Ubuntu 11.10 Will Not Have The GNOME Classic Desktop

As the date for the final release of Ubuntu 11.04 “Natty Narhwal” is approaching, there are still a lots of questions about the new UI – Unity – that it will come with. However, the good thing is that users who do not like Unity or whose hardware does not support Unity (right now there are reports of problems with ATI graphics card) can fall back to the classic GNOME desktop.

However, six months later when it is time for Ubuntu 11.10 “Oneiric Ocelot”, that may not be the case. Replying to a bug report, Mark Shuttleworth has mentioned that classic GNOME desktop fallback will not be available in Ubuntu 11.10.

This is what he wrote:

We made very good progress on a11y in Natty, but will miss the goal of  perfect a11y. We’ll nail it in Oneiric. That’s OK, because we have the  Classic desktop fallback in Natty, but will not in Oneiric.

This decision will most likely be met with mixed reaction from users and a lot will depend on how Unity in Ubuntu 11.04 feels like. Having used Unity from the  development  version of Ubuntu 11.04, I feel that it still has a lot rough edges that needs some more works. That is however not a very big concern in Natty since I can revert to the classic desktop. However, since the classic desktop will be removed in Ubuntu 11.10, Canonical has to make sure that the Unity experience is as smooth as possible.

Since a lot of people use Ubuntu on older hardware, there is also the problem of if Unity will run on them or not. Unity requires Compiz and, so, not all the old hardware will be able to run it. In such cases, I think Unity 2D will be used as  fall-back, although nothing has been  said  officialy. Unity 2D is based on Qt and does not require  hardware  acceleration. This means that it should run on hardware which cannot run the normal Unity (Unity 3D). Mark Shuttleworth has recently mentioned that they plan to include Qt applications in future  release  of Ubuntu, this might be it.

[via Novatillasku]

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Ricky Laishram

Ricky Laishram is a Linux and FOSS enthusiast. He is passionate about open source technologies and likes to keep abreast with the latest developments in KDE and Ubuntu. He also loves listening to music and is a huge Tegan snd Sara fan. You can follow him on twitter @ricky_lais.

  • arf

    Nice fud, you’ve obviously not even spun up one of the betas, classic desktop is still there and an available option.

    Might want to do some research next time rather than just dig up an old quote and stir… just a thought!

    • What about reading atleast the title if not the whole article before commenting?

  • I love Gnome and really hope that Ubuntu changes their mind. I have tried Unity in 11.4 and I really do not like it. It reminds me of a mobile OS and takes up screen real estate that I could use when programming. Why take out a feature that you have had forever? It just doesn’t make sense.

    • I HATE Unity!!! I plan on changing distros if Ubuntu tries to shove this trash down my throat. I will probably go to Debian or Fedora…we’ll see. I have never, ever like Unity. It stinks big time. I will go to either XFCE or KDE or find a distro that plans on using Gnome forever.

      Bye, Ubuntu!!!

      • raroof

        Don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Unity? No friggin way! I predict a mass exodus if they go through with this nonsense.

      • Why not be intelligent and switch desktop environment to KDE or XFCE. You can then keep Ubuntu. You do realise that you don’t have to use Unity so you are not in ANY way having it shoved down your throat. You are just ignorant

  • This is the first time I’ve seen that quote by Shuttleworth.

    I have been using Linux since the days of Corel Linux and Fedora Core 1 and have been using Ubuntu since Jaunty. I’m a solid Ubuntu convert but I think that dropping the Gnome classic desktop in 11.10 will prove to be a fundamental tactical error and will result in the side-lining of Ubuntu by many users in favor of other distros.

    Over the past several years, I’ve been able to successfully switch a number of people over from Windows systems to Ubuntu… some were hard-core Windows fans who previously thought of Linux only as a toy operating system. They’ve been universally thrilled by the change from Windows. But one of the very first things I do after installing the system for them is to drag the panel from the top of the screen to the bottom. Why? Because they need to see that Linux can do all of the things that they are used to doing on a Windows system. The transition needs to be simple and familiar. They can customize and explore later.

    My own upgrade from 10.10 to 11.04 with an nVidia card was an absolute disaster. No user should have to do the amount of research and go through the command-line processes that I had to go through to do a simple upgrade. Unity still doesn’t work properly on my own machine and I have happily settled for the Classic desktop.

    While I have spent some time using the Unity desktop on another machine, I can’t see presenting this as a package to a new user. New users will be convinced that yes, Linux is a toy operating system. I would love to switch my 85-year old mother over to Ubuntu but to show her the Unity desktop… impossible. She would freak and just want her Windows back. So for her, I guess I would either install an older version of Ubuntu and shut off all the update notifications or just switch to another distro. Unfortunately, I’m probably not alone in having to make this decision.

    I don’t object to Ubuntu pushing the Unity desktop if that is the way they want to go. If I can get it working, eventually I may come to like it myself. But to force its adoption is a major blunder. They will lose folks to other distros. I just can’t understand the logic of that decision.

  • lqmaster

    I have been using many linux dest. freebsd RedHat etc..
    then i Switched to Ubuntu 8.04 and i love Ubuntu since then.
    Also managed to convert Windows and Mac users
    to it.
    and GNOME is the core factor here.

    I have installed version 11.04 with unity and
    tried to work with it, just so i can give it a fighting change against GNOME and i must say
    it FAILED BIG TIME, up to a point where my OLD WINDOWS XP looked more usful again :-(

    I read more on the web and i’m happy that i’m not the only one who thinks like this.
    and i would leave Ubuntu for a different dest.
    that has GNOME in it.

    Please try to listen to your fellow users and
    DONT remove GNOME from Ubuntu 11.10

    thank you

  • Jon

    First off Arf, on April 7th you posted a lie. It is July 20 and there is NO Ubuntu Classic option – None, Nada, Zippo, Zilch!

    Now – moving on..
    I’m running it right now and it is the worse UI I have ever encountered. I’ve been in the business 30 yrs and have to say that even Windows 3.1 was better.
    This is the effort of some child’s desire to show everyone that they could be iCool.
    Somehow, an idiot somewhere, amassed enough preschoolers to actually get this trash called Unity forced upon the user community. What a joke!

    Ubuntu was moving ahead just fine, than then this garbage was dumped on us.

    Even Steveo Jobs must be laughing.

    • Jon,

      To get to Ubuntu Classic Desktop, hit the rightmost icon on the menu bar and select “System Settings”. Go to System > Login Screen. Hit the Unlock button and enter your password. In the bottom drop-down menu, select “Ubuntu Classic” as the default session. Then logout and log in again.

  • David-Sarah Hopwood

    The proposed removal of Classic desktop has been filed as a bug: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+bug/830404

  • That is.. No backward compatibility to old users.

    It is utter difficult for me when somebody tells that the world has changed its the next major version… big 3.. and so.. should walk with hands and shave with feet from now on…

  • AndrewV

    Well, it looks like I will be looking for another distro. I am going to wait though, till the release of 11.10 to see if there was a change of heart about Unity.

    If not, I will be switching back to SUSE or KUBUNTU. Any distro with KDE actually, so Dead Rat/MINT is not out of the question.

    My fist Linux install was Slackware 2.1 loaded from over 70 floppy disks.

    So I thought at first that my dislike of Unity was yet another sign that I had become a doddering old fossil.

    However, it looks as if I have lots of company. I am willing to give Unity another try in five years or so, but I am not willing to give it another go before then.

    Lastly, I am thankful that I had the foresight to move all of my Windoze people to Ubuntu 10.04 LTS, as that gives me more time to plan their next migration.

  • John Richardson

    I just installed 11.10. The option to switch off Unity is now gone. I don’t have a mac because I don’t like Apple’s interface methodology. Sadly, I will now stop using Ubuntu for the same reason. I have three installations of Ubuntu that I used regularly. They can mark 3 users off of their stats for me. Dismal move guys. Dismal.

  • And its 12.04.. waited an entire year…

    If i could came to see a GNOME3/UNITY developer.. I’ll buy (imagination) him/hur a car with touch screen gear SHIfT INTERFACE mounted on the topmost ceiling (not detachable, it is hard copper wired software! soldered..!! way under to some BGAs). And force to drive that wonderful -latest-version- thing for a while and wud tell.. enjoy.. there is no going back. And, wait for the next big version (4) with touch screen steering control… ass well.


    obuntoo.. you became the distro queen.. and bitch-distructing it all..? Whohhh… please… no more F-fleatures please. Since 11.04… freeze the F-upgradato routine… and feeds the downloaded ISOs to /dev/null, INSTEAD, all the alpha, beta and gamma versions, desperately.

    Don’t swallow that ‘normal’ interface, that i were avid using for so many years. It is so difficult to switch the interface to some nice crap. Please read http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_%28psychology%29

    M$ paid.. drama? (suspicion)