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After a recent update, Ubuntu GNOME Remix 13.04 (currently under development) has switched to Firefox and LibreOffice by default, replacing Epiphany, Abiword and Gnumeric.

ubuntu gnome remix

In a message on the Ubuntu GNOME mailing list, Jeremy Bicha, the main UGR developer, has said that even though Epiphany is part of the GNOME Core, GNOME doesn't mind too much that most distros ship with Firefox instead and further more, WebKit is rarely updated in the stable Ubuntu releases, which makes Firefox a better choice for security updates.

As for the inclusion of LibreOffice by default, there are many reasons, including better support for various file formats and LibreOffice Impress which doesn't really have an equivalent. Further more, Fedora has also switched to LibreOffice recently.

This breaks a bit the idea of having an Ubuntu spin that offers a pure GNOME experience, but the reasons behind the change do make sense. However, maybe shipping with both Epiphany and Firefox by default would be a better idea.

In the same message, Jeremy has also asked for Ubuntu GNOME Remix users' opinion about not shipping with an email client by default, because many use webmail anyway and those who actually use an email client don't have a clear favourite, using both Evolution and Thunderbird. What do you think?

This of course doesn't mean you can't install Epiphany, Abiword, Gnumeric, Evolution or Thunderbird - they will be available for installation via Ubuntu Software Center like any other application so these changes will only affect the default application stack.

via LP (1, 2), sejalivre.org