Ubuntu In 2014

Happy new year, friends!

2013 was a phenomenal year for Ubuntu. It is difficult to believe that it was just a year ago today that we announced Ubuntu for phones. Since then we have built and released the first version of Ubuntu for phones complete with core apps, delivered Mir in production on the phone, built a vastly simplified and more powerful new app delivery platform complete with full security sand-boxing, created a powerful smart scopes service to bring the power of native search and online content to devices, delivered a new SDK with support for QML, HTML5, and Scopes, built an entirely new developer.ubuntu.com, created extensive CI and testing infrastructure to ensure quality as we evolve our platform, shipped two desktop releases, extended the charm store, delivered Juju Gui, spun up multiple clouds with Juju, and much more.

In terms of Ubuntu for devices, I mentally picture 2013 as the year when we put much of the core foundational pieces in place. Everything I just mentioned were all huge but significant pieces of delivering a world-class Free Software convergence platform. Building this platform is not as simple as building a sexy GUI; there is lots of complex foundational work that needs doing, and I am incredibly proud of everyone who participated in getting us to where we are today…it is a true testament of collaborative development involving many communities and contributors from around the world.

So, 2013 was an intense year with lots of work, some tough decisions, and lots of late (and sometimes stressful) nights, but it laid down the core pillars of what our future holds. But what about 2014?

This time next year we will have a single platform code-base for phone, tablet, and desktop that adapts to harness the form-factor and power of each device it runs on. This is not just the aesthetics of convergence, it is real convergence at the code level. This will be complemented by an Ubuntu SDK in which you can write an app once and deliver it to any of these devices, and an eco-system in which you can freely publish or sell apps, content, and more with a powerful set of payment tools.

These pieces will appear one phase at a time throughout 2014. We are focusing on finishing the convergent pieces on phone first, then bringing them to tablet, and then finally bringing our desktop over to the new convergent platform. Every piece of new technology that we built in 2013 will be consumed across all of these form-factors in 2014; every line of code is an investment in our future.

Even more importantly though, 2014 will be the year when we see this new era of Ubuntu convergence shipping to consumers. This will open up Ubuntu to millions of additional users, provide an opportunity for app developers to get in on the ground floor in delivering powerful apps, and build more opportunity for our community than ever before.

I wish I could tell you that 2014 is going to be more relaxing than 2013. It isn’t. It is going to be a roller-coaster. There are going to be some late nights, some stressful times, some shit-storms, and some unnecessary politics, but my goal is to help keep us working together as a community, keep us focused on the bigger picture, keep our discourse constructive, and to keep the fun in Ubuntu.

Let’s do this.

  • basyirstar

    Loves you more UBUNTU

  • Anonymous

    Thanks to everyone for all the hard work on Ubuntu in 2013 – I, and many more like me, are the delighted beneficiaries of your efforts.

    I’m really excited about the idea of convergence, and can’t wait for it to happen.

    Happy New Year to you all. [Now get back to work and finish that code! ;) ]

  • David

    PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE add an option to the Ubuntu installer to use ZFS as the root filesystem.

  • K_Peignot

    “This time next year we will have a single platform code-base for phone, tablet, and desktop” –> So no more Ubuntu TV http://www.ubuntu.com/tv ?

  • Anonymous

    TV is still part of the plan, just not currently scoped for 2014.

  • Caleb Howland

    Did you forget the flavorization of Ubuntu GNOME and the inception of Ubuntu Kylin?

  • Gabriel

    Love you, Ubuntu

  • Yaro

    I don’t like Ubuntu. There, I said it. I think it’s one of the worst Linux distributions around and it’s due to stuff like Unity and Mir.

    Why is Canonical so bent on trying to break Ubuntu’s compatibility with the rest of the Linux ecosystem? Do they not realize that Ubuntu’s feasibility wil tank completely when they deploy Mir because everyone else will be using Wayland instead? So many upstream developers have announced they won’t touch Mir with a long pole, so what is Canonical’s reasoning behind cutting their distribution off from upstream support?

  • max

    Haha you are on the Kool-Aid, Ubuntu is the Only Linux distro that will be Future driven, Everything is going Mobile and those that don’t will be obsolete and un-noticed sadly! I research this hours each week. Go Canonical Ubuntu I support you, Ubuntu will make Linux users Proud in the near future! This is Linux’s chance to shine and take a Top Spot close to Apple and Microsoft and possibly Replace them.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree. Ubuntu is challenging the norm, and if we don’t challenge ourselves, Linux is going to struggle on the client and forever be relegated to foundational components that are used to drive non-open platforms.

    You may not disagree with our decisions, but our decisions are tough choices we need to make to succeed.

  • Nece228

    I’m sorry to say that, but Yaro has some points right. Just look at how fragmented community is, because of GNOME Shell and Unity there are forks like Cinnamon, Mate, Pantheon. This is enough to indicate that people are going each his own way, so we end up confused with many non stable desktops, instead of having few, but high quality ones. And also Ubuntu is as far from community as never before, now I install Ubuntu and expect latest versions of GNOME applications, but no, i get tons of old apps mixed with few new ones. How inconsistent is that? Not trying to be nostalgic, but the times with GNOME 2.x were much better, Ubuntu was working along with GNOME, and not trying to fork everything. I don’t even mention controversy with Mir, the developers failed to give the points why it’s better than Wayland. So again, it would be much more logical if Ubuntu developers would sit with Wayland developers and try to find compromise on how to improve Wayland. I understand that nowadays technology goes mobile, and Unity is a step towards that, but that’s not the problem, the problem is how fragmented the community is, developers hate each other for their decisions, instead of trying to find compromises. For me 2013 is just as messy and confusing year as the 2011 and 2012 are, and I don’t expect it to be any different in 2014, because I see no intention towards solving existing community problems.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t completely disagree with your views.. Just a few???? You see the main point of Linux is choice.. Without choice what is the point of Linux?? You can as well use that unnecessary evil windows.. Ubuntu wants to bring Linux to the masses.. If Mir is what they feel is the right path then let them give it.. It’s not the bloody end of the world.. Give them a chance.. If they succeed then all credit goes to all of us.. We used Ubuntu before it was cool to do so :P Touchwood they never will.. But if they fail it’s still Linux.. Something better will come along.. Just hang on.. Happy new year.. Let’s make Ubuntu better instead of pointing fingers at others which don’t serve any purpose anyway.

  • NothingMuchHereToSay

    When I first used Ubuntu in 2008, I’ve discovered a LOT about how things work, and honestly, it’s no different from today. You still have the same traditional desktop environments.. used by everyone ever. The main issue isn’t the fact that there’s a new desktop, it’s the fact that people are stubborn mules that are “2gud4unity/gnome3″. They’re too used to the outdated “traditional” way of computing.

    If you don’t take risks like, say, Apple did, Canonical won’t be able to make an impact on anything, so far they have, albeit a bit more controversial than anticipated.

    The Wayland vs Mir thing is weird to me, I thought it was almost the same thing according to some dude, but they should be compatible with each other? I dunno.

    The community itself was always fragmented, attempts to create an actual ecosystem with KDE would result in.. nothing really. KDE is good, don’t get me wrong but it’s just too much for someone to handle. Gnome 3 sadly has an ecosystem, but people are just way too nostalgic to consider something new, I blame Windows 95 – Windows 7 for that.

  • Cyrus Gudeman

    Exciting stuff! Can’t wait to see it unfold!!

  • Cyrus Gudeman

    Exciting stuff! Can’t wait to see it unfold!!

  • Anonymous

    We love you too! :-)

  • http://www.lucasromerodb.blogspot.com/ Lucas Romero Di Benedetto

    Good article Jono. I like the direction that Ubuntu is taking, I think it is very promising, the 2013 was very productive and has been a great first step for what follows. I still have some doubts between convergence with the desktop. Hopefully not as Windows 8, I want a desktop interface on my desktop pc. No phone. That’s my main concern. Anyway, it was a great year, I was able to bring more to the project with a few crumbs. They have done a great job guys!

    Buen articulo Jono. Me gusta el rumbo que esta tomando Ubuntu, creo que es muy prometedor, el 2013 fue muy productivo y ha sido el gran primer paso para lo que sigue. Todavía me quedan algunas dudas entre la convergencia con el escritorio. Ojala no sea como Windows 8, quiero una interfaz de escritorio en mi pc de escritorio. No móvil. Esa es mi principal preocupación. En fin, fue un excelente año, me pude acercar mas al proyecto aportando algunas migajas. Han hecho un gran trabajo chicos!!!

  • Anonymous

    A lot of people in these discussions are probably too new to the Linux world to remember how there was The One environment, namely KDE, when some people, for purely ideological reasons, much, much more ideological and shortsighted than Canonical’s, decided to introduce fragmentation into desktop by introducing GNOME DE.

    One of those reasons was, oddly, that Qt’s choice of licencing enabled either paying for using the toolkit (for proprietary projects), or releasing your code as GPL, which was seen as scaring off the proprietary ISVs (which is why GTK was LGPL) because back then people were aware that not everything can, should and will be open source.

    Now that Canonical is attempting to attract ISVs to Linux they’re satanized. The sad truth is that majority of Linux users are just useless fucking whiners and freeloaders.

  • Nece228

    You call me a useless fucking whiner because I disagree with something? I see no similarities between your story and what is happening with this Mir/Wayland fuss. They were forking (sort of) Wayland without even giving valid reasons, and when developers didn’t want to port their projects to Mir, Mark Shuttleworth started bashing them. And majority of your called whiners are also lead developers of various big projects like Kubuntu and KDE. You don’t need to tell that all the choices they made are purely to attract more users, they could have chosen a more friendly way without having to seperate themselves from community. What i’m saying is that Ubuntu is not like it used to be, and I have rights to express my opinion, and your statements like those whiners are losers and newbies in Linux world are not valid.

  • tanghus

    My phone runs Wayland, so does most other Linux environments soon. Just saying.

  • Anonymous

    I’m sorry that, by me replying to you, you somehow inferred that I called YOU specifically out as a useless fucking whiner. My point is, most people should ask themselves, “How much did I actually contribute to this community I feel entitled to represent?”, at least the bitching and whining would remain confined between the likes of Mark Shuttleworth and Aaron SIego, both of whom, undoubtedly, have contributed to this open source circus, and thus “earned” their right to bitch.

    Btw, whatever Canonical does to their distro, there are always ways for you to:

    1) Use Fedora or something and get your precious pristine Gnome 3 environment. Really there are tons of Linux distros. You might be surprised, but some of us other users don’t care about Gnome the DE or Gnome the project that much (and might even feel their devs are even bigger ego-maniacs than Canonical in the way they impose their vision and snirk at their users) so we might not really care as long as Ubuntu does the job. 1a) Wayland will be available in Ubuntu, that’s for sure, just not in the Unity flavour. And Mint is such a great distro, you don’t even need to go that far off from Ubuntu/Debian. 2) Everything Canonical ever made is either pulled from Debian upstream and therefore available as open source, or as their additions and changes, also open source, and all of it is available on Launchpad, so you are free to fork. You don’t even have to sign up their controversial contributor agreement in order to fork their work.

    The point is most people in these kinds of arguments, would have someone package it all nicely for them, yet the final product should be exactly how they want it, and the direction of development should match their vision, not developers’ which I, as both a software developer and a small business owner, find rather unfair. Staying afloat in the world of business is tough enough without your customers constantly “owning” your business and “knowing” what’s good for it better than you.

  • kevin c

    This vision is great.

    But maybe the ‘new’ Ubuntu with QT/QML/Oneclick/Mir is sufficiently distinct from previous versions that it deserves a new name.

    And a key part of the new vision is: it’s ok for content developers – whether apps/books/music/video – to get paid. Whether by purchase, advertising, subscription – it’s ok. The core OS, runtimes, compilers etc are open and free. But if someone takes the time to create great content on top of this platform they need a way to make a living. Which accounts for Apple’s success.

    The armv8 platform – and the upcoming A53/A57 soc’s – look really attractive. Apple are building on armv8 – is Ubuntu moving in this direction?

  • Anonymous

    Has Canonical been approached by any vehicle manufacturers interested in using your software in their products? Open Source for the Open Road!

  • simon

    Google is using Ubuntu as a base system for Self Driving Car they are working on.

  • Anonymous

    :) Wow. Thanks for that.

  • http://www.iheartubuntu.com iheartubuntu.com

    Change the world! Accept bitcoin for software center app purchases, for AskUbuntu bounties, and get the next crowd source project easily funded by accepting bitcoin donations.

  • Nece228

    I’m sorry, I misunderstood then.

    You don’t have to contribute to something to actually give criticism. I’ve been in Linux world for quite many years, and I noticed how for example compiz patches were unaccepted by people without explanation when compiz started to be maintained by Canonical, so you really can’t say that people just criticize without arguments.

    1. I haven’t used Ubuntu as my primary OS for many years now, but I always liked some of it’s components, it was always easy to get them on other distro. But now that there is Unity, its really hard to actually run it on other non Ubuntu distro, you have tons of ubuntu patched packages and they depend on gtk 3.8 (until recently), so it was really hard to actually get it running without breaking something. Sure Ubuntu supports now gtk 3.10, but by the time Ubuntu 14.04 will be released it will be already outdated again. That’s what I meant that Ubuntu now is fragmented and separated from community. And I can’t blame just Ubuntu for that, GNOME developers also contributed to this. You can’t use GNOME with any other window manager than mutter which I find buggy and laggy on my graphics card, let alone the fact that some of developers decisions makes no sense that even Ubuntu patches that. And GNOME developers still ignore people criticism and think that they are always right. Sure, I understand their idea of simplicity, but sometimes they really go too far, that even Canonical fixes that. So for me, neither Ubuntu nor GNOME is a choice.

    2. Mir controversial licence is enough to scare people away. I mean why would anyone want to contribute to Mir when there is Wayland, which is community driven.

    Sure everyone has their freedom to do what they want, and there’s nothing wrong with Canonical decisions if we put it that way, but what they are doing contradicts to the overall philosophy of free software. So to sum it up all, as I said Ubuntu is not like it used to be. Which is probably not a bad thing for every average users that they are targeting, but it’s not so good for community of foss.

  • Anonymous

    You also seem to have missed that Ubuntu has been moving away from Gnome as basis for Unity for quite a while, it’s already in maintenance mode only. Unity Next is being developed from Unity 2D in pure Qt5/QML which is exactly the technology basis I’d pick were I to develop a new graphics intensive desktop app.

    I’m expecting that the quite evident alliance of LXDE & RazorQt will move to Qt5 soonish, Maui Hawaii, the originally Qt5 desktop is already on it’s way to becoming useful, and KDE, by multiple analysis still by far the most popular Linux desktop environment, is closing in on the Qt5 leap itself.

    Which is a good thing for Mir which will always have a Qt5 compositor since Canonical needs one (sure KDE uses KWin which will not get Mir support but pure Qt5/QML DEs will), and both Digia and KDE are big contributors of Wayland so future is clearly Qt5.

    Btw it’s not just Canonical, Mint and Cinnamon are already forking away from Gnome and while Elementary still share large part of Gnome’s vision, they are a very NIH crowd (already actively hiding their Ubuntu and Gnome roots) that I assume they’ll fork off the second they have manpower.

    It’s just that Canonical is everyone’s favourite flavour of the month, two-minutes-hate target. That is a very consant thing in generaly batshit insane world of FLOSS peanut gallery (I’ve been throught Microsoft, Caldera, SCO, Red Hat, Corel, Xandros, Lindows/Linspire, Apple, Novel/SuSE and Oracle, being in that same from-hero-to-dunce’s-corner cycle over years).

  • Nece228

    Well i know that Ubuntu was moving away from GNOME before Unity came out, but at least they were trying to have a latest software of GNOME what indicates their relationships. They were also commiting patches to GNOME more, and even planned to have GNOME Shell as their default desktop. I haven’t really read that much about Unity Next apart that it will use Qt/QML, so i’m not sure if GNOME apps will remain or they will also start writing their own in Qt. But it’s gonna be exciting to see how it will end up (hopefully it won’t be a win 8 ripoff). I didn’t say that it was all Canonical fault of the stuff happening, but it was definitely a part of that, people weren’t happy with GNOME Shell, and it turned out that they weren’t happy with Unity either, so they started their own projects. I personally found that all of those forks are unstable, laggy and not ready to get my job done. When GNOME 2 was maintained, when everyone commited to GNOME 2 and not for their own forks only, GNOME 2 was rock solid stable, fast and powerful DE. Sure it looked outdated and crappy for some people, but it got job done in a most productive way, what i can’t say personally about any of these desktop environments, especially after this feature removing mania. I honestly think that desktop software has stagnated for quite many years, and companies kept reinventing the wheel. And i find lots of decisions of developers just stupid and pointless, they put the feature on, then remove it, then re add and then remove again. But that’s just my opinion. Anyway you keep saying how Unity and Mir is going to be cool in the future, you might be right, but I was more likely talking about what’s happening in community with all this hate around in community which kind of puts me down. Well I guess I am just another “old times were better” guy. But still, i can’t get over myself the fact that Canonical invested in it’s own display server and already have a working release, instead of joining Wayland, so Wayland would be already ready to use and stable, we wouldn’t have flamewars, we wouldn’t have to fight to get patches from Intel, and then any time you could have your own Wayland patched for Ubuntu or forked if they don’t like direction Wayland is taking so much (I think it was just Mark’s cheap excuse). It just seems stupid, now instead of porting our desktops to one new display server we have to decide to which one we want to, because porting to both would be time wasting and stupid. So we end up confused….

  • Anonymous

    All I’m thinking whilst reading your reply is how I get the feeling you would probably be really happy with XFCe 4.10 or newer (it has progressed really nice). You should give it a go if you haven’t.

  • Nece228

    Thanks for suggestion, I’ve tried all of them, and found (quite long time ago) that KDE fits my needs best, it has professional and consistent look and a lot of features. And IMHO it’s the desktop that is going into right direction for me with Plasma 2 and Frameworks 5. I think that their convergence is way better than what Unity or GNOME 3 is trying to offer, having a different UI for all form factors, but still sharing same code is way better than making UI/UX same for all form factors (sometimes what fits for all, fits nothing). It can’t better than that. Of course that’s just my opinion :) Anyway thanks for sharing ideas, I’ve taken many things you’ve said and made me reconsider some of the things i’ve said. I wish you best of luck.

  • Anonymous

    Just one note: Unity is doing exactly that with the Qt based Unity Next: different UI/UX on different form factors, but still sharing the same code. And they deliver, unlike KDE which I’ve yet to see a mobile prototype of. Off course, Unity 7 (current, based on Gnome and compiz) supports just one form factor – laptop/desktop