Canonical defends its shift to Unity

Ubuntu-backer Canonical has defended its contentious move to the Unity desktop, arguing that the open-source Linux community needs to make design more of a priority."You can't please everybody, but I think it's really important we stood up and did [Unity] and led that charge," Jane Silber, Canonical's chief executive, said on Tuesday.

Ubuntu-backer Canonical has defended its contentious move to the Unity desktop, arguing that the open-source Linux community needs to make design more of a priority.

"You can't please everybody, but I think it's really important we stood up and did [Unity] and led that charge," Jane Silber, Canonical's chief executive, said on Tuesday. "At times it's been quite controversial."

Canonical switched Ubuntu to the Unity interface and away from Gnome in early 2011, provoking criticism from users.

"The Linux community aren't always good at branding," Silber said. Paying more attention to design and usability features, such as Unity, could help Linux make inroads into larger markets, she argued.

In fact, Silber feels Canonical's decision has been picked up by the wider Linux community.

"Even in the Gnome world now, they're talking about design and user experience and user research and user testing in a way that was never important to them before," she said. "That's largely because Ubuntu as a project has stood up and said, 'Hey, this is something we collectively need to do a better job at.'"

As part of its push to make Linux available to more people, on Tuesday Canonical gave details on a project that weaves Ubuntu into the Android operating system.

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