Ubuntu will carry Unity as the default shell for its GNOME stack. What does this mean? GNOME shell is how you interact with your desktop – launching applications, switching between them, panels. Instead of this, Canonical will start using Unity as the shell.
Is it good or bad for the users? I don’t think anybody can vote on this yet. Unity is still new, it saw born quite recently and focused on netbooks. GNOME shell is going to change the desktop management paradigm with GNOME 3.0, like KDE 4.0 did. Either way, the GNOME experience on Ubuntu is going to change. So, both of them are posed to newly gain their fans and critics.
The GNOME community should not mind this. An alternative is always welcome in the Linux world.
The one thing that I haven’t seen is the reason behind the switch. Is it because of the technologies used? Or fear of the new experience with GNOME 3.0? Or better integration with Ubuntu’s own tools, like the Me Menu?
Whatever it is, I hope that Ubuntu will continue to offer one of the biggest features of Linux – swap components easily. So, if the default shell is Unity, a Ubuntu user who prefers GNOME shell will be able to switch to that with a command or two without breaking anything.