Ubuntu Netbook and Desktop Editions Merged?

Computer Science

Canonical recently announced some of their changes in Ubuntu 11.04, particularly about the merging of Netbook Edition (a.k.a. Netbook Remix) and Desktop Edition. Server Edition will remain as a separate entity. Canonical reported that this merger will reduce confusion for newer, less experienced users’ lack of finding a “Laptop Edition.”

When I first read this blog post, I first noted how difficult it was to comment on the Canonical Blog, despite also being a WordPress blog. No matter, a simple pingback should suffice as a comment. Secondly, I noticed that Canonical plans to rebrand the converged editions to simply “Ubuntu 11.04” as opposed to “Ubuntu 11.04 PC Edition” or the like. Here’s what I read between the lines of the article:

  1. Despite the merging of Desktop edition and Netbook edition, there will always be “remixes” optimized for speed (netbooks) and those optimized for functionality (desktops).
  2. Here’s what I get that Canonical is doing with this change:
    • Merging the teams that upgrade each edition into one, thereby providing more resources for faster development.
    • Reducing naming confusion by labelling the unified (*snicker*, Unity…) package “Ubuntu”.
    • Reducing required storage space for each release. Less editions mean less redundancy of common data for small variations in disc images, therefore less total storage space needed on the download server.

In response to this announcement, I would like to see an extra prompt on the setup of the OS, even something as simple as “Performance,” “Balanced,” and “Power-Saver” installations using the same core components, but different optional components (i.e., Google Docs vs. Open Office). This may sound like I oppose the merger, but really it’s that I oppose the packaging of the most customizable OS (Linux in general, that is) so that it reduces optimization for the hardware.