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So having moaned and groaned about Unity and why don’t we use Gnome 3, the Ubuntu community is now groaning about Mir, Canonical’s replacement for the aging Xwindows system.
Canonical have identified that the current X system based on a very old system just wasn’t going to cut the mustard when it came to their new convergence plans.. So are looking to replace X with Windows.
When Mark Shuttleworth set out his grand goal of Ubuntu being ‘convergent’ – running across mobiles, tablets, desktops and TVs – he also threw down a series of technical hurdles that would first have to be overcome. One of the steppest to clear was always going to be the choice of display server – the the part of the system that draws the UI, and user interaction with it, on screen.
Currently Ubuntu uses X.
X is efficient at doing what it does but it has a problem: it is built upon code that’s almost 30 years old. A mature code-base brings with it legacy support for features and functions that are no longer needed on modern desktops, much less phones and tablets.
Intending to address this is Wayland – a relatively new display protocol that integrates features (like compositing) directly into the display server rather than adding them on as an afterthought.
The choice facing Canonical was to adapt one of these existing display server technologies/protocols to work across form factors, but compromise on vision, or create their own one from scratch.
Canonical chose the latter., with Mir built specifically to meet the aims and goals of Unity.
And this in turn has given the ubuntu community a new target to moan about, having been proven ever slightly wrong that Unity wasn’t the way forward, and still not getting that Ubuntu is a distro with vision and not Suse or Fedora who both still seem to thing the future is Desktop PC’s there is backlash.. as there always is.
The simple fact is, there are elements of Linux which need to change, and until they are taken up and implemented in the community at large they will never improve. Sure there will be glitches, sure there will be hardware which may not be fully supported, however as the adage goes “You’ve got to break a few eggs to make an omelette”
It’s clear Canonical have a vision, it’s clear its upsetting a few people, and it’s clear in the next 12-18 months Ubuntu is going to drag Linux into the current century kicking and screaming, its clear it has vision, and it might be time for the community to realise this. Shuttleworth needs to be making cash soon out of this project..
As for Mir, here are a couple of interesting video examples..