Both Unity 8 and Ubuntu’s new display server Mir will be available to try in Ubuntu 13.10.
At least, that’s the aim, anyway.
The details of precisely how both items will be available to try is currently being hammered out by developers at this weeks Ubuntu Developer Summit. But while neither Mir or Unity 8 will be installed by default, or ship as a session on the Saucy .iso, developers are extremely keen to make them as easy to install in 13.10 either through the Ubuntu Software Center or a dedicated PPA.
Unity 7 and the traditional X.org display server will continue form the default desktop experience in Saucy, which is due in October.‘Preview’ Means ‘Preview’
Regardless of how Unity 8 and Mir is made available to Ubuntu 13.10 users the most important thing for anyone to remember is that it’ll be a preview. Unity 8 – the desktop version of Ubuntu Touch – is unlikely to be in a finished, polished state by October.
There’s also a question of what applications will run under the Mir session. Whilst the final release of Mir will support running “traditional” apps reliant on X.org and GTK, it’s not a given that these will run on the preview version being planned at present. A set of Ubuntu Touch apps will be installed alongside the Unity8/Mir session by default to make up for this.
But the preview will have its uses. It’ll give designers, developers and dutiful testers the chance to play with a functional, if limited, version of the next-gen Ubuntu desktop. Stress it; test it; help shape it.
Around the same time as Ubuntu 13.10 is released more complete version of Ubuntu Touch for Phones is expected to be released.
Ubuntu 13.10 is hoping to ship with Chromium as the default web-browser in place of Mozilla Firefox.
In a discussion on the subject at the current Ubuntu Developer Summit developers expressed broad support for the change, saying that they are “leaning towards” supporting such a switch.
Ubuntu ‘s Desktop Manager, Jason Warner, who says the switch ‘feels like the right decision for the general user’, shared the main rationale behind it:
Warner stressed that updated versions of Firefox will remain readily available to install from the Ubuntu Software Center.‘Concerns Addressed’
The session also saw developers tackle concerns and complaints that have prevented Chromium becoming the default browser in the past. Security, PC support, user-preferences, and methods of delivering updated packages were all touched upon.
One commonly raised ‘issue’ is that of extensions, or rather lack thereof, available the open-source browser in comparison to Firefox. Chad Miller, maintainer of Chromium in Ubuntu, explained that the Chrome Webstore offers a massive choice already, adding that “if it’s recent code, it’s almost certain someone has built it for Chrome.”
Switching to Chromium will also allow Unity Web Apps to take advantage of a proper ‘Chromeless’ state (web Apps in Firefox currently open in a ‘new tab’ rather than a chromless window).
Sadly for those using PowerPC versions of Ubuntu Chromium’s V8 rendering engine is not available, meaning Firefox would have to ship in its place.
A final decision on whether to default to Chromium will be taken following further consultation with the Ubuntu community in the coming weeks.Key Points: