It's going to be Unity all the way for Ubuntu's next major release codenamed Ubuntu 11.04 "Natty Narwhal". During Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS) at Florida, Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth announced that the Unity shell will become Ubuntu's default interface not just for netbook editions, but also for Ubuntu desktop editions.
As you all should know, Ubuntu Unity was introduced as the default netbook interface for the latest Ubuntu 10.10 release. Though Unity is still very much a work in progress, Unity shell just might turn out be the very future of Ubuntu. Ubuntu's founder Mark Shuttleworth thinks that, adoption of Unity is definitely the "most significant change ever" for Ubuntu.
And the decision was not done hastily either. According to arstechnica, when asked why Canonical is building its own shell rather than customizing the GNOME Shell, Shuttleworth's answer was that, Canonical made an effort to participate in the GNOME Shell design process and found that Ubuntu's vision for the future of desktop interfaces was fundamentally different from that of the upstream GNOME Shell developers.
GNOME Shell vs Ubuntu Unity
GNOME Shell on the other hand is no push over either. GNOME Shell is also in its early stages of development and at least a year away from its final release. But, we were deeply impressed by GNOME Shell and our enthusiasm for this next generation GNOME desktop environment is clearly expressed in our previous GNOME Shell review. GNOME Shell has even got some awesome themes to play with already for heaven's sake.
But our experience with Ubuntu Unity has not been good so far. While GNOME Shell was really easy to learn and adapt to(even the keyboard shortcuts work as you expect it to), Unity is no piece of cake yet. It's not even stable in my Intel dual core Lenovo laptop.
When ever I point to anything on the side dockbar in Ubuntu Unity, the screen refreshes madly and it even consumes more resources when compared to normal GNOME desktop. I won't hesitate to call it "barely usable" in its current form. But as said earlier, Unity is very much is its early developmental stages and there is no point in nit picking issues in a software that is not even in its beta stages yet.
Compiz has a New Reason for Existence and It's Unity!
After some major discussions with Compiz developers, Canonical has decided to use Compiz as the core for Ubuntu Unity. This is a new breath of life for our beloved Compiz. Fate of Compiz was in limbo since both KDE and GNOME deciding to part ways with Compiz.
Compiz will no longer become a "niche experimental window manager for those who like the bleeding edge". If the developer's enthusiasm is a sign of things to come, Compiz is going to rock! For futher reference, read - Compiz will find it's way into Ubuntu Unity.
Future of Ubuntu
The deciding factor unquestionably is going to be Unity and its acceptance accross netbooks, laptops and PC's. Unity's multitouch capabilities are well known and there was even a video recently showcasing Unity's multitouch capabilities in Dell hardware. All in all, Ubuntu 11.04 codenamed Natty Narwhal is going to be a release worth waiting for. Shift to Unity is definitely the biggest change ever happened to Ubuntu.