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Don’t panic: the state of Xubuntu and Mir

Lately, there seems to be a lot of fear, doubt and negativity about Xubuntu and Mir. Several news sites have even been releasing news saying that Xubuntu is the first operating system to run Mir. This is both correct and incorrect.

Here’s a quick update with first hand information and facts on what is true and in what scale.

The facts

No decision has been made with respect to using or not using Mir in Xubuntu 13.10 or to that matter, any subsequent release. The Xubuntu team along with other Xubuntu enthusiasts are currently testing Mir to see what the current state of Mir is and how does it compare to regarding speed and features.

The regular daily ISO builds of Xubuntu, which will eventually become the final release, do not have Mir installed at this point, as Mir has not fully landed in the package archives. The Mir development team has their own deadlines to hit so that Mir is available in the package archive for use. Until that happens, nothing available through regular routine download sources will allow you to test or experience Mir in any fashion in any flavor of Ubuntu.

However, there is an unofficial, custom-built Xubuntu ISO with Mir created by one of our community members to enable people to see and test Mir and build up their knowledge about it. So far, the Xubuntu team hasn’t done any development effort apart from taking the Mir components as they from the development PPA snapshots and dropped them into some custom ISOs.

In the last Xubuntu community meeting on July 11, the Xubuntu team decided to wait until August 15–22 before further serious discussions or any decisions about Mir. This schedule both left the Mir developers time to get their product in shape as well as the Xubuntu team to gather valuable information to be able to make an informed decision later. In terms of the release cycle, the scheduled timeframe for decisions falls before the Ubuntu Developer Summit and the feature freeze, after which all core components and features should only receive bug fixes.

The summary

While Xubuntu is different from Ubuntu by design, the team has always tried to keep in line with Ubuntu as much as possible. However, all decisions have been and will be made keeping the advantage of Xubuntu users first.

This time is no different: the Xubuntu team wants to give a fair hearing to the new technology being put forward. We do not have pressure from upstream Xfce to have to make an immediate change in terms of technology. We are taking the time to seriously test and evaluate XMir to see whether it best serves our users at this time. If XMir does not meet the needs of our users or the quality standards expected by the Xubuntu developers at this time, it still can be reviewed for later possible use as it grows and matures.

Again, no final decisions have been made yet. If you want to keep up with the facts, take part in the Xubuntu community meetings, which are the single best place to hear about latest decisions. If you want to dig even deeper, follow the developer community via the various methods listed in the contribute section of Xubuntu website.