts enabling Flutter on Linux are focused around enabling the app ecosystem to target Linux. This will bring more high quality apps to the Linux desktop.


Developing and maintaining a desktop environment is not trivial and a huge (!) person-hour sink. There must be really, really concrete benefits for a company to consider doing so.

If you look at how few people are actually working professionally on the big desktop environments, you really appreciate every effort to collaborate and not scatter resources.


Another desktop environment would just be bad for Linux and would bring more fragmentation. That said, flutter app ecosystem is amazing and has just begun. Flutter is improving a lot as a framework for desktop use cases. Enabling Flutter developers to develop apps for the Linux desktop is a worth while endeavor. Making Flutter apps integrate easily with Gnome would also be very beneficial.
It would be cool to have custom widget package like Material and Cupertino but for Gnome.


Which is why we created the Yaru package. Someone could do the same for Adwaita.

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Is this it?

That seems to be just a color scheme, not much else. All of the widgets are still material. Also there will be a problem when Ubuntu user changes a theme, the app will still be Yaru. Maybe there could be a solution found for that as well.

But there seems to be a project for the widgets as well, but it’s only developed by a single dev:

Still, it might be worth looking into using it for better integration of Flutter apps in Ubuntu. Currently it really does look weird to ship by default anything developed with Flutter based on MDG when the rest of the OS Gnome HIG.

That all said, backing Flutter seems like a very smart idea, just needs more investment.

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No. Since canonial created many dart libraries to make use of the existing APIs and mechanisms on the linux desktop and also only for gnome you can also look up gsettings values like the gtk-theme, access the dbus, upower, udisks and whatnot. So you can apply in-app themes however you like or could listen to changes on the system and change anything on the fly (like for example the accent color).

You can do pretty much anything you want with flutter and yes one could replicate the exact gnome design. What you can also do is establish your own design language ontop of material design.
We (community people) started this in https://github.com/ubuntu/yaru_widgets.dart. But instead of re-inventing the wheel or instead of hard-copying libadwaita or gnome design, we tried to improve material design with 1) canonical and ubuntu design patterns and 2) add widgets that make sense for the desktop and for desktop applications.

With the yaru_widgets.dart library and many canonical dart libraries we’ve also started the just-for-fun project https://github.com/Feichtmeier/settings



I’m blushing haha. Thank you for this reply @frederik-f.
I’m so impressed and it really does look like lots of fun :smiley:

I’d like to get myself involved in the near future. It’s really cool.
I take back my words from before that it’s just a theme haha