Ubuntu 14.04, codenamed Trusty Tahr, is all set to get a new control center – Unity Control Center. This was announced yesterday on the Ubuntu developers mailing list by Ubuntu’s Technical Lead, Robert Ancell.
According to Ancell, the fork was needed because the heavily patched GNOME Control Center, which is currently used in Ubuntu 13.10 is four versions behind the latest release, is preventing Ubuntu Gnome users from installing the latest builds of GNOME ie. GNOME 3.10.
Running an old version until convergence blocks those who do use GNOME (i.e. Ubuntu GNOME). - Robert Ancell.
Unity Control Center will only be a forked version of the current GNOME Control Center used in Ubuntu 13.10 and will primarily get stability and security fixes. It is very unlikely that the new control center will get any new features. Unity Control Center will have a limited life span i.e, it will only serve Ubuntu until the convergence is complete. At that time, Unity Control Center will be replaced by Ubuntu System Settings which is currently being developed as a part of Ubuntu Touch OS. Ubuntu developers are expected to complete the convergence by the time Ubuntu 14.10 is released . This is when Ubuntu desktop version will have Unity 8 by default.
Unity Control Center will allow the latest GNOME Control Center to be installed side by side and is expected to play nice with the rest of the core apps of GNOME 3.10 and above. This fork has also led to forking of gnome-settings-daemon.
The new control center is available for testing on Ubuntu 14.04 only. A ppa has been created for those who are interested to take it out for a spin. To install, use the following commands:
sudo apt-add-repository ppa:ubuntu-desktop/unity-control-center
sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install unity-control-center