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Ubuntu Now Available On the Nexus 7 87

Posted by timothy
from the categorical-blurring dept.
An anonymous reader writes "Ubuntu for the Nexus 7 was released today and Ubuntu Member Benjamin Kerensa has provided photos and video of it in action." I wish the Nexus 7 had what most Android tablets lack: a full-size USB port (or SD card slot) to make such OS experimenting easier.
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Ubuntu Now Available On the Nexus 7

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  • Just use a usb OTG adapter.
    • Any time people talk about a problem with USB, somebody says "Just use USB OTG!" as if it were a magic fix for everything. In this case, the complaint is that the tablet has a tiny usb port. How on earth does that relate to OTG?

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Because it's as easy as having the right cable [amazon.com]

        Now you have a full-sized USB port. :-p

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by JanneM (7445)

        "How on earth does that relate to OTG?"

        Because you can connect an SD card reader, an USB memory or an USB hard drive for that matter, neatly resolving the original complaint which was about access to external storage: " (or SD card slot) ".

        • by fm6 (162816)

          And exactly how does that give the tablet "a full-size USB port"? But I guess that's Sloppy Editor for "USB A port", OTG is indeed a good substitute for. Dumb of me not to see that.

  • Useless (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:44PM (#41784811)

    I won't by a tablet unless it has a USB host and an SD slot. My $100 android phone has OTG and microSD, why can't they put those features in all tablets? It's not a cost issue, most ARM SoC have built in usb host and sd slots are as cheap as a 0.10 connector and a few PCB traces.

    Those designers should feel shame

    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      My Viewsonic G-Tablet is still a pretty nice piece of hardware.

      Unfortunately, my Vegan-TAB ROM doesn't have the loopback device module, so I can't run "Complete Linux Installer" on it to chroot to Debian like I can on my myTouch 3G Slide runing CM7.1

      Also pissed off that my new myTouch 4G Slide running CM9.1 also doesn't have a loopback device :/

      Almost pissed enough to compile my own? Someday...

    • Re:Useless (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Lumpy (12016) on Friday October 26, 2012 @09:14PM (#41785569) Homepage

      They do, you are just too much of a cheap bastard to buy one that does. ASUS and Fujitsu both make an X86 tablet that will run linux for you right now with no hacks that has USB host and SD card slots.

      They are $600-$900 and have been available for a long time now.

  • Finally! (Score:5, Funny)

    by scottbomb (1290580) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:46PM (#41784845) Journal

    A good platform for Unity.

    • I was just thinking it would be nice to see something other than Ubuntu ported to various Android and other devices for a change. Like Mint or Debian. But your post gave me a chuckle, Unity really does make some sense on an N7. It was funny to see the author surprised at the Amazon home page in Firefox though.

      • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Microlith (54737) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:22PM (#41785173)

        If Ubuntu works then virtually anything else will. All that matters at the lowest level is the kernel.

        The hard part is getting video to not suck as most of the GPUs have userspace blobs that only work with Android's libc. There's a means of making them work with X.org and glibc (libhybris) but I doubt many people will work on packaging them together.

        • That isn't nearly so true... If you've used many ARM devices, there are a lot of projects that take a little, to a lot of tweaking for a non x86 environment.
    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Interesting)

      by AvitarX (172628) <me AT brandywinehundred DOT org> on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:17PM (#41785115) Journal

      Does it work without mouseover now?

      I can't imagine using the menus at all on a tablet.

      contrary to popular opinion, unity is not a tablet interface, and requires a mouse. It didn't even allow access to the launcher without a mouse for a little bit.

      • by ndogg (158021)

        Actually, yes it is. In 12.10, the default is for the panel to stay open.

        • by AvitarX (172628)

          So, you're saying, that because 1.5 years (3 releases) after becoming the default desktop, it defaults to being tablet usable for the launcher it is a tablet interface?

          that wasn't even an option in the early (default) unity desktop (as in you couldn't have the launcher/switcher behave for a tablet even if you wanted it too.

          unity may be a terrible interface (i actually thing It's as good as any excepting windows 7, or maybe a highly configured kde as long as you only have 1 monitor), but is NOT designed for

      • by Knuckles (8964)

        "A core goal for Ubuntu 13.04 is to get Ubuntu running on a Nexus 7 tablet. To be clear, this is not going to be a tablet Unity interface running on the 8/16GB Nexus 7, but instead will focus on getting the current Ubuntu Desktop running on the Nexus so that we can ensure pieces such as the kernel, power management and other related areas are working effectively on a tablet device.

        Topics such as battery life, memory footprint, and support for sensors are all areas in which needs and expectations vary widely

    • Re:Finally! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by emblemparade (774653) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:23PM (#41785183)

      A desktop shell is a very small part of the experience. Try sending an email using Thunderbird via a tablet, and you'll quickly see the problems... What Ubuntu needs in order to be a good tablet OS is an application ecosystem, at the very least the basic stuff.

      Thing is, having a relatively cheap reference platform (mature distro on an ARM tablet) will allow a lot of devs an opportunity to make touch-friendly version of their apps. And, a few years from now, we might have a smoother experience between desktops/tablets/phones.

      The advantages of having a single platform for all are mostly for the devs; but when devs are happy, the benefits trickle down to users, too, who have a much more vibrant ecosystem. This is exactly what MS is doing with Win 8/RT.

      Would also be great to see Ubuntu support running Android apps! Lets have the best of both worlds!

  • You can do SD & USB (Score:5, Informative)

    by Omegium (576650) on Friday October 26, 2012 @07:58PM (#41784955)
    Just use this (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Micro-USB-OTG-Host-Cable-Adapter-for-Galaxy-S2-SII-i9100-/330752145575?ssPageName=ADME:L:OU:NL:3160) or any of the hundreds of equivalent OTG adapters.

    Pick up a usb SD reader (I bought one a couple of years ago for under 10 euro)

    Root your device, and you have anything you want on your Nexus 7. I have tried USB stick, SD card, USB keyboard and mouse, and charging my phone. It al works.

    The most difficult part is keeping your nerve while rooting. The process itself is easy, but still, your glad when you're finished and you have not bricked your device.
    • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Friday October 26, 2012 @08:34PM (#41785257)

      do these $3 OTG cables enable charging at the same time as acting as a host?

      i.e. the single micro usb port typically plugs into a mains outlet to charge. Is it possible to plug your mains adapter into a 'powered' usb hub, then plug your phone via an OTG cable into that hub? Both drawing power and accessing usb devices such as keyboards, mice, sd cards?

      phone [hub powering 3 or so usb devices]----------------- mains power

      i.e. I wouldn't want to run an Ubuntu system that only ran for 90 minutes because one had to connect one's charger!

    • Root your device, and you have anything you want on your Nexus 7.

      Why should I have to?

      All this talk of Android being "open" and giving the user "freedom" and then you admit in the next sentence that rooting is a risk to the device.

      No-one has ever clearly stated why these devices are so locked-down out of the factory. Why is it? Why?

      • by Anonymous Coward

        No-one has ever clearly stated why these devices are so locked-down out of the factory. Why is it? Why?

        1: Brand protection. Especially true for telephony devices which are typically re-branded by an operator who wants some guarantees that the end user cannot easily undo the operator's tweaking. Also true if you buy an Android device straight from the manufacturer since they invest in their own extra features to differentiate and build brand.

        2: Predictable support requirements. It is just not feasible to build support centers that can help users with any kind of technical request. If the user has to explicitl

      • by marcello_dl (667940) on Saturday October 27, 2012 @05:17AM (#41787813) Homepage Journal

        Because control over a device means it is you, and not the manufacturer or the carrier or the os maker, that decides when it's getting obsolete.

        This is the first reason for google, apple, microsoft, to do the same "mistakes" at the same time, forfeiting an established base of pc users.

        The subtle reason is that under the labels "mobile" and "cloud" there is a movement to end the personal computing era, and return to a client/server model. I don't think the reasons for that are exclusively commercial. Think about 1984, with the added bonus that even the proles buy portable telescreens for themselves and are proud to show off the more capable models.

      • No-one has ever clearly stated why these devices are so locked-down out of the factory. Why is it? Why?

        Well, the Nexus 7 (which is what TFA is about) isn't locked down at all, and neither is any other Nexus-banded hardware. Unlocking is simply a matter of attaching the device to the computer and typing "fastboot oem unlock", at which point the device will prompt you with a screen asking you to confirm. It really is as simple and as easy as that.

        It's 100% safe as it's functionality that's intentionally built into the device -- being able to unlock and root is one of the selling points of the Nexus line, and

      • by Anonymous Coward

        You actually don't need to root the Nexus to do this. The Nexus bootloader is easily unlocked by connecting via USB and typing "fastboot oem unlock". Hope that helped.

  • Does this special version of Ubuntu have non-crap touch input?

    I've loaded 12.04 and 12.10 on my Iconia W500 and it's never worked right. From the launcher breaking and never appearing again once the screen is touched to the Onscreen keyboard not actually supporting multitouch, as much as people claim that Unity is for tablets it doesn't work very well.

  • > I wish the Nexus 7 had what most Android tablets lack: a full-size USB port (or SD card slot) to make such OS experimenting easier.

    *Sigh*. Really? *Really?* You want to ruin the design by putting an oversized USB socket just because it would save 1 person in hundreds of thousands from having to buy an adapter? Which you probably own anyway?

  • Jelly Bean just works so damn well on the Nexus 7 that I'm finding myself wishing I could run it on a desktop. Lack of desktop apps? Just porting GTK and Qt should ensure plenty of them. If only Google would give up Chrome OS..
    • by ChunderDownunder (709234) on Friday October 26, 2012 @11:56PM (#41786589)

      Efforts to port Qt and Wayland to Android are progressing.

      As I understand, this is hampered by Google creating its own libc implementation to provide just enough support to run dalvik on top of it for an under-resourced phone platform in 2007.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Exactly right. Bionic is the single worst technical decision in Android, from a free/open source interoperability perspective. It should be a priority to replace it with glibc so that the full ecosystem of desktop and server applications can be brought over.

        I think it would be pretty cool to have a .deb or .rpm based tablet that runs Android apps in their own windows on a regular X11 desktop, has a WCDMA or LTE modem built in and supports Bluetooth headsets, mouses and keyboards.

    • by ami.one (897193)
      So true.. No high end phone even comes close to N7 with JB. Just some desktop apps & 3G and it would be perfect.
  • At last! (Score:5, Funny)

    by Denogh (2024280) on Friday October 26, 2012 @10:32PM (#41786121)
    And Unity finally makes the natural leap from unusable PC desktop environment to laggy, buggy tablet interface.
    • Whoever modded this +1:funny obviously has not tried it. Otherwise it would be -1:not funny at all, or +5:Informative
      • I often miss the option to mod something "Sad but true".
        Funny I guess is the closest option. ;)

    • by epSos-de (2741969)
      Actually and sadly, you are correct. Ubunty Unity has tricked me to believe that it will be good for the touchy-screen with touch, but in the real world it ended up being less ready for the world than Android. My dreams of buying a flexible tablet with Ubuntu or Xubuntu for surfing and reading are crushed.
  • Surely this will be the year of Linux on the tablet.
  • This Android device has full size USB and MicroSD slot. It's perfect in every way. http://www.asus.com/Tablet/Transformer_Pad/ASUS_Transformer_Pad_Infinity_TF700T/#specifications [asus.com] I would love to have Ubuntu running on it.

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