Ubuntu 14.04 will be released today and you couldn’t resist the itch to go try the Unity 8 preview session on the Desktop. How underwhelming… there are almost no apps, and some don’t even work and overall it’s actually pretty unexciting… let’s change that in the next few chapters.
Ubuntu’s Display Server Mir is gaining more and more traction and the team is making good progress on the platforms that are at the core of Ubuntu.
Mir is proving itself everyday to be the exact technology that Ubuntu needs to power mobile devices. Mir’s features are on par with the requirements that we put out to run Ubuntu on mobile devices. A few recent highlights include the screencasting API, Sidestage and improved right edge navigation (in concert with Unity 8).
The team is landing Unity 8 in the Ubuntu Universe archive today – great news!
Before you are getting your hopes up too high though, it is worth mentioning that the integration of Unity 8 into Ubuntu Desktop is not scheduled to happen for 13.10 but will only be fully integrated for 14.10. The QML based Unity 8 is currently fully integrated on the Ubuntu Touch images only.
This means that all data providing backends are only hooked into Unity 8 on Ubuntu Touch. On Ubuntu Desktop 13.10 Unity 8 can be started as an application and gives you an idea of where we are going, but is far from the intended user experience we are going to provide by 14.10. Unity 8 on the Desktop consumes some of the Desktop data providers, but the behavior and layout is not yet optimized for the Desktop.
How is it looking?
Simply said: pretty! Regardless of the rough edges. Remember, this is showing the designs which were implemented for the phone first, adoption for the Desktop will come later.
We have put an overlay in place (“Early Alpha, not ready for use”) to clearly state the obvious – don’t try this
at home on your Desktop (which had my vote for the overlay text;). If you want to see all the current goodness of Unity 8 you will have to give the Ubuntu Touch images a spin.
There is a lot of work to be done to converge Unity 8 also on the Desktop. Some of the bigger tasks are:
- Enable Desktop data providers (scopes)
- Desktop specific layout & designs
- Tune the UI for pointer & touch device input
- Make it a Desktop Shell rather than just an app running in a Shell
More details are and will be captured in the Unity 8 blueprint on launchpad.
Hold my beer… I’d love to help!
I don’t get it
Yes, you do!
$> sudo apt-get update $> sudo apt-get install unity8 unity8-fake-env unity8-private $> unity8
The first neutral (i.e. not published by us) benchmark of Mir is out. Michael over at Phoronix has a good write up of the current state of things and also mentions that the install was smoother than anticipated.
The results (~about 10% median, 15% average penalty in FPS, see below) are totally within the expected range for where Mir is at right now and doesn’t have us sweat. Continue reading
The documentation for Mir is growing and we also have instructions out how to get Mir running on your computer, I wanted to briefly summarize the necessary steps to get Mir up and running and how to go back.
Please be warned that while I tried to carefully document all necessary steps you might end up with a system that doesn’t function as expected and which will require further intervention, a reinstall or might even suffer data loss (most likely during the OS reinstall;). Also, don’t use Mir on a production or public system, as there is at least one security related bug.
Canonical is hiring and I am looking for 4 roles in my teams: