No Maverick PPA For Unity

Despite original plans to ship a Unity PPA for Maverick, the team in trying to make this work happen have come to the conclusion that it is going to be too complex, and also put Maverick desktops at risk of breakage. I just wanted to ensure everyone is aware of this feedback. Let me quote Didier ‘didrocks’ Roche, who is one of our desktop packaging rock stars:

Hi everybody,

As some of you may know, there have been some discussions about backporting unity compiz to maverick as we had backported unity to lucid with a dedicated ppa and its own session.

However, after some porting discussions and following the natty work I think we should perhaps consider not doing that because it’s going to take quite some work for a moderated benefit and we would better spend those efforts in making natty rocking.

Some bits what came from discussions between ubuntu desktop and dx teams:

  • Why do we want to backport? – usually it’s to make easier for users to test the new version and give some feedback on it. The first round of feedback will be about things not starting, or not working at all or crashing, we will get that feedback from the natty users. Later on we will want extra eyes on the user experience but by the time we are there it will be really hard to backport the new stack due to new depends (details on that later).
  • New unity means new compiz which means users will have no working desktop left, that’s not something we should get our users in. Indeed, the new compiz is not made to be installed with the old one, the upgrade will replace compiz 0.8 but has lot of issues still: the configuration is not migrated, the keybindings are not working, the workspace layout and switcher are not working, the session registration is not working, the desktop capplet needs to be updated, the GNOME keybindings capplet is not working. Some of those issues are fixed in natty, but we can’t backporting every single GNOME applications to make them work in a maverick ppa.
    • the new unity packaging is not made to have old and new unity installed at the same time so the old unity will not be installed anymore.
    • the new unity is not usable as a desktop yet, which means the user will not have the old unity, compiz under GNOME will be broken is several ways which let the GNOME session hard to use, the new unity is not ready for production … users who will want to give unity a try will just land in a situation when they have no environment left they can use for work…it would be less breakage to suggest them to update to natty where we fix those integration issues.
  • The new unity stack will be hard to backport – the next indicators uploads will build-depends on gtk3 (even if we don’t use it we need to have libraries in natty to build gtk2 and gtk3 version to allow people to start porting work), we use new glib api, etc. Backporting the stack unity will need is going to turn into lot of work and a non trivial task.

We think users will have a better experience by trying unity on natty and that we will gather more useful and coherent data, since it’s likely to be more stable than getting a working – and a less tested by our team – backport.

didrocks on behalf of the desktop and dx teams

There was consensus in the porting team around this. Of course, if anyone in the community wants to take the time to make a Maverick PPA, run with it, but it is felt that the resources are better spent focusing on Natty right now. I agree with this too.

As such, if you want to play with the new Compiz Unity, you will need to install Natty. But don’t despair! This is really easy to do. My recommendation is that you get a USB keyring, download the daily image, and use unetbootin to install it. I have found this to be a great way to try a new distro on your computer without moving you main machine over quite yet.

Just to be clear, Compiz Unity is yet switched on by default in natty and you will need to run ccsm to activate it. It is expectated to be switched on in the buily builds next week.

Thanks for your patience folks, more details to follow soon.

  • http://gnupress.wordpress.com/2010/11/18/niente-ppa-di-unity-per-maverick/ Niente PPA di Unity per Maverick « GNUpress!

    [...] Ubuntu non rilascerà un backport della nuova versione di  Unity per Maverick. È Jono bacon ha dichiararlo motivando questa scelta con le parole di Didier ‘didrocks’ Roche [...]

  • steveacab

    bad choose!

    maverick users must be use an old and ugly version of unity. not usable on the netbook because is slow.

    and we can start with test the suite on an stable system.

  • http://wp.me/50WQ Mariano Pavone

    I will be testing Natty on an old PC I have here. It runs Maverick very well, but there’s only 2D support for Via Unichrome, so I think all I will be testing is how well Unity falls back to 2D desktop. Time will tell.

  • bochecha

    The situation is quite similar with Gnome-Shell, since latest Git requires gtk3, dconf, and lots of newer (and not yet released) versions of the Gnome stack.

    That’s why the Gnome-Shell devs stopped providing a repository for Fedora as they used to do (no idea about the Ubuntu PPA, I run Fedora 14), much like Ubuntu is deciding not to provide a PPA for Unity.

    However, Gnome-Shell is pretty easy to build thanks to Jhbuild. And since evrything get built in the user’s home directory, you still keep your regular Gnome session/applications installed on your system. Did you consider using it?

    This would make it much easier both for Unity devs and early adopters to build the whole stack of dependencies directly from the DVCS trunk (jhbuild supports at last svn and git, it probably supports bzr as well).

    It would even make it much easier for us non-Ubunteros to try Unity. :)

  • http://roderick-greening.blogspot.com Roderick B. Greening

    Shouldn’t you be using or recommending usb-creator rather than unetbootin? Or at least meantion that the Ubuntu default program for creating live USB images is usb-creator? :)

    /shameless plug