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Ubuntu For Tablets Announced 148

Posted by timothy
from the it-does-look-sweet dept.
hypnosec writes "Keeping its promise from yesterday Ubuntu has announced an operating system for tablets dubbed 'Ubuntu for Tablets' that it says will work on tablets of any size. Advertised to work on both entry level tablets as well as high-end tablets with enterprise specifications, the operating system offers multitasking, safer sharing, instant launch of applications through the menu bar on the left, effortless switching between applications among other features." The tablet version of the OS will also be presented at Mobile World Congress later this month. Also featured at SlashCloud.
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Ubuntu For Tablets Announced

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  • Ehhh (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    And still no OEM partners like with the Ubuntu TV that we were going to be able to buy by the end of last year. This is going fail and fail hard. Maybe Canonical will then just go away and stop trying to push spyware on people.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:10PM (#42946031)

    Considering it's CLEARLY not for desktops anymore.

  • Could Nokia have a tablet in the works? If so could they release them with Ubuntu or would their Microsoft agreement limit them to Windows on those as well?
    • Not holding my breath, considering that Nokia had a real linux smartphone and failed to market/properly develop it, all before the deadly embrace with MS (Ok it might not be deadly but most microsoft partners ended up screwed at one point, yes?).

      • Re:Nokia Tablet (Score:5, Informative)

        by dwater (72834) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:33PM (#42946317)

        ...real linux smartphone

        Two, in fact (three if you count the n950)...not to mention their predecessors which were Internet *tablets*.

        • by fatphil (181876)
          Nokia had an internet tablet (a real one, not a PDA-sized one) about a decade ago. It was alas way ahead of the market. (Microsoft did too which has similar "success".)
          • by dwater (72834)

            I think that's what I was saying...but they had not one internet tablet, but a few...iirc 770, n800, n810, then the n900 which took a sim card so was a phone.

            • by fatphil (181876)
              No, way before the n770. And no, a proper tabled, not a PDA-format one.
              • by dwater (72834)

                there was no 'n770' - it was just '770', but do tell more about the one you're talking about :)

                • by fatphil (181876)
                  I hate to do this, but I have to point you in the direction of Tomi Ahonen's god-awful blog. During the height of his ranting about a year or two ago, whilst focussed on showing how Nokia was so far advanced compared to Apple, he mentioned such things. (You can tell, I'm not prepared to wade through his gibbering to find it.)
                  • by dwater (72834)

                    I don't see any mention of a Nokia tablet. He mentions MeeGo tablets, but, iinm, those aren't Nokia ones - the N9 (and N950) were the only MeeGo branded devices "made available" my Nokia. Everything prior to that was Maemo. The MeeGo running on the tablets was the effort of Intel (though, I suppose there was some Nokia effort included from the attempt to merge Maemo and MeeGo).

                    Was it some other tablet reference you mean?

                    • by fatphil (181876)
                      The 770 wasn't even "maemo", it was "osso" IIRC. It's entirely possible the early 2000s tablet never reached the market I know that Nokia was discussing such devices with its partners back at the time, and that instances of it have been seen (and touched).
                    • by dwater (72834)

                      Osso, indeed :) I'd forgotten that (before my time there)...I did have a baseball cap, but lost it during a visit to Sachsenhausen :(

                      Interesting about the 'big' tablet...never saw or heard anything of it.

    • by citizenr (871508)

      Nokia is forced (by retarded agreement) to buy more M$ licenses that they are currently able to use. Why would they use another os when they are already sitting on unused M$ ones (and M$ will do marketing for them).

    • by gmuslera (3436)

      Nokia had back to 2005 [wikipedia.org] a good Linux tablet already, and kept releasing improved versions of it till 2009 [wikipedia.org]. Then went into suicidal mode.

      The next one releasing a native linux tablet with WebOS was HP with the Touchpad, and then they got crazy too.

      Probably the best strategy for tablet manufacturers regarding Linux is to release them under some base, useful enough OS (i.e. Android) and let all drivers/boot/etc open enough to enable users to install on them the Linux flavor they want if need something better,

      • Probably the best strategy for tablet manufacturers regarding Linux is to release them under some base, useful enough OS (i.e. Android) and let all drivers/boot/etc open enough to enable users to install on them the Linux flavor they want if need something better, be this Ubuntu, openWebOS, Mer, KDE Plasma Active or another.

        Ubuntu tablet edition, openWebOS, Nemo (formerly-known-as Meego Handset Ux), Plasma Active are all Qt-on-Linux solutions. So since the basic libraries are common, installing a 'flavor

        • by gmuslera (3436)

          Should be that way, but could be specific things even at the very bottom that could be different too, i.e. if something on the upper layer depends on certain kernel compile options, or not sure if the rest will support android device drivers directly as seem that Ubuntu will support (and if those are something more/different than usual linux device drivers/modules).

          And not forget that will be a lot of desktop environment specific programs, installing 2 will mean that you will be able to select from your in

  • Advertised to work on both entry level tablets as well as high-end tablets with enterprise specifications, the operating system offers multitasking, safer sharing, instant launch of applications through the menu bar on the left, effortless switching between applications among other features."

    I would modify the above piece to read...

    Advertised to work on both entry level tablets as well as high-end tablets with enterprise specifications, the operating system offers multitasking, safer sharing, instant launch of applications through the menu bar on the left, effortless switching between applications among other features just like Linux does. "

    And we all know how Linux is [generally] doing, right?

    • Linux is doing freaking fantastic - it's under the bonnet in every Android phone and tablet, every Smart TV, many set top boxes, virtually every domestic piece of network gear, the majority of web servers, a large number of application servers, etc, etc, etc.

      It's not doing so well on the desktop, but the desktop, as we are constantly reminded, is becoming a niche item.

      A user environment that manages to offer a coherent - but not stupidly consistent [1] - experience on the three big devices - phone, tablet,

  • In the video on their website, Mark Shuttleworth bears a striking resemblance to Steve Jobs.

    I thought that was pretty amazing.

    • by rasmusbr (2186518)

      Well, I guess there is a a little bit of resemblance.

      Now that I think about it he looks like someone sawed Steve's and Linus's heads in halves and attached Linus's top half on top of Steve's bottom half.

    • by dwater (72834)

      I didn't think so, though it did occur to me to make the comparison, so perhaps there's something there.

    • by dwater (72834)

      I noticed he waves his hands about too much - a pet peeve of mine :)

    • by admdrew (782761)
      ...I was thinking Denholm [youtube.com] from The IT Crowd.
      • by fatphil (181876)
        And you'd be right. The hair and ebullience may be different, but there's something that they unmistakably share.
  • on the desktop is here!! oh wait
  • by DdJ (10790) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @01:38PM (#42946361) Homepage Journal

    I've got a Nook Color tablet, in part because its boot loader is not locked. I can pop in a microSD card with an arbitrary OS (that supports the hardware) on it, and no DRM or cryptography or "secure boot" stuff is there to prevent it from just loading up.

    Today, I use this with a stack of microSD cards with different versions of CyanogenMod installed, to be able to rapidly test code on completely different versions of Android.

    Anyone know if I'll ever (or soon) be able to boot up Ubuntu on this device the same way? (If so, I'm in, but I'm not buying new hardware just for this OS.)

    • by DdJ (10790)

      Never mind -- the minimum specs are so far beyond what the Nook Color offers that device driver support and the like would be a moot question.

      How many tablets meet the minimum specs and don't have locked bootloaders in firmware?

  • The Canonical website wasn't very clear on this, so can someone comment: given that I have an Android tablet w/ a stack of GooglePlay apps, what happens if I install UbuntuTablet on my hardware? Can I log into GooglePlay & get my apps and credentials (what's paid for and so on) back?

    I suppose I really should be asking what will happen if I try to put Ubuntu on my actual tablet-- Onda, A10 based :-( .

    • Ubuntu is not Android, so no. Not that it's impossible for Ubuntu to have an Android compatibility layer, but even if it did, it's unlikely Google would support it (ie the Play Store wouldn't be available.)
      • by Psyborgue (699890)
        Google hasn't interfered with the Play Store running on things like Cyanogen Mod, as long as it's not bundled. Why would they do it here? Besides: Amazon has an android app store. What's preventing them from selling apps directly to Ubuntu users? It would benefit both Ubuntu and Amazon by having such a compatibility layer. It would be even nicer if Google could partner with Canonical so searching for an app through the lenses would yield results for both stores. Users could choose the cheaper price.
        • by admdrew (782761)

          I think squiggleslash's comment that Google is unlikely to support it is true; they don't support cyanogenmod, nor do they support any of their apps running on any modded versions of Android. Doesn't mean they're preventing it from happening, just means they're not officially backing it.

          What's preventing them from selling apps directly to Ubuntu users?

          At this stage, it's probably not worth it for either Amazon or Google to work with Canonical on this type of support.

          • by cellocgw (617879)

            I guess the "sensible" thing to do, then, is put UbuntuTablet on an SD card, boot from there, and see how GooglePlay and AmazonStore work out.

            • by admdrew (782761)

              Keep in mind that Ubuntu and Android are completely and intentionally unrelated OSes. It's like wanting all of your purchased Windows apps to run on OS X (and vice versa), or your Google Play apps on iOS devices. Some technical possibilities exist to do this, but those are hacks or workarounds.

              I'm not saying that Android apps on Ubuntu shouldn't ever be possible, I just think it's silly to assume they *should* work just because this flavor of Ubuntu runs on tablets that were originally intended for Android.

        • Google has played nice with CyanogenMod but they don't officially support it, and moreover they consider CyanogenMod a version of Android (because it is, it's AOSP plus some bits that don't affect compatability, not bits of AOSP in something else.) Google has been fairly hostile towards operating systems that have compatability layers but that aren't, essentially, Android systems.

          They're right, in fact, to take on this policy. Google runs the Play Store not just for the benefit of users, but also develop

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      The same thing will happen as when you install Ubuntu Desktop on a machine with Windows 7- your Windows programmes will disappear. They are different operating systems- Android apps will almost certainly not run on it, and even if they did it would be very unlikely that you'd be able to simply install Google Play and go. As on a desktop, dual booting may be an option.

      It is possible to run Linux (I've seen it done with Debian, but the principal should be universal) on Android in a chroot, using VNC to displa

  • by Psyborgue (699890) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:05PM (#42946591) Homepage Journal
    Without this, I can't see much adoption. Who wants to buy a tablet if it has no apps? Linux has plenty, sure, but are they optimized for a tablet interface? Given that it's already a linux kernel, wouldn't it be possible to add the dalvik VM and run android apps? So far as I undrestand, this was the case with the previous Nexus 7 iteration of Ubuntu. Why was this changed? If they release this for Nexus 7, i'll probably run it off a USB stick if possible, but I won't flash it over android unless there is some compatibility there. Simply put, I've purchased Android apps, and I don't want to lose those.
    • Without this, I can't see much adoption. Who wants to buy a tablet if it has no apps? Linux has plenty, sure, but are they optimized for a tablet interface? Given that it's already a linux kernel, wouldn't it be possible to add the dalvik VM and run android apps? So far as I undrestand, this was the case with the previous Nexus 7 iteration of Ubuntu. Why was this changed? If they release this for Nexus 7, i'll probably run it off a USB stick if possible, but I won't flash it over android unless there is some compatibility there. Simply put, I've purchased Android apps, and I don't want to lose those.

      Debian had a boatload of apps available via apt-get before Ubuntu existed. It will run all of them. And all the apps that were added to the Ubuntu ecosystem since then should also run.

      Being that all the "legacy" apps are open source, they should be relatively easily ported across architectures, as opposed to Win8 which won't run legacy code on ARM.

      Ubuntu is far better poised than you give them credit for

      • by squiggleslash (241428) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @02:52PM (#42946941) Homepage Journal

        Tablet apps require their own UIs. I don't think the availability of ordinary desktop GNOME apps can really be considered part of the pile when evaluating software support for a tablet running Ubuntu.

        • The ability to run Windows apps is a selling feature for Win8 tablets, and not a small one.

          Ubuntu could run Windows apps in Wine on ARM, where Win8 does not.

          And, it can run every single app they inherited from Debian.

          I disagree with your assessment.

          • The ability to run Windows apps is a selling feature for Win8 tablets, and not a small one.

            Yes, it is a feature, and very useful when you have a keyboard and mouse available.

            However, these are still not Windows 8 tablet apps. If they were, they'd work when there is no keyboard or mouse available.

            I disagree with your assessment.

            That's, apparently, because you don't know the difference between a tablet and a laptop.

      • by Psyborgue (699890) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:00PM (#42947011) Homepage Journal
        You miss my point, which is that while plenty of linux apps already exist, few have table compatible UIs. You're also leaving out the fact that many commercial apps and games, such as Steam and World of Goo, for example, are for the moment x86 only, and are likely to remain that way unless there is enough adoption of Ubuntu Tablet to justify a port (assuming it requires more than just a recompile, which is likely). My prediction is without Android compatibility, no tablet manufacturer will adopt Ubuntu, and without significant adoption, no developers of existing Linux apps will bother writing new UIs for Ubuntu Tablet. You absolutely need to start off a new mobile OS with a rich selection of appropriate (eg. Tablet UI) apps or you're dead in the water.
    • by Zigurd (3528)

      Android app compatibility is available for Linux in several forms: You can install an Android distro in a virtualization container, Canonical's "Ubuntu for Android," Open Mobile's ACL (disclosure, I used to be CTO there), and others.

      My view of the best way to do this (and not surprising that this is how Open Mobile does it) is that Android can be integrated into "foreign" desktop environments as if it were a Java SE-like runtime environment.

      As for how I would want to use Ubuntu on a tablet, I would put it o

      • by Psyborgue (699890)
        None of those solutions, so far as has been said, will be set up or bundled with Ubuntu Desktop. I get there is almost always a way to do something in Linux, but that won't matter if it isn't already set up when a person buys a tablet. They want to click on the Google Play store (or perhaps search these through a lens, which I find very cool) and download apps. If there is going to be any significant adoption of Ubuntu desktop, this needs to be bundled in, even if means paying the "Google Tax". Even Ama
    • by mcrbids (148650)

      Simply put, I've purchased Android apps, and I don't want to lose those.

      I have several Android devices all linked to the same google account. I'm able to access apps I've purchased interchangeably on all of them. I have

      1) a Droid 2 Razr Maxx HD (that I LOVE),

      2) a Samsung Stratosphere that I was happy to replace,

      3) an Acer Iconia 7" tablet.

      With the exception that the Stratosphere won't play the 3D games, I'm able to share my stuff between them.

  • by updatelee (244571) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @03:23PM (#42947237) Homepage

    This is as Linux as Android is. Hell Android is probably more Linux this this.

    I just dont understand why these mobile OS's keep wanting to force developers into a specific language. Android push's Java hard (ewe) sure you can use the NDK but from my perspective its not as straight forward as youd think. iOS push's Objective-C. and now Ubuntu mobile OS is pushing QML/Javascript/HTML5.

    Sure you can make a webpage that does basic calculations or simple animations. But real raw data crunching within JS? seriously ? thats such a joke its not even funny. If all I wanted was a notepad, calender app, and a webbrowser then Id just continue using Android.

    Show me a FFT JS implementation thats anywhere near as fast as C/C++. I write only in C/C++ and have zero interest in JS or Java, zero. Im not going to waste my time learning a new language that just anoy me.

    Id love to see how JS interacts with low level stuff like gpio's, serial, usb etc. Oh there's a lib for that? what if there isnt... then what? wait out? thats not the point of open source, your supposed to be able todo whatever you want.

    Linux imo is popular with developers because we can write whatever we want in whatever language we choose. Linux isnt supposed to force you into anything, why do all these linux mobile OS's feel the need todo so.

    UDL

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The developer info on the Ubuntu website says that you can use C/C++ for apps that need performance and QML/JS/HTML5 for lightweight, website wrapper type stuff.

    • by exomondo (1725132)

      This is as Linux as Android is. Hell Android is probably more Linux this this.

      What do you mean 'Linux'? When you say that it seems you're referring to the userland and platform specific tools, the stuff in a Linux distro that isn't Linux?

      I just dont understand why these mobile OS's keep wanting to force developers into a specific language.

      They generally provide APIs for the language native to the platform, if you wanted to write in a different language you could always write your own bindings for that language, an example of this is PyWin32 that provides Python bindings for Win32, or OpenTK that provides .Net bindings for OpenGL functions, or JOGL that allows you to use OpenGL in Java

    • The problem here is that reviewers don't understand it, just like they didn't understand Maemo/Meego.

      If we are lucky, you have a full-blown Ubuntu/Debian below the surface, meaning you can do everything with it you can also do with a Debian box. Now _that_ would be a big advantage over the rest. You'd just make it boot into some sane user interface and do everything you want to do.

      It would be a real Linux then.

    • by dfries (466073)

      This is as Linux as Android is. Hell Android is probably more Linux this this.

      I just dont understand why these mobile OS's keep wanting to force developers into a specific language. ... and now Ubuntu mobile OS is pushing QML/Javascript/HTML5.

      I agree with your Android assessment, and even your JavaScript assessment for anything of a descent size complexity or efficiency demand, but I don't agree with your Ubuntu QML/Javascript/HTML5 assessment. QML is the 'new' (going on three maybe four years), GUI s

  • Only Geeks will want to upgrade the OS on their tablet. Ubuntu is now out of the running for us Geeks.
  • by benmhall (9092) on Tuesday February 19, 2013 @06:13PM (#42949265) Homepage Journal

    As it happens, I'm writin this on an HP 2760p. A traditional tablet pc. It's currently running Ubuntu 12.10 and everything works reasonably well.

    The reality is that we are in the midst of a very significant shift in computing, from desktop PCs to tablets and phones. Laptop and desktop sales are down, tablet sales are skyrocketing. Canonical is the only company focusing on Linux desktop computing. Unity is good and is getting better quickly. I honestly believe that they have the best approach to scaling the UI. Canonical is essentially pushing responsie design for the Linux desktop.

    What other Linux distribution do you see pushing the end-user computing envelop? These guys are moving forward and should be celebrated and supported for doing so.

    I look forward to Ubuntu for Tablets on my 2760p. Count me in!

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