Category Archives: unity next

Unity 8, Mir Preview To Be Available in Ubuntu 13.10

Both Unity 8 and Ubuntu’s new display server Mir will be available to try in Ubuntu 13.10. 

At least, that’s the aim, anyway.

The details of precisely how both items will be available to try is currently being hammered out by developers at this weeks Ubuntu Developer Summit. But while neither Mir or Unity 8 will be installed by default, or ship as a session on the Saucy .iso, developers are extremely keen to make them as easy to install in 13.10 either through the Ubuntu Software Center or a dedicated PPA.

Unity 7 and the traditional display server will continue form the default desktop experience in Saucy, which is due in October.

‘Preview’ Means ‘Preview’

Regardless of how Unity 8 and Mir is made available to Ubuntu 13.10 users the most important thing for anyone to remember is that it’ll be a preview. Unity 8 – the desktop version of Ubuntu Touch – is unlikely to be in a finished, polished state by October.

There’s also a question of what applications will run under the Mir session. Whilst the final release of Mir will support running “traditional” apps reliant on and GTK, it’s not a given that these will run on the preview version being planned at present. A set of Ubuntu Touch apps will be installed alongside the Unity8/Mir session by default to make up for this.

But the preview will have its uses. It’ll give designers, developers and dutiful testers the chance to play with a functional, if limited, version of the next-gen Ubuntu desktop. Stress it; test it; help shape it.

Around the same time as Ubuntu 13.10 is released more complete version of Ubuntu Touch for Phones is expected to be released. 

Unity 8, Mir Preview To Be Available in Ubuntu 13.10 OMG! Ubuntu! – Everything Ubuntu. Daily.

Unity 8 Gets Demoed on Mir, Looks Impressive Already

Unity 8 – the next major version of the Unity desktop – has been demoed running atop of Mir, Ubuntu’s custom display server. 

Both Unity 8 and Mir are still in active development, so to see them running as well as they are in the video below, taken by Michael Zanetti, is exciting stuff.

Unity 8, formerly known as ‘Unity Next’ is expected to arrive as the default desktop in Ubuntu 14.04. The version of Unity 8 demoed above is not the finished article; so expect something more desktop-like when it arrives.

Ubuntu 13.10, due October this year, is likely to include an option to try both Unity 8 and Mir, though neither will be default.

Unity 8 Gets Demoed on Mir, Looks Impressive Already OMG! Ubuntu! – Everything Ubuntu. Daily.

[How To] Run Unity Next on Ubuntu 12.10


Unity Next, the next-generation Qt/QML version of Ubuntu’s Unity interface designed to intelligently adapt to multiple form factors, can now be tried, tested, and hacked-on right from the desktop.

You’ll need to be running Ubuntu 12.10 and know your way around the command line to get it up and running. It’ll also help if you’re a dab hand at being able to deal with compiling errors.

Now, the method below, taken from the Unity developers page, isn’t fool-proof. Indeed, due to a slight regression with the HUD I needed to manually install packages from the Phablet PPA – not something that’s recommended on the desktop! This error should be fixed shortly.

Warnings aside, if you’re brave, aware of the pitfalls, and want to proceed, just follow these instructions…

Step One: Source Grabbin’

First things first: create a folder to house all of the Unity Next code:

 mkdir ~/unity

Then install Bzr and pull the Unity Next source code:

 sudo apt-get install bzr

 bzr branch lp:unity/phablet ~/unity/unity-next

 cd ~/unity/unity-next

Step Two: Building Stuff

Next, run the following command:

./build -s

This step will add couple of PPAs to your system, build and install some required branches, and install a bundle of necessary dependencies.

 Step Three: Building More Stuff

Now build Unity Next by issuing the following:


Step Four: Running Unity Next

Run the People Lens daemon to enable ‘contacts’ in your


To run Unity Next in a window on your desktop run:

cd ~/unity/unity-next


If all of the steps above have completed correctly you should see this:


To keep your Unity Next build updated run the following two commands every now and then:

./build_unity -u


To build a-fresh, run:

./build_unity --clean

Unity Next is currently designed for touch-input so you’ll need to pretend that your mouse is a finger – o.e click and drag your way around the interface.

To go from ‘phone’ to ‘tablet’ interface just resize the Unity Next window.

Lastly, please remember that this entire schaboodle is under active development. That means you can’t complain if something is missing, broken, or buggy. Seriously.

For further information on running Unity Next on your desktop, as well as building and developing for it, head over to the Unity Developer Pages.

[How To] Run Unity Next on Ubuntu 12.10 OMG! Ubuntu! – Everything Ubuntu. Daily.

Ubuntu Announce Unity Next, Will Be Written in Qt/QML

With the announcement of the new Mir display server, Canonical have begun the next major, multi-device shift for the Unity project: Unity Next.

Unity Next seeks to create a “converged Unity implementation” across desktop, TV, tablet, and phone by focusing on two main development features:


The Unity implementations as we know it are currently split between the Nux-based shell on the desktop and a Qt/QML implementation for all other form factors. After positive results from the use of Qt and QML on Ubuntu Touch and advances in OpenGL features in Qt5, it is no longer necessary to maintain Unity shells powered by different toolkits across the multiple form factors.


The developers have three primary goals in mind:

  • Scaling and adaptability across multiple form factors
  • Consistent user experience
  • Convergence

With these in mind, resource usage, UI responsiveness, and a unified codebase are among the technical requirements that need to be addressed. Resource constraints will be especially important for low-end devices, but equally important for laptop and high-end enterprise tablet users needing an efficient desktop with a fluid UI experience.

What’s on the way?

The unified codebase will also see the inclusion of several Ubuntu Touch features into the core Unity Next project. Fullscreen preferences will make it possible for applications to tell Unity whether to make the menubar stay visible or autohide whilst running in fullscreen mode. Stage hints will also offer applications a way to change capabilities when running in different “stages” in the Unity shell.

But aside from the integration of Ubuntu Touch components, the Unity shell as we know it will still function as it always has, with scopes and indicators still forming the core of extensibility.


The Unity Next project is aiming for the first stages of integration with Mir in May of this year. Integrating “convergence items” is scheduled for July and a integrated Mir/Unity Next codebase is targeted for phone devices by October. Finally, Unity Next will be amongst the other projects that form the total convergence vision for 14.04.

More information on the Unity Next project is on the Ubuntu Wiki.

Unity Next Specification

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