Ubuntu's Technical Board has voted and passed the motion: as of Ubuntu 23.04, Ubuntu Cinnamon will become the ninth official flavor.
The youngest member of the Ubuntu family will become official as of the next release: Ubuntu Cinnamon 23.04 will be an authorised option, joining the existing eight others. It's not the only one: the Edubuntu project, discontinued since 14.04, is being revived.
The Cinnamon team's proposal notes that there have been seven previous releases, since the first, Ubuntu Cinnamon Remix 19.10. Project lead Joshua Peisach was just eleven years old when he had the idea.
The inclusion of Ubuntu Cinnamon is very slightly surprising given the desktop's origin: Cinnamon hails from Ubuntu's downstream competitor Linux Mint - but the Cinnamon desktop is fully FOSS, and it's already an option in other distros including Fedora, openSUSE and Debian. Aside from its desktop, Ubuntu Cinnamon bears a closer resemblance to its parent distro than it does to Linux Mint, extending right down to its color scheme, which is a red-brown hued version of the Yaru theme from the GNOME edition. It supports Canonical's Snap packaging format, and as of the next release, the flavors will only support Snap and not the rival Flatpak format.
While Linux Mint replaces several Ubuntu accessories with its own XApps versions, which use traditional title, menu and toolbars, Ubuntu Cinnamon mostly sticks with the GNOME accessories from its parent distro - for example, the GEdit text editor. As we described when looking at the 22.04 release, the only part of Ubuntu Cinnamon with the classic UI is the Nemo file manager: almost all the other accessory apps have GNOME's client-side decorations, meaning no menu bar, just a combined bar containing the title and window size controls, plus a few selected buttons.
Edubuntu, on the other hand, is not so much a new flavor as a revenant. It first appeared with Ubuntu 5.10 "Breezy Badger". With version version 14.04, maintainer Stéphane Graber announced that Edubuntu would switch to only offering LTS releases; two years later, he revealed that there wouldn't be a version 16.04. He's probably been busy, as he is the project lead for Canonical's LXD "container hypervisor."
The new Edubuntu project lead is Erich Eickmeyer, who is also the maintainer of the Ubuntu Studio flavor. He will work on the distro with his wife Amy, whose expertise he describes:
The revived Edubuntu will use the installer from Ubuntu Studio, but will retain the GNOME desktop of mainstream Ubuntu. The plan is to group educational applications into several metapackages: ubuntu-edu-preschool, ubuntu-edu-primary, ubuntu-edu-secondary, and ubuntu-edu-tertiary, which will be layered on top of the existing Ubuntu Desktop. The package structure, and the alternative installer, should mean that the system administrator can choose which groups of packages they want on each machine.
For now, the Edubuntu website still redirects to the main Ubuntu site, so don't bother looking there for more info... but this should change soon. The Edubuntu account on Twitter has already sprung back into life after eight years away with the announcement. We'd guess that getting the credentials was easy, as the most recent maintainer is still very much part of the Canonical organization.
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