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 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 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. 

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