While it does not make the operating system "literally unusable", it was unusual because colour emoji support was one of the big features of GNOME 3.26, the desktop environment Ubuntu switched to in its October release.
The reason for this omission was simple – the Ubuntu team just ran out of time before they could finish implementing the feature, which involved not just adding the relevant fonts to the system, but also updating various packages and libraries with versions that support the colour emoji feature.
As we reported earlier, the feature was then pushed from the 17.10 release to the 18.04 release, development on which has only just commenced. But even though work on the next big release of Ubuntu is only just starting, the Ubuntu team already has completed a lot of work on getting colour emoji into the operating system. Specifically, the Ubuntu team has merged the latest versions of font rendering packages, along with a new font that the operating system will use for its colour emoji.
The emoji font that the Ubuntu team chose was Google's Noto Color Emoji font, used in the latest versions of Android. This font features all the emoji from the latest Unicode 9.0 release, which added many new emoji, including many different animal emoji (such as hedgehogs!).
Ubuntu 18.04 is still in early development, but if you're willing to risk system stability for having your emoji be in colour, the feature should be added to 18.04's daily builds in the coming days.And if you're still annoyed by Google's new blobless emoji font, you can change it back on Android using the method we talk about here
What do you think? Happy to finally see colour emoji on Ubuntu? Let us know in the comments below!