Mark just announced at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando that we will be shipping the Unity environment in the Ubuntu desktop edition. Unity is the environment we shipped on the Ubuntu Netbook Edition for the first time in Ubuntu 10.10 Maverick Meerkat, and users and OEMs have been enjoying the experience. It is an environment that is inspired by great design, touch, and a strong and integrated experience.
I think this is a fantastic opportunity for Free Software, and this is going to be a busy cycle. We have a lot of work to do, and we know that quality is a firm focus for this release, and we have identified a solid set of issues we need to focus on and resolve, but I know the final product will be something that we will all be proud of. Another key focus is performance; we have already started porting Unity from mutter to Compiz and the initial work is much faster, most notably on hardware that has traditionally had the most trouble from bug reports. Quality meets design meets performance. Together as a community we can make this rock.
There is going to be some questions about this decision in relation to GNOME. I want to make something crystal clear: Ubuntu is a GNOME distribution, we ship the GNOME stack, we will continue to ship GNOME apps, and we optimize Ubuntu for GNOME. The only difference is that Unity is a different shell for GNOME, but we continue to support the latest GNOME Shell development work in the Ubuntu archives.