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Google Layoffs Injects Doubt into Ubuntu's Flutter Investment

Knock Knock, who's there? Google?

Flutter is a popular open-source UI creation framework by Google that has been part of many popular applications and services lately. Many developers like how fast and easy it is to work with.

It became so enticing that it has made its way into one of the most popular Linux distributions, Ubuntu. You can notice it in action with the app center and installation screens when comparing Ubuntu 24.04 LTS and Ubuntu 22.04 LTS.

Even though some think that Flutter doesn't deserve a place on the Linux desktop, Canonical sees things differently, and has been pushing for Flutter-based apps on Ubuntu since 2020.

However, we might be looking at a volatile situation that could potentially affect Ubuntu's Flutter investment. The current scenario involves layoffs, angry developers, and a worrying roadmap.

So, let's dive in! 😀

Is Ubuntu in trouble?

a screenshot of the flutter-based app store on ubuntu 24.04 lts
A Screenshot of the Flutter-based App Store on Ubuntu 24.04 LTS

This situation started a few days before, when reports came in that Google laid off at least 200 “Core” people from their organization, and, even before news broke out, many disgruntled ex-employees had taken to social media to express their disappointment.

According to TechCrunch, these layoffs impacted people primarily from the Python, Dart, and Flutter teams at Google, with CNBC coming across some internal reports that indicated that these jobs were being shifted to India and Mexico.

Maybe due to lower wages? 🤔

In an email sent to his team, announcing these layoffs, Asim Husain, VP of Google Developer Ecosystem, stated that:

We intend to maintain our current global footprint while also expanding in high-growth global workforce locations so that we can operate closer to our partners and developer communities.

Take that how you may, but, this begs the question, What now for Ubuntu?

Well, the recent Ubuntu 24.04 LTS release ships with a Flutter-based installer and a Flutter-based app store, and I bet there are many other apps and components on the cards for a Flutter makeover too.

It might be a tricky situation if Google decides to pull the plug completely on Flutter someday. It's not that I am saying that they will, but the graveyard of Google products is almost 300 strong. They do not hesitate.

However, as it turns out, Michael Thomsen, Product Manager for Flutter and Dart, assured everyone that the strategy for both of those products will remain unchanged, and the team size will also be the same as before.

Why let go of existing personnel if the number of people in the team has remained the same? 🤔

However, if you look at Flutter's 2024 roadmap, Linux seems to have taken a back seat in favor of mobile and web platforms. For the year 2024, they intend to work on improving GTK4 support and accessibility on Linux.

As for Ubuntu, this situation shouldn't affect them significantly. Though, this should raise their eyebrows if they intend to bank on Flutter for even larger undertakings.

Via: OMG! Ubuntu

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