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Ubuntu Tablet OS To Take On Android, iOS

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the uphill-battle dept.

Handhelds 237

snydeq writes "Canonical CEO Jane Silber discusses the Ubuntu maker's ambitions in the mobile market, saying there is plenty of room for a new player in tablets, TVs, and maybe even smartphones. 'There is a real demand for an alternative platform. We believe Ubuntu has all the characteristics that are needed to become that platform,' Silber says, adding that she expects to see Ubuntu on tablets later this year. 'And we think we can do that effectively because of characteristics of Ubuntu as a platform, industry dynamics, and an increased wariness around the walled gardens of Apple and to some extent Google and even Amazon, as they are increasingly in this game as well.' Silber cites openness, open governance, collaboration, and a strong developer ecosystem as key for Ubuntu as a tablet platform, when compared with Android and iOS."

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First post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675366)

from Windows!

Finally (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675368)

This will probably be the first tablet I buy. While I hate unity for the desktop, on a tablet it might work.

Re:Finally (3, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675730)

Then buy one now.

Install Ubuntu on a Fujitsu stylistic and get something that has far more power than any of these toys.

Re:Finally (5, Insightful)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675826)

While you are right that Unity (and GNOME3 for that matter) probably make sense on tablets, don't expect to buy one anytime soon. Did ya hear any OEM deals being announced? Hint, if they weren't at CES hyping hardware deals you shouldn't expect any to ship in the next six months to a year. And that is the problem, nobody will ship Ubuntu on a tablet because nobody wants it. Nobody wants it because nobody has ever seen it on a tablet, nobody even knows it exists. And with signed boot being the new hotness there won't even be much aftermarket loading except onto the skeeviest Chinese imports.

But aftermarket loads don't matter anyway, look at Linux. Twenty years on and we are still an asterisk. End users don't load operating systems, they use whatever the factory preloads. And Google and Microsoft will be competing to offer OEMs bennies to pick their offering, what is Canonical planning on offering? It's Free? And so is Android and for all intents and purposes so will Windows 8 be free after the CoOp marketing kickbacks and such, or at least close enough to free that the ability to price the final product higher will make up for it.

About that. (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676384)

"...you shouldn't expect any to ship in the next six months to a year."

And? She never said Ubuntu tablets would be on sale tomorrow.

Tablets are still a new thing and they don't seem to be going away anytime soon. As long as the market still exists a year from now, they Canonical has plenty of time to hammer out OEM deals (if they haven't already.) There are desktops, laptops, and netbooks sold with Ubuntu pre-installed. As tablets become a commodity item I don't see why they'd be any different.

Re:Finally (3, Interesting)

DaveSlash (1597297) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676454)

I hate Unity but I love Gnome-shell. (No seriously) Tapping the top left corner to see the overview of apps per desktop, with my videos still playing while I choose which application to bring to the foreground with all its 3D acceleration glory. That's going to rock on a tablet. Then apt-get install whatever I want. Squeeeee!!! I want it. When Ubuntu with Gnome-shell hits an ARM based tablet or a Medfield Atom tablet, that's when I'm jumping in.

Re:Finally (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676606)

I hate Unity but I love Gnome-shell. (No seriously)

Tapping the top left corner to see the overview of apps per desktop, with my videos still playing while I choose which application to bring to the foreground with all its 3D acceleration glory.
That's going to rock on a tablet.
Then apt-get install whatever I want. Squeeeee!!! I want it.
When Ubuntu with Gnome-shell hits an ARM based tablet or a Medfield Atom tablet, that's when I'm jumping in.

OK, now we've sold FIVE of those suckers! On a roll!

Re:Finally (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676098)

Now if only we would find the point of the tablet format, we could all be very happy indeed! :P

I think the tablet is the SUV of computer platforms: Cumbersome to use, slow, used when you have kids, but can be pretty bad when they "stick" to it, costs a lot of money, not good for the environment (= me beating you with a stick for buying one ;), and doesn't really fit any use case whatsoever. (Not better than specialized ones like the mobile phone or laptop.)

7" form factor FTW (3, Informative)

zidium (2550286) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676258)

Actually, I *love* my HTC Flyer and Samsung Galaxy Tab Plus; both 7" form factor tablets.

In fact, nothing has changed the way I live more since my first personal computer. Albeit, I use them almost totally as ebook readers, music players, occasional browsing and the rare sudoku game.

I carry a tablet with me everywhere these days. 7 inch tablets fit nicely in my pants pocket, the battery lasts 8+ hours of *active* use. What's not to like?

Fragmentation (0)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675380)

This really doesn't seem like what the Linux/Android community needs right now, more competing against itself.

Re:Fragmentation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675444)

This is exactly what's needed, you jar brained fuck up.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675754)

This is exactly what's needed, you jar brained fuck up.

LOL!

See Barbara! That is an ad hominem attack. But it's at least targeted at someone who can defend themselves, and it's based on evidence. Regardless, he is correct in that it is exactly what is needed, and the jar brained fuck up comment is at least slightly relevant.

Competing against itself is what the Linux community does best.

Re:Fragmentation (5, Informative)

Clived (106409) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675458)

Hasn't competition in the Linux community always been the case, between the various distros ?

My two bits

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675682)

Yes, and it's been a major factor in Linux never gaining any meaningful traction outside the server market.

(Note: I don't consider Android to be Linux, any more than OS X is Mach).

Re:Fragmentation (3, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675880)

Linux has gained traction in any market not dominated by a single vendor that had a greater than 90% share of the entire market even before Linux got started.

You mention MacOS in passing.

Apple couldn't unseat MS-DOS with a product that implements just about every "well meaning" suggestion ever hurled at Linux.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

jmorris42 (1458) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675966)

> Yes, and it's been a major factor in Linux never gaining any meaningful traction outside the server market.

Not at all. The major factor is that zero OEMs have offered it as a real choice. The Dell N series doesn't count, almost every time the Windows version sold for the same or less. Never once did a real major OEM offer up a PC preloaded with Linux at a price advantage over Windows. The few times small fry tried it they managed to sell a few but they almost always went so cheep that most Linux folk were not going to buy the junk they were preloading onto.

Nobody even sold a dual boot, even as an option. That wouldn't have even cost them anything. Had Dell offered Canonical a deal where Canonical would provide a preload image and a utility to quickly convert the Linux partition into additional space for Windows or to just collapse it into C: if the customer decided they didn't want it, who doesn't think Canonical wouldn't have jumped at the opportunity to put product in front of a few million potential new users? But Microsoft would have had kittens, Balmer would have thrown a chair, etc.

Remember when Be offered their OS for free and got zero takers? That is the problem, the same one we have had for decades now, the MIcrosoft Monopoly on preloads.

Only us hard core types will load an OS, any OS. Everyone else uses what comes preloaded and that is Windows.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676272)

Network effects count for a lot too. I wouldn't inflict a Linux desktop on my family. My dad is a programmer and my mom only uses a browser. But, no one that either of them talk to use Linux. Figuring out how to do stuff requires googling because no one they know (besides me) would have any ideas. Hardware compatibility becomes a concern instead of an after-thought. Most software that mimics what they (well, mostly my father) would use is much less polished than what he would find on Windows.

Also, the reason why the Windows version of any offering will be as cheap or cheaper than the Linux is because OEM Windows comes preloaded with a lot of crap that companies pay the OEM to include. Linux doesn't have this, thus it actually costs more to load Linux than it does Windows, even including the Windows license.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676322)

Figuring out how to do stuff requires googling because no one they know (besides me) would have any ideas.

I know Gnome 3 is bad, but surely it's not _that_ bad.

And my girlfriend has no problem using Gnome 2 or Unity.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676408)

Not at all. The major factor is that zero OEMs have offered it as a real choice. The Dell N series doesn't count, almost every time the Windows version sold for the same or less. Never once did a real major OEM offer up a PC preloaded with Linux at a price advantage over Windows. The few times small fry tried it they managed to sell a few but they almost always went so cheep that most Linux folk were not going to buy the junk they were preloading onto.

Way to move the goalposts, buddy. No OEM has ever given Linux a chance except for the ones who did, and those don't count because it didn't work, you say? Linux failed to gain traction because it wasn't something consumers wanted, even back when you can pick it up off the shelf. If it needs special treatment and markdown to be considered, because it can't compete on equal footing, then you should take that as a hint. After all, Apple has always sold at a considerable premium over Windows, and has done quite well for itself.

And the fact of the matter is that it has even failed with the deck stacked in favour of it, as you suggest. If it couldn't sell on cheap Walmart computers at a considerable discount, it's just not going to sell anywhere. Same for the early netbook craze and MSI's reported massive return rate on their Linux OEM'ed models.

Nobody even sold a dual boot, even as an option.

Nobody offered dual boot for varying version of Windows either, there's no demand for it. Believe it or not, most consumers just want to turn on a computer so they can do their thing.

That wouldn't have even cost them anything.

Except for time, which is money, and oh, I don't know, development and support costs to support their hardware for the sake of a product the market has shown no indication of wanting.

Had Dell offered Canonical a deal where Canonical would provide a preload image and a utility to quickly convert the Linux partition into additional space for Windows or to just collapse it into C: if the customer decided they didn't want it, who doesn't think Canonical wouldn't have jumped at the opportunity to put product in front of a few million potential new users? But Microsoft would have had kittens, Balmer would have thrown a chair, etc.

Again, there's never been any indication that the market has wanted any of this, it's wasted costs. The whole "Microsoft would get angry herp derp" argument is completely stupid, I'm pretty certain MS wasn't thrilled about Dell offering Ubuntu OEM's systems, that didn't stop Dell, and it certainly didn't result in Microsoft doing anything stupid like cutting off Dell. Their primary customer is, after all, the OEMs, and has been since the days of Microsoft as the dominant Unix vendor,

Remember when Be offered their OS for free and got zero takers?

Yeah, let's pretend that whole thing about how at first you needed a PowerPC Mac to even do anything with BeOS never happened, and let's pretend that the Windows incompatibility and complete lack of third party application support were never problems.

Only us hard core types will load an OS, any OS.

Bullshit. There was a time when nearly everyone upgraded or installed Windows on their own, but that's the problem, that's what people see when they see alternate offerings, the whole unpleasant, pretentious "only us hardcore types" attitude. And it's complete bunk to boot, loading in a LiveCD and rebooting is not complicated, It's not complicated to press the install button on said LiveCD. What stops adoption is that you "hardcore types" don't realize that Linux brings absolutely nothing to the table that people want. What they give up by switching far outweighs any imaginary gains. Give people something they want, and they'll buy it up, it really isn't complicated.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676430)

Offering Linux costs OEMs money because MS gives the OEMs cash incentives for preloading Windows. That's why the Dell laptops with Linux on them cost the same or more.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675974)

Android is Linux, running Linux kernel and a real FOSS, but Ubuntu is lacking one important thing here, the marketing machine that is Google inc.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676446)

And this is why the GNU/Linux distinction is important, even if we (understandably) can't be assed to say it most of the time. Without the GNU tools it's hardly "Linux" at all.

Re:Fragmentation (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675970)

It has, yeah, but that's also why Linux is just a rounding error in desktop OS use. Outside of a handful of geeks, nobody wants to have to figure out which distro to use, what the hell it even means to pick KDE or Gnome or XFCE or Enlightenment or which one they should want, what's the difference between yum and apt, and so on. People want this: plug it in, and it works. That's all. They don't want to pick between 57 different distros, 7 different package managers, and so on.

Unfortunately, geeks appear totally blind to how the real world works.

Re:Fragmentation (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676200)

It's not our fault the real world doesn't work right!

Re:Fragmentation (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676208)

They don't want to pick between 57 different distros, 7 different package managers, and so on.

Unfortunately, geeks appear totally blind to how the real world works.

Phew, it's fortunate that there's only one version of Windows and people don't have to decide between Windows XP Pro 64 and Windows 8 Home Ultra Pro for ARM.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

RasputinAXP (12807) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675468)

This is so meta I can't take it. Is everything not-iOS defined as "fragmentation"?

Re:Fragmentation (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675556)

This is so meta I can't take it. Is everything not-iOS defined as "fragmentation"?

Yes. Apple are spending a lot of money feeding this line to their paid media lackies, repeated by gullible zealots. Apple are terrified of competition, and like MS before them, and IBM before them, will do everything they can to block it.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

DavidinAla (639952) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676136)

Life must be difficult living under that tinfoil hat of yours.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676306)

When it comes to Linux, fragmentation is inevitable. If you can't accept that, you are the one with a problem.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675480)

Consumer start to use linux more (android), but they still dont understand the main point of open source and linux's force...Choice. So if ubuntu gets a tablet in the market, that would be really nice, more choice to people. And also the tablet could do REAL work, not just consuming and that s the big difference between the available tablets and the ubuntu version.

Re:Fragmentation (2, Insightful)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675864)

It is not wise to say that Ubuntu could really work on tablets just basing that to Unity.

As UBUNTU is not Unity. It is GNOME 2.x series. And GNOME would not work with tablets. As it is not designed for tablets and you can not so on modify it to work with tablets.

Why did Tablet PC's fail on tablet markets until Apple brought iPad?

Because Microsoft tried to push a WIMP interface with Windows applications to tablet.

A WIMP stands for Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointer (if you didn't know). And GNOME (at least 2.x) needs pointer and is about Windows and drop-down menus.
That Ubuntu now comes by default a Unity, does not make Windows, Icons, Menus and Pointer go away. Unity is just a launcher and a shell.

KDE SC would work on tablets, as it is designed to be customizable and it is possible to make so user does not see windows, drop-down menus and does not need a pointer. (Icons, menus, toolbars... everything is possible to hide or make so big that they come usable with fingers).

And KDE has done great job with the Plasma. As they have different shell for different devices.
Plasma-desktop
Plasma-netbook
Plasma-mobile
Plasma-active
Plasma-Mediacenter

And thats it.... All KDE applications allows customization well to be possible fit on those device classes.
Canonical has not done anything than Unity and it does not fit to anywhere well.

Apple understood the problem, they have XNU operating system (Open Source btw) and lots of closed source sub-systems like Core animations and so on. And then they made a totally new shell for smartphone and tablet with totally new application design rules. They went and throw away the WIMP and toke just IM. Icons and menus (not drop-down).

And now Microsoft is trying to do the same, but totally wrong way. As they get second glass idea for GUI (Metro) and what was designed for smartphone (does not work so well when starting to add more functions and applications... the Zune interface does not work and Metro start screen is hard to understand) and they slaps it to desktop computers and tablets....

Desktop computers can not support Metro either. And tablets.... It is as well second glass GUI for it.

And Microsoft has pushed the "Ribbon" interface for its applications, what it copied from Lotus document writer...
And it does not work well on tablets either.... Apple and Open Handset Alliance has understanded this and made new GUI's for tablets what fits for them.

Everyone else than Microsoft and Canonical knows what to do. That every GUI needs to be designed per device class and you can not push single GUI to all of them.

And it is funny, that Canonical what is the Linux communitys Microsoft, does same thing as MS does.... Are they collaborating someway?

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675886)

... So if ubuntu gets a tablet in the market, ...

Actually, if you haven't spent your money on a closed device, you should be able to install Ubuntu on your tablet as a matter of choice. Personally I'd like a less consumer oriented more developer oriented distribution.

At the end of the day, more than anything else, what I want, is the right to choose.

Re:Fragmentation (4, Informative)

heavyheaded (1905994) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675496)

Network guy here - I've got a WebOS tablet, and 2 recent Android smartphones, none of which are usable for work due to reliance on crap apps in the software store. If Ubuntu becomes available, it will be all Ubuntu - give me NetworkManager for VPN, and a terminal window with actual ssh and telnet, and I'm happy. Oh and I can run bash and python scripts from my phone? I WANT I WANT I WANT

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675634)

For those functions, I believe it's already possible to hack your phone and put Linux on it.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

darthdavid (835069) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675698)

It shouldn't have to be a 'hack' though. Any general purpose computer you buy should let you load any compatible operating system and any operating system should let you run any compatible programs. You shouldn't have to jump through hoops just to do what you'd like with your own damn hardware.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675960)

I guess the problem is that those phones aren't really compatible with other OSes. With Linux, you will only be able to use them as a general purpose computer, not a smartphone.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

iluvcapra (782887) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676424)

Doing what you want != doing it dirt simple. Congratulations, you own your own "damn" cellphone, so you can run any ARM instruction you want.

Oh, what, running the bare hardware is actually useless to you? You're actually dependent on a loose confederation of a thousand programmers working in their free time around the world, who never guarantee anything will ever work, in order to turn your hardware into something useful to you?

You should get over the whole "it's my hardware" thing. Computer hardware by itself is useless and inert, particularly when 99.999% of the time you're just running someone else's instructions. Is someone really in a position to claim that when they run Linux (or Windows, or OS X) "you" are running what "you" want? Isn't that claiming a lot of other people's work for yourself?

Re:Fragmentation (1)

jabjoe (1042100) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675962)

LOL! You think?
If you don't want graphics, yes sure, chroot Debian like I have now.
If you want graphics it's xvfb and vnc, shudder.
Replace the OS all together? Good luck with that, there is binary blobs drivers to contend with.
There is no reason at all they couldn't have provided at least a skeleton of a normal graphical Unix. A modern smart phone has crazy spec from the future compared with what was around when Unix graphical standards where laid down.
Why the hell should I have to port cross platform stuff to Android?
If they hate X, help with Wayland. If users want normal graphical Unix, we can at least install the Wayland X server.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675724)

>Network guy here - I've got a WebOS tablet, and 2 recent Android smartphones, none of which are usable for work due to reliance on crap apps in the software store.

You know, with Android at least, you don't have to rely on what's in the Android Market; you can sideload apps you download from the internet.

Or you could write your own.

Re:Fragmentation (3, Insightful)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675802)

Have you ever written an app for Android?

I have, that platform utterly SUCKS to program for.

"or you could write your own" is the same as, "or you can build your own car from scratch"...

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676060)

Actually, it's kind of fun. I mean it's essentially just like writing Java.

Yeah, there are some lame String based hooks that provided the programming interface to most of the User Interaction, but really, you can encapsulate your code to avoid all that, except wherever it becomes absolutely necessary.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676484)

"or you could write your own" is the same as, "or you can build your own car from scratch"...

I'm pretty much already there, luckily it's conceptually much easier than building your own computer, and the parts aren't so tiny.

Re:Fragmentation=choice now (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676026)

Fujitsu U810/820, P1620, etc - smaill, powerful, cheap on eBay, and run about any distro. And there are easily installed debian packages to enable the touch screens, that sort of work anyway without that.

RO

Re:Fragmentation (2)

dcherryholmes (1322535) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676580)

I have Ubuntu running as a touch-optimized LXDE environment on my touchpad. It runs in a card, no dual-booting necessary. Not sure if it meets all your needs, but instructions can be found here:

http://forums.webosnation.com/hp-touchpad/293028-new-touchpad-heres-your-get-started-guide.html/ [webosnation.com]

Scroll down to the "Advanced Stuff, there be dragons ahead" for instructions to get you started. There's an easier way and a harder way to do it, but the harder way will result in a more configurable, easier to startup system.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

ieatcookies (1490517) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675518)

Unless you believe competition is good for the consumer. If so, then this is exactly what is needed.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675696)

It depends. Sometimes increased competition is good, sometimes its bad. The world isn't black and white.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

zarlino (985890) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675564)

I see it as a very positive development. Ubuntu is just a sugar coated Debian. Most of vanilla Debian is still there, from command line utilities, configuration files and GUI toolkits (GTK+, Qt). If the Ubuntu tablet preserves this, it would be light years ahead Android in terms of bringing the "Free Sotware" ecosystem to a mobile device.

Re:Fragmentation (3, Insightful)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676014)

Actually, Ubuntu screws around quite a bit with configuration files. I find this particularly annoying, it seems that nothing is where it used to be, or works as it used to work.

Very annoying.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676494)

Yep, it would take some time (mostly waiting) but you could hack Ubuntu into a really nice OS with little more than changing packages around.

Fragmentation or Diversity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675568)

Linux has always been about diversity, and freedom. One can see it as 'competing against itself', but the multitude of distributions which characterise the Linux ecosystem could be seen as its most unique strength.

Re:Fragmentation or Diversity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676030)

Which is why every year is the year of the Linux desktop... or not

Re:Fragmentation or Diversity? (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676512)

"Fragmentation" is what Apple fanboys call "diversity." They see it as a bad thing, they want a one-true-platform future, it's such a neat and tidy concept...

Re:Fragmentation (1)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675626)

It's not a bad idea, but they can't provide apps like Netflix and Hulu which most people want, I don't see it succeeding. Only a few hardcore geeks will buy it. Besides, why can Ubuntu offer that's not already available on Android or iOS?

Re:Fragmentation (1)

tautog (46259) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675746)

Besides, why can Ubuntu offer that's not already available on Android or iOS?

Real freedom? Actual desktop-type apps on a portable device?

Re:Fragmentation (1)

tripleevenfall (1990004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676186)

I think his point is, Netflix and Hulu might spend the development effort on Android because that's what the remnant of the market not using an iPad is using. It reaches significant numbers of people and they have #1 and #2 in the market covered.

Tablets are not what people really buy, what they are really buying is a thin way to access content. Without content, without the most popular apps they could get elsewhere people will say "What can i DO on this thing?"

What we really need is not some other Linux-based fragmentation device, what we need is a high quality Android tablet that is priced in line with the iPad and doesn't require mobile contracts.

We've had decent tablets that were massively overpriced, and goodness knows we've had plenty that were affordable garbage. But no decent and affordable tablets.

I think Android is failing to win over the tablet space because they're about 3 iterations behind Apple and still don't have a really good device with widespread adoption.

In the meantime, adding more pirates to the sea of Not-Apple doesn't expand the market, it means everyone will just continually get a smaller piece of the pie.

Re:Fragmentation (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675812)

Most people? really?

Or are you talking just you.

Because "Most people" if they want netflix, they dont watch it on a tablet. They watch it on their TV.

Re:Fragmentation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675756)

Why not? Wasn't that part of the point? Choice?

I'll be watching this closely. I've wanted to like Android so bad but I'm just too wary of Google. I won't touch Apple (not big on supporting companies that tell me how I am going to use my products) and Amazon's tablet doesn't do anything for me.

Canonical should be careful though. The gloves have long since come off in this fight and I'm not sure how the current players would react and I don't know if Canonical could survive a smack-down from those giants...

Re:Fragmentation (2)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675856)

Variety and choice, trial and error, natural selection... these all lead to robust software.
The walled garden, god complex, "In know what's best for you" software gives everyone mediocrity (apart from a few fanatics who "just love" it).
Give people lots of choices and everyone will compete to offer the best... and "the best" may be different for different people.
If you don't like one system, you can easily choose another.
This is a good thing.

Re:Fragmentation (2)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676140)

More to the point, it's variety and choice on the things that don't matter much for compatibility, and a standards on the things that do matter for compatibility. If I write software for my own machine, with not a lot of extra work I can make it compile and run just fine on any Linux distro and probably BSD as well.

So variety and choice about which desktop widgets you're going to use, but no (non-bug) variations regarding what an fcntl(2) call will do. That's a very effective combination.

Been thinking this for a while now (2)

Drummergeek0 (1513771) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675454)

Since tablets are considered a fundamentally different device than a desktop/laptop, I feel this is where Linux could shine. Ubuntu always seemed to be in the best position to capitalize on it as well. I am anxious to see what they come up with because I would almost definitely ditch my iPad for an Ubuntu tablet. I should note that no machine in my regular use runs Ubuntu or any other form of Linux as it could not replace what I need my desktops and laptops to do.

Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675486)

Well now we know the purpose of Unity. Too bad Ubuntu has lost all its good-will in the community by foisting it on desktop users.

Re:Unity (3, Insightful)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675950)

I wouldn't say that.

Has Canonical burned an epic amount of karma with Unity? Absolutely. But now we see the strategy of Canonical and why the (at the time) weird decisions were being made - for moving into the mobile & embedded market.

1) The nasty split with the Gnome community over Gnome3. Due to the Gnome community designing for the desktop and ignoring Canonical's input for the most part. Canonical decides to develop Unity so it can control the development path.

2) Wayland - X has way too much overhead and features for low-power mobile devices. Wayland keeps it nice and light.

3) Close/minimize/maximize debacle - pure usabilty idea. It was thrown out there to play with the code and how far people will accept change.

4) Ubuntu One - iTunes/Amazon fighter.

Being as they are one of (if not the) largest GPL distros on the planet, they know they have a massive built in base they can use for beta testing ideas, Q&A and bug fixing (since the code is all out in the open). That's huge. Add in the rock solid dependability of Linux and they have a winner.

Re:Unity (4, Insightful)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676250)

X has way too much overhead and features for low-power mobile devices.

I always find this argument funny, considering I first used X on a 32MHz CPU with 32MB of RAM.

I would agree that it's not ideal for a tablet that's mostly used for full-screen apps and media consumption, but 'overhead and features' are not the reason.

No Thanks (1)

getto man d (619850) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675494)

Not after witnessing Canonical's meddling with (what used to be) a once decent distro.

Re:No Thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675616)

Dude, I agree that Ubuntu ain't what it used to be, but how can you call Canonical changing to their own product "meddling"?

meddling present participle of meddle (Verb)
Verb:
      1. Interfere in or busy oneself unduly with something that is not one's concern.
      2. Touch or handle (something) without permission: "don't meddle with my things".

Not really surprised. (4, Insightful)

aquabats (1985346) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675498)

Anyone who has seen Unity saw this coming. Its not very fluent for most peoples desktop usage, but would be great on a tablet or smart phone.

Re:Not really surprised. (3, Insightful)

gshegosh (1587463) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675652)

Yeah, it would be great, assuming that it works fast enough. On my i7 with 12G of RAM and a recent NVidia card it won't even move windows smoothly. Wouldn't want to try it on an Atom or ARM.

Re:Not really surprised. (2)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675702)

So does that mean that on my P4 with 1G it hasn't actually crashed - if I wait another 30 mins, the mouse pointer might move?

I think I will install NetBSD, thanks.

Re:Not really surprised. (2)

enemorales (1172133) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675654)

I like in spirit, but I would be wary about the implementation. It has already happened with the iPhone (I do not know if this is the case): the hardware is so powerfull, that developers forget this is not a fully computer or laptop. I'm not thinking about the interface, but usage of battery. They forget that the energy resource IS a limitation in this case, with the consequence, for me at least, that the battery will be shorter than the day, requiring me to charge at some point of just keeping mi phone plugged during the day. If this has happened to the developers that started working with the mobile device in mind, I wonder what a platform that started with none of these consideration in mind.

Re:Not really surprised. (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675762)

I have a 512MB Ram Pent. 4 machine that I tried running Ubuntu 11.4 with Unity.

The memory was at 90% usages and CPU close to 100% with only Firefox running.

This machine is now on xubuntu is doing much better.

Please explain to us how Unity will work better on a tablet or some other device that makes the box I'm on now look like a speed demon.

Re:Not really surprised. (1)

akm1489 (1703162) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675784)

Last to last week there was announcement from canonical CFO about launch of Ubuntu TV with unity, they are collaborating with lot of manufacturers .... most probably on tablet they'll come along with unity ... I'll wait for it..

Re:Not really surprised. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675854)

Which is why I and many others have dumped Ubuntu as our desktop OS in favor of Mint, Debian, or some other distro. Unity sucks hard as a desktop interface.

Re:Not really surprised. (1)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676378)

and for people who want to do something nutty like using Ubuntu as a desktop OS, they can always install the KDE or lubuntu

Theres no room for ubuntu/unity on the desktop.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675532)

Ubuntu and unity are only fit for tablets at the moment. If they could admit that and make it a separate distribution many would be much happier.

Re:Theres no room for ubuntu/unity on the desktop. (2)

Fri13 (963421) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675894)

And then it should be called as Tubuntu with T for Tablet?

Canonical should go and pull all othes, Kubuntu, Lubuntu, Xubuntu and Ubuntu and make a single Ubuntu DVD with a installer what gives a user a choice to choose what to use.
On LiveCD user could logout and back in to try other desktops.

Just like how Mandrake made it.... boot, choose and login... logout and try next one. Install what you wanted...

Um, No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675562)

(Posting AC because I'm at work)

There is a real demand for an alternative platform.

Um, no there isn't. Or, more specifically, there isn't sufficient demand for an alternative platform to lead to success. Just because a small handful of people want an alternative does not mean the market wants one...

Re:Um, No. (1)

Tsingi (870990) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676138)

(Posting AC because I'm at work)

There is a real demand for an alternative platform.

Um, no there isn't. Or, more specifically, there isn't sufficient demand for an alternative platform to lead to success. Just because a small handful of people want an alternative does not mean the market wants one...

You may be correct, for the moment. Consider though, that currently all you can do on your tablet is run apps downloaded from an app store (or that you have written yourself) and these apps can only do what the OS allows them to do.

This scenario may have it's good points, but consider how much it constrains innovation on this cool new hardware we all have. Wouldn't it be more fun to have access to the whole enchalada?

A small handful of people who are interested in such things may very well open up a whole new market.

You have to admit that the possibilities are alluring.

Chalk and Cheese (1)

accessbob (962147) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675690)

Touch-screen hand-held devices require radically different metaphors to desktop/laptop computing. They are much more context-sensitive in terms of how and where they are used, and in the amount of attention the that user can give the UI. If Canonical can actually address this and are innovative, that would be great.

Unfortunately, looking at how Canonical are trying to force (other people's) mobile metaphors onto the Desktop, I seriously doubt their ability to build a better UI experience for mobile users. They don't even get that mobile and desktop computing is like chalk and cheese, let alone express any real innovation.

Most people don't really care about openness (1)

s73v3r (963317) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675704)

For most consumers, the idea of "openness", especially when concerning the software itself, hardly ever crosses their mind. It's not really going to be a selling point that they will latch on to.

give me root access... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675716)

...and I'll buy your tablet.

Real Alternative? (1, Insightful)

Xeranar (2029624) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675732)

How about nobody cares about that. Unless you have a multi-billion dollar marketing budget to match Android or iOS and a market place that can run all of the apps that Android does Ubuntu has no chance of being a serious player. I'm not against more players in the game but lets be real with ourselves, Ubuntu is used by power users who care to work with Linux. I'm going to take the plunge this summer when I can safely back up all my data and take a few days to play with it but I realize I'm part of a tiny minority. While the minority may be wealthy enough to make this venture possible it is highly unlikely they'll ever unseat one of the big two or even be a serious third. Android won't win awards from the open source community but they aren't a walled garden and that is in particular unless Ubuntu can seriously cut the cost of Android products will have a hard time competing in the marketplace for mOS's

Re:Real Alternative? (1)

brainzach (2032950) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676076)

The power users who care to work with Linux are the same people who can tinker with Android.

Re:Real Alternative? (1)

binarstu (720435) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676168)

I'm going to take the plunge this summer when I can safely back up all my data and take a few days to play with it...

So you have yet to even use Ubuntu on the desktop, yet you can confidently declare it "has no chance of being a serious player". That conclusion is premature at best. Never mind that you have no idea what their tablet implementation will ultimately look/feel like.

Apple is firmly established as the tablet giant right now, there is no doubt about that. However, despite the huge variety of android tablets on the market, none of them have really been all that successful in gaining market share [zdnet.com] . I think Silber is probably right that there is room for a new player, and if they can enter the market soon with a good product, they might have a chance. I wish them luck!

Been there, ran that. (2)

flanders_down (2424442) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675734)

People in the WebOS community are already running Ubuntu on HP TouchPads..

Linux is a lost cause (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675824)

This will sell about as good as WinPhone. Oh well...

Tizen (1)

killmenow (184444) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675828)

I dumped Ubuntu a while ago. I don't like the direction they're going in.

Instead...well, I've been a fan of Maemo, then MeeGo, now Tizen [tizen.org] for a while now. If I don't want to run Android, I'll wait for a usable Tizen build to put on my tablets, thanks anyway.

There is market (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38675834)

If manufacturers start adopting Ubuntu, they would no longer need to pay royalties to Microsoft for using Android.

And, given the open source nature of Android, I don't see why can't Ubuntu get some of the features of Android, either by just grabbing the code, or by recoding the same features in the style of the Linux vs. SCO case.

So it is a win win situation, Ubuntu adopts the characteristics that make Android good, maybe even adding some of their own features to the OS, and present it as an alternative to manufacturers that are currently being bullied by Microsoft and others to pay royalties for using Android.

Re:There is market (1)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676096)

I double any Ubuntu table would ever be released without paying some royalty fees of some sort. It is ridiculous to think that the bulk of expense for an Android tablet is to pay off Microsoft. An hey, if Android is using Microsoft's IP, then the manufacturers have to pay up, them's the rules. Google could create Android without using Microsoft IP, but obviously Google and most in the Android world find that Microsoft royalties are acceptable and not complaining, only consumers that have some unwarranted hate-on for Microsoft.

But there are a slew of other royalties being paid for various software and hardware components found in any consumer electronic device, assuming a Linux derived device is entirely royalty free is foolish.

open/usability (1)

rocketjam (696072) | more than 2 years ago | (#38675932)

Openness is all fine and dandy, but ultimately consumer friendliness and usability are what will make a successful platform. Whether geeks want to admit it or not, that's why Apple's offerings are so successful.

folks don't mind walled gardens. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676008)

End users don't care about "openness, open governance, collaboration", and really don't mind walled gardens.

the free Desktop Environments are inferior (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676062)

I doubt that free Desktop Environments will be competitive for a long time. I have to go with Bill Gates on this one. I am willing to pay for a better Desktop Environment (Windows or OS X) for non work applications.

Re:the free Desktop Environments are inferior (2, Informative)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676266)

I have to go with Bill Gates on this one. I am willing to pay for a better Desktop Environment (Windows or OS X) for non work applications.

Whenever I have to reboot from Linux to Windows to run Word or play a game that doesn't run in Wine, I remember what a horrible, clunky kludge the Windows interface was.

Ubuntu Tablets at the cost of Ubuntu Desktops? (1)

Lashat (1041424) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676224)

I used to be a big fan of Ubuntu, but it seems that all of this recent effort to make Ubuntu work on tablets/touchscreens has come at the cost of the stability and robustness of the desktop product.

But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

Re:Ubuntu Tablets at the cost of Ubuntu Desktops? (1)

0123456 (636235) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676276)

I used to be a big fan of Ubuntu, but it seems that all of this recent effort to make Ubuntu work on tablets/touchscreens has come at the cost of the stability and robustness of the desktop product.

To be fair, it started on netbooks, where Unity works quite well. But the Linux desktop is going to be screwed until they kick out the 'UI designers' who've messed it up so badly.

big market for alternatives? don't think so (1)

iampiti (1059688) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676338)

I don't know where Jane Silber she draws her conclusions from but I humbly disagree. If Microsoft, with all their millions (dedicated to marketing) haven't been able to gain barely any market share in smartphones with windows phone 7 I don't see what could Ubuntu do. Besides that, there are several alternative smartphone OSes which have failed and not because of technical reasons. E.g: WebOS, Maemo/Meego. She's just expressing her wishes and hoping it becomes true but seems unlikely.

They're not in charge (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676364)

"increased wariness around the walled gardens of Apple and to some extent Google and even Amazon"

Apple, google and amazon are who gets decide which OS is on their device. Not the customer.

Re:They're not in charge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676598)

Ah, but the applications you get in any of those contexts IS determined by those players. With Android to some extent and very probably with Ubuntu to a much larger one, you CAN choose those applications.

Ubuntu (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38676522)

Just give me a phone with a full OS, That when I am home has blue tooth for a keyboard WIFI for a networked hard drive and internet and a HDMI to connect to my TV
and a mouse blue tooth..and one more feature a button on the desktop that says phone mode on/off.
And while it is connected to the TV and a incoming call displays on the screen if you take it hands free or let it go to voice mail. you know pops up the caller ID.

So Its a phone and a Mac Mini.

This is my geek device wish. I have seen thing the get very close already.
http://gizmodo.com/5393584/windows-xp-phone-a-first-look-at-its-touchscreen-interface

The markets are NOT the same, sheesh (1)

jayesel (2531026) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676564)

"Take on iOS?" What the hell are people smoking? The Apple devices offer a pure e2e experience. There is no competition within that space that does nto reveal APple, once again, got it right. people like the walls, albeit a little annoyed , at times, with the control issues (Flash, Porn). But the fact is Apple makes wonderful devices for the consumer that simply work , are seamlessly integrated, and have high quality usable apps. the markets are not the same, and people how buy tablets could give a rats ass about Ubuntu, Red Hat, Linux or anything else hackers/engineers think is important.

Only if they... (1)

eno2001 (527078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38676668)

...tighten things up a bit more. I found the 11.04 an 11.10 releases to be terribly unstable if you are upgrading in place. Let us hope that any tablet, TV or phone OS release of theirs has a much tighter development model. People who buy TVs, phones and tablets want to have those devices "just work". Computer users are used to having to work around problems. Can you imagine the horror of having to wait for a TV to boot, or to have functionality of the TV change to the point where you have to relearn everything after an upgrade? And I'm an Android user... I love to tweak things which is why little else appeals.

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