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Monday September 22nd 2014

Ubuntu Planning on Shipping Mir in 13.10





ubuntu_logoIn Stephen King’s Dark Tower series, the giant, insane, cyborg bear named Shardik is known by the forest dwelling people around his territory as Mir, the world beneath the world. Ubuntu’s naming of Mir probably leans more towards the African heritage deriving the name from “Mayor”, or “Leader”, but personally I like the insane bear analogy better. ThePowerBase.com has a story linked to fridge.ubuntu.com reporting that Ubuntu plans to ship their controversial replacement for X11 in the next version of Ubuntu, 13.10, by default, along with XMir, an X11 compatibility layer running on top of Mir.

Ubuntu announced Mir in March of this year, and assuming no delays on 13.10, that will mean a mere seven months of development from announcement to the users desktop. Shipping a complete replacement for X11 in such a short time frame is ambitious, to say the least. Ubuntu appears to be hoping to use this release as a major beta testing ground:

So why are we doing this? Well, we want to get Mir and XMir as production stable as we can. We have a competent and dedicated team working on this right now, and we are confident that we can ship comfortably in 13.10 and get everything in the archive around Feature Freeze time; this will include performance optimizations and bug-fixing.

Shipping in 13.10 will give us an opportunity to expose Mir to millions of Ubuntu users and help us to better understand their needs, fix and resolve edge-case issues, and overall exercise Mir and XMir must faster on our road to the next LTS.

I may be wrong, but I predict that there will be many “edge-case issues” reported when 13.10 ships.

Developing Mir has been one of the more controversial moves from the Ubuntu team, garnering criticism from several other camps in the open source community, especially Wayland. How Mir fares in the hands of users will determine the success or failure of the project, and if Mir will attract more developers and distributions. The philosophy of the Mir project seems to mirror Unity, another Ubuntu project created from the ground up by Ubuntu, instead of adopting Gnome 3. Ubuntu is a distribution aimed at everyday users though, and judging by a recent poll, they still love it. Mir just might be the right move, but I am going to be approaching 13.10 with caution.

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