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Ubuntu Interface Facing Massive Rewrite

By Hilda Scott , Mar 07, 2013 10:07 PM EST
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Canonical Ltd. announced this week its plans to pretty much rewrite Ubuntu's Graphical User Interface (GUI) and develop new open source Linux display server software. The new software platform named "Mir" will move towards providing users with a unified Ubuntu user experience across all devices.

Linux distributions always used software from the X Window System to render GUIs. The graphics layer was developed by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for the Unix operating system during the 1980's.

Although well revered for over three decades, Linux developers think it's time for something more modern that will simplify the creations of modern day sophisticated graphical effects.

"None of the existing solutions would allow us to implement our vision without taking major compromises which would come at the cost of user experience and quality," said Oliver Ries, Head of Engineering Product Strategy at Canonical, in a post to Ubuntu developers .

Mir will be developed as a cross-platform alternative to the traditional X Window System that will still utilize existing resources such as the device drivers of Android and hardware compositors. The GUI will work across PCs, smartphones, tablets and smart TVs and will serve as a model that will define custom behavior in an easier way.

The decision to not choose Wayland or Weston display server protocols was based on practicality.

"We have not chosen Wayland/Weston as our basis for delivering a next-generation user experience as it does not fulfill our requirements completely. More to this, with our protocol- and platform-agnostic approach, we can make sure that we reach our goal of a consistent and beautiful user experience across platforms and device form factors," notes Ubuntu wiki.

Canonical will keep the aspects of functionality, efficiency, versatility and security in mind during the development of the next generation display server system. 

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