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The Ubuntu developers have announced today that they plan to deliver Mir display server by default in Ubuntu 13.10 Saucy Salamander with XMir, an implementation of X running or Mir.

Unity 8 (also known as Unity Next) on the other hand, won't be available by default and instead, Saucy Salamander will use Unity 7, the codebase which is already in the Saucy development.

The announcement notes that XMir will only be used for open source graphics drivers (Intel, Nouveau and Radeon). Proprietary graphics drivers (Nvidia, ATI) don't support Mir yet and the computers that use such drivers will fallback to the regular X server. In the future, Mir should get support for proprietary drivers so this fallback should be removed for Ubuntu 14.04.

With XMir used by default in Ubuntu 13.10 and thus, used by a large number of users, the developers hope to "better understand their [users] needs, fix and resolve edge-case issues, and overall exercise Mir and XMir much faster on our road to the next LTS".

Update: Olli Ries, Canonical Engineering Director for Unity and Mir, has posted a roadmap for the Ubuntu graphics stack transition to Mir, on the Ubuntu devel mailing list:
  • Ubuntu 13.10: XMir on Mir by default, with a fallback session to X where there is no Mir driver support, supported for 9 months;
  • Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: XMir as default with the fallback session removed, full Mir driver support, traditional LTS support for 5 years;
  • Ubuntu 14.10 and beyond: Mir stack as default, including rootless X support for legacy X applications, supported for 9 months.

He also adds that running XMir means Ubuntu will be using Unity 7 (so basically, Unity 7 will not only be used for Ubuntu 13.10 but also for Ubuntu 14.04), while Ubuntu 14.10 and beyond, which will be using the Mir as a system compositor will be running Unity 8 as the session shell. 

Further more, the message says that "Canonical is committed to support XMir for 5 years during the 14.04 lifecycle, which will give derivatives enough time to evaluate the graphics stack landscape and to make informed decisions when they are ready."

Below you can watch a video demoing Unity 7, GNOME 3, KDE, Xfce and LXDE running on XMir:

(direct video link)

Today's announcement refers strictly to Mir being made default for Ubuntu Desktop - the main Ubuntu flavor.  There are no news about the other Ubuntu flavors, except Kubuntu, which won't switch to Mir.

Check out the full announcement HERE.

image via Thomas Voß