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Ubuntu Tablets: Less Jarring Than Windows 8?

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the fewer-solid-color-rectangles dept.

Ubuntu 179

Following up on yesterday's news that Ubuntu for Tablets has been announced, Mark Shuttleworth answered questions about the purpose of the new version of Canonical's OS and what its intended strengths will be. He made special note of how Canonical wants the transition between desktop-Ubuntu and mobile-Ubuntu to be smooth. "When you transition from the tablet to the desktop, things don't move around. Your indicators, things like network status and time, they don't jump around on screen, they stay in the same place. That's what's really different certainly between our approach to convergence and for example Windows 8, where when you're in the desktop mode, which looks like Windows 7, and suddenly you get the new tile-based interface, it's a stark transition that can be jarring for users. In our case, you can almost think of those as gentle phase changes. When you go from phone to tablet you're stretching the device in very obvious ways. People who've used iOS on both phones and tablets would expect that. What's nice about Ubuntu is the phase change to the PC experience up from the tablet really just introduces window management, and it also introduces things like menus and dialog boxes. You aren't moving things around in dramatic ways." He added that they expect the user experiences to converge in Ubuntu 14.04. Shuttleworth also addressed the fragmentation problem faced by Android. He says manufacturers and carriers don't want to fall into that trap again, and that they've been receptive to the idea of leaving the core of Ubuntu alone while tweaking their individual services instead.

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179 comments

Keep the code, separate the UIs (5, Interesting)

thelamecamel (561865) | about a year ago | (#42954739)

Now I finally see what Shuttleworth's been meaning when he says the same applications run on all form factors - as a developer, you separate the logic from the UI, and write three UIs: one for phone, one for tablet, and one for desktop. Until now I thought "nice in concept, but what's the point?". But if your device itself suddenly switches from a phone or tablet to a desktop, then your app can keep running and switch UIs on the fly.

What I really find neat is how tablet apps can become phone apps when docked on the side, for multitasking. This finally looks like a tablet that's not purely for consuming content.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954847)

But can your logic handle the time suddenly jumping 10minutes forward?

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954999)

If not, then as a programmer, you failed programming 101. my software can handle the time suddenly jumping 20 million years ahead or behind.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (1)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#42955695)

You mean like what happens all the time in a suspending laptop already? Or when you get SIGSTOPPED?

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (1)

sapphire wyvern (1153271) | about a year ago | (#42954895)

What I really find neat is how tablet apps can become phone apps when docked on the side, for multitasking.

Hmm, that _is_ a cunning piece of design. A bit like Metro's app docking but actually useful and less sucky.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (4, Informative)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about a year ago | (#42954963)

Separating UI from logic is a design paradigm that is well over 10 years old. It's generally a good idea, not just for different form factors like this, but for cross platform apps where you may not have a good UI library across all target platforms.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (4, Interesting)

crazyjj (2598719) | about a year ago | (#42955491)

Separating UI from logic is a design paradigm that is well over 10 years old.

Yeah, but in practice has anyone ever been able to get it to work across radically different platforms? I mean, you're talking about moving on the fly from the ARM architecture with low memory, weak video drivers, etc. of a tablet to a full-on desktop system--just by changing the UI? Sounds like a great idea, but implementing it would be a fucking nightmare. It's hard enough as it is just trying to support all the possible desktop configurations.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42956061)

Yeah, but in practice has anyone ever been able to get it to work across radically different platforms?

An entire segment has done it, in practice: all the network programmers.

Question: What kind of machine does the client have? What OS does it run?
Answer: I don't know. I can't ever know. Therefore, as a rigid matter of policy, I don't care.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (2)

blackest_k (761565) | about a year ago | (#42955103)

certainly it is a beginning, if the graphical tool kits can be expanded so they can present the interface in a manner which reflects the mode of the tablet. Even the user interface could be changed easily enough as it is many of us have at least a couple of options for desktop environments that are only a login away.

I like the idea of an ubuntu tablet since it almost certainly means it can be more. It almost certainly will be capable of running android maybe similar to running virtualbox in seamless mode. I can already run ubuntu on my android tablet as a dualboot but it isn't that good unless i bring a keyboard and mouse into the mix.

On the plus side hopefully there are going to be some decent tablets with open hardware around which new interfaces can be developed.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (4, Interesting)

FireFury03 (653718) | about a year ago | (#42955525)

Now I finally see what Shuttleworth's been meaning when he says the same applications run on all form factors - as a developer, you separate the logic from the UI, and write three UIs: one for phone, one for tablet, and one for desktop. Until now I thought "nice in concept, but what's the point?". But if your device itself suddenly switches from a phone or tablet to a desktop, then your app can keep running and switch UIs on the fly.

What I really find neat is how tablet apps can become phone apps when docked on the side, for multitasking. This finally looks like a tablet that's not purely for consuming content.

The thing is, I'm not convinced you actually want to have a separate UI... The Microsoft strategy of shoving a phone/tablet UI on a desktop or a desktop UI on a phone/tablet is clearly moronic, but I think there is some middle-ground where you can design a UI that works well for all the hardware.

For one thing, there doesn't seem to be a clear distinction between phone/tablet/laptop/desktop - if we look at the hardware, all of these devices have varying screen sizes and they can all have varying combinations of input technologies - my phone has a keyboard, some laptops have touch screens, you can connect a keyboard and mouse to a tablet. What we have is more like a continuum:
  - phones tend to have small touch screens with no keyboard (but some phones are practically big enough to be verging on "small tablet" size, some phones have keyboards and trackballs, pretty much any android phone can have a bluetooth/usb mouse and keyboard attached to it). Many phones can also be plugged into external monitors.
  - tablets tend to be a bit bigger than phones (but there isn't a lot of difference between a small tablet and a large phone). They have touch screens, but again, you can connect keyboards and mice to them, plug them into external screens, etc.
  - laptops are often, again, a bit bigger than tablets. But again, there's a cross over here - a small laptop may have the same screen size as a large tablet. They have keyboards and trackpads and you can connect external keyboards, mice, screens to them. But many laptops also have touch screens - what's the difference between a touch screen laptop and a tablet with a keyboard and mouse?
  - desktops are usually treated the same as laptops. Again, often bigger screens (but not always), they have keyboards and mice but nothing stopping you having a touch screen.

So where do you draw the line - at what point do you say "we're now on a tablet" and switch to the tablet interface? What's the justification for switching the *entire* UI to a tablet interface? Is it down to the input devices available? If I unplug the keyboard and mouse then am I suddenly incapable of using multple windows at once? Similarly, if I connect a keyboard and mouse to a tablet, do I suddenly expect to lose all the touch screen controls?

As for screen sizes - certainly as the screen gets smaller I'm more likely to want applications full-screen; and conversely for large screens I'm more likely to want applications in windows. But this isn't necessarilly the case for all applications. For example, even on a tablet, I may want an instant messaging conversation to be displayed at the same time as surfing the web, so enforcing full-screen-everything seems like the wrong approach.

Re:Keep the code, separate the UIs (1)

Junta (36770) | about a year ago | (#42955801)

Problem is that it is pure concept and mock up for now. Without an actual implementation, it's hard to judge how 'seamless' it truly ends up being and then also how hard is it for a developer to use correctly. There are incredible mockups from companies on a daily basis that never get realized. It's one idea to have a good idea on how something should work, it's another to actually make that happen. Another issue is that in the mobile arena in particular, app persistence is actually rare compared to desktop. Users are being trained to not care that an app they were running has completely lost state while not being tended to. I think this is sad, but unfortunately for companies like Ubuntu the strategy seems to work. Finally, Canonical has an awfully steep uphill batle to fight. If all it took were a compelling technical platform, WebOS would have gotten much further. Ecosystem and all the facets of the phone platform users take for granted (e.g. massive battery optimizations) will kill them if done wrong. Basically, I fully expect this to go the Ubuntu TV way, nowhere.

Why care about the transition? (1)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#42954767)

Does he think many people are going to go from the Linux desktop to the tablet? Or that they'll use his tablet and then get it on their desktop? He shouldn't waste his time. He should be aiming for the mass market - people who've never heard of, or used, any form of Linux on the desktop. Even linux users think Unity is a piece of crap; I certainly did, and dumped it in favour of Mint, and I've recently bought a Nexus 10. There's no way I'm paying for that sort of experience on a tablet. I'd focus on making it usable and not worry about bridging any gaps.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954795)

Unity is not that bad, let's not exaggarate. Newer versions are getting speedier and more customizable so I expect most of the Ubuntu-using Linuxers will accept it.

That said, I also installed Linux Mint on my primary machine but I have Ubuntu/Unity on others. Unity works fairly well on my ARM Chromebook even without hw accelerated X.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

liquidpele (663430) | about a year ago | (#42954887)

Unity as a UI isn't that bad, but I found it unstable. After a few crashes where it left the UI completely unrecoverable, I installed cinnomon.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

synapse7 (1075571) | about a year ago | (#42955197)

I very much like cinnamon also, but I am of the old thinking that a taskbar with my running tasks is a good thing, but new paradigms would suggest otherwise.

Re:Why care about the transition? (5, Insightful)

dc29A (636871) | about a year ago | (#42954893)

Unity is not that bad, let's not exaggarate. Newer versions are getting speedier and more customizable so I expect most of the Ubuntu-using Linuxers will accept it.

That said, I also installed Linux Mint on my primary machine but I have Ubuntu/Unity on others. Unity works fairly well on my ARM Chromebook even without hw accelerated X.

Speedier? Male cow excrement! On my hexacore desktop with SSD, Unity Dash takes a good half second to open. Similar features that are instant on Windows 8, OS X, Gnome 3 or KDE. If by any chance I have a maximized window open, it can take a good 2 seconds. I like the idea of Unity, I like the concept of Unity, but it's a slow piece of shit.

Disclaimer: I use Ubuntu both at home and work.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

thelamecamel (561865) | about a year ago | (#42954975)

On my hexacore desktop with SSD, Unity Dash takes a good half second to open.

Yeah, alas it seems to rely pretty heavily on 3D acceleration. If you don't have 3D acceleration then it tries some sort of software rendering that is S-L-O-W (10 seconds sometimes to open the dash!) even on fast computers. And if the dash has been swapped out of RAM then again it's slow to activate. On my computers with supported 3D acceleration it's usually a very pleasant experience. On my new netbook... I grudgingly use 12.04 and the 2D version.

Re:Why care about the transition? (5, Funny)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42955043)

I am sure his Hexacore with SSD is using a $19.00 Intel non 3d video card and only 512 meg of ram...

People that build big machines always forget to install ram or video cards.

Re:Why care about the transition? (4, Insightful)

thelamecamel (561865) | about a year ago | (#42955101)

If they can't get good linux drivers for their graphics card, then it's very possible they're stuck with no 3D acceleration. Depends whether the rig was intentionally built for linux or not.

Re:Why care about the transition? (2)

dc29A (636871) | about a year ago | (#42955247)

If they can't get good linux drivers for their graphics card, then it's very possible they're stuck with no 3D acceleration. Depends whether the rig was intentionally built for linux or not.

Work:
Intel HD3000. Slow dash.

Home:
Intel HD4000. Slow dash.
NVidia 8400 GS or GTX 550 Ti with nouveau or proprietary drivers: slow dash, slow/choppy desktop preview.
ATI 5450 or 4200 (chipset VGA) with galeon or proprietary drivers: slow dash.

Again, no issues with other desktop environments. 12 Gb+ RAM too.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#42955633)

Maybe 5 years ago, but this has been fairly steadily improving lately. So I'd fail to find that an excuse for anything, as dc29A fails to explain as he uses cards that are so old I'm surprised they can even handle dash. It isn't a serious rig.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42955089)

The slowness of Unity is there with systems that have 3D acceleration working just fine.

Re:Why care about the transition? (3, Insightful)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#42955059)

Every time a new Ubuntu release is coming, I hear that Unity or Compiz have "performance improvements" and excitedly go test it, but there never is significant improvements. Just yesterday I gave the Raring Ringtail daily build (2013-02-19) a spin, but the same sluggishness was there, including the always-slow opening Dash, which you mentioned. I would otherwise like to use Unity, but I can't waste all my system resources to basic desktop handling.

Re:Why care about the transition? (2)

ais523 (1172701) | about a year ago | (#42955227)

The slowness in the Dash opening is, as far as I can tell, due to overuse of Zeitgeist (which is overengineered for what it does). So making the window manager faster isn't going to help there, and in general, it seems difficult to fix without a rethink of how that part of the desktop is implemented.

(FWIW, I use Unity as my primary desktop/window manager; I really like what it's trying to be, and it's quite a bit of the way there already, but there are a huge number of rough edges and it's still pretty slow and buggy.)

Re:Why care about the transition? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955521)

My set up is a quad-core Athlon Phenom II with an AMD low end discrete card and Unity and the dash are instant. There is no delay in them appearing.
On my much older PC work PC (quad-xeon without 3D card), it all seems sluggish.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

julian67 (1022593) | about a year ago | (#42955687)

I find the same. Using Maemo on a Nokia N810 and playing with Meego on my Eee PC showed the good sense of a UI that is intelligently designed to work well with wide screens, especially with GPU accelerated compositing. Unity has a few rough edges but conceptually it works, and the execution is catching up with the concept with each release. But it is dog slow, to the point of being much too annoying to use, with lags, latencies and lock ups. I've only tried it with modest hardware such as Intel Atom with integrated GMA 3150 and a desktop with integrated Nvidia 8200 (with nvidia binary driver). On my Eee PC it pretty much kills the GPU accelerated video playback. The same modest hardware can run Gnome Shell composited desktop rather better (but still a bit annoying). Meanwhile, using Xfce's software composited UI on Debian lets applications launch like a sprinter out of the blocks..."on the 'B' of Bang!" as Linford Christie used to describe his starts. The hardware is modest, but surely dual cores and GPU acceleration offer more than enough to open a notepad type app or a menu or a terminal emulator without any perceptible lag?

I find intriguing the idea of a single portable device fulfilling the roles of phone, tablet, desktop and TV tuner/home media hub, with applications automatically presenting a suitable UI for each role. But I suspect that running Unity will require so many CPUs and GPUs that the portability aspect will entail the owner retaining staff to carry the sacred device, and to waft it with yak-tail whisks to keep it cool in use (in the style of the courts of ancient despots of the Orient). At least there will be something to look at while waiting for gedit to open.

Re:Why care about the transition? (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#42955031)

Unity as a UI IS bad when used in a traditional computer. Same as how Windows 8 utterly sucks to those of us that do work on our computers. I have 3 24" monitors with at least 6 windows open at once and I need them all active at once. the Desktop UI had not get in my way. Under windows 8 it does. Under Unity it does.

Separating out the Desktop UI to be different between professionals and home users is a HUGE mistake when it comes to productivity. There are a LOT of really stupid changes in Unity. the scrollbars being 2 pixels wide but "POP UP" is frustrating to everyone that uses them. the UI taking over all the freaking time is annoying. And annoying = less productivity and money lost.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42956077)

Don't generalize, what you think is not fact
Don't project, you are not "everyone".

Re:Why care about the transition? (1, Troll)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#42956083)

> Unity is not that bad, let's not exaggarate

Not that bad? I used Ubuntu for 2 or 3 years as my main desktop OS. It was my first Linux I used that way, previously using Windows (for many years). As soon as Unity turned up, I hated it. For one release it was an option, so I went back to stock. On the next release it wasn't an option, so I left for Mint.

So, no exaggeration at all. Like many, many other people it was the single reason we left in droves for another OS.

Re:Why care about the transition? (5, Interesting)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#42955111)

You weren't paying attention. He isn't pushing Linux, he's pushing Ubuntu. The entirety of the system here is what he is selling.

The point of the transition is that the tablet physically becomes the desktop when you simply add a keyboard and mouse, probably via Bluetooth. You don't drop your tablet when getting home or to the office, you just dock it. There is just one device. Well, two as you'll also have a phone.

What this seems to hope to achieve is a seamless computing experience with no "put this down, boot the PC, do work, shut PC down, grab tablet and go".

Sort of a "one device to rule them all". After watching the video, I was far more intrigued than I expected to be. I fully expect my reaction to be "what a stupid fucking idea", but instead found myself saying "damn, that actually looks nice. I want one."

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

poetmatt (793785) | about a year ago | (#42955799)

When you combine this concept with the asus padfone concept, you get a "one device to rule them all", almost entirely. I wouldn't give it more than 3-5 years for a full convergence of devices in this fashion.

Re:Why care about the transition? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955951)

The problem is, I don't want a tablet and a phone [two devices], because it's really three devices: my laptop. I want one device with a BT headset. If I could get HSPA/LTE wireless with voice/sms on my MacBook Pro, I'd have utopia. I have my Samsung GT8.9 set up like that. It's kludgy: the screensaver mutes phone calls, but it works. The tablet sits in my backpack and I can make/take voice-calls; then I can search the web, answer email, entertain children. No BT keyboard (I haven't tried), but it's close enough for horseshoes. UBUNTU won't get my attention for a tablet that fails to operate as a cellphone.

Re:Why care about the transition? (0)

Threni (635302) | about a year ago | (#42956105)

That's exactly what I said. No-ones going to be using this tablet AND ubuntu at home, so the transition is meaningless. Chances are they'll put this device down, use a Windows PC if they want to type something (I dunno, emails are pretty popular, or update facebook etc), then pick up the tablet to surf, read stuff, watch tv/movies. And they're not going to find that confusing because they're used to Windows (same goes for pretty much any other OS other than Windows 8 or Unity which are equally baffling).

Re:Why care about the transition? (3, Insightful)

chill (34294) | about a year ago | (#42956219)

E-mails, Facebook and all that other social media stuff is done thru a web browser. Windows has nothing to do with it, as the familiarity is in the browser and not the OS.

Witness Google's success with Chromebooks. For many people, the browser is the only interface they see.

My wife's laptop is Win7 and my desktop is Kubuntu. She is equally at home with both. The process on both is 100% identical. "Click the Firefox icon. Do whatever else -- Gmail, Hulu Plus, Amazon/Amazon Prime, Ebay, general browsing." Bookmarks are synced, both print to the same printer. The OS is rapidly becoming irrelevant.

Re:Why care about the transition? (3, Interesting)

BitZtream (692029) | about a year ago | (#42955615)

I am not a Linux fan, however if Ubuntu was to make a phone that had the apps I want (Just because you have an app that 'does the same thing' doesn't mean I want to use it) to use, and was just a phone normally that when I got to work I could just plugin the monitor and power, bluetooth keyboard and mouse and it instantly switches the display to desktop mode and I continue working just as if I'd brought my laptop ...

I'd considering use Linux for that. I'd prefer that they make OSX an ARM platform as well, so people made fat x86/ARM binaries and I could just use iOS on the phone display and OSX when in desktop mode, with apps just switching UIs between them just like the UI changes when the screen rotates.

I want a laptop phone. I want my laptop inside my phone. I DO NOT want my phone to behave like a desktop. I DO NOT WANT my desktop to behave like a phone/tablet. I want one device that switches between the two so that as long as I have my phone, I always have my laptop.

I would give up a fully decked Retina MacBook Pro in exchange for said device in a heartbeat, even if it ran on a slow ass ARM processor (compared to my i7 laptop) for the privilege of having only one device.

You may not realize it yet, but a single converged device that does both IS the mass market. Thats where its going to go eventually. Its just a question of when we get to the point of having enough CPU power for low enough energy and size usage requirements that we get the performance we demand in our phones.

finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954775)

provided that it isn't locked down, so we can disable all the snooping and logging canonical is doing these days...

and provided that it can be used without a mandatory online account. you should be able to use one anonymously, and pay for apps with an anonymous prepaid card (like a gaming card, etc).

and if open source (so we can see what they're doing. there's a lot of nosey apps out there) apps take off.

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954879)

You forgot about Ubuntu surveillance code that tracks searches unless you mean to use the guest account of your own tablet permanently.

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (1)

dreamchaser (49529) | about a year ago | (#42955163)

You forgot about Ubuntu surveillance code that tracks searches unless you mean to use the guest account of your own tablet permanently.

Which part of "so we can disable all the snooping and logging canonical is doing these days" in the post you replied to didn't make sense?

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (1)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#42955231)

That's one plugin, for which there is a clear legal notice displayed, which also explains how to switch it off.

I just uninstalled the thing. If I want Amazon seeing my searches, I'll go browse their website.

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (4, Informative)

thelamecamel (561865) | about a year ago | (#42954933)

Thankfully the snooping is going to remain optional (although still opt-out rather than opt-in). I've still got it turned off on my desktop, but reading documents like this [ubuntu.com] (specifically the Data and metrics passed to the Smart Scopes service section) are a little reassuring, in that you can see that the developers are thinking about how to take only the data they need and are trying to protect it. I particularly like their (far-off) plans for sending location information: they won't send your exact co-ordinates like Google or Apple does - they'll round them off to maybe a 10km square because that level of location accuracy is probably not needed for the search. There's also a friendlier summary of the spec [omgubuntu.co.uk] available.

That said, while this kind of fuck up [launchpad.net] is still happening, I'm going to keep online search off, despite being tempted by functionality like its iView (Aussie Hulu) support.

I too hope that you don't need an Ubuntu One account to use the tablet...

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (1)

squiggleslash (241428) | about a year ago | (#42955169)

and provided that it can be used without a mandatory online account. you should be able to use one anonymously, and pay for apps with an anonymous prepaid card (like a gaming card, etc).

Experience suggests that mobile devices tend to be subjected to wipes and replacements more often than other device types, and with the general shift towards cloudiness and cloudification, that seems unlikely to change. On top of this, we're seeing the death of physical media, with mobile devices rarely having anything that could usefully be used to transfer preformatted data packages offline (yes, many - though not all - have SD cards of one sort or another, but you're not going to find $1 apps distributed on SD cards at a store.)

The fact is having a Google account with Android makes Android usable, I'd be frustraited and pissed off by now if simply changing phones was enough to ensure every app I bought either no longer worked, or needed to be manually copied using some torturous back-up process.

The world is changing, and unfortunately you can expect your computing to get more account-based, not less.

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955493)

a method to copy purchase history and downloads to SD card or an online cloud storage service of the user's choice for backup is a feasible alternative to tying a device to a person via a mandatory online account.

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | about a year ago | (#42955435)

This is no longer feasible. Since they did it once, by default, and without graceful means to turn it off or putting clear labels on it, there is *nothing* that will stop them from doing it again or doing similar acts. And it's clear from his own statements about the problem that Mark Shuttleworth, as the leader of Ubuntu, does not understand what the problem is, so it's clear that security is an afterthought for him, not a critical part of what Ubuntu does.

It's like catching your wife in bed with a chicken. We don't *care* if the chicken is certified organic and free-range, it means your wife is into barnyard poultry, and it's only a matter of time until she brings home a goose that can break your arm.

Re:finally, a tablet that will be welcome here (1)

ThirdPrize (938147) | about a year ago | (#42956015)

Unfortunately it will be judged mainly on its performance. So it better be running on some nice kit if it wants to make an impression.

Hey, Shuttleworth, Listen up (0, Flamebait)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#42954781)

When I sit down at my PC, I want an interface that is designed for use on a PC, using a mouse and keyboard, and a large display.

When I pick up my phone or tablet, I want an interface that is designed for use on a phone or tablet, using finger swipes, taps, and gestures, and a small display.

THESE ARE TWO COMPLETELY FUCKING DIFFERENT THINGS.

Stop trying to make them the same.

Re:Hey, Shuttleworth, Listen up (5, Informative)

ShieldW0lf (601553) | about a year ago | (#42954913)

When I sit down at my PC, I want an interface that is designed for use on a PC, using a mouse and keyboard, and a large display.

When I pick up my phone or tablet, I want an interface that is designed for use on a phone or tablet, using finger swipes, taps, and gestures, and a small display.

THESE ARE TWO COMPLETELY FUCKING DIFFERENT THINGS.

Stop trying to make them the same.

Read page two, doofus:

"Developers will be able to ship a single application binary which itself can respond to the different form factors," Shuttleworth said. "You will be able to write a single application binary that can run on a phone, or a tablet, a PC, or a TV, and it will declare to the system which of those form factors it can support and we will present the appropriate interface for that application on each of those form factors."

Re:Hey, Shuttleworth, Listen up (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955183)

its easy to design for both these days

Even the events based system that needs to equate the difference between mouse, and touch are being unified.
Look at the the latest w3c specifications. Under the hood the system abstracts the two so you only program for one API for this.
http://www.w3.org/2012/pointerevents/

And as far as the layout, you can use responsive design patterns to easily achieve this by detecting the screen size and dpi and adjusting he layout accordingly.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Responsive_web_design

These two principle existing NOW for browsers, and they can easily be applied to QML in Ubuntu.
And for web apps in Ubuntu they will use them

Seriously its a shame that technical people that are lambasting Mark and the organisation over this dont know that what he and the organisation is proposing is easily possible AND its a fantastic way forward for Ubuntu users.

Re:Hey, Shuttleworth, Listen up (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955547)

Read page two, doofus:

Sadly, that may be asking too much...

Sounds interesting (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954801)

While not a huge tablet fan myself, it seems that Ubuntu could pull one of the best experiences there is currently available.

Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (1, Insightful)

zrbyte (1666979) | about a year ago | (#42954831)

Ok people. Please but any Unity hate posts in this thread. Thank you.

Re:Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954863)

You spelled countdown wrong ;)

Re:Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954927)

Ubuntu 20 Ubiquitous Urine

:)

Re:Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955209)

I think where Unity gets its name from is how it unites people through their hatred for it.

You can't have a thread involving Unity and not have a bit of hate.
That would be like a Firefox thread without a version number "joke"

Re:Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (2)

div_2n (525075) | about a year ago | (#42955259)

I hated Unity at first. It was a buggy and foreign experience that made my desktop much less usable than I was used to on previous Linux experiences. Then many of the the most glaring bugs got worked out and I found out why alt+tab was so broken for multiple instances of the same app -- for same-app window switching, use alt+` instead.

There's still bugs, but they're slowly ironing it out. And about that foreign experience -- I have some older versions on another machine I rarely use. Recently, I fired that thing up to get some data off it. I felt just as foreign going back to the old as I did when I first encountered Unity. The lesson for me was that change can feel awkward, but as long as an interface isn't TOO clumsy, you can get used to it.

Maybe there are some power users out there that find missing shortcuts, but I'm just not that heavy on shortcuts. For the most part, Unity is fine for me. I just don't care enough to make it that big of an issue once I figured out how to replicate my old workflow.

Re:Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#42955871)

The alt-` thing is better than the standard Windows alt-tab behaviour... the alt-tab behaviour is alas, different to Windows, which is why it "feels wrong" to those of us who have laboured there a long time.

But yes, the main reason people hate on it, as far as I can make out, is that it's different.

They moaned soooo much about it when the close / minimize buttons were moved to the top left. But you think about it - it's the most efficient placement. What's the first thing you want to do when you close an app? Most of the time, open another one.

Windows : Close button top right, start button bottom left
OSX : Close button top left, start button bottom edge
Unity : Close button top left, start button (Dash) top left

Unity has the lowest mouse travel.

Re:Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (1)

div_2n (525075) | about a year ago | (#42955919)

Yes, the top-right window control feels clumsy and inefficient when I do have to use Windows for work purposes.

Re:Unity hate in 1, 2, 3... (2)

Knuckles (8964) | about a year ago | (#42955403)

I'm really surprised, this story has by far the smallest ratio of irrational Ubuntu hate posts of any Ubuntu story in the past year. This must mean that Shuttleworth is onto something - and in fact I do find it difficult to find major flaws with the stuff he said in TFA. I found the whole idea appealing from the start, and if this plan works out, I'll be the first in line to get an Ubuntu TV, phone, tablet, laptop, and/or whatever I have to buy to finally get seamless free software-based unification for my devices from phone to TV.

we need a tablet emulator (1)

e**(i pi)-1 (462311) | about a year ago | (#42954835)

Certainly good to add more variety. For me a tablet is like a monitor. It just has to work and not do more what it is asked for, like user tracking or information collecting or content change or adaptation. What would be nice is to have an emulator application on a desktop which looks and behaves from the outside like a tablet. In a time, when news outlets or search engines more and more also adapt their pages to the medium (never mind the look and feel, the disturbing part is also change of content), it would be good to have a tool, which allows to catch possible leaks and see what is done when a "tablet" is recognized. Changing the user agent in the browser can not do that yet.

Re:we need a tablet emulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954935)

A) There are free emulators for iOS and Android available from Apple and Google respectively.
B) Changing the UA tricks the remote site, but your rendering engine is still that of a desktop browser.

Re:we need a tablet emulator (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954987)

to extend on the tablet is like a monitor idea,

it seems that the 'tablet' is the hub instead of the monitor. but what if someone wants to use their more powerful laptop as the hub and still have a consistent experience?

Many people using a tablet will also most likely have a laptop or desktop that they use for more productive work. If integration existed to the point where I could plug my Ubuntu 'tablet' into the usb of my Ubuntu 'laptop' and say for example, extend my screen onto the tablet (or display for example, a contextual 'lens' into what I'm working on) .. that would be nice.

Re:we need a tablet emulator (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#42955119)

extending desktop to mobile devices has been done quite a few times now already.

All 3 Ubuntu desktop users will not be jarred. (-1, Troll)

howardd21 (1001567) | about a year ago | (#42954885)

I suspect all three Ubuntu desktop users will not have any issues with the transition.

Ubuntu Tablets Less Used Than Windows 8 (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42954909)

So, what they're saying is that, the Ubuntu POS is less of a POS than the Windows POS.

However, they(Ubuntu and Win8 tablets) each remain a POS that no one wants.

I only see Ubuntu Duplo (2)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | about a year ago | (#42954949)

Reading the Ubuntu site, I only see phone and tablet apps, no desktop programs. While a video player often looks "special" on a desktop (and I hate that, video players already eat enough resources when playing videos), a word processor must not. Or a CAD program. Or a spreadsheet. My e-mail client on my phone looks totally different than on my desktop and I want to keep it that way. I much rather configure my phone, tablet and desktop separately than having one config to overrule them all and in infeasibility bind them.

This is the opposite of Ubuntu for Android, where you get a desktop if you plug desktop hardware (through a docking device) into your phone. If that desktop is a real destop (XFCE, LXDE or whatever, not Unity), that would by far more practical.

Re:I only see Ubuntu Duplo (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955889)

XFCE. That's pretty hardcore.

Tiling (2)

mutube (981006) | about a year ago | (#42954985)

I'd love a good modern tiling WM for desktop/mobile/phone - with configurable numbers of panes/arrangements on different devices (i.e. a single one on a phone, plug in an external monitor and get a split horizontal with sub-panes on the right.)

Unfortunately Unity (and Ubuntu) ain't it.

Re:Tiling (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955349)

You don't want to tile anything on a small mobile device screen.

Tablet size vs. phone size (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42955427)

Anonymous Coward wrote:

You don't want to tile anything on a small mobile device screen.

Could you elaborate? A 7" tablet's screen is big enough to contain two windows the size of a phone's screen, and a 10" tablet's screen is as big as that of the laptops they were selling from 2009-2012. I have one of those laptops, and I have no problem putting two 80-column text editor windows side by side. The only thing missing from Android is a manifest flag for flexible screen size that would allow this sort of window management. Currently, applications are allowed to assume window size is fixed at install time.

Re:Tablet size vs. phone size (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955703)

Two 80-column text editor windows side by side on a 10" screen? That would mean an extremely small font. Sounds just painful.

160 columns on 10" display (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42955797)

Two 80-column text editor windows side by side on a 10" screen? That would mean an extremely small font.

On a 1024x600 pixel netbook display, it'd mean a 6 pixel wide font. Currently, Terminal is using Droid Sans Mono 9, IDLE and gedit are configured with Liberation Mono 8, and Leafpad uses Droid Sans Mono 8.

Sounds just painful.

In practice, 6 pixel wide monospace fonts haven't been painful to me, especially with subpixel antialiasing and the fact that a laptop display sits closer than the arm's length of a desktop PC's external monitor.

It also looks out for your best interests... (0)

concealment (2447304) | about a year ago | (#42955115)

By collecting user data [slashdot.org] , the benevolent state of Ubuntu is able to keep track of what you might need.

I notice you searching for blow-up dolls and discount alcohol, citizen. Would you like the number of a qualified therapist?

Re:It also looks out for your best interests... (1)

ais523 (1172701) | about a year ago | (#42955269)

I'm subscribed to the mailing list at the moment; they're at least aware of the problem. The latest suggestion's been to put a really visible kill switch on the Dash that causes it to do no network traffic at all, even with a sandbox to make sure that none gets out by accident. Not as good as turning it on by default and letting the user turn it off, but it's at least an improvement.

Re:It also looks out for your best interests... (2)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | about a year ago | (#42955335)

On the other hand, most people don't think twice about using a search engine (regardless of whether you log in or not, they can and do track your preferences), email (a plaintext postcard that any SMTP server on the transfer path can read), or even just the normal web (cross-site advertising cookies, etc).

You can turn it off. The desktop environment makes a point of telling you about it, and explains how to turn it off. You can even uninstall the components that do it, without breaking anything (except of course, the integrated shopping lens). It provides a settings panel dedicated to turning it off - no CLI required.

I had a look at Google and nowhere obvious does it have a "stop tracking and analyzing everything I do" button.

I find it reassuring that out of all the people who are aggregating and monetizing your habit data (ie - almost everything with an online presence), Canonical actually goes out of their way to tell you about it and that you can stop them doing it.

Yes, I'd be more comfortable if they just didn't do it. But I'm happy that my preferred Linux distro will be more viable as a result of them gaining a revenue stream. And for those of us that care enough to post about it on a forum, it's laughably simple to spend a few seconds with a search engine and just disable it.

Or didn't you know about that, because you avoid everything like search engines that might track your habits?

Hardware Partner (5, Interesting)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#42955201)

Shuttleworth also addressed the fragmentation problem faced by Android. He says manufacturers and carriers don't want to fall into that trap again, and that they've been receptive to the idea of leaving the core of Ubuntu alone while tweaking their individual services instead.

And this shows how much Mr. Shuttleworth doesn't get the phone and tablets manufacturers and carriers and why there is no hardware partner and in my opinion they will not have one soon, like Ubuntu TV still doesn't have one. The reason Android took off is because Google was very careful to rebuild a lot of common Linux distribution modules by Apache licensed ones, for example the libc library. Manufactures and carriers want full control, they tolerate the GPL in the Linux kernel because they have no other viable option, but they don't like it (I am talking about them, I am not saying that I hate the GPL before people start implying that). Do you think Samsung will be happy to be forced to share their Android modifications that allow multiple applications (some vetted ones) on the same screen with all other OEMs?

These words of Mr. Shuttleworth only gives me hints that they have no secret hardware partner

Re:Hardware Partner (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#42955229)

and by the way if some OEMs don't want to "fall again" on the Android "fragmentation trap" it is more easy for them to stop modifying base Android that switch to Ubuntu, so this sounds like a marketing lie to me

Re:Hardware Partner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955239)

eh?

Re:Hardware Partner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955281)

what?

Re:Hardware Partner (1)

pmontra (738736) | about a year ago | (#42955367)

Unity is copyrighted by Canonical so they can multiple license it. It is GPL3 by default but anything else for anybody they make a deal with.
This means they could license their code to Samsung so that Samsung can make all the changes it wants without sharing them back to the world. Probably Canonical will ask some money for the privilege.

Re:Hardware Partner (1)

robmv (855035) | about a year ago | (#42955467)

And Unity is only a module of an Ubuntu installation, there are many dependencies that aren't copyrighted by Canonical

Re:Hardware Partner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955605)

Most if not all, are LGPL licensed.

Re:Hardware Partner (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955739)

That has the same requirement of the GPL: publish the changes to the people you give binaries

Spyware? Keylogger? (-1)

hduff (570443) | about a year ago | (#42955301)

What versions of spyware and keyloggers will this Ubuntu comes with?

Re:Spyware? Keylogger? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42956255)

Something for Amazon.

Easy target (1)

Shaman (1148) | about a year ago | (#42955375)

This time Mark is picking on the operating system with the most jarring experience ever found in operating systems. Well, maybe not, the Windows 3.x days are long behind me, but I do remember how bad that could get....

All maximized all the time (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42955389)

Mark Shuttleworth said in the article: "What's nice about Ubuntu is the phase change to the PC experience up from the tablet really just introduces window management." Does this mean that Ubuntu on tablets will run all maximized all the time, even when a tablet is docked to a keyboard? That hurts my use case, which involves doing a little Python coding during the commute. I currently have a 10" laptop, and my setup in IDLE puts a source code editor window down one half of the screen and a second source code editor or the output window down the other. But with the discontinuation of 10" laptops at the end of last year, I don't know where I'd go.

Good news: This is no longer the case (2)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#42955509)

I continued to page two, and I am excited about something that it says "Shuttleworth is really excited about": Ubuntu for tablets allows a phone-sized application to be snapped to the side in "side stage".

Re:Good news: This is no longer the case (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955833)

I'd hope that it transforms to a full PC experience as soon as you dock, regardless of whether the tablet is the screen, or if an external screen is attached.

Bringing my whole PC with me and having it operate in tablet mode when without K/M seems to be the ideal, though it makes backups even more critical than they now are.

UI design (1, Interesting)

MaWeiTao (908546) | about a year ago | (#42955565)

The OS certainly looks nice, but how is it any different than mobile or tablet OS? I'm seeing a bit of sensationalism due to the mere fact that this OS didn't come from one of the big three. I was expecting a lot more to this claim than a mere jab at Windows 8's desktop mode. I agree, that was a massively botched example of UI design and an indication of compromise. But it's jarring for the first half an hour of use; it's not some sort of profound UI issue.

The issue facing mobile and tablet UI is more one of consistency. It's functionality being uniform, apps following standards, and buttons having consistent functions. The back button should always mean back. Apple has generally done a good job and the OS translates pretty well between the iPhone and iPad. Regardless of what people are saying here, Windows Phone is one of the best out there and I haven't come across anyone yet who wasn't impressed. What it does make me wonder why Microsoft didn't implement that OS on the Surface RT.

Android, while I like the OS, does have a lot of issues with unintuitive UI. Every environment functions a bit differently, like each was designed by it's own team with it's own UI philosophy and aesthetic. It's not a problem with anything that's used frequently, because users do internalize a lot of the variations. But I think it's still a problem to go from one screen that navigates via scrolls to another that relies on swipes. The custom variants from HTC, Samsung and others only make things worse. Unfortunately, I don't think it's something Google will ever be able to fix, user interface isn't their strong suit.

From that perspective Ubuntu looks very promising. But it's crucial they prevent fragmentation, which seems difficult to pull off in the open source world. That would mean no first-party custom skins and no third-party redesigns. This is the interface everyone gets.

Microsoft is taking note (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955617)

Wouldn't be surprised if all the feature will be showcased on the next Windows Blue (see other news today).

Remind me a lot of how KDE4 was working on a nice design that was very closely replicated by Windows Vista/7.

I know they all copy each other all the time, but maybe Ubuntu should keep its killer feature a bit more secret than bragging too much details to competitors.

Sounds cool on the surface (1)

Chewbacon (797801) | about a year ago | (#42955781)

But it sounds like you'll need cloud storage forward to work. That's something I'm not very crazy about. And then there's the privacy issues that have been plaguing Ubuntu lately. It seems to be driving a lot of Linux users away, including me. The integration strategy sounds really cool.

Sharing your data with Facebook (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42955917)

Isn't Ubuntu more jarring, since Shuttleworth admitted all keystrokes are sent to be data mined and shared with Facebook?

Say what you want about Windows, but at least MS doesn't do _that_.

Promising (1)

ediron2 (246908) | about a year ago | (#42956225)

I mentally and emotionally left ubuntu behind when this 'train wreck' started, and have been churning along with Mint and Debian (for servers) getting most of my love.

This clarifies what the intent is for Ubuntu. More importantly to me, it resonates in a way that win8 and 'just like tablets and the new windows' never did -- this hints at a unix / X11 / 'network is the computer' mindset, where the UI and the data/computation are decoupled in ways that add flexibility, rather than straitjacketing power users.

I'm still hesitant, but I'll give Ubuntu a second chance based on this. Personal cpu/data devices and UI portability / flexibility wouldn't suck -- As long as Canonical sticks with a goal/plan for the UI being a realignment-to *AND* extension-of tablet UI design concepts, and not just carving off the complexity, or rearranging shit to be win00b-friendly.

Will there ever be an actual product launch? (1)

QKRTHNU (906845) | about a year ago | (#42956331)

Ubuntu has been showing a lot of pretty darn cool looking stuff the last few years, Ubuntu for Phones, Ubuntu for Android, Ubuntu TV. It all seems to be vaporware though. Am I missing something? AFAIK I can't install any of these things on existing devices and there isn't any hardware available for purchase which runs these versions of the Ubuntu OS. So what exactly are they "announcing", that this may be available someday?
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