Recently, Mark Shuttleworth of Ubuntu makes two revelations in very quick successions: (1) Ubuntu is going to use Unity instead of GNOME as desktop managerin the next version, and (2) Ubuntu is switching to Wayland instead of X server as the display server. Susan Linton as a good post on how the two gels together in the bigger picture.
While there is no doubt the internet will be full of people chipping in their two cents (myself included), I see this as a purely commercial decision. Something Ubuntu is entitled to make as it lives and dies by it.
My two cent is, is Ubuntu trying to throw its weight around by steering the development effort to where it wants it to go? Frankly, Ubuntu has the inertial to effect this. However, this may be another effort at hurding cats. What is interesting is both Unity and Wayland needs a lot of work, and Ubuntu will have to throw a lot of effort at it. They probably comes in the form of code contribution, and if so, the standard accusation that Ubuntu does not contribute code will probably fade away.
Will Unity and Wayland makes much headway into the Linux universe at the expense of the competition? I don’t think so. Linton says Unity needs heavy hardware lifting to move it, that is why Wayland is chosen as it is light and provides as close to the metal support on hardware. Between the two, Wayland is probably more likely to be the successful one if Ubuntu can make it attractive as X server. Unity is hampered by the hardware requirement and therefore, there is a good reason for others, more lightweight desktop managers to stick around.