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12 September 2008, 10:00

Canonical to tackle Linux design and usability

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Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, has made it clear in the past that he wants to see the Linux desktop develop so it can take on Mac OS X, not just in terms of functionality, but in design, usability and consistency. In a posting on his blog, he has announced the next step in that plan; Canonical hiring a team to work on X, OpenGL, Gtk, Qt, GNOME and KDE. The new team will be told to come up with a vision of the Linux desktop experience, and then create that experience while working with the general development community.

Shuttleworth admits that there are numerous issues to resolve in this process; keeping the community on side with Ubuntu, creating a set of human interface guidelines (HIG) and working out how to drive the changes that will be needed. Ubuntu will not suddenly become a test bed for the new developments; "One strong meme we want to preserve is the idea that Ubuntu, the platform team, is still primarily focused on integration and distribution" said Shuttleworth, "We will keep that team and the upstream work distinct to minimise the conflict of interest inherent in choosing the patches and the changes and the applications that actually ship each six months as part of an Ubuntu release."

The Canonical founder is excited by the challenge though saying "All of this has me tapdancing to work in the mornings, because we're sketching out really interesting ideas for user interaction in Launchpad and in the desktop."


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