In his keynote address at the Ubuntu Developer Summit Mark Shuttleworth has announced that Ubuntu 11.04 will use a new desktop version of Unity for the default desktop environment.
‘Desktop Unity’ will be installed as the default desktop for users whose hardware support it. Improved work on the hardware front will ensure as many users are able to benefit from the unified interface as possible.
Further work on improving window management and performance along with better accessibility will be key aims for Unity development during the Natty cycle.
A focus will be placed on file-management in particular with Shuttleworth feeling the old way of managing files & folder ‘is broken’. As such work this cycle will aim to ‘correct the broken bits’, missing features and UI issues many Netbook users have found irksome in the Unit file-management dash.
Developers will be able to create extra ‘places’ for users to add to the ‘Dash’ and multi-touch functionality to the shell as a whole will be introduced using the uTouch framework.
Notably, Desktop Unity will use Compiz rather than Mutter for compositing.
"Unity is a shell for GNOME – it may not be GNOME-Shell but it is a shell for GNOME." Shuttleworth told the audience on the potentially contentious issue of this move being seen as moving away from GNOME.
"It’s healthy for GNOME for to have competition." he went on to say before iterating that developers are ‘in this together’.