The overhauled user interface Canonical created for Ubuntu was greeted with a mixed reaction upon its release two months ago. But Canonical may not be done making radical changes to what is likely the world's most popular Linux desktop OS.
The South African Shuttleworth was visiting Canonical's Massachusetts office last week when he took an hour out of his day for a phone interview with Network World. Shuttleworth said "it's a real possibility" that Canonical may replace Firefox with Chrome as the default Web browser in Ubuntu.
BEST BROWSER? First look at Google Chrome 10
In fact, Shuttleworth says, "We looked at it closely in the last cycle and the decision was to stick with Firefox in 11.10."
11.10 is the next version of Ubuntu, to be released in October as part of Canonical's twice-a-year release cycle. Chrome probably won't replace Firefox in 12.04, due out in April 2012, either, because that will be the long-term support version, making it an unlikely candidate for major changes.
"That probably keeps us on Firefox for another year, at least, and we'll see from there," Shuttleworth said.
If that sounds like a wishy-washy answer, Shuttleworth also made it clear that he is a believer in the future of Chrome on Linux.
The work Google is doing with the Chrome operating system, which runs the Chrome browser on top of a generic version of Linux, "is having a hugely positive impact on the performance of Chrome on Linux," Shuttleworth said.
GOOGLE'S OS: First look at Chrome OS
"That's unusual," Shuttleworth said. "You don't often see that in a cross-platform project. We may well be in a position where Chrome on Ubuntu and Chrome on Linux is a better experience than Chrome on any other platform [i.e. Windows and Mac]."