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Cellphones Communications Handhelds Ubuntu Linux

First Look At Ubuntu Touch, the Smartphone OS 60

Posted by timothy
from the is-it-nsa-approved dept.
colinneagle writes "The first developer preview of Ubuntu Touch – aka 'Ubuntu for Phones and Tablets' – was unveiled just a few short months ago. And, just a few weeks back, it was announced that the team was shooting for having a fully functional (aka "can use it as your actual phone, on a daily basis") version by the end of May. May is now over, so Bryan Lunduke published some screenshots and analysis of the core features of the Ubuntu OS for smartphones and tablets."
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First Look At Ubuntu Touch, the Smartphone OS

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  • hasn't this been done already?
    • by Errol backfiring (1280012) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:51AM (#43974329) Journal
      Sure, but unlike Maemo/Meego/Sailfish, it was Not Invented Here.
    • by gmuslera (3436) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:52AM (#43974349) Homepage Journal
      Which one? Android, Meego, Maemo, Tizen, WebOS, Firefox OS, Sailfish, etc? We have a lot, each one with their own strenghts and focus. Ubuntu Touch points toward integration between desktop and phones (as in you connect to a monitor and you have a desktop running from your phone) and having the same environment in phones, tablets and desktops (maybe in a bit smarter way than in Windows 8). And being Linux based, and in good part using common libraries (i.e. for a lot of them you can develop in qt/qml), or html5 apps, or being able to have compatibility layers (i.e. Preenv [maemo.org] to run WebOS apps in Maemo) there is the possibility that a lot of apps could be shared or ported between them.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That's like saying "Don't we already have Linux for desktops? Hasn't this been done already?"

      Also, God forbid there should be a little variety, choice and competition in the smartphone OS market.

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Sure, but Android seems to be the only flavour that has gained enough of a foothold.

    • by Dusty101 (765661) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:05AM (#43974541)

      Well, if you're referring to Android, then I think the answer is yes & no. It's probably more accurate to describe it as a phone OS based around a Linux kernel, as opposed to a mobile incarnation of an open GNU/Linux (which a lot of people would simply refer to as Linux). I think it could also be accurately described as a less-open fork of Linux. The distinction is a pretty fuzzy one, though. And you're right, in that there are also things like the Maemo/Meego/Mer/Sailfish effort (as others have noted).

      As I understand it, this Ubuntu effort is more purely an open GNU/Linux implementation, with added-on phone-centric bits. The cool thing about this is that if you have a high-end Ubuntu Touch phone, then you'll be able to plug it into a docking station and use it as a full-fat Linux desktop. This also means (of course) that it's more independent as a device, and doesn't rely on touching base all the time with the Google mothership, which might appeal to some users from a privacy point of view. If this does mature to the point of being very usable, I for one might be very tempted.

  • I wonder (Score:1, Troll)

    by Sparticus789 (2625955)

    Will Ubuntu Touch come with the NSA backdoor, or is that going to be an aftermarket upgrade?

  • Interesting (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:32AM (#43974061)
    It's interesting. I'm an Ubuntu and Linux Mint user at home, but I can't really see value in having it on a phone. Although it would be nifty if I had a docking station at home and work where I could just drop my phone into it to use it as a more portable computer with a full monitor, keyboard and mouse when available, and the regular phone touch interface when on the go.
    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

      by DrXym (126579) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @10:57AM (#43974441)
      The value in these devices might be if you could take your phone, plug it into a dock and suddenly it becomes a full blown Linux desktop. That's a useful thing to strive for. Otherwise not so much.
      • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Vanderhoth (1582661) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:16AM (#43974687)
        I could see this happening in the near future.

        My Galaxy Note II isn't incredibly powerful compared to either my one year old Ubuntu Laptop or my four year old Linux mint machine, but it's certainly more powerful than the computer I built ten years ago and would be great for simple games, word processing, web surfing and e-mails. I like the stylus for writing texts and taking notes on the phone, but a full keyboard would be even more useful when available.

        I could see this being really awesome with a Bluetooth mouse and keyboard, LAN connection and dual full screen monitors hooked to a docking station, which could really be done with an Android, iPhone or Windows phone. MS should have done this, they might have been on to something if they had implement Metor on Windows 8 for mobile devices that would switch to regular Windows 7 style desktops when plugged into a docking station, rather than the steaming pile of crap Windows 8 turned out to be.
      • by HalAtWork (926717)
        Or if the phone had a projector for the screen and keyboard like this [idigitaltimes.com]. I would get that right away if it ran Ubuntu.
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Only a small handful of years ago I regularly used a single-core 1.4 GHz 32-bit processor and 2GB RAM, my phone is from 2011 and it's got 1.5 GHz and 512MB. Today's phones beat the living shit out of machines I still use. This is easily accessible.

        • > Today's phones beat the living shit out of machines I still use.

          Don't be too sure. Megahertz-per-useful-act, anything from the Pentium-M (really, a Pentium III Xeon w/power mgmt) still totally spanks ARM7, even in dualcore-for-Android form (between power management & poor handling of apps not explicitly written to be SMP, a dual/quadcore Arm Cortex almost might as well be single-core). A 1.5GHz Krait running Android is roughly comparable to a 1Ghz P-III running XP in perceived performance. Yes, you

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            Don't be too sure. Megahertz-per-useful-act, anything from the Pentium-M (really, a Pentium III Xeon w/power mgmt) still totally spanks ARM7,

            Who cares? Dual-core is now standard and quad-core is becoming so. My point is well-supported.

            x86/AMD64 cpus are *profoundly* optimized for getting good performance out of mediocre software under sub-optimal conditions

            What? x86 is shit. They are profoundly crufted because of the instruction set and the complete and total lack of general purpose registers, so you need more hardware to make up for these pathetic deficiencies. This is why a chip that does the same amount of shit will always use more power if it's x86 as opposed to ARM. amd64 is much better but there are no designs yet which are competitive with ARM in the low end.

            • Anybody who thinks ARM is remotely close to matching x86 performance should try this little experiment: get a 7-8 year old notebook like a Dell D600 w/1.6GHz Pentium M, install Ubuntu on it, and compare it side by side with any ARM netbook that has a CPU of comparable nominal speed, plus comparable ram and storage, and has the same release of Ubuntu installed on it. Configure both with identical desktop settings, and run the same apps (compiled for the proper architecture, of course). The 7 year old D600 wi

    • Re:Interesting (Score:5, Informative)

      by Insightfill (554828) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:27AM (#43974889) Homepage

      It's interesting. I'm an Ubuntu and Linux Mint user at home, but I can't really see value in having it on a phone. Although it would be nifty if I had a docking station at home and work where I could just drop my phone into it to use it as a more portable computer with a full monitor, keyboard and mouse when available, and the regular phone touch interface when on the go.

      Sounds like Ubuntu For Android [ubuntu.com] I've got a regular Galaxy Nexus, so external video isn't for me, but sounds good in principal.

      • I've seen that before, I imagine that's where the idea in my head came from. Thanks for point it out.

        I only skimmed the site and I can't seem to find any place to actually get it, but when I have some time I have an older HTC Desire Z I'd love to try this out on. I'd also have to figure out where to get the docking station, which I did look for awhile back, but couldn't find anything at a reasonable price point.
    • It's interesting. I'm an Ubuntu and Linux Mint user at home, but I can't really see value in having it on a phone. Although it would be nifty if I had a docking station at home and work where I could just drop my phone into it to use it as a more portable computer with a full monitor, keyboard and mouse when available, and the regular phone touch interface when on the go.

      Maybe not for a phone (apart from being more open), but Really Good for a tablet.

  • Bryan Lunduke published some screenshots and analysis of the core features of the Ubuntu OS for smartphones and tablets.

    Did the submitter even read TFA? I clicked the link. No screenshots. No analysis.

  • I have to admit, I actually like this phone. As long as it actually does give root without voiding the warranty, I think I may actually buy one if they ever come out.
  • by norminator (784674) on Tuesday June 11, 2013 @11:11AM (#43974627)
    I love how on Slide 9, he points out the attention to detail... except that in the largest text in the screenshot there's a glaring typo.

    Not so much a gripe about Ubuntu Phone (since it's not a released product) as it is about TFA,
  • http://www.networkworld.com/slideshow/105180/ubuntu-touch-first-look-at-the-linux-smartphone-os.html#slide9 [networkworld.com]

    Wish I had this feature the first time I was sent a goatse pic.

  • if Debian came out with a linux version for phones I might be interested in that.

  • I think a linux presence on new smart phone hardware is long overdue. What's up for debate is -- ubuntu.
  • Really? I didn't read the article, mainly because I refuse to read anything by him or Katherine Noyes. To me, he'll always be the same childish columnist who tried to bait Linux Hater Blog, pitching a hissy fit when LH refused to play along.

One possible reason that things aren't going according to plan is that there never was a plan in the first place.

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