Recently, the Ubuntu project, funded by Canonical, began a project to improve the user experience on the Linux desktop. Canonical set up two teams, "One is a design team, which has about eight people now, and one is a dedicated upstream desktop technologies group that has five or six people right now, but both are growing," Shuttleworth says, "We delivered a couple of interesting things in Ubuntu 9.04, some of them are controversial, like the notification piece and the messaging menu. But I think in principle it's going well.
Canonical is also aiming to bring the improvements coming out of these teams to both GNOME and KDE. "We are trying to do this work across both GNOME and KDE, so we have hired both GTK+ and Qt developers," he says, "So I hope we will deliver the same messaging menu and the notification system in Kubuntu 9.10, in the future we'll try to deliver everything at the same time across both platforms."
Shuttleworth is also very excited about the upcoming GNOME 3.0, especially because of the fact the GNOME team is willing to make a break with the past and come up with something truly new. "You have to be open to new things in order to really innovate," he explains "What GNOME has proven is that inside the Open Source Ecosystem you can have short iterations and deliver innovation piece-by-piece in a very manageable, stable fashion."
Shuttlwroth is particularly interested in the "Where's my stuff?" question of desktop computing, an issue GNOME 3.0 is trying to address with Zeitgeist. "I've been stunned to see that generally people don't get files and folders. They just don't get it, it's sort of broken for everybody," Shuttleworth says, "It's particularly broken on the Linux desktop, because every application has its own idea of where its going to put your files."
There's more interesting stuff in the interview, so be sure to take a look.