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Operating Systems Ubuntu GUI Handhelds Linux Hardware

Canonical Developing Ubuntu OS For Tablets 228

Posted by timothy
from the wheels-spinning-all-the-time dept.
snydeq writes "Canonical is preparing a version of the Ubuntu OS for tablet computers as the company looks to extend its presence in the mobile space, InfoWorld reports. The OS will be a lightweight version of Linux with a simplified, touch-friendly user interface, and tablets with the Ubuntu OS could become available late in winter 2011. The focus will be on developing an OS with a simplified user interface that provides quick access to the most-used applications. Development efforts will also focus on adding on-screen keyboard features and compatibility for multitouch drivers."
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Canonical Developing Ubuntu OS For Tablets

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  • HELL YES! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:02PM (#32517614) Homepage Journal

    AFAIK you can install your own version of Ubuntu onto the Joojoo, which is way cheaper than an iPad but has decent enough hardware specs.. this could be really awesome!

  • So... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Monkeedude1212 (1560403) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:03PM (#32517626) Journal

    What about getting it ON a Tablet? Anybody agreed to or even thinking about putting Ubuntu on their tablet?

    I don't see a lot of people wanting to buy a tablet only to replace the existing OS.

    Though it'd be nice to get some kind of slate for a cheap price - this should cut down the price by $100, if Ubuntu can get someone on board with it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:12PM (#32517730)

    When will comapnaies/websites with worldwide audiences wake up and realise that usign terms like 'ready in the winter' is NOT conducive to setting expectations equally? 'Winter' is completely relative to where in the world you are located.
    How about using something somewhat universally acepted like '3rd quarter', or even better - state the damned month directly and give youyself an actual target/deadline!

  • by neiras (723124) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:15PM (#32517762)

    I hope they hire a UI designer who isn't an Apple admirer. We need fresh ideas [youtube.com]...

  • Window Buttons (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chargersfan420 (1487195) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:17PM (#32517780)
    I wonder if anyone over at Canonical is now thinking this:
    "Okay, so we're now designing a touch-screen version. Considering how many right-handed people are out there, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to move the window controls to the left-hand side of the screen."

    Doesn't seem so ergonomic anymore, now, does it?
  • Re:Why so long? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:17PM (#32517784) Homepage Journal

    No-one gives a shit about tablet computers. Never have.

  • Re:Window Buttons (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IANAAC (692242) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:20PM (#32517816)

    I wonder if anyone over at Canonical is now thinking this: "Okay, so we're now designing a touch-screen version. Considering how many right-handed people are out there, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to move the window controls to the left-hand side of the screen."

    You can change that. You know that, right?

  • Re:Why so long? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cupantae (1304123) <maroneill@gmai[ ]om ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:28PM (#32517920)

    *sigh*

    FIRST of all, tablet PC's are over 10 years old.

    Second of all, the reason FOSS always seem to be behind Win/Mac is that when there is a FOSS project which is pioneering something, it is usually not advertised and ignored until one of these companies comes along and claims to have invented it. When MS/Apple pioneer something, they spend millions telling the world about it. It then becomes relevant to people that there is a FOSS version of this famous thing.

    So, in summary:
    FOSS comes first -> not a big deal until the others do it.
    Proprietary comes first -> FOSS are lagging behind.

    Mmmkay?

  • Re:X11? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:39PM (#32518018)

    Does anyone remember X11 running a 486-100mhz with 16Meg of memory?

    Have you actually measured the performance/overhead of rendering on X11?

    Then you suggest Android...

  • by kwabbles (259554) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @06:54PM (#32518138)

    Including/excluding modules doesn't constitute a kernel fork or a "different version". That's like saying you rolled your own version of Windows by removing the network driver.

    I'm not sure why he got modded troll - he's absolutely correct. TFA summary makes it sound like Linux is an operating system.

  • Wait why exactly is a scroll bar bad? Given sane restrictions on how small the scroller can be, it offers a pretty decent way of getting directly to any vertical or horizontal location when presented with more information than the computer can handle. Yes obviously gestures can be used for relative scrolling (Scroll up from here, down from here, etc.) - the beauty of a scroll bar is the potential for either the "tap and you're there" functionality often associated with playback position for audio/video, sometimes volume level, etc. - as well as a "tap and you've scrolled a great distance" functionality more familiar to say, a word processor or web browser, allowing you to click or tap in one place and quickly scroll to that place, covering pages at a time, and stopping when it reaches your absolute position. It seems to me that, in the case of viewing a substantially large amount of information, the combination between a scroll bar and a gesture for scrolling would in fact be QUITE powerful.
  • Re:Why so long? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by chilvence (1210312) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:03PM (#32518222)

    FOSS is more than that, its primary tangible benfit is that it keeps people safe from being milked for every penny they are worth for everyday software that everyone should get the benefit of. Without it there wouldn't be innovation, know that too.

  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:13PM (#32518310)

    8.04's focus was stability.
    9.04's focus was netbooks.
    9.10's focus was cloud computing.
    10.04's focus was pretty themes (and apparently dyslexia).
    10.10's focus is now tablets.

    Am I the only one that thinks that a Linux distro should stick with focusing on doing one thing very well? Seems all of these half-baked ideas are just late-night bong-induced dreams that get left at the wayside 6 months later. You just end up getting a bunch of "won't fix" bugs in LP because "the focus is now release+1". /me grows weary of this runaround...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:18PM (#32518338)

    Who really gives a shit if Ubuntu copies Apple? Apple is the market leader in some areas, like UI for example, but their shit is expensive and non-free. They make locked down shit that I would never purchase (for myself) or use. Canonical makes a distribution of a free operating system that anyone can use, and they are steadily trying to improve it. If Canonical can make something to emulate the market leader in UI design, and their product is also FREE, then what is the problem with that? I can't see how that is NOT a good thing for the average person. Apple may not like it because they are trying to make money, but I don't think we should shed any tears over that.

    It's not like you have to use this tablet OS, anyway. You can use the standard Ubuntu UI if you choose to. That's the nice thing about having a choice, and choices are something that Apple will never willingly give you if you buy their products. I, personally, don't care for dumbed-down interfaces. I didn't care for the netbook remix on my netbook so I installed full-blown Ubuntu on it. If I ever get a "tablet" (i.e. a regular netbook with a touchscreen, not any of this faggy no-keyboard ipad crap), then I will most likely run regular GNOME or KDE on that as well. For my grandma, sure, I will give her Ubuntu Tablet Edition or an ipad or whatever. She would benefit from the simplistic UI and lack of options to confuse her. It's nice that the option is there for those who want it, but that doesn't mean I have to use it.

  • Re:Why so long? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by blair1q (305137) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:23PM (#32518398) Journal

    FIRST of all, tablet PC's are over 10 years old.

    Sure. But what cool technology ever hits the big time on its first birthday?

    PCs were around for 15 years before the web sold them to your grandma's friends.

    Tablet PCs before the iPad were clunky and slow computers with weird connectivity and someone trying to pump you up for balky character recognition as their greatest feature.

    Now they're big-screen smartphones, and everyone wants one.

  • by SethJohnson (112166) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:47PM (#32518624) Homepage Journal
    Don't think the business model will work. Let's use the iPad as an example. The OS isn't the expensive part of that product. Apple sells the iPad for $499 with the understanding that the purchaser will likely buy several apps and many movies through iTunes. You put Ubuntu on there, and the user can apt-get to bypass the App store. Same with movies.

    The other problem is that tablets are media consumption devices, and Netflix doesn't work on Ubuntu.

    Using Linux isn't going to save any hardware manufacturer a significant component cost. And since Android is there for free, there's not a good business argument for bundling Ubuntu.

    Seth
  • Re:HELL YES! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by History's Coming To (1059484) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:48PM (#32519012) Journal
    I entirely get your point. However, if you stop paying Apple whatever they ask in the future, then the iPad loses functionality. This doesn't happen with an OS like Ubuntu or any other free distro.
  • Cold (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:23PM (#32519284)

    Indeed, the winters in Ecuador sure are cold [pfluegl.at].

  • by human-cyborg (450395) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:34PM (#32519324)

    Ubuntu's one main focus has always been on ease of use of the average user (read: people who are generally not aware of Linux, or even Windows for that matter*) People want a stable experience, that runs on their netbook, stores their stuff so that they can always access it, and looks good while doing it.

    Are you saying that 10.04 is unstable, doesn't work at all on a netbook, and has no support for cloud computing?

    I wouldn't say these are half-baked ideas, I'd say they're more like milestones. I don't think that a distro should focus too much on doing one thing very well, as it will inevitably leave other things very lacking. Ubuntu is going after people who don't have specific interests in any one aspect of computing. These people rate their computer experience not by how well their computer does a task, but by how badly it does it. In short, people won't notice if Ubuntu does something extremely well, they'll just assume that's normal. They will, however, notice when the list of failures starts to grow too long.

    This is why I use Debian. It does many things very well :P

    * User calls the office: My email is broken.
    (several minutes go by as I try to figure out what's wrong with their mail program, just to find out that they don't actually know what a mail program is or what they normally do to check their mail. How people /know/ that their mail is "broken" when they don't actually know how to check their mail is beyond me.)
    Me: We should check that your Internet connection is working. Do you know what operating system you are using?
    User: Uhh... Dell.
    Me: No. What shows up on screen when you first turn your computer on? Do you see blue with clouds and the words Windows XP?
    User: I don't know.
    Me: Is your computer on now?
    User: No.
    Me: Can you turn it on?
    User: No, the computer's at home and I'm at work.
    Me: (facepalms) Bring your computer into our office and we'll sort it out for you. (Turns out it was Windows 2000, what fun.)

  • by TheDarkener (198348) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:35PM (#32519330)

    A useful OS needs to do *MANY* things well. And the UI must be at least not hell to work with, not everyone does everything in a terminal and uses Pine to read their mail... Window GUIs exist because many people prefer them, they should elegant and well designed.

    Agreed. That, however, has nothing to do with the fact that each release has steered the entire distribution in a completely different direction.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:49PM (#32519436)

    http://www.ubuntu.com/news/ubuntu-for-mobile-internet-devices [ubuntu.com]

    TAIPEI, Taiwan, June 7, 2007 - Canonical Ltd., the commercial sponsor of Ubuntu, announced more details on Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded Edition at Computex 2007 in Taipei.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @11:44PM (#32520046) Journal

    This is where you get into scaring away real users with semantics arguments like this. This is where the year of the Linux desktop never comes around.

  • Re:HELL YES! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sootman (158191) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:51AM (#32520420) Homepage Journal

    Wow. Nothing personal but I can't imagine how you've been nodded up... TWICE. What do you need to pay in the future? What has Apple announced they would do along these lines? You buy an iPad today and it will function as it does forever without ever talking to Apple again. Please specify exactly what functionality will get turned off if you don't send Apple money above and beyond the initial purchase price.

    Considering that the JooJoo's manufacturer is likely to go out of business before the warranty expires on the first tablet they shipped, I'd go so far as to say that the iPad is a much safer investment.

  • Re:Window Buttons (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday June 10, 2010 @05:32AM (#32521666)


    I wonder if anyone over at Canonical is now thinking this:
    "Okay, so we're now designing a touch-screen version. Considering how many right-handed people are out there, maybe it wasn't such a good idea to move the window controls to the left-hand side of the screen."

    You can change that. You know that, right?

    Yes, and a million potential users of the Ubuntu tablet will Google the instructions to move the controls to the right, sift through tens of incomplete/made up/incomprehensible HOWTOs, execute the arcane instructions, edit config files hidden under /etc/swizzlestick/config_broker/beware_of_leopard/FIXME/ and restart the X server.

    Or they will go buy an iPad and leave you wondering what went wrong.

  • Re:Why so long? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by insertwackynamehere (891357) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @10:07AM (#32523774) Journal

    All of your arguments rely on the concept that if something is marketed or pushed onto the population, it should be disqualified from the success race. It ignores that fact that this is exactly why anything would succeed; that and the fact that they made it to an already popular design (the iPhone). It combined two things; a device that already is similar enough to something already used by customers and hype. Apple has succeeded more than any other company in popularizing and selling a tablet. Because of it's popularity, others are now trying to piggy back off Apple's success now that they have paved the way for it with advertising. You really don't have a coherent argument here; at the end of your post you say "see I can do that" and replace Apple with Ubuntu in a quote I had in which I say everyone is now just playing catchup to Apple. The fact is, people aren't playing catch up to Ubuntu, creator of the uPad, so I don't quite understand your point. If Ubuntu and some hardware developer released an extremely successful tablet (let's say Asus built it) and then Apple rushed in with the iPad shortly afterwards, then Ubuntu would have paved the trail.

    There may have been other tablets before the iPad, but none of them had such widespread hype. You even agree to this. But seeing as how that is my point, I don't know why you are arguing. Apple hyped up the iPad a lot. Apple sold millions of iPads within months of launch. Now everyone else wants to compete. This is fact. Any other tablets from X years ago are obsolete. They may have seen moderate success when they came out but where are they now and what did they do to really strongarm the market into competing with them? Why didn't Ubuntu come out with a tablet OS then?

    Furthermore, Apple is important in the mobile world too. I know other companies are also important and the shift to mobile computing has been going on for a while, but Apple has forced ATT to expand their infrastructure and the iPhone and now iPad userbase has redefined mobile user in the sense that they use the most data out of any smart phone user out their. I know they are singlehandedly redefining mobile computing, but they have managed to strongarm American cellular providers, directly with ATT and by extension the rest of them because of the change in the marketplace. This is a great direction because it means that infrastructures will be built and artificial prices will drop for data transfer in the long run, leading to a world where mobile computing is faster, easier and less expensive in general.

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