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Canonical Puts Ubuntu On Android Smartphones

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the maybe-my-phone-would-crash-less dept.

Open Source 155

nk497 writes "Canonical has revealed Ubuntu running on a smartphone — but the open source developer hasn't squashed the full desktop onto a tiny screen. Instead, the Ubuntu for Android system runs both OSes side by side, picking which to surface depending on the form factor. When a device — in the demo, it was a Motorola Atrix — is being used as a smartphone, it uses Android. When it's docked into a laptop or desktop setup, the full version of Ubuntu is used. Files, apps and other functionality such as voice calls and texting are shared between the two — for example, if a text message is sent to the phone when it's docked, the SMS pops up in Ubuntu, while calls can be received or made from the desktop." ZDnet has pictures; ExtremeTech has a story, too, including some words from Canonical CEO Jane Silber.

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WAT (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39113599)

INTEDEZTING

Tablets please (1)

DeBaas (470886) | about 2 years ago | (#39113633)

Very nice!, nonetheless I'd rather see it run on my Notion Ink Adam. I like the hardware, but somehow still grab my laptop more often.

So why the push for Unity? (4, Interesting)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#39113647)

Why was there a big push for Unity if you're not going to use it in a small form factor? Why not just stick with a real desktop?

Re:So why the push for Unity? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114363)

Unity/Gnome debate is silly and you're really missing the point.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (5, Interesting)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#39114425)

Unity/Gnome debate is silly and you're really missing the point.

I don't think he's missing the point - Canonical pushed the small touch-screen friendly Unity on everyone, and now that they have Ubuntu running on a small formfactor touch screen that is supposed to be exactly what Unity is good at, what do they do? They dump Ubuntu entirely on that small screen and only run Ubuntu on the big monitor with no touch screen.

So tell me again what the point of Unity is if it's not for touchscreen devices?

Re:So why the push for Unity? (1)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#39116049)

Maybe Canonical released Unity for the same reason Adam Sandler made Jack and Jill?

Re:So why the push for Unity? (4, Funny)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#39116713)

You mean they too was paid by the CIA to develop a method of inflicting horrible pain without leaving a mark on the victim? Those bastards! At least Sandler had an excuse as they threatened him with being forced to work on the new SNL and having to have Tom Green write all his material, but what's Canonical's excuse? Maybe a lucrative contract to supply all of Iraq and Afghanistan with non touch enabled desktops to teach the children the futility of trying to fight the system? the mind boggles.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (1)

ozmanjusri (601766) | about 2 years ago | (#39117701)

So tell me again what the point of Unity is if it's not for touchscreen devices?

One device is not an entire market.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114487)

NO U.

When a device â" in the demo, it was a Motorola Atrix â" is being used as a smartphone, it uses Android. When it's docked into a laptop or desktop setup, the full version of Ubuntu is use

Unity's design is for (small) touchscreen devices, but they use Android when it's used as small touchscreen device and switch to Ubuntu with Unity when used as desktop.

This kinda makes you wonder why the fuck did they spend resources on touch-friendly Unity, when they're not going to use it where it's meant to be.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 2 years ago | (#39115101)

I was under the impression that the Atrix was a touchscreen tablet that would use the Unity interface. That would be touchscreen but not small form factor. Canonical undoubtedly realized during the development of this that Unity was not well suited to very small form factors, or they knew that all the rest of the user software would not be well suited to running in Unity on a phone size device and found the Android GUI to be a better experience on a phone.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (1)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 2 years ago | (#39114761)

If its silly why did you post as an AC?

You know damn well that it's not silly.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114641)

Because in due course we'll have Unity across all of these form factors. For now, however, Android is better on the phone UI than Unity, and so we're making it possible for people to start converging on the phone today with Android rather than waiting months for the Ubuntu phone UI itself.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (1)

N1ckR (1289800) | about 2 years ago | (#39115091)

Because in due course we'll have Unity across all of these form factors. For now, however, Android is better on the phone UI than Unity, and so we're making it possible for people to start converging on the phone today with Android rather than waiting months for the Ubuntu phone UI itself.

You speak in the first person, are you involved with this project ?

Re:So why the push for Unity? (0)

datavirtue (1104259) | about 2 years ago | (#39115437)

Big yawn.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (0, Troll)

hairyfeet (841228) | about 2 years ago | (#39116643)

Because with this and the killing of kubuntu its as I said and canonical is slowly bleeding to death? i'll get hate for saying this but truth is truth and the FOSS model simply doesn't work on the desktop. On servers companies buy support contracts, on embedded companies pay developers to customize it but on the desktop if you don't get MSFT's economies of scale (Windows 1.0 was $99, Win 7 HP is $89) you simply can't come up with the millions, and it WILL require millions to get an OS with 99% of the money being spent on server usage like Linux up to snuff for desktops, so the companies die. See Mandriva as just the latest line of a long line of examples, along with Xandros, Linspire, gOS, etc.

To make money on a desktop you not only have to have OEMs that are willing to sell your product (Canonical doesn't as Dell is most likely losing money on every sale of Ubuntu) but everyone has gotten spoiled to "clicky clicky plug and play everything just works" so you have to do slick and seamless BETTER than MSFT and Apple which simply isn't possible with free labor. its what i call the "busted shitter problem" in that there is a TON of work that is lousy, thankless, long, boring work that HAS TO be done, all the docs and QA and bug fixing, I mean how many bugs are listed in the Ubuntu bug tracker that are over 2 years old? How many "Update foo broke my drivers" posts do you see in Ubuntu forums with every release? if anything the FOSS model is worse because the developers are all coming from server backgrounds and have a "Meh just use CLI" attitude that uses CLI as a crutch and that simply won't fly on the desktop where you have to be BETTER than the other guy, not just cheaper. this attitude works on servers because Apple doesn't even care about that market and MSFT has assraping pricing for server OSes so admins will put up with a lot of shit to save tens of thousands of dollars. When an OEM copy of Win 7 HP is only $50 to the big boys it really don't take too many service calls from consumers before Windows is the cheaper alternative, not when HP makes on average $8 a sale on the low end.

So you mark my words in less than 5 years, I'd say less than 3, Canonical will join that long line of companies that tried to make a go with a FOSS desktop and found it simply unworkable. that isn't to say the FOSS model is bad, just that it simply doesn't work in all cases and this is one. What we need is a new license that will allow someone like canonical to concentrate on all the "buster shitter" work while still making enough profits to keep the lights on, maybe a "free to look at the code but if you distribute you have to pay" clause? because as a retailer believe me I WANT there to be choices, I WANT to see real competition but when I try to upgrade a system and the drivers break and I click a help file and get a "to be done" placeholder? Well my time costs and just like the OEMs it really don't take long before that copy of Win 7 HP is the cheaper deal, about 2 hours in my case.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39117759)

Because with this and the killing of kubuntu its as I said and canonical is slowly bleeding to death?

Exactly. If it was QT I would be interested, but GTK is one big "meh". Good luck Canonical, you will need it.

Well anyway at least it's not Java.

Re:So why the push for Unity? (1)

Daniel Phillips (238627) | about 2 years ago | (#39117855)

Oh wait, actually if Ubuntu does the work to boot Unity on it, it should be dead simple to substitute a decent QT interface, so I hereby change my mind and officially think this is a great project. So call me fickle :-)

Re:So why the push for Unity? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39117783)

What a fucking lying wanker! You sleazy swine, you should be stripped naked and exposed as the dirty shill you are.

Unity (4, Interesting)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#39113657)

So let me get this straight...

The Unity desktop was arguably intended for tablets and phones... so it's only active when connected to a full-size monitor?

I appreciate the concept of a single computing device for everything, and having that device be tiny... but couldn't somebody other than Canonical do it? Please?

Re:Unity (5, Interesting)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39114165)

So close yet so far. I'd buy a phone running Ubuntu but I have no use for Android. I'd have it run the same OS all the time, just using a mobile GUI (Unity or preferably Hildon) on the small screen and a traditional desktop GUI (I'm thinking XFCE) on the large screen.

If I can make a Droid 4 run Ubuntu I'll buy one ASAP. Once you can run a regular GNU/Linux distro you can customize it to do anything the hardware is capable of. That's the only problem with my N900, the hardware's old and out of date.

Re:Unity (1)

AvitarX (172628) | about 2 years ago | (#39114333)

Arguably if complete lack of functionality on a touchscreen is your argument (requires hover).

It was designed for netbooks, and after the fad of netbooks.

Single low-mid (by todays standards) monitor is the target for Unity.

Re:Unity (4, Interesting)

Jonner (189691) | about 2 years ago | (#39114469)

Canonical first officially released Unity as part of Ubuntu Netbook Remix. Currently, they call it "A powerful desktop and netbook environment that brings consistency and elegance to the Ubuntu experience." I don't think Canonical has said it was intended for tablets and phones, but others have incorrectly assumed that.

I don't hate Unity as so many others seem to, but neither have I found it particularly useful. What I'd like to see is a way to run arbitrary Free *nix apps on an Android system in as seemless and integrated way as possible. At a bare minimum, this would require an X11 server, but integration of notifications would be another obvious thing to do.

Re:Unity (0)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39115683)

It's because it's not actually "running in the smartphone" - all they did was replace the linux os in the Lapdock100 (which is a separate accessory for the smartphone) with Ubuntu.

In other words, nothing to see here. Ubuntu still can't run Android, or Android apps, almost 3 years after Canonical announced their "Android Execution Environment."

Re:Unity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39117675)

You are incorrect. Nothing runs inside the dock. Everything runs on the phone.

You are half right though. There is nothing to see here because it is just a Motorola Atrix (released a year ago with all these features) with a recent Ubuntu installed instead of the original Webtop software (which was a fork of Ubuntu anyway.) It even uses exactly the same software for the Android integration.

Re:Unity (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39118321)

Sorry, you're right. I should have done better - both OS images are stored in the phone, it's just the display, kb, etc., that are external. btw, here's a video of Debian on the Atrix from August 2nd, 2011.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8-92J9hfkA [youtube.com]

It's really funny how their "touch UI" (disUnity) only runs on the non-touch device :-)

Not ready (5, Interesting)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#39113691)

It's the right idea, but Ubuntu on ARM is nowhere near ready. It's crazy buggy, and you're going to miss out on hardware accelerated graphics for the vast majority of applications, because most apps still expect OpenGL, and can't take advantage of OpenGL ES.

The other problem is that devices like the Atrix, while an interesting concept, aren't really ready to host desktop Linux yet. The performance just isn't there yet. I suspect that the next crop of smartphones, with dual core A15s or quad-core A9s, those will probably do a decent job at it.

Disclaimer: my experience with playing around with this is limited to various versions of Ubuntu on a pandaboard, which is a TI OMAP dev board with similar specs to the Atrix.

Hardware performance a problem? (1)

grimJester (890090) | about 2 years ago | (#39114391)

I find that hard to believe. Win7 only requires a 1 GHz processor and 1G of RAM; surely you can tweak an Ubuntu distro to run fine on a current phone?

If you use software that doesn't run smoothly enough on current phone, your requirements are likely to scale up with increased processing power so you'll never feel anything but a desktop is sufficiently powerful.

Re:Hardware performance a problem? (4, Insightful)

VMaN (164134) | about 2 years ago | (#39114763)

Sadly, all GHz are not created equal..

Re:Hardware performance a problem? (2)

Guspaz (556486) | about 2 years ago | (#39116825)

Win7 *requires* that to run, but that doesn't mean it will run well. Using modern websites and web apps on that sort of machine will be painful. Besides that, Windows counts on there being a certain amount of hardware acceleration for graphics, even if it's just GDI (2D) acceleration. But few smartphone GPUs have 2D components, so there's no accelerated 2D drawing. You end up basically drawing and compositing everything entirely in software, which puts a huge burden on your already underpowered CPU.

A few things are going to improve this going forward:

1) More apps are getting support for OpenGL ES, enabling 3D hardware acceleration. Ubuntu's desktop composition now supports this.
2) Newer mobile GPUs are starting to get 2D GPUs; the OMAP4470 and onwards has one, but the OMAP4430 and OMAP4460 don't. But the 4460 is the newest available at the moment; the 4470 hasn't shipped yet.
3) Mobile CPUs are getting faster fast, tackling this from the other end. The Cortex A15 is a huge improvement clock-for-clock over the A9, and will be clocked at higher speeds to boot.

On top of all of this, many desktop apps are designed with assumptions about the sort of resources they'll have available and run on, and not all of those assumptions are true when you're running on a low-power SoC. For example, RAM. I've got 6 tabs open in Chrome right now, and that's using 768MB of RAM. That's not a problem on my desktop, which as 12GB of RAM, but that kind of memory usage wouldn't fly on a smartphone platform with 512MB of 1024MB of RAM. There are things they could do to mitigate that (cache less things, keep less rendered bitmaps in RAM, etc). A desktop app will probably trade RAM for performance by a different standard than a smartphone app can afford to.

Re:Not ready (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39115599)

Yeah this is an interesting idea but I'm going to skip this lin-sux based crap and just going to wait for Apple to come out with their, inevitably far superior, version.

Think different.
Think BETTER.
Think **APPLE**!!!

Turn my phone into HTPC (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#39113753)

I would really like the ability to dock my phone with my TV, and turn my phone into a HTPC. Only challenges to overcome would be - content providers like (Hulu and Netflix), and a remote (bluetooth?).

Re:Turn my phone into HTPC (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#39113983)

wouldnt a wireless connection make more sense and have the phone act as the remote?

Re:Turn my phone into HTPC (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114015)

Already done.. it's called an Apple TV. My iPhone controls it and I can stream video or audio from my phone to my TV.

Re:Turn my phone into HTPC (1)

jedidiah (1196) | about 2 years ago | (#39114063)

...an inferior solution for people with no taste that can be easily distracted by shiny things.

If your phone can decode it, I don't want it on my large screen HDTV or projector.

Re:Turn my phone into HTPC (3, Insightful)

spire3661 (1038968) | about 2 years ago | (#39114593)

I have both a large screen and a projector, and while hi-def is nice, I grew up with tube TVs watching WKRP and Good Times. I dont NEED a source to be HD to enjoy it. Anything 480p or more is quite adequate for universal viewing. True HD is a merely one point in the spectrum of video, not the ultimate goal of all video. You will bankrupt yourself in the pursuit of perfect picture (apologies to Eisenhower)

Re:Turn my phone into HTPC (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39115523)

blah blah blah...my my my iPhone....punch in the stomach, knee in the face, now STFU

Re:Turn my phone into HTPC (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#39117271)

Apple TV still lacks the cpu and gou power of some of todays cellphones. Plus my phone has a camera, perfect for skype on my tv.

Re:Turn my phone into HTPC (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39114193)

Been doing this for years on my N900, although I don't use Hulu or Netflix (one is region-locked and one uses DRM). I can hook up a BT keyboard and mouse and a DS3 controller. The big problem is that there isn't much processing power so you can't play HD movies.

Ubuntu is Linux for Hipsters (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39113765)

Hipsters already ruined the Mac which is why shit like this happens [wikipedia.org] . They aren't welcome on Linux either. Ubuntu lost all credibility when they forced their lol unity interface on us now all real Linux users such as Slashdot readers have told Ubuntu to fuck off. If you use Ubuntu after 10.04 (the last non unity LTS) then you are disgrace to humanity. I'd rather use a Blackberry or even a WiNokia than a Ubuntu phone.

Re:Ubuntu is Linux for Hipsters (3, Interesting)

Phat_Tony (661117) | about 2 years ago | (#39114049)

I've been saying that this is where Apple's going for a while. Either the iPhone 5 or the one after it will only have a Thunderbolt port, no other dock connector (the Thunderbolt port can take a USB2 or Firewire to Thunderbolt cable for everyone with old computers/pc's and all.) And I be that after Mountain Lion, about two years from now, iOS and OSX will merge into one OS. The OS will know what hardware it's on and provide an appropriate user interface.

Phones will have all the power and storage most users need for everything they do. All many people will need is their iPhone and docking monitor, and the phone will behave like a phone when it's not docked, and like a computer when it is docked. At that point, yes it will cannibalize their PC sales, but the writing has been on the wall for PC sales since before the PC as we know it was even invented -since 1965 when Gordan Moore formulated his law. It's been inevitable that all the computing power and storage the average user needs will eventually be cheap and tiny, it's just amazing how long we've managed to come up with higher needs for power and storage space. But for the past 10 years usage requirements haven't kept pace with progress. Lower and lower end machines increasingly handle everything most users do. Apple is a smart enough company that they'd rather cannibalize their own sales and be the market leader in something than hold back on selling an inevitable progression for fear of cannibalization, like Kodak.

I wish Ubuntu luck with being first to market here, but I think it's a little early (not quite enough power and memory in this generation phone to be a good desktop), not a complete solution (this doesn't let you run the monitor off the phone and replace the guts of the computer entirely, it just lets you use a desktop interface for the phone when it's docked to a computer), and probably not going to be hugely successful.

Re:Ubuntu is Linux for Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39117961)

it just lets you use a desktop interface for the phone when it's docked to a computer/quote

False. You only need a HDMI monitor and USB keyboard and mouse.

Re:Ubuntu is Linux for Hipsters (5, Insightful)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#39114927)

Hipsters already ruined the Mac .....they aren't welcome on Linux either

Your comment has been modded to oblivion; but within there is a kernel of truth that should be answered. I've loved both the Mac and Ubuntu (quite a bit before 10.04). Both really have changed in spirit; the Mac from a platform for creation (remember they used to bundle what at the time was a top end paint program and word processor with the original system) towards a platform for media consumption. Ubuntu from an easy way to get the full GNU/Linux experience which absolutely tested every usability corner case to death into a strange visionaries test ground.

But.. Let's hold on a sec. There's a fundamental difference which stems from their cultural basis, one in BSD an the other in GNU. With OS X the consumer vision is becoming more and more entrenched and there is no escape. Where you used to just download and install developer tools or get Hypercard for free, now you: sign up for an apple account/sign up for Xcode/agree to a developer agreement/download macports/install the apps/find it's not compatible/have to search for an x server... etc. etc. etc.

With Ubuntu you are still one command and a re-login away from a civilised XFCE desktop. If you download Kubuntu you don't even need to use that one command. Linux Mint is fully available and fully Ubuntu software compatible. You won't get that on Android, let alone your 'WiNokia". Ubuntu have had some bad luck with anti-FOSS and FOSS corrupting people like Matt Assay, but they are still in the fold of people who are pushing forward software where you can do what you want with the end result. As long

If the hipsters are paying for that, there isn't much to complain about. Concentrate instead on companies like Apple and to a large extent Google which produce "Open Core" software where everything is open except the very bit that matters. These guys take your effort and turn it into their user's lock in. Ubuntu is still driving forward free and open code and free and open user experiences. That counts for plenty. The thing is to make sure that Ubuntu is encouraged to stay with Copyleft as much as possible and push back against their use of contributor agreements and unprotected code.

Re:Ubuntu is Linux for Hipsters (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39117571)

The last time I looked at doing some development on OSX (10.6), Xcode was on the install DVD. I didn't need to download anything.

Re:Ubuntu is Linux for Hipsters (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about 2 years ago | (#39118155)

No longer true for Xcode 4. It is free download in the apps store [wikipedia.org] so it's pretty available but you do have to register which is a perfect example of how Apple sets its self up able to tighten the screws whenever they want.

Keeping it walled in (4, Insightful)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#39113787)

According to what I read, they're planning on keeping it from the community and only working it in with OEM's on future devices. Where did you go wrong Canonical?

Re:Keeping it walled in (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39113847)

Where didn't they go wrong lately?

Re:Keeping it walled in (1)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39114251)

keeping it from the community and only working it in with OEM's on future devices

FFFFUUUUUUUUUUU

Re:Keeping it walled in (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114365)

The PCPro article says "Silber said Ubuntu for Android would be released under an open source license, but that Canonical expects it to mostly be pre-installed on specific hardware." I honestly hope they don't screw this one up, it's got the potential to be huge.

Re:Keeping it walled in (2)

fiver22 (637111) | about 2 years ago | (#39114427)

From the extremetech article: "The other problem is that while Canonical is pushing the build to hardware manufacturers and mobile carriers, it has no plans to release it to the general public for independent development. This means that you won't see a CyanogenMod ROM with this functionality built into it. While Ubuntu is open source, Canonical plans to control the release of this version." Spooky Canonical.

Re:Keeping it walled in (2)

nschubach (922175) | about 2 years ago | (#39116517)

The comment right above parent says:

The PCPro article says "Silber said Ubuntu for Android would be released under an open source license, but that Canonical expects it to mostly be pre-installed on specific hardware." I honestly hope they don't screw this one up, it's got the potential to be huge.

...
So is it going to be open sourced (where CyanogenMod can do it themselves...invalidating the extremetech article) or not?

Re:Keeping it walled in (1)

RDW (41497) | about 2 years ago | (#39117887)

From a reply by the author in the extremetech comments:

'In my interview with Silber, I asked her specifically about releasing the software to 3rd party developers like Cyanogenmod to include in builds of Android. Silber replied that while Ubuntu is open-source, the implementation of the platform in this way isn't. I will certainly forward your question on to them and see if there is some clarification.'

So the plot, apparently, thickens.

Re:Keeping it walled in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114485)

All your bootloaders are belong to us

Re:Keeping it walled in (3, Informative)

zarlino (985890) | about 2 years ago | (#39114701)

Canonical already made a great job in making the Linux desktop usable for the masses for free. They need to monetize their work if they're going to keep doing it. Giving Ubuntu for Android to the community as an unsupported do-it-yourself hack, would bring zero profit and lots of users whining.

Re:Keeping it walled in (1)

oakgrove (845019) | about 2 years ago | (#39114883)

I'm not trying to take anything away from Canonical. I wish them the best of financial success and have used every version of Ubuntu in some capacity since 2007. I hope they can work out a deal with every Android OEM in existence to become an integral part of their products. As a matter of fact, if they could team up with Google and be integrated with AOSP, I would be ecstatic. My problem is, why actively keep it from the community. That doesn't make sense to me. The ROM makers like Cyanogenmod aren't going to hurt you. Besides, you're talking what, 5 percent of the market? It's not going to hurt them and can only add to the good will.

Re:Keeping it walled in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114755)

All the Ubuntu parts will be released when they ship.

Re:Keeping it walled in (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39117685)

> only working it in with OEM's

Of course they have to work with OEMs, that is how it gets to work on their devices. It may also be how Ubuntu gets paid for.

They won't 'keep it from the community', the community is where it comes from (except the special bits that are uniwue to each OEM's devices).

What about the battery life? (1, Interesting)

arisvega (1414195) | about 2 years ago | (#39113827)

the Ubuntu for Android system runs both OSes side by side

Nice trick. Anyone knows if this scheme respects battery life?

Re:What about the battery life? (4, Insightful)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | about 2 years ago | (#39114073)

How does it matter? You will be running Ubuntu only when it's docked apparently.

From the website:

Ubuntu for Android requires minimal custom hardware enablement, allowing fast and cost-efficient core integration. It requires a core based on Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) or any subsequent version.

Ubuntu and Android share the same kernel. When docked, the Ubuntu OS boots and runs concurrently with Android. This allows both mobile and desktop functionality to co-exist in different runtimes.

Shared services and applications are delivered using a Convergence API module which ensures the tight integration between desktop and mobile environments. Work is balanced across the cores of the phone. When the handset is not docked, both CPU cores transfer their full power to Android.

This is simply brilliant! If I can get gcc, vim and python, and I managed to compile (if not just download) some packages I need, I don't think I will need to buy a full fledged desktop. :)

Re:What about the battery life? (1)

kvvbassboy (2010962) | about 2 years ago | (#39114129)

Oops :%s/I managed/if I manage/

Re:What about the battery life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39117205)

You already could get those things....

You can run linux in a chroot of android. If you require gui apps, you can install a vnc-server and use any android vnc viewer to remote in.

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.zpwebsites.ubuntuinstall&hl=en

https://market.android.com/details?id=com.galoula.LinuxInstall

Re:What about the battery life? (2)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | about 2 years ago | (#39114237)

I've similarly run a Debian chroot on my N900, the only difference in battery life will come from the heavier desktop apps you might be running.

Re:What about the battery life? (2)

Jonner (189691) | about 2 years ago | (#39114561)

the Ubuntu for Android system runs both OSes side by side

Nice trick. Anyone knows if this scheme respects battery life?

I strongly suspect this is a mischaracterization of what happens. Since both Android and Ubuntu are based on Linux, there's no need to run two kernels side by side. Most likely, Canonical just added their userspace, which is mostly general GNU/Linux stuff packaged by Debian. It's not the OSes running side by side, but the ordinary processes. When "Ubuntu" apps aren't running, they aren't consuming anything but secondary storage space.

Re:What about the battery life? (1)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | about 2 years ago | (#39115121)

Actually, you have to run them side-by-side. Canonical failed to deliver their "Android Execution Environment" that they announced withi such a big splash in 2009.

It's simple, really - you use the existing hypervisor in the Atrix, and just replace the desktop os with the os of your choice.

Re:What about the battery life? (1)

Jonner (189691) | about 2 years ago | (#39117329)

Actually, you have to run them side-by-side. Canonical failed to deliver their "Android Execution Environment" that they announced withi such a big splash in 2009.

It's simple, really - you use the existing hypervisor in the Atrix, and just replace the desktop os with the os of your choice.

If you're right, that's disappointing. I want to be able to run ordinary GNU/Linux programs on my Android device without special hardware requirements or running a separate VM.

Re:What about the battery life? (1, Offtopic)

Barbara, not Barbie (721478) | more than 2 years ago | (#39118399)

You can't run them "side-by-side" in the conventional sense. The hardware activates one OS image or the other. And none of this is new - here's a video of Debian running on the same device, back in August of last year http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8-92J9hfkA [youtube.com]

Canonical announced their "Android Execution Environment" 3 years ago, then abandoned it 2 years ago because they couldn't do it.

This is as "innovative" as UbuntuTV was - which was just Canonical customizing the freely-available samygo.tv software to run Ubuntu instead of another distro http://www.samygo.tv/ [samygo.tv] You too can have your own brand TV distro running right inside your TV - Slackware, RedHat, Debian, even MythTV ...

Of course, the other question is why anyone would want to run a half-baked "mobile UI" on a desktop display like they propose ...

A first step (2)

detachable_halo (1519547) | about 2 years ago | (#39113837)

Aw man, and I thought the idea I had for a single computer with multiple display formats for different input and output devices (keyboard/monitor, tablet, phone, digital music player, etc) was totally revolutionary. At least I can claim I thought it up on my own. And certainly, it was far more extensive than what Canonical is doing here, but what they have is the first step in that direction. So far it seems like they're running dual OSes with common data points, but my vision was a single OS that simply determined the appropriate display configuration depending on the user interface device being used, making data universally available without requiring multiple copies that have to be monitored to keep them in sync.

As a Red Hat lover (1)

CodeReign (2426810) | about 2 years ago | (#39113881)

This might make me switch from Fedora to Ubuntu. Red Hat has been sorely lacking when it comes to pushing new technologies. So this interesting little achievement might be the thing that pushes me off of Fedora into that world.

Re:As a Red Hat lover (1)

eric_herm (1231134) | about 2 years ago | (#39117691)

There is no achievement, you can already run Debian side by side of Android on most phone. And if you look at the pictures, you just see ... Unity on a regular screen. Where is the innovation there ?

Even the idea of having a phone as pc is not their own, seek google for people already doing it with bt keyboard and galaxy s II.

first Post (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39113891)

fear the reaper too many rules and The mobo blew too many rules and the channel to sign Rules to follow incompatibilities worse and worse. As well-known some inteeligent Need to join the copy a 17 Meg file smells worse than a and piss cocktail. bring your own Diseases. The 200 running NT In posting a GNAA would be a bad something that you approximately 90% too much formality volume of NetBSD This exploitation, feel an obligation 4as significantly it transforms into when IDC recently to stick something time wholesome and start a holy war Achieve any of the = 1400 NetBSD

Re:first Post (1)

Sarten-X (1102295) | about 2 years ago | (#39113969)

Gesundheit.

Webtop mod (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39113901)

just wander over to xda-developers and search for webtop mod or webtop2sd, people have been doing this since shortly after the Atrix came out. I bought an inexpensive lapdock and I run gimp and oo on mine.

WM8650 (3, Interesting)

Windwraith (932426) | about 2 years ago | (#39113903)

I wonder if this can be made to run in a low-grade "Wondermedia" Chinese tablet? If so, would be a totally nice thing to make the most of the hardware. I'd get it installed like right now.
It's mostly because I get mixed feelings for Android. While it certainly works for little things to do with a phone or tablet, I can't help but feel it lacks stuff to make it productive. It'd be so convenient to have a little bash+sed+awk+etc environment to do little scripts on the road, or a working python terminal**...and the market is convenient, but a lot of the stuff takes me back to the bad aspects of shareware. So I would really want to run Ubuntu on it, and use familiar apps like Pidgin with OTR, a bash scripting environment...etc. And I think Unity in a tablet is a good thing to have, even if just Unity2D.

Re:WM8650 (3, Informative)

Spykk (823586) | about 2 years ago | (#39114791)

Install a terminal emulator [android.com] and a copy of busybox [android.com] and you can have a bash scripting environment on android.

Re:WM8650 (1)

Windwraith (932426) | about 2 years ago | (#39117405)

I have a terminal and, somehow, my tablet came with busybox installed, but I am used to Bash.
I happened to find, not long after my post, a collection of basic binaries such as wget, grep, coreutils, bash, etc. That kind of does the work, but I require rooting to go any further.
Because of the hard-to-identify-because-of-too-many-models nature of WM8650 tablets, I am not attempting flashing the ROM until I have recovery hardware (I bricked a tablet with a ROM supposedly custom-made for the model, got it repaired but not risking it until prepared). Maybe I can work with a chroot and a minimalistic debian, investigating if I can bypass the need for root right now (AKA without requiring mount, that should work). Stuff like superoneclick does not work because the tablet is never recognized by windows, and z4root says it works but doesn't. I have a "su" binary installed in the tablet, but it will never work (something about requiring suid)... painful stuff.

Re:WM8650 (1)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | about 2 years ago | (#39114845)

I'm with you - but I'm thinking I'd like to run it on a Droid phone sans SIM as a MP3 player. Why buy a new Droid or iPod for $240+ when I can buy a used droid phone for $80 off eBay, throw on Ubuntu and use it for the next five years as my portable media player?

What's to squash? (3, Funny)

clarkn0va (807617) | about 2 years ago | (#39114005)

the open source developer hasn't squashed the full desktop onto a tiny screen

I think that's a given, considering Canonical hasn't squashed a full desktop onto a 30" screen in the past year or so.

uphone (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114087)

http://people.ubuntu.com/~mhall119/uphone/

What Windows 8 Could Have Been (3, Insightful)

FunkyELF (609131) | about 2 years ago | (#39114201)

If Microsoft allowed Windows 8 on ARM to have desktop applications this is what could have been.

This sounds very intriguing. I hope something comes of this. I'm not sure I care about this for a phone but for a tablet it would be awesome.
Imagine the Asus Transformer Prime running Ice Cream Sandwich as a tablet, and when docked its a full blown laptop.

Possibly a smart move (2)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114203)

So here's what I'm getting from this story. They have Ubuntu as a dual-boot(?) alongside Android and they use the Android drivers to get at the device's functionality from within Ubuntu, without having to write new drivers for each device. This might be a great first step from Canonical to get a foot in the door on smartphones and tablets before going full OEM. Hopefully when they release the source, the community will adapt it to run another distro (Debian with KDE Plasma Active anyone?), although I wouldn't mind Unity on a tablet, much as I hate it on the desktop.

Unfortunately I couldn't tell from the corporate-speak if they're just implementing yet another (albeit official) chroot application. I'd love a full Linux distro on my tablet (like my n900). One can hope.

Linux on ARM exists already (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114407)

Since the Nokia N770 (2007), Linux has been on ARM - maybe even prior to that. I have a N800 and it runs Debian/Maemo happily. No rooting needed.

I've moved to Android for work requirements on both phone and tablets. In comparison, Android sucks unless you are an end-user and do not care about privacy at all.

You can run Debian inside a chroot under a root'ed Android today. There are many how-to guides out there. This is less than ideal in my testing because a single 'apt-get update/upgrade' fracks with the nice Firefox. The other issue is that Android doesn't have X/Windows, so you connect over VNC to the chroot debian/ubuntu on the same device to gain GUI access. For me, the mouse/keyboard don't quite work. I have a USB keyboard, but every time I press 'm', the damn email app gets launched. Yes, I've rebooted, like that would help.

"Terminal IDE" and a few ported CLI GNU tools has brought most of the the things I missed about Maemo to Android, but I still miss the crontab for lite scheduling needs of rsync.

Outside development, I haven't found a use the the Android phone besides games. I prefer a $20 motorola for 7+ day battery life and the N800 for real-GPS (not assisted). The N800 has user swappable batteries too.

Google, Apple, Amazon, Rim, B&N and other vendors are so afraid they will lose control over the platform (like microsoft) that they are doing everything they can to block other solutions and calling it a "security measure." I'm calling bullshit.

Re:Linux on ARM exists already (1)

Culture20 (968837) | about 2 years ago | (#39115361)

Since the Nokia N770 (2007), Linux has been on ARM - maybe even prior to that.

Way prior to that. I was using Familiar Linux on iPaq devices (and one Zaurus) back in 2003-2004, and it was mature at that point.

No tethering fees!? (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 2 years ago | (#39114433)

One big holdup for me buying a webtop with my Atrix was that I needed to downgrade from unlimited data to 4Gig, then buy a separate tethering plan, which is absurd. This looks like and even better solution, because I can keep my unlimited plan.

Imagine this on an Asus Transformer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114479)

Or Prime, just for the lols. You get a toy that hot switches between a Macbook Air with a better OS and an iPad 2.5 with a better OS.

More Canonical vaporware? (1)

Animats (122034) | about 2 years ago | (#39114537)

Canonical announced an EEEpc with Linux [canonical.com] , and that never happened. I'm wary of Canonical claims that they're "partnering" with somebody, when the other "partner" doesn't announce the deal too. Where's the announcement from Google?

Re:More Canonical vaporware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39114991)

Canonical announced an EEEpc with Linux [canonical.com] , and that never happened.

It launched in several GEOs, and there have already been launches with Ubuntu on carrier-branded netbooks as well.

http://www.monclick.it/catalogo/search/ricerca.asp?testo=ubuntu&x=0&y=0

This isn't new (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | about 2 years ago | (#39114569)

The Motorola Atrix was launched last year, and this was supported out of the box. It was the major selling point of the phone

Re:This isn't new (1)

Jonner (189691) | about 2 years ago | (#39114667)

The Motorola Atrix was launched last year, and this was supported out of the box. It was the major selling point of the phone

The Atrix was launched with Android, HDMI output and Webtop [motorola.com] , which is certainly not a full-featured desktop Operating System. If Motorola said it was running Ubuntu or any other full-featured GNU/Linux desktop OS, they were lying.

Re:This isn't new (1)

sangreal66 (740295) | about 2 years ago | (#39114841)

Motorola's Webtop, which is being replaced here, was originally based on Ubuntu in the first place. While this iteration for the Atrix's successor may be more full-featured, the concept is identical. All of the features mentioned in the summary are already present.

Re:This isn't new (1)

Jonner (189691) | about 2 years ago | (#39117125)

Just because Webtop was "based on Ubuntu" doesn't mean I can run Thunderbird, Emacs or Nethack on it. Everything I see indicates it is intended to run a browser and nothing else.

Re:This isn't new (2)

N2UX (237223) | about 2 years ago | (#39114859)

Motorola never claimed to be running a full featured Ubuntu or other Gnu/Linux desktop, but the functionality to do so *was* built into the phone. All of the stuff you need to install packages is there.. You just have to be willing to root the phone so you can break out of the jail.

Re:This isn't new (2)

Digicrat (973598) | about 2 years ago | (#39114959)

The Motorola Atrix was launched last year, and this was supported out of the box. It was the major selling point of the phone

The Atrix was launched with Android, HDMI output and Webtop [motorola.com] , which is certainly not a full-featured desktop Operating System. If Motorola said it was running Ubuntu or any other full-featured GNU/Linux desktop OS, they were lying.

And within a few months of its release the fine hackers at xda-developers.com unlocked the webtop to work as a fully-featured desktop operating system. Hence, this is not new. This is simply Canonical claiming credit for re-packaging what's already been done.

OT: Come to think of it, what has Canonical done in Ubuntu Desktop lately besides forcing Unity, adding an installer and a few configuration GUIs that isn't already in Debian? (Note: I do think Ubuntu does a great job of neatly packaging Linux for new users with user-friendly installers and such, but for myself I've been a lot happier since I switched over to Debian Squeeze.)

Re:This isn't new (1)

Jonner (189691) | about 2 years ago | (#39117231)

The Motorola Atrix was launched last year, and this was supported out of the box. It was the major selling point of the phone

The Atrix was launched with Android, HDMI output and Webtop [motorola.com] , which is certainly not a full-featured desktop Operating System. If Motorola said it was running Ubuntu or any other full-featured GNU/Linux desktop OS, they were lying.

And within a few months of its release the fine hackers at xda-developers.com unlocked the webtop to work as a fully-featured desktop operating system. Hence, this is not new. This is simply Canonical claiming credit for re-packaging what's already been done.

OT: Come to think of it, what has Canonical done in Ubuntu Desktop lately besides forcing Unity, adding an installer and a few configuration GUIs that isn't already in Debian? (Note: I do think Ubuntu does a great job of neatly packaging Linux for new users with user-friendly installers and such, but for myself I've been a lot happier since I switched over to Debian Squeeze.)

Thanks for supplying more evidence for my assertion that Motorola did not provide a full-featured GNU/Linux destkop system on the Atrix as shipped. I'm not surprised that others have succeeded in getting a real GNU/Linux system working on the Atrix despite Motorola's attempts to prevent it.

I think Canonical has done a lot of good by polishing Debian and making it easier to use in some ways, which is why I still use Ubuntu. I am not terribly impressed by Unity and am currently using GNOME Shell, but I'm sure Unity is a good choice for some. The suggestion that Canonical may be trying to keep some of this Android development proprietary is deeply disturbing. Despite a number of mistakes, I thought they were pretty committed to keeping all their contributions to Ubuntu Free Software.

Re:This isn't new (1)

scorp1us (235526) | about 2 years ago | (#39114893)

What the Atrix gave you was a half-assed linux environment, that was not networked. To get the webtop to talk, you had to tether it to you phone. Which means you had to downgrade your unlimited plan to 4gig, then buy a tethering feature. Meanwhile your phone was plugged into the lapdock port, which was behind the webtop LCD.

The difference is this should not require any changes to your plan, and your phone should remain accessible.

Re:This isn't new (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#39118141)

Incorrect. The Android integration is exactly the same as it was on the Atrix, because this demo is running on the Atrix, with exactly the same dock and everything.

Nothing new here.... (1)

N2UX (237223) | about 2 years ago | (#39114819)

Other than being a more recent version of the Ubuntu apps, this is no different than a non-locked down version of the 'Webtop' functionallity that comes stock with the Motorola Atrix and kin. In fact I'd would not be surprised to find bits of Motorola's open sourced webtop code in the Ubuntu for Android distribution.

This is not big news... (2)

RocketRabbit (830691) | about 2 years ago | (#39114835)

I have had multiple window managers running on a machine before too...

Ubuntu? (2)

lennier1 (264730) | about 2 years ago | (#39115147)

There's still some of it left which Canonical hasn't managed to ruin?

Good for business (0)

frup (998325) | about 2 years ago | (#39117583)

While clearly Google could just turn around and canibalise the idea, this may help Canonical's growth with businesses.

A company could provide certain employees who don't need fast machines a simple work phone. Anywhere they could communicate and work on the same device.

Lets face it, the idea of the pocket computer is the future. The people who will be most happy if this succeeds would probably be ARM chip makers. Maybe Mark Shuttleworth is trying to setup his company to be bought by Google now.

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