Unity 8 on Ubuntu 14.04

Stephen Webb & team have lead an effort to bring Unity 8 to Ubuntu 14.04, which was done in parallel of other great work the team has landed for Ubuntu 14.04, e.g. locally integrated menus, hiDPI support and Mir support in SDL.

Just in time for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS the team has landed more improvements to make Unity 8 a feasible preview. It will not be installed by default as it doesn’t meet our quality criteria for an LTS release, but it is there for interested parties to follow us on our path to convergence.

You can install it from the Ubuntu archives via

$> sudo apt-get update
$> sudo apt-get install unity8-desktop-session-mir

Loging out of Unity 7 should then give both options in the login screen. But see for yourself:


So what? Developers, developers, developers…!

Unity 8 already is the default desktop shell on Ubuntu for mobile devices and we will make it the default desktop shell for the Ubuntu Desktop in the not too distant future. Developers interested in developing new era Ubuntu mobile & desktop applications now have a chance to:

  • Run Ubuntu QML and HTML5 apps on their Desktop (with HTML5 support coming soon)
  • Put their concepts to test without having to have a mobile device
  • Experience the first incarnation of Ubuntu convergence, by tuning their app to cater to mobile and “Desktop” devices

With the previous work of getting Chromium to run on Mir we aren’t too far away from making Unity 8 a usable target for early adopters that do most of their day to day work in a browser.

Next steps

  1. Bringing more foundational components from Ubuntu for Mobile to Ubuntu (e.g. click packages, other middleware)
  2. Finish Mir rootless X support for running traditional apps in Unity 8
  3. Enable desktop and mobile applications to run on Unity 8
    • Launch click and traditional .desktop apps
    • Window Management in Unity 8

We’ll just keep crossing the items of this simplified list and hope you’ll enjoy our work.