In a surprise announcement, a blog post attributed to Ubuntu's Mark Shuttleworth claims the Canonical-sponsored distribution will shift its default desktop environment from Unity 8 to GNOME for the next long term support (LTS) release. "I'm writing to let you know that we will end our investment in Unity 8, the phone and convergence shell. We will shift our default Ubuntu desktop back to GNOME for Ubuntu 18.04 LTS. I'd like to emphasise our ongoing passion for, investment in, and commitment to, the Ubuntu desktop that millions rely on. We will continue to produce the most usable open source desktop in the world, to maintain the existing LTS releases, to work with our commercial partners to distribute that desktop, to support our corporate customers who rely on it, and to delight the millions of IoT and cloud developers who innovate on top of it." The change in focus likely means development of the Unity 8 desktop environments, and related technologies such as Mir and Ubuntu Phone, will no longer be sponsored by Canonical. At the time of writing, it is unclear what effect this will have on related community projects such as Ubuntu GNOME and UBports.