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Canonical Unveils WebApps For Ubuntu 61

Posted by timothy
from the dislocation-dislocation-dislocation dept.
nk497 writes "Canonical has revealed a system to make web apps behave more like native applications in Ubuntu. The Ubuntu WebApps feature will 'allow applications that normally run in the web browser to have some functionality outside that browser, within the Ubuntu desktop,' product manager Pete Goddall said. Basically, sites can be pinned to the launcher — which sounds a bit like IE9's pinning system, but WebApps can also interact with the OS, displaying notifications for new messages in Gmail, interacting with Last.FM via Ubuntu's sound controls, and when right clicking on photos, including Facebook as an upload option. WebApps will land in 12.10 in October, but there will also be an add-on version for people staying on long-term support version 12.04."
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Canonical Unveils WebApps For Ubuntu

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  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @02:13PM (#40701857) Homepage

    Did those guys just re-invent Active-X controls?

  • Announcing the removal of the global menu?
    • by Anonymous Coward

      How about getting the source and doing it yourself. If you're waiting for someone else to do it, it's already proprietary.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It seems you wouldn't be able to google your way out of a paper bag, there's easy tweaks to disable the global menu that could probably be turned into a one liner.
      Anyways I like the global menu, and the launcher after turning it on autohide. No sacrifice in screen real estate and all of the features.

  • Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MonsterTrimble (1205334) <monstertrimble@[ ... m ['hot' in gap]> on Thursday July 19, 2012 @02:41PM (#40702213)

    My thought is that they just cloned a lot of what gets done on Android. The contacts are hooked into facebook & google, as well as numerous email and other things. Once you have it set up it's quite slick.

    The downside, of course, is that everyone gets a sniff of what you are *actually* doing with your computer and compiling info on the users. I have come to the conclusion that the future of the internet is that it will be dominated by information aggregators who will sell analyzed data to whomever has the money. Not actual information on individuals, but large statistics and the like.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I guess I'm just an old out-of-touch fogey with no clue how users want to user their computers these days.
      None of this makes any sense to me. I have no idea why anyone would want any of this functionality.
      And it's not like I'm some Linux command-line elitist or something. I use Kubuntu.

    • by Toad-san (64810)

      This is not good. Haven't the Ubuntu boys been watching how so many Windows applications [cough]Adobe[/cough] have tried to take over the world, do all things, and opened HUGE vulnerabilities for viruses, malware, exploitation? Yeah, the browsers too. Why do you think I have NoScript running on my Firefox browser even as we speak. And why NO Adobe programs are on my PC whatsoever (outside of Flash, which I haven't found a substitute for .. yet)?

      But noooo ...

      Morons.

  • Not again (Score:3, Funny)

    by JDG1980 (2438906) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @02:43PM (#40702235)

    Ubuntu: slavishly copying every bad idea that originates anywhere else!

  • Wasn't this already a feature of the newer GTK+ releases?
    • by gbjbaanb (229885)

      kinda makes sense really - Microsoft's latest GUI system uses XML formatted markup with some source "code behind" the controls to provide interaction. Sounds a lot like HTML markup with javascript behind to provide interaction.

      At least with HTML+JS you can take the majority of your code and run it on a website. Now if only it could all be compiled down to native code, we'd have a great system for programmer productivity (as we wouldn't have to code everything twice - once for the web side of things, once fo

  • My main problem with this is that it sounds too Ubuntu specific. It seems Canonical is trying to slowly build a separate branded desktop environment rather than contributing programs and patches to existing projects. The same goes for the Ubuntu app store. I wish Canonical would build more open and documented APIs so that other distros could easily plug in to them. Too many of Canonicals improvements seem to benefit just them. Linux is a group project.

    Hell, I'll go beyond thinking this should be more than
  • by organgtool (966989) on Thursday July 19, 2012 @03:32PM (#40702765)
    I thought the primary benefit of WebApps is that they are mostly platform-independent. So what benefit is there to introducing a platform-dependent API?
    • by Githaron (2462596)
      All the OS creators really need to get together and create a freely available specification for this kind of thing so that these types of APIs are not platform dependent.
    • by tibman (623933)

      The WebApps can be platform-independent but something has to sit on linux to handle the api calls. THAT part (unless it is also written in something platform independent) must be platform-dependent.

      • The WebApps can be platform-independent but something has to sit on linux to handle the api calls.

        I understand that - my point is that you're tainting code that was platform-independent with code that only works on one platform.

        THAT part (unless it is also written in something platform independent) must be platform-dependent.

        Why does that part need to be written at all? Why does a WebApp need access to anything at the OS level? I'm not trying to be a Luddite, but I do not understand why you wouldn't wri

        • This whole thing reeks of technologies that came out of Microsoft during the Nineties, such as Active-X, that provided unnecessary privileges to questionable applications. The technology was rarely necessary for legitimate applications but was exploited like crazy by developers of malicious code.

          Great, so when the Ubuntu users get slammed by malware, those of us using all of the other distros out there will get to put up with tons of smirking from the Win/Mac crowd about how "Linux" (read: Ubuntu) isn't at all secure. Just imagine how much fun it will be to explain this one to tech-clueless friends/family/clients after they see the Wired headlines...

        • by tibman (623933)

          The reason the webapp needs access beyond the webpage is so that is can become an "app" and not just a web page. For example, you can install a webapp that integrates into your systray or taskbar or right-click context menus. If you never want your apps to exist outside of your browser then you can simply use web sites and bypass the whole idea of webapps.

        • The WebApps can be platform-independent but something has to sit on linux to handle the api calls.

          I understand that - my point is that you're tainting code that was platform-independent with code that only works on one platform.

          That's a good point. The APIs are open and standard, so the hope is that different platforms can have their own native implementation.

          THAT part (unless it is also written in something platform independent) must be platform-dependent.

          Why does that part need to be written at all? Why does a WebApp need access to anything at the OS level? I'm not trying to be a Luddite, but I do not understand why you wouldn't write the entire program in a native language and provide better integration into the supported platform if you depend on such low-level access to the OS.(...)

          You don't necessarily need so much low level access or very tight integration: you just want to be neatly integrated into the GUI, so that a user barely needs to know that this is a web app rather than a real application. Gmail, for instance, is probably already in many ways the best email client available, but to use it i would want notifications arriving in the notification

        • Why does a WebApp need access to anything at the OS level?

          You haven't yet defined "operating system" to mean "kernel" or "operating environment"; this definition is a perennial debate. To avoid collapse of the discussion due to definition disagreement [c2.com], I'll address both meanings: A web application doesn't need access to anything at the kernel level, but I can explain why it would need access to something at the operating environment level. Say the operating system has a list of applications that are playing audio. A web application that plays audio needs to someho

  • "which sounds a bit like IE9's pinning system"

    Really? Creating webapp shortcuts on the desktop or taskbar, and the first analogy that comes to mind is IE9? Seriously? Especially since IE's pinning just puts a link on your taskbar, nothing close to Chrome's app shortcuts' feel/behavior (or previously the doomed Firefox's Prism/Webrunner/Chromeless stuff).
  • Ubuntu goes more and more into the wrong direction.
    I use KDE anyway, but i still have their patched gtk-libs and other stuff ... mint and other ubuntu forks are not an option, as they use the same packages. debian is slow with releases and only slowly adopting new tech.

    What other debian-forks are usable, which did not change to ubuntu as the base of their packets?

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