Is Maui Shell the future of the Linux desktop?

There is a new Linux desktop on the horizon that gives one thing particular. However are the builders and designers specializing in the fitting options and viewers?

Linux logo in purple

Picture: PegasuStudio/Shutterstock

As soon as upon a time, Stephen King mentioned of author Clive Barker, “I’ve seen the way forward for horror and his title is Clive Barker.” What does that need to do with tech? Not a lot, however it’s apropos to what I am about to debate. 

Not too long ago, the Linux neighborhood discovered itself with a brand new upstart darling within the combine. That darling is named Maui Desktop. 

Nice. One other desktop to compete in an already flooded subject? Maintain up … this one is particular.

It is all about convergence.

Nice. One other try and resuscitate a beforehand failed idea. You would possibly as nicely have began this out with “Wuzzzup?” or “Discuss to the hand.”

OK, sufficient with the popular culture references, what is the large deal?

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Fortunately, with the assistance of Nitrux 1.8, it is now attainable to get a glimpse of what Maui Shell goes to seem like. Regardless that it is very a lot within the early phases (with the suggestion it’d come out of beta in Fall 2022), I am not going to lie: It is spectacular.

Earlier than you leap over to Nitrux to test it out, know that it is extremely a lot in beta, and the 1.8 launch of Nitrux is just meant to present you a glimpse of what is to come back. From the glimpse I’ve beheld, it appears to be like just like the builders and designers of Maui have taken the very best bits from quite a lot of Linux desktops and rolled them into one. It has a contact of elementary OS’s Pantheon, a little bit of GNOME goodness, a style of KDE, a sprinkle of Cinnamon and even a touch of Deepin Desktop. Roll all of that into one desktop and you’ve got Maui Shell.

In fact, in the meanwhile, it is not all that spectacular. The default desktop consists of a dock with two entries and a prime bar with a system tray and notification space (Determine A).

Determine A


The default Maui Shell desktop is fairly bare-bones in the meanwhile.

Click on on the appliance overview (or no matter they plan to name it) button to disclose classes of apps (Determine B).

Determine B


All the functions which can be put in by default with Nitrux 1.8.

You’ll be able to open many of the put in functions, however whenever you go to open the Maui Settings app, you may discover it would not seem. Why? Beta.

However why one other desktop?

That is the large query and one I’ve a few responses to. First, nevertheless, I need to deal with the elephant within the room.


Wait, what? Convergence is easy. You have got a cell phone that runs an OS in a reasonably typical vogue. Nonetheless, beneath the hood, there is a subsystem that waits to detect the presence of a dock. As soon as a consumer docks the cellular system, the OS transforms to “desktop mode,” the place it behaves extra like a desktop OS and all is displayed on an exterior monitor.

Sounds nice, proper?

There is a very sticky difficulty with this: the shortage of a dependable, marketable Linux telephone to converge with. Sure, there’s the Pinephone, however the fact is the Pinephone is extra for builders and the hard-core. Irrespective of how good Pinephones are, they may by no means discover their manner into the fingers of common customers. Why? As a result of they’re neither Android nor iOS. And the straightforward fact is the world of cellular units is below the crushing sway of Google and Apple. There isn’t any manner of getting round that. 

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So, though the concept of convergence is de facto cool, it is solely that manner in idea. In actuality, you would be working with an underpowered desktop that would not be almost as succesful as a non-convergent machine. And, clearly, the largest difficulty is that the builders of Maui Shell will quickly discover out that except they plan to create an app that may overlay on Android units, there will be only a few customers profiting from convergence and extra customers simply desirous to work with a cool-looking desktop.

Which is on the coronary heart of the difficulty.

Linux has loads of desktops. However you see, Linux and open-source are all about alternative. And in the meanwhile there’s this downside many people usually have the place it may be a little bit of a problem to suggest the fitting desktop for the fitting consumer.

  • GNOME is about essentially the most steady and performant desktop available on the market, nevertheless it’s come at a value of being not acquainted sufficient for brand spanking new customers.
  • KDE is extremely acquainted however provides just a few bits that would trigger issues for brand spanking new customers.
  • Pantheon is wonderful, however largely solely shipped with elementary OS, which suffers from a extreme lack of installable functions in its AppCenter.
  • Cinnamon is a good desktop, however it is a bit old-fashioned for individuals who’d like one thing a bit extra fashionable.
  • Xfce is simply an excessive amount of.
  • Enlightenment is de facto cool, however manner above the heads of recent customers.

So, you see, there’s a place for a brand new desktop … as long as it is aware of what it’s. And that is what I imagine the builders and designers of Maui Shell ought to be concentrating on—a desktop that gives simply the fitting mix of all the nice components of every current desktop to culminate right into a UI that gives one thing for each kind of consumer. However the target market ought to be the brand new consumer. Why? As a result of that is the very goal each Linux distribution ought to have its sights on. Linux distributions have been preaching to the choir for years now, and it is executed nothing however remind the choir how a lot they love being within the choir and little to attract in new members.

Maui Shell might change that. If (and that is an enormous if) it would not push convergence as its primary characteristic. Certain, make convergence part of it, however when you have already got the makings of a desktop that could possibly be ideally suited for brand spanking new and previous customers alike, you’ve got received your hook built-in. Use it.

And for individuals who are curious, I extremely suggest you obtain a replica of the Nitrux 1.8 ISO, spin up a digital machine and see what Maui Shell is all about. Simply keep in mind, that is very a lot in beta, so do not count on to make use of it for far more than a kick of the tires.

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