Exclusive Canonical, the maker of Linux distro Ubuntu, is axing staff and closing projects under a sudden commercial get-fit regime.
On Wednesday, we reported that Ubuntu is killing off its never-delivered Unity 8 technology and switching back to GNOME for its desktop user interface. Today, The Reg has learned that Canonical has axed more than half the team who worked on Unity – which was an effort to build a single Ubuntu UI spanning phones, tablets, PCs and other devices.
Those Unity staffers who couldn't be found suitable jobs elsewhere in the open-source shop are being let go. Jobs are also going in other parts of the organization. The cuts came after Canonical founder and millionaire Mark Shuttleworth's decision to seek potential outside investors. These investors determined that Canonical was overstaffed and some projects lacked focus.
Unity 8 was axed after seven years' investment because it's been determined it could not make money. Sources told The Register that Shuttleworth asked each Canonical department to lay out their best, neutral and worst-case scenarios for business in the wake of the outside-funding exercise.
In the best-case scenario, The Reg understands, departments would suffer a 30 per cent headcount reduction but in the worst it was 60 per cent. It's not clear how many staff have gone, but Canonical is believed to have a workforce of 700.