Ubuntu expanding to tablets and smartphones

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Publisher: FilePlaza

Date added: 01 Nov 2011

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Canonical, the company devoted to support the popular Linux distro, has expressed its perspective for the OS' future, which includes a cross-platform system for mobile devices

The Ubuntu Developer Summit has started today in Florida and, among the great number of activities scheduled to be held in these five days of open-thinking and anti-corporate enthusiasts, opening by Canonical’s founder Mark Shuttleworth was one of the most awaited talks of the event. 

The reason for this was that in his speech Shuttleworth was to outline the future of Ubuntu as an OS. Finally, the day has arrived and Marks’ talk is over. And what does Ubuntu’s future look like? Closs-platform-ish.

One OS to bind them

Ubuntu Unity interface

The vision of Ubuntu developers is to work in the operating system in such a way that a future edition would be capable of powering tablets, phones, TVs and smart screens. Basically, Shuttleworth expects to reach that objective by the time the Linux distro hits its 14.04 edition. That means that we’ll have to wait more than two years to finally get a stable Linux release for mobile devices. 

It’s evident that this approach isn’t new, especially when taking into account usage patterns already present in today’s market. People are already diversifying the forms in which they access the Internet and carry out their daily tech-related activities, so having a synchronized platform in each of the devices used for that seems like the obvious path to go down. 

With that mind, Ubuntu and the developers behind it are already on the works for building such future. The most palpable evidence of such effort is Unity, the desktop interface currently used in the popular Linux distro. In Shuttleworth own words “Unity’s core elements are arranged in exactly the way we need to create coherence across all of those devices”. Basically, a single framework for all gadgets and all toolkits. 

Many hands make light work 

The main problem for the people over at Canonical is the amount of people needed to take such project all the way to the finish line. Shuttleworth is certainly aware of it, which is why he’s trying to get independent Ubuntu developers excited about the new direction. 

“Canonical will provide the heavy lifting needed to put us in the ball park, but there are opportunities for participation, contribution and engagement by all elements of the broader Ubuntu community, both corporate and individual.” This quote, taken from Shuttleworth’s website, illustrates Canonical’s awareness over this matter and its plea for help. 

And Ubuntu will certainly need all of the help it can get. Being the freshman in a harsh and competitive market, the OS will have to fight over some share with some well-established and fully-developed mobile systems. And I’m not only talking about Apple’s supremacy but of Android (a Linux-based system) and Windows systems as well. 

However, and unlike the aforementioned OS, Canonical will only concentrate its efforts in developing the system from a more neutral approach. This means that it won’t pair up with any specific device manufacturer, which can be a sound strategy since it’d potentially provide a broader customer base and a more flexible and adaptable platform. 

Only time will tell if Ubuntu’s bet results in a success or a fiasco. Today, it most certainly sounds like the right thing to do. Additionally, several individuals have already voiced their support for yet another free and open alternative for the mobile market.  However, all of this depends on how much support Canonical is capable of gathering and how the market evolves in the next couple of years.


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