The developer of Evolve OS, Ikey Doherty, has made a new desktop environment called Budgie Desktop and released a new version of it.
Evolve OS hasn't been launched yet, but the developer is actively working on it. Instead of adopting an existing desktop environment, he decided that it would be better to make his own. It's based on GNOME and uses quite a few GNOME packages, but it looks very different. In fact, it follows the same paradigm as MATE and Cinnamon, although Budgie seems to be a little more modern and polished.
It's quite interesting to see that a critical piece of technology is released before the operating system that it's going to serve, but potential users don't have to be completely taken by surprise. To that effect, a PPA has been put in place for Ubuntu 14.04 LTS and Ubuntu 14.10, although it's not official. Also, the Arch Linux users will find the new desktop environment in the AUR repository.
“Almost all of the changes since v4 have been related to the panel. It’s been completely rewritten in Vala, lowering the maintenance overhead and significantly reducing the barrier of entry for new contributors. So, when your update comes through later on (hopefully) today through OBS if you use it, or for Evolve OS users you already have the update, you should only see minor visual differences. The idea was not to change the look, but to rewrite what was there and make it moar better.”
“The rewrite into Vala took quite some effort, but has immediately paid off. In the future all of the desktop will be rewritten to use Vala, and being the ‘second write’ – we do things better the second time around,” says Ikey Doherty in the release announcement.
Users will also notice that some of the main elements from Budgie Desktop have remained in place, like the position of the menu and the size of the icons. In the future, it will be possible to change them, but for now, users need to contend with what's available.
Even in this incipient phase, Budgie Desktop 5.1 looks better than many of the alternatives that can be found right now on other OSes. You can download the source package right now from Softpedia or the binary packages for Ubuntu and Arch Linux.