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Ubuntu Heads To Smartphones, and Tablets 281

First time accepted submitter GuerillaRadio writes "Mark Shuttleworth is to announce that Canonical will be taking Ubuntu Linux to smartphones, tablets, and smart TVs at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, FL starting today. Shuttleworth said, 'This is a natural expansion of our idea as Ubuntu as Linux for human beings. As people have moved from desktop to new form factors for computing, it's important for us to reach out to our community on these platforms. So, we'll embrace the challenge of how to use Ubuntu on smartphones, tablets and smart-screens.'"
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Ubuntu Heads To Smartphones, and Tablets

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  • to other platforms. Good.

  • by JustNiz ( 692889 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @10:54AM (#37894758)

    ...since Unity has made Ubuntu completely suck on anything with a mouse and keyboard.

    • by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      ...since Unity has made Ubuntu completely suck on anything with a mouse and keyboard.

      It's not bad on a netbook where you don't have much screen space to waste. It does suck on a laptop or desktop with a big screen, though.

      • I've always just used fast, small WMs on netbooks. Currently mine runs IceWM. I've happily used Fluxbox and a fairly stripped-down GNOME 2 on it as well. Just make the panel nice and small (I fucking hate autohide...) and you're set.
    • Much like Microsoft and Metro. Tablet and PC interfaces just arn't the same - what works on one is painful on the other. Apple hasn't even tried to make the iOS and OSX interfaces look similar.
      • by Bill Hayden ( 649193 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:11AM (#37895036) Homepage

        Apple hasn't even tried to make the iOS and OSX interfaces look similar.

        I have to assume that was a joke, or else you haven't used Lion yet.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward


      But one can install KUbuntu instead. KDE 4.7 is slick, the best mouse/keyboard oriented desktop I've seen so far.

      It's too bad that Unity is the bloody *default* thing people get on desktops. It should be the default on mobile devices. The desktop default should not be Unity or Gnome3 or other mobile-oriented environments.

    • Not to mention dual monitors....

    • Yeah I hate it when all 600 distros aren't exactly the same. That's going to make it much harder for me to some like a pompous windbag who claims to be able to use hundreds of operating systems. How can I deal with that?
  • Google has taken Linus and modified it to suit their aims and goals, rather than using the power of community Linux. Canonical will give the smartphone world the power of Linux minus the controls and restrictions imposed by Google. Customers will be the biggest winners here.

    • by Yvan256 ( 722131 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @10:59AM (#37894828) Homepage Journal

      They modified Linus? What did they do to him? I bet he's pretty angry about that!

    • Possible, but also consider that the handset manufacturers are the ones imposing most of those controls and restrictions. They benefit from the ability to bundle un-uninstallable sponsored apps (including spyware) and can more easily ensure obsolescence and thus future handset sales if they have means to prevent software upgrades. Even if they did use ubuntu, they would probably have to find some means to lock it down. Maybe they'll use a bootloader that only loads signed OS images. They certainly won't be
    • by IrquiM ( 471313 )
      Good news? You must be joking!
    • Canonical will give the smartphone world the power of Linux minus the controls and restrictions imposed by Google

      Safe prediction, based entirely on past performance. It. Will. Never. Happen.

      Canonical can't even give linux away to "the world" after 7 years of trying. Hint - Apple sold more than 20 million iPhones and 9 million iPads in the second quarter - that's way more than the total Ubuntu userbase world-wide after 7 years.

      And Samsung is now cleaning Apple's clock.

      Neither of the market leaders

  • I'm holding my breath for a manufacturer to ship a phone with ubuntu on it.

    [gasping] OK... now I'm not.

    Interesting- but for the near future at least, I can't see phone manufacturers shipping phones with Ubuntu on them- If you want Ubuntu on your phone you'll need to remove an existing operating system.

    How many people will actually remove iOS or Android to get Ubuntu?

    Can you dual boot a phone?

    • by slim ( 1652 ) <john@hartnup . n et> on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:18AM (#37895148) Homepage

      Can you dual boot a phone?

      Yes. The basic way of installing Cyanogenmod (etc.) puts a recovery bootloader on your phone, such that you can select what OS to boot.

    • How many people will actually remove iOS or Android to get Ubuntu?

      If I could remove Android and install more standard Linux platform and not lose any functionality, I'd do so.

      It's one of those things that I hoped would have come with this massive advancement in mobile technology. Unfortunately I am seeing the opposite, with phones being deliberately abandoned with old OSes that are incompatible with revisions in its own line, much less the wider Linux world, and set up in such ways as to fight you.

    • by Spirilis ( 3338 )

      Ask how Motorola did it, I own the Droid Bionic and its "WebTop" feature is a running Ubuntu on the phone that exports its display via HDMI. Not entirely sure how it works (I don't have the hdmi adapter to use it, either) but I know it runs Ubuntu.

    • Yes. https://elektranox.org/n900/ [elektranox.org]
      The only problem with Debian on a phone is that you don't have much applications for the phone itself (eg: make phone calls, use sms, etc.), and the real work to be done is there.
    • by pmontra ( 738736 )

      I don't think I'll need to dual boot it.

      I'd love to carry my main machine with me in a smartphone form factor: my phone weights 116 g vs the 2.7 kg of my laptop and 1.1 kg of my netbook. I can already attach a mouse, a keyboard and USB pen drive to my phone, a Samsung Galaxy S2, and it can output full HD video. Unfortunately it runs Android and not Ubuntu which is the OS I use to work. If anybody fixes that it would already be much better than my netbook. With a better CPU, more RAM (1 GB now) and more stor

  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:17AM (#37895130) Homepage

    Canonical previously announced that their distro was being preloaded on three ASUS netbooks. [theinquirer.net] That was in August. Didn't happen.

    Canonical issued that Linux press release, but Asus never said they were going to ship those machines with Linux. Canonical has no credibility.

  • know your market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by t2t10 ( 1909766 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @11:22AM (#37895218)

    Ubuntu's traditional market niche is the technical and professional market, people who used to use UNIX workstations. Unfortunately, with 11.10 and the upcoming move away from X11, Ubuntu is hell-bent on leaving that market: Unity is already nearly useless for power users (it doesn't work well at all on large or multi-screen setups), tools like Synaptic are becoming non-standard, etc.

    Unfortunately, Ubuntu doesn't have a chance in the tablet and smartphone market either. That market is already well service by Android and iOS. Ubuntu has virtually no mobile developers. And if it manages against all odds to even get a small market share, Ubuntu will face the kind of patent feeding frenzy that Android is being subjected to.

    Too bad Shuttleworth couldn't leave good enough alone. He's going to kill Ubuntu and seriously hurt Linux as a whole.

    • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

      X11 is not going away it is just getting shifted to a different level. X11 will run on top of Wayland just as X11 on the mac runs on top of the Mac Graphics system. I hope that Wayland and Unity can flatten the modle a bit for most Linux users. You now have a display manger running on top of Gnome or KDE running on top of GTK or QT running on top of X, Or do yu have Gnome or KDE running on top of a Display manager running on top of QT or GTK, running on top of X?
      X11 has tried to keep up but the fact displa

      • by t2t10 ( 1909766 )

        The fact is that Wayland creates a new, incompatible set of APIs in addition to X11. X11 apps won't have all the same functionality and desktop integration available to them as Wayland apps. That's exactly the situation on OS X and it sucks.

        So, realistically, all the engineering and scientific apps need to be rewritten to use native Wayland APIs and desktop integration. But the problem with that is that the Wayland developers have their sights set on the consumer and tablet market, so Wayland isn't going

      • by fnj ( 64210 )

        Wayland can go to hell. There is absolutely no reason to couple the display, audio, and printing. None. There is nothing whatsoever in common between display and audio, and only a broad connection between display and printing (they both produce something you can see, but printing is STATIC, and printing is already handled just fine by CUPS. Hell, Apple DEVELOPED cups for OSX and linux and bsd picked it up because it made sense and solved a real problem).

        Just because you already have layers running on layer

        • by LWATCDR ( 28044 )

          Really Audio and Display have nothing in common? I guess you never watch video on your computer.
          A pure X app already misses out some what on desktop integration on Linux. Does anyone write new code using X11 any longer or do they all use GTK or QT?
          So Cups was a good idea because it solved a problem. Well guess what sound on Linux is a problem. Hardware accelerated video playback on Linux is a problem.

          What is worse is that you are already betting that X11 on top of Wayland will be an issue before you even se

    • Yep. I'm one of those users. I'm currently in limbo (having found a userspace app called tint2 to give me a taskbar in Unity) while I decide on which other distribution I'm going to try. It sucks, too, because the time I invested into Ubuntu means more time making sure I back everything up before installing something else over top. I'm looking at either straight Debian or Mint.

      • I switched to Mint Debian but ultimately went to pure Debian. Mint has some issues with Firefox (they customize Google and it sucks, it's hard to remove, and if you install a new version your changes are reverted). Debian is awesome if you're coming from classic Ubuntu as it has pretty much the exact same interface. You may have to configure some system policies to your liking (it asks for password too much in my opinion, but I disabled the prompts). If you don't want to deal with problems, use Debian S
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Yeah, Ubuntu's users were typically new Linux users, but often they were still experienced PC users with other OS (Windows/Mac) knowledge. Ubuntu is trying to impress users who have zero knowledge of how PC's work and make it super intuitive for those who haven't used any other OS, but these people aren't ever going to install Ubuntu in the first place. Meanwhile, Ubuntu's maturing userbase has finally decided to ditch the training wheels and move to another distribution after the horrendous 11.10 release
  • Hmm....where have I heard that name before? OH! They're that company that seemed to have a pretty stellar Linux distro based around the Gnome desktop, but for whatever reason the founder of the company decided it was HIS distro and so he didn't have to listen to the people using HIS distro and only HE could design THE ONE TRUE DESKTOP (TM)...

    Lost a lot of users after that. Funny thing, never saw a company quite that intent on pissing off all their users until they leave...

    • Yeah, because Canonical strayed oh so far from GNOME... Have you seen GNOME 3? It looks like Unity.

      What was that? You can still use GNOME anyway (or KDE, XFCE, Enlightenment, or whatever else floats your boat)?

      Are you aware that GNOME's website is hosted by Canonical?

  • ... I have to remember that I'm not really a customer -- only a subscriber. The telcos are the actual customers in this equation, and so far they've not taken a liking to operating systems that are too open (think Openmoko and Maemo/Moblin/MeeGo). So, although I wish Mark all the luck in the world with his new strategy, I suspect the odds are stacked against him regarding the phones.
  • by jabjoe ( 1042100 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @12:10PM (#37895960)
    chroot Debian on my Android was never satisfactory. I want a standard Linux phone, ideally Debian based. Yes I know, the N900, but it is too old and a dead end. I'm no fan of Unity and modern Ubuntu, but maybe on a phone, it'll win me over. Very interesting. Also, more competition is always good. :-)
    • chroot Debian on my Android was never satisfactory. I want a standard Linux phone, ideally Debian based. Yes I know, the N900, but it is too old and a dead end. I'm no fan of Unity and modern Ubuntu, but maybe on a phone, it'll win me over. Very interesting. Also, more competition is always good. :-)

      So you're looking to dial by command line then?

  • Do you hate Unity? Then use Kubuntu [kubuntu.org] and be done with it. Works well.

    Also, stay with the latest LTS (10.04 at present), and you don't have to upgrade for 3 years. Less headache.

  • I read a lot of critizism against Ubuntu for taking this route, but I think that it is necessary if Ubuntu is going to keep up with the hardware and not fall behind.

    Face it. Practically no hardware vendor builds end-user hardware specifically to run Ubuntu. Most PCs that run Ubuntu now were designed to run Microsoft Windows, and that is how it is going to be for a considerable time.
    And what is the future direction of Microsoft Windows? ... Towards touch-based devices. At Microsoft's "Build" developer confer

  • by IGnatius T Foobar ( 4328 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @02:20PM (#37897912) Homepage Journal

    Shuttleworth has not only disregarded the community's complaints about Unity, but now his blog is actively deleting and censoring any further criticism. Pleas for them to offer a desktop that actually looks and works like a desktop, if not as a replacement for Unity then at least an offering with an equal amount of support, are being treated with a "we know best, go away you silly peon" response. Sorry Mark, you are not Steve Jobs, you can't get away with that routine. Unity is a disaster, and when you have Linux luminaries like Linus Torvalds [digitizor.com] and Eric Raymond [ibiblio.org] switching their desktops to Xfce, you know you're heading in the wrong direction.

    I myself have also made the switch to Xfce, and after doing so, and even after having been a loyal Ubuntu user for five years, I'm wondering what's the point of staying with Ubuntu at all if not for what used to be a gorgeous desktop. I did a little research and found that aside from the formerly gorgeous desktop, all of the things that I loved about Ubuntu were actually things about Debian. Now that Unity has replaced the good desktop, the only advantage Ubuntu has over Debian is a better installer.

    Yes, Unity will probably be more at home on a device that has no keyboard and mouse, such as smartphones and tablets. But competing with Android (not to mention Apple) is going to be a tough sell there. So why are they blowing it all by alienating their existing installed base?

  • by Kagetsuki ( 1620613 ) on Monday October 31, 2011 @09:17PM (#37902512)

    Sharp released a small Ubuntu based tablet called the Netwalker years ago - I own both the tablet and pocket computer versions. They are both pocket sized, so not exactly comparable with "tablets" like the iPad. There are some input issues on the tablet because the input software (made by Motorola) is buggy but other than that I get significantly more functionality out of it than I do my Android phone - simply because it runs a lot of software that "should" only be on the desktop and it runs it just fine - and it's easy to just apt-get install whatever rather than digging through the market. On top of that I can compile whatever I want and run it right there, I don't need to statically package things in a big blob and export them.

    Of course anyone who just read that and though "wow, that IS great!" should take a step back and realize the general tablet market doesn't do any of that.

"I have not the slightest confidence in 'spiritual manifestations.'" -- Robert G. Ingersoll