These days, the desktop OSes grabbing headlines have, for the most part, left the traditional desktop behind in favor of what’s often referred to as a “shell.” Typically, such an arrangement offers a search-based interface. In the Linux world, the GNOME project and Ubuntu’s Unity desktop interfaces both take this approach.
This is not a sea change that’s limited to Linux, however. For example, the upheaval of the desktop is also happening in Windows land. Windows 8 departed from the traditional desktop UI, and Windows 10 looks like it will continue that rethinking of the desktop, albeit with a few familiar elements retained. Whether it’s driven by, in Ubuntu’s case, a vision of “convergence” between desktop and mobile or perhaps just the need for something new (which seems to be the case for GNOME 3.x), developers would have you believe that these mobile-friendly, search-based desktops are the future of, well, everything.
Submitted by: Scott Gilbertson