This October a new release of Ubuntu will emerge with a drastically different identity.
GNOME Shell is the new default desktop environment in Ubuntu 17.10, and those used to Unity are in for a bit of a culture shock.
But, mercifully, Ubuntu doesn’t plan to thrust millions of users into the unknown, and is looking at ways to stabilise the disorientation of moving from Unity to GNOME Shell.
And a central plank to that effort is including a desktop dock.
Ubuntu 17.10 Will Have a Dock (but not Dash to Dock)
Ubuntu 17.10 will have a desktop dock on show by default, out of the box. Currently unknown is how it’ll look, which side of the screen it’ll be on, and what workflow features it’ll make available.
But the fact that a visible dock on the desktop will be there, out of the box, for all users, is good to hear.
The Unity launcher is a core anchor in the Unity desktop experience. It serves as both an application launcher and an application launcher launcher (the Dash), as well as a task bar for switching between open apps and windows.
The results of the Ubuntu GNOME desktop survey showed us that 80% of Ubuntu users say they’d find the Dash to Dock extension ‘useful’.
But that doesn’t mean Dash to Dock will ship, as the Ubuntu Desktop team explained at the time: “[this result] shows us our users would like the dock to be visible at all times or shown/hidden automatically as opposed to only shown in the activities view.”
Instead the Ubuntu desktop team will use a dock based on Dash to Dock, but not actually Dash to Dock itself.
“We are going to use an always visible dock-like experience as a GNOME Shell extension by default. However, we won’t push all the features that dash to dock has as part of our common (both GNOME Shell and Unity) design principles, but working with this extension upstream that we already contacted and worked with to ensure we don’t diverge on the codebase,” Didier Roche says.
Roche adds that users not enamoured by Ubuntu’s ‘slightly modified dock’ will be able to install the regular version of Dash to Dock from the GNOME Extensions website and not experience any compatibility issues as a result.
No word on whether Top Icons Plus (pictured above), another extension the team gathered feedback on, will be make the cut. Considering that almost 90% of users said they’d find it useful, it’d be a shame to hear it’s missed out.