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Howard Chan: Multiple DEs for Ubuntu Studio (part 1)

Published Jun 16 2013 via RSS

It’s been a long time since I have posted in Planet Ubuntu (due to exams). Since I’m back, I think I would want to share something. For today, I want to tell you about Ubuntu Studio’s plans and progresses on multiple desktop environments (DEs).

One of Ubuntu Studio’s good advantages is that we developers and users can use whatever desktop environment we want from the Ubuntu repositories, since what we are providing is a multimedia creation experience, not providing a single, discrete DE-based environment. For example, if an audio user likes Unity over Xfce (Ubuntu Studio’s default DE) he can install it using Synaptic or apt-get and use it within several minutes. Users can also choose from LXDE, KDE, Cinnamon, MATE, GNOME 3 and others.

Sometime ago a audio producer joined the Ubuntu Studio community and complained that since Ubuntu Studio does not use Unity, he doesn’t want to use it. This made me and Kaj Ailomaa having to reply long (in my case, VERY long) comments. We were thinking: desktop environments shouldn’t be the deciding factor that one will (or won’t) use our operating system. Henceforth, we came up with the idea of enabling users to choose multiple desktop environments.

Len Ovenwerks, our desktop menu master, is doing a great job into enabling our XDG menu to fit into every single DE (albeit, he seems to be having trouble with MATE). The menu especially works well in Xfce, KDE and LXDE. We are also trying to make our own desktop metas, with me responsible for KDE (as a Kubuntu member), Kaj for Unity (which seemed to be in high demand on G+), Maik Adamietz on GNOME 3, and volunteer lukefromdc for Cinnamon.

Our plan is to make an extension in ubiquity where users can choose whatever DE they want to use. Our live ISO will still include Xfce as the default desktop (and probably we will install it along with the user’s DE of choice alongside so there’s a backup solution), but we will give the users a convenient choice for using KDE or Unity.

This is still WIP of course. We hope to get some or most of it done by 13.10 Feature Freeze so we can test it in Beta 1. Fix the reported bugs, re-test in Beta 2, and 13.10 shall be good enough.

I will continue to keep on updating you guys as our work goes on, but before then, it’s time to celebrate Father’s day. :P


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