Ask the Readers: Ubuntu UI Deathmatch – GNOME vs Unity

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By Akemi Iwaya on November 3rd, 2010

Mark Shuttleworth recently announced that Unity will become the new default UI for Ubuntu’s desktop and netbook editions starting with 11.04. What we want to know this week is if you agree or disagree with the decision.


Original, unmodified photo from

Ubuntu’s 10.10 netbook edition already shipped with Unity as the default UI this past month while the desktop version retained GNOME. Both UIs are in a state of evolution…GNOME is working towards a 3.0 release while Unity is working on stability/usability issues. You may be asking yourself what the big deal is right now…why not just keep things as they are in 10.10 and continue development on both?

Part of the problem stems from differences in what Ubuntu and GNOME envision or want in future UI releases. One of the hot topics in contention is the inclusion of Global Menus, Ubuntu wants them and GNOME does not. Another area of disagreement is over the use of Mutter as a window manager. Ubuntu’s developers are dissatisfied with Mutter and the decision has been made to use Compiz for Unity development and better performance. Ubuntu also plans to place a high focus on improving multitouch support in conjunction with Unity.

Now if you happen to prefer GNOME you may be feeling rather unhappy at the moment. The good news is that the standard Gnome shell will continue to be available as a non-default installation option in Ubuntu. So you do have options available whichever UI you happen to prefer.

For better or worse there it is. What we want to know is which UI do you prefer. Do you think the decision to switch UI shells was good or bad? Perhaps you do not care for either one very much and would prefer something different. And maybe it does not matter just as long as Ubuntu works for you. Let us know what you think in the comments!

[polldaddy poll=”4028822″]

Akemi Iwaya is a devoted Mozilla Firefox user who enjoys working with multiple browsers and occasionally dabbling with Linux. She also loves reading fantasy and sci-fi stories as well as playing "old school" role-playing games. You can visit her on Twitter and .

  • Published 11/3/10
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