Canonical developers have confirmed their plans to fork the GNOME Control Centre in Ubuntu 14.04.
The utility, known as ‘System Settings‘ to most of us, is a centralised dashboard grouping together key configuration options for desktop features.
At present Ubuntu developers ship a heavily patched version of the GNOME Control Centre in Ubuntu based on GNOME 3.6.
Rather than upgrading both the software and, subsequently, the patches applied to it, they’ve opted to fork it into a dedicated Ubuntu utility called ‘Unity Control Centre’.
Outwardly there will be few differences between the old GNOME version as used in Ubuntu 13.10 and the renamed fork to arrive in 14.04. The same options and settings will remain available.
‘This is a fork with a limited lifespan.’
But there’s another plus to forking other than saving effort: it will no longer conflict with the vanilla, un-patched version from upstream GNOME. This will be of particular benefit to those who run the GNOME desktop on Ubuntu but strive for as ‘pure’ an experience as possible.
Furthermore it will, says Canonical developer Robert Ancell, have only a “limited lifespan”. Much like Unity 7 the forked centre will be in a managed maintenance-only mode – only key stability and security fixes will be applied – until the new Ubuntu System Settings app arrives with Unity 8 on the desktop.