Canonical's founder Mark Shuttleworth, has announced that Ubuntu versions in the future, starting with 11.04, will be ditching the Gnome desktop environment in favour of the Unity platform that is present on the current netbook version.

The announcement came during a speech at the Ubuntu Developers Summit in Florida, and has caused quite a stir in the Linux community. Shuttleworth himself even admitted that there would be "a group that will take offence" to the plan.

He was keen to point out, however, that the UI will consider that users with more powerful machines than netbooks will want a multi-desktop environment.

He said that there needed to be "a lot of work to do around windows management", but added: "we are committing to biggest change on the desktop. Unity will become the default, when we're sure that it will work".

The Ubuntu founder made it clear that Unity was the way forward though, and added that manufacturers such as Dell were right behind the project.

"Lots of people are already committed to Unity-the community, desktop users, developers, and platform and hardware vendors", he said.

Ubuntu 11.04, codenamed Natty Narwhal will be available from 28 April 2011. You can download the latest Ubuntu version, 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat) directly from

See also - Ubuntu 10.10 flies Linux into the cloud