Unity Development Roadmap

This thread is to discuss the possible future development of ubuntu-unity . I will not set out a specific roadmap at the current time. I would like to share an article with the team in the form of questions asked of me and answers I had given that a writer of a popular online magazine had queried of me. I am not trying to steal any thunder here :wink: but I thought the team would like to know how I replied.


Hi, Mr Beaudoin (I assume that is your real name based on your Ubuntu Community username).

I’m writing an article about your Ubuntu Unity project for . Could you answer a few questions for me?

  1. Now that you’ve got permission from Canonical to use the Ubuntu name, is there any doubt that Ubuntu Unity Remix will become a reality?
  2. How far are you from releasing your first official ISO?
  3. Where should people go if they want to help? What kind of skill set are you looking for?
  4. I haven’t used Unity much myself because I mainly use Solus. What is it that you like about Unity? Why create a new Ubuntu flavor?
  5. Will you be continuing development of Unity? Will you dump 8 because of the bugs and go to 9?

Looking forward to your reply.[/QUOTE]

Hi ,

Thank you for your inquiries. I will attempt to answer your questions as candidly as possible. You can personally refer to me as ‘Dale’ and in your article you can refer to me as ‘Dale Beaudoin’.

?1 I have already created some .ISOs for testing and the most recent http://people.ubuntu.com/~twocamels/archive/ is ready to download and test. We are looking forward to official flavor status. It is up to the Technical Board so we are still waiting for word but the people involved assure me that we are on our way.

?2 We have the meta-package in place and so now it is up to the Technical Board to decide. As I said previously there is an unofficial .ISO for testing at the above link I provided.

?3 Anybody is allowed to join the https://launchpad.net/~unity7maintainers team. Those that have launchpad skill sets and have signed the CoC and are Ubuntu Members will of course be asked to help out in maintenance and an advisory capacity but others are encouraged to join if they have concepts, ideas and artwork to share. It is mostly a community project and so we do not want to shut anyone out … even new_users who want to learn the process of testing a development cycle.

?4 Unity is unique in many ways. Mostly it is unique in assitive technologies. Of all the mixes and distros I have tested, unity uses the least amount of mouseclicks to navigate through the desktop. This is so awesome because it reduces RSI and persons who are prone to RSI can experience the effervescense of the unity desktop while getting real work done. It is also the most user_friendly DE that helps persons who are transitioning from Windows migrate to the linux based system which has always been a difficult stack to sell from a FOSS marketing perspective.

?5 Unity8 is a separate matter that our team will not be dealing with. That version has been forked as I understand it but we can learn a lot of things from that cycle. I had tested unity8 with vigor. Convergence is an awesome concept but for some reason the competition that mir created in the community disenfranchised a lot of developers. What I hope to do, or, what I suggest that my team do is take a new development approach and build a chalk-board sandboxing online campus similar to Microsoft’s Building 87, the difference being that Unity 9 DE could perhaps give end_users a surface type experience with touch and gestures while enhancing the desktop experience with more integrated assitive technologies. One thing I can say is that I do not think it will be a slate or phone project at all. So , my hypothetical is that we can build a surface distribution and as surface devices become defunct with their current proprietary software, ubuntu can have something ready , maybe. The Ubuntu distros are known for making a hardware form factor with minimal resources become somewhat of a super-computer. Ubuntu, historically, has not based it’s distributions on an abundance of hardware floss as surface projects currently do - so there are tools and facilities that are available to the FOSS community where we can do this unity 9 project in the future … perhaps during the next cycle.

Regards…

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I fully support your answers to questions 1-4. But I must confess that I’m a bit surprised by your answer to question 5, which asks about successors to Unity 7.

I was under the impression that the goal of this project is to keep Unity 7 alive in “maintenance mode” (which it has been for the last few years) for a few additional years, until a Wayland compliant DE that is acceptable to diehard Unity users (including me) becomes available.

In my estimation, several DEs are moving toward becoming acceptable to even the most diehard of Unity users (including me), but aren’t quite “there” just yet. Hopefully, a few of these DEs will get “there” in a few more years, if not sooner.

So, rather than try to compete with (and divert resources from) other already active (and promising) projects, I hope that this project will restrict its focus to maintaining Unity 7 in the best state possible, preferably for at least one full LTS cycle.

But of course, if you can surpass Budgie 11, MATE, Plasma, Yunit, etc., I’m all for it. But please don’t lose sight of maintaining Unity 7.

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Hi @GizmoChicken,

If you re-read my reply you will see I am propounding my suggestions and hypotheticals. The maintenance would not be be affected. The development roadmap would run concurrently to the maintenance roadmap if we have the resources, if we can attract some committed launchpad contributors. The changes would not be drastic but there would be “enhancements” to warrant a version progression.

Regards…

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There is absolutely no competition with other flavors here. Actually it would be a project of inclusion, inclusion of ideas from other distros’ and incorporating them into unity while still theming unity distinctly unity.

Regards…

Unity 7 is what we had as the desktop environment, and Unity 8 is something else. Unity 7 or the last fully working DE doesn’t have to move to a new name “Unity 9.” The last version number was 7.5, so if anything is really changed, the next version could be 7.6. The Unity 7.5 is doing very well with Ubuntu 18.04. If Unity 7.5 is in the repos, it’d work with future development series (18.10, 19.04 etc) as far as Xorg would be in the repos.

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Sorry for repeating myself, but should this thread be a wiki page as it’s a roadmap?

I’m all for enhancements. But as @chanath explains:

By suggesting names like “Unity 9” you may lead some to think that you’re aiming for something beyond Unity 8. So, unless you’re planning to make changes that are more than mere enhancements, please consider following @chanath’s advice and don’t deviate from the 7.x naming scheme.

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Hi @belkinsa

I am not sure I understand what you mean about turning this into a wiki page. It is just an open community discussion on the hub about the possible future development of unity-desktop and a proposed version change based on a hypothetical of that future possibility.

I really do not have any control over how people think and I did not specify any such notion of “aiming for something beyond unity8”. I am proposing that we examine and discuss something more contemporary, an idea that will run concurrently alongside current unity devel roadmap.

@khurshid-alam

Here is the updated link for launchpad projects. If you feel other projects should be added , let me know.

https://answers.launchpad.net/launchpad/+question/661073

Here is published article at fossmint:

https://www.fossmint.com/fans-of-unity-desktop-are-working-on-a-new-remix/

…a fair comment. I hope it represents the spirit and direction of the team and thanks everybody for all your help!

regards…

Gotcha. For some reason I thought “roadmap” equals a wiki page or a Lauchpad page not discussion. I guess I’m gun jumping.

@belkinsa

Well of course we can build a separate wiki page to chronicle a development roadmap and create a list of all the pertinent links involved and create some content also but we should wait until after the Dec. 5th Technical Board meeting and see how our request for official status is dealt with and then we may have a more clear vision as to what we should do with unity rather than a hypothetical as I have documented in the first message of this thread.

Regards…

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And what about translations?

i love this project, because i love unity and actually will stick to 16.04 as long as possible… :wink:

how can i contribute to this project, if i don’t have programming skills?

i would love to see Nemo as the default file-manager for the new unity-desktop!

Hi visionfactory,

Thank you for your comments about Unity Desktop Experience. I have been in contact with a developer/programmer who has been working with nemo and has built a ppa that will work exclusively with unity. We may not have nemo until the next development cycle but please keep checking in as I soon may build an ISO with the nemo ppa integrated with it.

Regards…

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that sounds really great. Thanks for your answer!
i personally think, that Nautilus is nearly unusable.
i think Nemo has the most potential being a stable and extensive file manager - Marlin isn’t well maintained, but has the column-view well known from MacOS Finder…perhaps Nemo will adopt that feature in the future…

Can Nemo of this ppa take over the desktop? I’d be quite happy not to open the new Nautilus again for anything.

It worked seamlessly for artful. (unity-only) I am waiting to hear back about my inquiry for 18.04… so fingers crossed atm. If it gets up in the ppa I’ll build a new ISO. If I don’t do a build - do not want to collide with what @khurshid-alam and @Wimpress are doing - we can install it if we are using the unity-session from the universe. So we will have choices either way.

I am going to try the nemo artful stack on an 18.04 install.

nemoppa