Want to read Slashdot from your mobile device? Point it at m.slashdot.org and keep reading!


Forgot your password?
Operating Systems Ubuntu GUI Handhelds Linux Hardware

Canonical Developing Ubuntu OS For Tablets 228

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."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Canonical Developing Ubuntu OS For Tablets

Comments Filter:
  • Why so long? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by crhylove ( 205956 ) <rhy@leperkhanz.com> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:08PM (#32517678) Homepage Journal

    The iPad is out NOW. Windows tablets will be out SOON. Why be so late to the game? I don't understand the slowness of FOSS to catch Win/Mac.

  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:25PM (#32517884) Homepage

    Unless every app were designed to run in the new constraints, they won't look, work or act right. Netbook spins of Linux are always just menus with large icons that just make you feel like you are playing with a toy with extremely limited options and usability.

    Maemo just about got it. Droid definitely got it. Making an "Ubuntu" version would need to be more than a new Window manager and selection of packages. It needs a controlled and contained UI that will work within that environment and integrate well.

    This rather leads me to an idea... one that is either really stupid and/or impractical or something else.

    If Linux's X apps were created with an application's equivalent of HTML's "CSS" then perhaps applications could be tremendously more adaptable to different user environments.

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

    by moonbender ( 547943 ) <moonbender@gmail ... minus physicist> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:28PM (#32517916)

    A tablet version will probably try to run apps full screen anyway, with a few possible exceptions. Ubuntu Netbook Remix already works that way, and I assume the tablet edition will take the netbook concepts one step further. Classic windowing controls don't really apply, though clearly there will still be a need to close windows/applications.

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

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:28PM (#32517932)

    How much money can Microsoft invest in putting touch drivers into Windows 7? How much money can a company with a fixed six-month release cycle who puts out free software invest? For that matter, how much development time have you invested into making Ubuntu what it is?

    Personally I'm just a leach - I barely touch alphas and betas and have only started to participate in the forums and bug reports to help collect information, but I understand full well why my Touchscreen PC works flawlessly under Windows 7 but barely functions under Ubuntu.

    On the plus side, I don't think Mac has any idea about how a touchscreen works either so at least Microsoft is ahead of them. It's only the gadgets that Reverend Jobs seems to think are worthy of his efforts.

  • by vladisglad ( 1214592 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:32PM (#32517962)
    I'm just dying to see the user interface. If there is any instance when I need to use scroll bars to scroll in any application its insta-fail. Same goes for windows.
  • by Mekabyte ( 678689 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:35PM (#32517990) Homepage

    If Linux's X apps were created with an application's equivalent of HTML's "CSS" then perhaps applications could be tremendously more adaptable to different user environments.

    Sounds like the QML (Declarative UI) portion of Qt Kinetic [trolltech.com] (and Qt Style Sheets have been around for a while).

  • by BumpyCarrot ( 775949 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:37PM (#32518006)
    Canonical or Google?
  • Re:Why so long? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Shellfish_Jean ( 1470409 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:45PM (#32518064)
    There has been lots of suggestions but as you can see from my submission it gets downvoted pretty mercilessly on Ubuntu Brainstorm http://brainstorm.ubuntu.com/idea/23527/ [ubuntu.com]
  • Re:X11? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lunix Nutcase ( 1092239 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @07:57PM (#32518172)

    Linux based OSes were of the first to show desktops as 3D surfaces,

    Yeah except for the fact that they weren't. Apple and Microsoft were showing it off before Compiz existed.

    and even have real time video playing on them.

    That's funny cause my Amiga was doing that before the first revision of the Linux kernel even existed.

  • Re:Technically... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @08:19PM (#32518350) Journal

    The Linux Kernel is a kernel.

    Linux is a family of operating systems that are based on one of the Linux kernels or a kernel derived from one.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:22PM (#32518858)

    I've lost hope with Ubuntu making a user friendly desktop experience.

    The full desktop distributions, for a long time, had this obsession with brown and orange, nothing neutral. Now it's purple, which is still not neutral. Even with changing themes it's hard to get rid of all the purple.

    Apps tend to get changed from the default UI to some bastardization of it. I've run into many issues where I'd update to the latest Ubuntu release and I had to relearn various programs.

    Ubuntu Netbook Remix is a half assed attempt at a netbook friendly distribution. Power management is a joke (I get 5 hours out of my netbook in UNR, and 9 hours in Win7). The apps aren't actually modified to work with a netbook; instead, a hack is used (modified window manager and a maximizer tool). Dialogs are left alone, and many are larger than most netbook screens. In short, UNR has been a disaster since its inception and it still is today. Multi-window apps (ie: Empathy) totally break the flow of UNR.

    Ubuntu doesn't really do anything innovative. I only use the server distribution. And really, I could get away with just using Debian, at that point.

    This leads me to believe that a tablet edition will be very poorly designed, engineered, and developed if they are going to stick with a pure Linux root similar to all of their other distributions.

  • Re:Why so long? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by QuantumG ( 50515 ) * <qg@biodome.org> on Wednesday June 09, 2010 @09:59PM (#32519084) Homepage Journal

    On my desk I want a big monitor, whereas a tablet computer should be as small as is practical. Where I would put a tablet computer, if anyone sold one for a price that was actually worth paying, is on my coffee table. The laptop I have on it now is clunky to use while lazing on the couch. I expect if ASUS ever get their act together I'll buy one of theirs and install this Ubuntu on it.

  • by HBoar ( 1642149 ) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:01AM (#32519832)

    I don't buy the whole thing about Apple being a market leader in UI. I'd say quite the opposite, actually. From phones with touch screens instead of buttons (how do you use it without looking at it?) to laptops that you have to click with two fingers at once instead of just having a two buttons, their products are full of 'features' that do nothing to improve the user experience. Instead, they just look flashy or are simply different for the sake of being different. I find OSX the same, it's full of silly little quirks that make no sense other than to differentiate them from other OSs. Originally a windows user, I found it MUCH easier to find my way around linux operating systems than OSX. I still struggle every time I have to do set something up on a mac.

    Obviously Apple are market leaders in a number of areas -- perhaps most notably advertising, but also in making attractive, well constructed hardware etc. For all their faults, I do like the well built feeling of their newer macbook pros. I just don't see that their UI design is anything special at all. For this reason, I'll be interested to see what canonical come up with. Pity it'll probably be based around gnome....

  • APad with Android (Score:4, Interesting)

    by protektor ( 63514 ) on Thursday June 10, 2010 @12:28AM (#32519960)

    Orphan Electronics Apad M800 $150-$200 Street Price

    http://pricedinchina.com/buy-orphan-iped-mid-slate---m800-wifi-7-android-tablet-pc---m800-iped.aspx [pricedinchina.com]

    It looks like China already beat everyone including to a degree the Open Source community with a clone of the iPad. They are already selling an iPad clone in China. It looks just like the iPad in everyway, but the guts. I understand it is suppose to have an 600mhz Intel CPU inside, and 2gb of storage with USB port and I thought a memory card. It also has Wifi and web cam built in.

    Seems like this thing beats the iPad in almost every area that people complain about for the iPad. Much lower price, same size screen (7"), open and can do all the things the iPad can't or won't. Seems like a pretty good iPad killer to me, and it run Android already so there isn't really an issue of limited apps either. Runs Flash, MKV/H.264, MPEG 1&2, RM/RMBV, MP3, WMA, APE, FLAC, AAC,AC3, WAV.

    If I were going to buy a tablet computer I would certainly give this one a serious look.

    If the screen isn't big enough for you. I have seen other Orphan Electronics tablets advertised with bigger screens, but of course they cost more than this version does.

    Here is one with a 10" screen for $290 and has more storage and still uses Android.
    http://chinagrabber.com/buy-10-orphan-iped-m16-1024-x-600-android-apad-wifi-tablet-pc-m16-mid.aspx [chinagrabber.com]

    At $100 retail in China and $150 retail on some web sites. Seems like this is exactly the kind of table that all the Linux companies like Ubuntu should be looking to use as their hardware platform. At the price of $100-$150 it beats even most eBook readers on price, and it has wifi built in so adding more books/music/software isn't an issue, not to mention the USB port on it.

  • Re:So... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bert64 ( 520050 ) <bert@slashdot.fi ... NBSDom minus bsd> on Thursday June 10, 2010 @08:37AM (#32522282) Homepage

    I'd recommend that you never start a business, as you seem to have missed the point that it's future updates that break it, and that returns kill retail. FAIL

    All the machines i run ubuntu on, had all of their hardware supported out of the box and none of them have failed due to updating. The reason your machine on which you compiled wifi drivers from source failed after updating is because the system package manager is unaware of your self compiled drivers and is therefore unable to update them to match the other updated components. I would not sell a machine with ubuntu on it that required manual hacking like that to get something working, there are plenty of systems supported by an out of the box install and which will apply updates just fine.

    If you need to read about how it works, then it's... FAIL.

    No that's advertising, people are not psychic - you need to tell them why they should use your product and not something else which is better marketed... microsoft spends millions on advertising. Inferior products often outsell cheaper and superior alternatives because the inferior ones have huge marketing budgets behind them.

    There's no "incidentally" about that. It's the GP's entire point. Utter and total FAIL.

    Except that i was talking about windows updates breaking things as well - read the rest of the text (infact microsoft are quite famous for updates breaking things)... So why is it acceptable for windows updates to break things, but for ubuntu updates to break things is considered unacceptable?

If a 6600 used paper tape instead of core memory, it would use up tape at about 30 miles/second. -- Grishman, Assembly Language Programming