When Canonical abandoned its Ubuntu for smartphones project, an independent group of developers called called UBPorts picked up the pieces of open source code and carried on.

Over the last few years, the UBPorts version of Ubuntu Touch has started to diverge from the OS Canonical left behind by adding support for new devices and features.

Now the team has announced it’s renaming the desktop environment that powers Ubuntu touch. Goodbye Unity8. Hello Lomiri.

There are a couple of important reasons for the change:

  • The new name won’t be easily confused for the Unity 3D game development platform.
  • Many Unity8 packages still have “ubuntu” in the name, which can cause problems for developers looking to port the desktop environment to other GNU/Linux distributions (such as Debian and Fedora).

So the plan is to change packages that used the names “unity” or “ubuntu” to “lomiri” moving forward. It will likely take a while for the transition to be complete, but when it’s done… and right now the team is only changing the name of the desktop environment, not the operating system. So it’ll continue to be known as Ubuntu Touch… and users probably won’t see any real difference.

This is really more about branding of some under-the-hood components than anything else. But at a time when GNU/Linux phones are becoming real (albeit niche) products, it’s interesting to note that while Canonical may have given up on the dream of Ubuntu phones that can run mobile and desktop apps, the folks at UBPorts are continuing to keep that dream alive… and planning for the long-term future of the project.

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3 replies on “Lomiri: Ubuntu for smartphones gets a new desktop environment (Unity8 rebranded)”

  1. “This is really more about branding of some under-the-hood components than anything else.” Actually this is all about finally admitting that “Convergence” was a deeply flawed dream held onto for wasted years by a very few self-obsessed and greedy Elites. The desktop is not a phone, and vice versa.

    1. That’s just wrong. Lomiri is still convergent. They renamed it, because distros like debian wouldn’t accept packages with ubuntu in their name

  2. It seems like a good call — “we were commonly fielding questions about how to import 3D models and meshes into our shell.” is pretty amusing to read, but lomiri will be a lot easier to google and genuinely less confusing. 🙂

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