Canonical plans to drop the X Window System from Ubuntu Linux.

A couple weeks ago, Eric reported that Ubuntu will be using Unity on the Desktop instead of gnome-shell.  Now, as a shock to many, founder of Canonical Mark Shuttleworth made another bold announcement on Thursday.

The X Window System, which provides the foundation for almost all Linux desktops, will be excluded from an upcoming release of Ubuntu, Canonical’s flagship product.

Many have believed X to be a bit of a bottleneck when it comes to extreme graphic performance for quite some time, however a big player such as Canonical has the power to change things for the Linux world.

In Mark’s announcement, he has made it clear that the OpenGL-based Wayland will be the window system of choice in an upcoming release of Ubuntu, continuing to push Linux toward ultra-smooth graphics and effects.  While Shuttleworth admits these things are possible on X, he states that it is “extremely hard, and isn’t going to get easier”.  Shuttleworth’s company wants to drive Linux to become the ultimate user experience, and doesn’t mind forfeiting some features in order to get there.

Mark assures Ubuntu users that Canonical is “confident [they’ll] be able to retain the ability to run X applications in a compatibility mode, so this is not a transition that needs to reset the world of desktop free software”.

While it is believed Canonical could deliver something workable within a six-month time frame, Shuttleworth is projecting a year to be a more realistic goal, so perhaps we can expect this change in time for Ubuntu’s 11.10 release next October.

Sources: [1, 2, 3]

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