I have been debating writing about this since we are mainly a gaming news site (I should really setup another site for all the other Linux news I want to write about!), but Canonical switching back to GNOME on Ubuntu is very big news for everyone.
Question: Is there any interest in me doing a separate site to cover general Linux news?
Mark Shuttleworth, Founder of Ubuntu and Canonical wrote a rather shocking blog post announcing that Ubuntu 18.04 will officially drop the Unity desktop environment. If you didn't hear about it due to living under a large rock, let that sink in for a moment. Ubuntu is dropping a desktop environment they've worked on for years and poured tons of resources into building and rewriting for Unity 8.
I've had some time to let the news sink in now, after initially thinking it was a late April fools joke, when in reality it's very real and it makes perfect sense.
Unity was part of a long-term plan for Canonical with Ubuntu as part of their convergence strategy, which ultimately failed to gain any real traction. There's only so much time and money you can put into something when it's not giving you the results you wanted and it seems Canonical is in need of investors, as it turns out it has had to cut its workforce.
This now means there's going to be a little less fragmentation when it comes to the Linux desktop too. For all the good it does having lots of choice, having likely the biggest desktop-Linux distribution use a more standard desktop will help many things. For one thing, developers will no longer have to work around Unity/Compiz specific issues in games. It will also help the stability of GNOME Shell too, since they have even more people using it and working on it thanks to this.
This, in turn, makes Ubuntu go back to what made me originally love it. A polished GNOME desktop experience released every 6 months with the latest and greatest with a little extra love and polish thrown in for good measure. A good, solid desktop experience to introduce people new to Linux with. To me, it sounds fantastic again.
As expected, Unity 8 looks like it will be carried on by a few developers. Will be interesting to see if this actually gains any traction, or if it will fade away with little interest. Personally, I don't see any need to continue it, we have enough desktops already with GNOME Shell, KDE, Xfce, Budgie, LXQt, Cinnamon, MATE and the list goes on and on. Enough already I say, they all vary a lot in terms of features and time could be better spent on many others parts of the Linux desktop now.
Finally, I'm still very happy after switching from Ubuntu to Antergos. I've now settled with the GNOME Shell desktop with two extensions and it's glorious:
I couldn't imagine having to go back to PPAs again to get extra software, my love for the Arch AUR is never ending.