Shuttleworth invests to improve Linux interface
Canonical head and Ubuntu founder, Mark Shuttleworth, said in a blog post yesterday that the company plans to hire a team of designers and user interface experts to contribute to not only Ubuntu’s usability but also to other upstream open source applications.
Shuttleworth said that Canonical is now in a position to drive “real change in the software that is part of Ubuntu”.
But, said said Shuttleworth, “if we just showed up with pictures and prototypes and asked people to shape their projects differently, I can’t imagine that being well received!”
Instead, Canonical is hiring designers that will “work on X, OpenGL, Gtk, Qt, GNOME and KDE, with a view to doing some of the heavy lifting required to turn those desktop experience ideas into reality”.
These developers would contribute their interface improvements to the upstream projects as well as include them in future Ubuntu releases, said Shuttleworth.
It was in July that Shutleworth first raised the challenge of improving the appearance and usability of Linux. At OScon in Oregon, he said that Linux developers needed to improve the interface so that it could “blow right past Apple”.
And earlier this week, announcing Jaunty Jackalope, Shuttleworth said that Ubuntu 9.04 should be comparable to those of the traditional big OSV’s – Microsoft and Apple.
How important are good looks to the success of Linux? In a recent poll of Tectonic readers just 15 percent thought Linux needed to be prettier to succeed. Most respondents thought Linux needed better hardware support. What do you think?