Ubuntu Could Get a New File Manager as Development Model Shifts
For some time now, the folks at Canonical, and particularly Mark Shuttleworth, have been discussing delivering Ubuntu with a development model that keeps the OS converged for use on desktop, mobile and server devices. We've been waiting to see granular evidence of how this kind of unified development might work, and a new discussion forum post titled Default File Manager with Unity8 in Future Desktops provides an example. It lays out requirements for a new file manager to be developed for Unity 8 for desktops and laptops. This would actually be the Ubuntu Touch file manager, now in development.
Nautilus—a file browser found in many Linux distributions and now part of GNOME—would give way to the new file manager under the proposed plan. There have been complaints from the Ubuntu community about the Nautilus file manager as implemented for Ubuntu.
As The VAR Guy notes, the move to a new file manager would put Ubuntu on even more of an independent development path than it has been on:
"From a channel perspective, the move is significant because it eliminates yet another link between Ubuntu and the rest of the open source ecosystem, making Canonical even less dependent on GNOME and other third-party development initiatives. And that, in turn, will enable Canonical to continue pursuing new niches, such as mobile devices, in its own way. For a long time, Canonical's vision of what Linux could be beyond the server world—a scalable, portable platform that provides a consistent user experience across different types of devices—has grown apart from the priorities of other major Linux distributions, and Nautilus's removal is another significant step down that path."
Indeed, Canonical's desire to make Ubuntu a top OS on smartphones may be behind these moves. The company wants a development model that keeps architecture common between flavors of Ubuntu intended for desktops, mobile devices and servers. A new file manager could be a strong first step in that direction.
As I've covered before, the Ubuntu team is also working hard to keep Ubuntu development in lockstep with the development of the OpenStack cloud computing platform, and it's clear that Shuttleworth supports that effort. Canonical is supplying close integration with OpenStack, and rapidly changing its approach to delivering new versions of Ubuntu.