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What is Mir?
As well as being a space station, Mir is also a bit of software which Canonical (the fine folks behind Ubuntu) are going to use to replace X.org.
What is X.org
The X.org server is what most Linux distributions run their desktop environments on top of. The X.org Server is closely replated to the X-Window System protocol and has been around for nearly thirty years.
So what’s the problem?
The problem is that the open source Linux community are already working on a project called Wayland which is the “official” replacement for X.org. The community at large, still trying to digest Unity (the replacement to the much loved Gnome desktop environment) are upset because they feel that Canonical and Ubuntu are now branching-off to create a unique and almost properitory solution to the problem. In other words, Canonical doesnt want to play in the same sandpit as the rest of the kids. Wayland has been recently updated but Canonical has said that there are still issues with the platform that are inhibiting its’ growth. The Wayland developer Tiago Vignatti disagress however saying, quote “There are no technical reasons Ubuntu cannot use Wayland in principle.”
However, wouldn’t it be ironic if Mir was a huge success and the Linux community love it and use it? That would be poetic justice for Mark Shuttleworth and the guys at Canonical.
Ubuntu can do what it wants to do of course, but what seems to annoy the (very large) community is that duplication of effort runs contrary to the open source ethos. Splitting the camp into Team Wayland and Team Mir is dividing the Linux Nation.
It all seems a bit messy and this Wired post does a better job explaining it than us. In our opinion this could really make or break Ubuntu as a Linux distribution. Canonical is courageous and certainly pioneering and for that they can be applauded. Linux has had outstanding success as server technology but it never really broke through on the desktop, laptop, tablet or cell phone. Unity seems to be paving the way for that to become a reality since it is certainly (again, our opinion) better suited to operate on smaller resolutions. As stated earlier, if Mir is a success, then Canonical would create itself an even greater and more positive legacy.
Do you agree with us or do you think that Mir is reinventing the wheel?
PS – the comment about Mir as also being a space station is not true (that was our attempt at humour) but I bet it does run on Linux!