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Ubuntu Gives Up on Convergence

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A blog post by Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth dashes the dream of PCs and smartphones running on the same version of Linux-- the company is going to stop working on Ubuntu for phones and tablets.

Ubuntu phoneInstead, the next version of Ubuntu (18.04 LTS) will shift back to the GNOME desktop environment.

“We will continue to produce the most usable open source desktop in the world, to maintain the existing LTS releases, to work with our commercial partners to distribute that desktop, to support our corporate customers who rely on it, and to delight the millions of IoT and cloud developers who innovate on top of it,” Shuttleworth writes. "The choice, ultimately, is to invest in the areas which are contributing to the growth of the company."

The "convergence" project aimed to create a server, desktop computer, smartphone and tablet OS based on the same Ubuntu core. However it failed to capture much mobile OS share from the likes of iOS and Android, while Linux enthusiasts did not like the redone touchscreen-based UI.

Adding further woes is the delay of Unity 8, while the Unity 7 desktop remained in maintenance mode for several years.

So, what next for Canonical? Ubuntu will go back to Linux's strengths, meaning desktops, servers and virtual machines, while the company will continue working on cloud infrastructure products (OpenStack and Kubernetes), cloud operations (MAAS, LXD, Juju and BootStack) and the internet of things. Either way, the Ubuntu Phone is no more.

Go Growing Ubuntu for Cloud and IoT, Rather than Phone and Convergence