Mark Shuttleworth today announced that the new Unity Desktop designed for the Ubuntu 10.10 Netbook edition will become the new Default desktop for the full 11.04 Desktop Edition.
When you think about it, it makes perfect sense that they are going in this direction. As a divergence from Gnome on the desktop, Canonical has put a lot of time and effort into making the Unity interface what it is. They would want to progress this forward and the best way to do that is to ship it as default with the Desktop edition.
Canonical through Ubuntu is trying to innovate the PC Desktop market in a way that no other Distribution has done before. They have already put themselves in the Leader position on the Linux Desktop by providing a Desktop OS that is ready for wide spread adoption. Seriously, if my 78 year father can use Ubuntu to do everything he wants on a PC then the OS is ready for success.
What's holding back the widespread adoption of Linux on the Desktop is a Wow factor that it currently doesn't have. Yes it is functional. Yes, it can look pretty, but just equaling what Microsoft and Apple have to offer isn't enough. There needs to be a killer app for Linux that surpasses what the big 2 can offer. Perhaps Unity on the Desktop can do that.
What this new Interface provides is a direction that Gnome and the rest of the Linux community seems afraid go down. Innovation. Innovation for the future. The Unity interface is very promising and if Gnome doesn't want to innovate then they will stagnate and be left behind. Canonical isn't afraid to try new things and work towards something better. That's what has brought them to the Number 1 position among Linux Distributions.
The rivalry this may create between Gnome and Ubuntu Unity isn't bad at all. Competition is always a good thing and this competitor for the Linux desktop may force Gnome to begin Innovating in order to keep up. Win, Win all around. Also, no one is saying that you can't install the Gnome desktop on your Ubuntu if you like. As always competition and choice are the best of both worlds.
There are currently many Desktop environments that you can install on Linux X Windows systems. There is of course GNome, but there is also KDE, Xfce and CDE among others. I just hope that Canonical in someway makes the Unity Desktop available to the Community at large and doesn't isolate it in the way Oracle is killing Java and Virtual Box.
Choice and Innovation is what it's all about, so I say bring it on, Bring on Unity for All.