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Ubuntu Phone Carrier Advisory Group Announced

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the open-phone-war-was-the-only-good-war dept.

Cellphones 40

An anonymous reader writes "With the focus from Ubuntu on phones, seven carriers have signed onto their Ubuntu Carrier Advisory Group including Deutsche Telekom, Everything Everywhere, Telecom Italia, Korea Telecom, LG UPlus, Portugal Telecom, and SK Telecom. The group is designed for the carriers to let 'mobile operators shape Ubuntu's mobile strategy. Members receive advance confidential briefings and provide us with industry insight to ensure that Ubuntu meets their needs.'" Looks like Ubuntu Phone is getting serious. Mark Shuttleworth writes about their first meeting: "We mapped out our approach to the key question I’ve been asked by every carrier we’ve met so far: how can we accommodate differentiation, without fragmenting the platform for developers? We described the range of diversity we think we can support initially, received some initial feedback from carriers participating immediately, and I’m looking forward to the distilled feedback we’ll get on the topic in the next call. CAG members get a period of exclusivity in their markets."

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40 comments

American Carrier Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051515)

If you want to enter US market you must have NSA backdoor included. We love STASI operating manuals.

Re:American Carrier Support (3, Interesting)

UltraZelda64 (2309504) | about a year ago | (#44051667)

Ah, don't worry about that. They've already got fiber optic splitting in the areas between Facebook, Yahoo!, Skype, Google, Microsoft, etc. and their respective Internet service providers. There's not as much need for a backdoor in the user/client side when practically all of the communications between these companies and their users are under constant surveillance and being sent in to top-secret NSA-controlled data gathering server rooms.

Inevitable truth (3, Interesting)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#44051529)

Mark Shuttleworth writes about their first meeting: "We mapped out our approach to the key question I’ve been asked by every carrier we’ve met so far: how can we accommodate differentiation, without fragmenting the platform for developers?"

To which he added "Fragmentation or lack of differentiation, please pick one and we can move on."

Re:Inevitable truth (1)

cameronl (117757) | about a year ago | (#44051607)

If the differentiation is in apps and themes/skins, it can be done. If it's forks of the OS, it's fragmentation.

Re:Inevitable truth (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#44051635)

If the differentiation is in apps and themes/skins, it can be done. If it's forks of the OS, it's fragmentation.

Tell that to anyone who has ever commented about fragmentation in Android.

Re:Inevitable truth (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44051655)

99% of them were wrong.

Hell, you can support multiple API levels at once.

Re:Inevitable truth (1)

jeffmeden (135043) | about a year ago | (#44051877)

99% of them were wrong.

Hell, you can support multiple API levels at once.

Tell everyone that they can pick their choice of screen size from 3" to 6" (and beyond) and pick exactly how crazy they want the widgets to be, and nobody bats an eye

Tell them that they can play Angry Birds 1, 2, 3, 4, but not Angry Birds 4.5, and everyone loses their mind!

Re:Inevitable truth (1)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#44057893)

Differentiate your phone from all others but one. Be like Apple and don't let the carriers fuck up your phone by preinstalling apps the end user doesn't want, won't use, and can't delete. Or let them "helpfully" redesign your UI and feature set because they know better than you do what users want to do and how they want to do it.

Re:Inevitable truth (3, Interesting)

Hatta (162192) | about a year ago | (#44051699)

Debian seems to handle it OK. The same Debian repositories can make an awesome desktop machine, a rock solid server, a single purpose kiosk, or an HTPC. And all this software is written in a variety of languages and runs on a variety of hardware.

Re:Inevitable truth (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051845)

> The same Debian repositories can make an awesome desktop machine

No, they can't. No average desktop user will use it because he can not get app updates without having to wait 5 years and then upgrading the whole distribution.

Re:Inevitable truth (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44052331)

Actually, Debian has proven itself for mobile phones to, the Nokia N900 and N9(Maemo and Meego) are both based on a debian based distribution.

Re:Inevitable truth (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44052459)

Two obsolete hardware models running obsolete software.

Re:Inevitable truth (2)

Medievalist (16032) | about a year ago | (#44053079)

If something still does the job for which it was purchased or built, then it is not obsolete. The word you are looking for is "old" or possibly "outmoded".

Re:Inevitable truth (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#44098437)

The N900 worked fine when it was release. Four years have past, and the smartphone market moves way too fast. That doesn't undo what good the N900 did. It just means it's old.

Re:Inevitable truth (2)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#44052405)

At least, he's now dealing w/ people who can make his platform a success. Now, if just the KDE Plasma guys came in and had their own discussions w/ these or other carriers, and offered their content on their phones, that platform too could have a taste of success

Exclusivity? (1)

SteveFoerster (136027) | about a year ago | (#44051537)

CAG members get a period of exclusivity in their markets.

How can they if it's really all open source?

Re:Exclusivity? (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | about a year ago | (#44051579)

Perhaps the lock-in occurs at the app market? B&N tried that with Nook originally.

Re:Exclusivity? (3, Insightful)

jwgreene (2906395) | about a year ago | (#44051605)

Perhaps CAG group members will get to sell the Ubuntu phone in their area for a period of time before carriers who don't join up can. I expect it is hardware exclusivity, not software.

Re:Exclusivity? (1)

MrEricSir (398214) | about a year ago | (#44052471)

The Ubuntu trademark is certainly not open source.

Why pander to the carriers? (4, Interesting)

rtkluttz (244325) | about a year ago | (#44051673)

I realize that none of these carriers are in the US so that may very well be the difference here... BUT!!! Why pander to the carriers? What we need is open source in phones in a way that enshrines the consumer first. GPLv3 all the phone specific software so that it CAN'T BE TIVO'IZED and corrupted and used against the owner of the device. I'm all for people getting paid if they want to be paid for their work, but it will in no way ever justify locking me out of my own devices in any way or using my devices against me in any way. Remote software removal by anyone other than the owner? Nunh-Unh. Locking me into a market and excluding others? Nunh-Unh.

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (3, Interesting)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#44051753)

All we really need at this point is the drivers. Nexus devices already offer what you want assuming you remove the google market, or just break that functionality.

Hardware folks seem pretty hesitant to provide drivers or even information to make them at this point.

T is for Telekom, but is that good enough for me? (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#44051897)

I realize that none of these carriers are in the US

Deutsche Telekom is on the list [ubuntu.com] , and it has a U.S. division [t-mobile.com] .

Re:T is for Telekom, but is that good enough for m (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about a year ago | (#44051965)

Doesn't mean that T-Mobile is involved. For example, Duetsche Telekom was selling the iPhone years before T-Mobile did.

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051981)

While none of them are in the US, at least one of them has subsidiaries in the US: Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile. So there may be hope yet.

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (2)

D1G1T (1136467) | about a year ago | (#44052231)

What we need is open source in phones in a way that enshrines the consumer first. GPLv3 all the phone specific software.

Android has market share, has manufacturers (choice in devices), has carriers (coverage), has app developers, is relatively mature, and is "open" enough for most. Do you really think consumers are going to choose Ubuntu just because of a software license most have never heard of? I'm all for innovation, competition and choice, but Ubuntu doesn't seem to be offering anything compelling to any but the hard-core software freedom crowd.

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about a year ago | (#44052309)

What we need is open source in phones in a way that enshrines the consumer first. GPLv3 all the phone specific software.

Android has market share, has manufacturers (choice in devices), has carriers (coverage), has app developers, is relatively mature, and is "open" enough for most. Do you really think consumers are going to choose Ubuntu just because of a software license most have never heard of? I'm all for innovation, competition and choice, but Ubuntu doesn't seem to be offering anything compelling to any but the hard-core software freedom crowd.

surely it can't all be gpl when MEMBERS GET EXCLUSIVITY?
it's pandering to the carriers to get them to upfront money. but it can't be both open and exclusive to carriers x y and z in their relative markets..
it's probably because shuttlworth thinks you can't use other carriers phones or some stupid shit like that. he's stuck in the US in 2001.

none of this shit we even care about, what would matter is how are they going to be better than android? how? tell us that and get some sweet devices out.

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (3, Funny)

unixisc (2429386) | about a year ago | (#44052425)

So that Canonical can actually make money

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (2)

duranaki (776224) | about a year ago | (#44052565)

I had the same thought! I'd mod you up but I can't. Instead, I'll just add that this seems to be a general trend. Developing for the end-user seems like a thing of the past. Instead it's what do the carriers want? What do the content producers want? What does the government want? At least they didn't create an NSA Advisory group (yet)?

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44053047)

I think that's on us to make happen. If the community wants such a platform, we must create it ourselves and support it ourselves and not count on companies like Google and Ubuntu to deliver it for us.

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (1)

kermidge (2221646) | about a year ago | (#44054741)

Not sure I can phrase this well, but as I read the blog post, pandering to carrier was not what came to mind.

Ubuntu brings the OS - it's of a piece and stays that way. Carriers have already advanced the phones they'll initially offer Ubuntu on; and various devs have been playing around with stuff, the drivers have been written. Carriers will speechify about what they want (look, feel, apps) and Ubuntu will nod and agree (and not change the OS). Devs will do the accommodating of the carriers' preferences. Everyone feels to be on the same page.

No idea if that's how it is, just the mental snapshot I saw when reading the submission.

Re:Why pander to the carriers? (1)

hobarrera (2008506) | about a year ago | (#44098441)

I completely agree. I never have, and never will buy a phone form a carrier.
I think mobile phone carriers and open source are two things that just don't mix. Just like RIAA and open source won't either.

If you care about users, you sell to users. If you don't, you go through a carrier.

Not really Linux... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051705)

Another bowdlerized Linux platform that you can't repurpose the existing ecosystem for. Isn't it possible to just have a new phone essentially run a vanilla linux distro like Maemo did?

this seems odd to me (1)

slashmydots (2189826) | about a year ago | (#44051875)

I don't know why they're bothering. Android is free. iOS is "free" to Apple sort of. Brew and Symbian are probably pretty cheap given the phone prices of ones that carry it. So a free phone OS? Not as exciting as desktops. Then you've got free and open vs mega controlling overlords of pure evil aka wireless telecom companies coming together to work on a product? This had bad idea written all over it.

too soon (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44051961)

Maybe another 2 years are needed when a full arm or even x86 chip w components will be small enough to fit into a phone case. Then android, ios, wmobile will be gone as they should be. the only good mobile os in the last 10 years was nokia os (not symbian crap). Give me the ability to customize my phone gui down to a t. Or give me nothing

First mistake, and last (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44052087)

Google is trying to wrestle control away from the carriers after whoring out Android under their terms when it first came out. Obviously to get carriers interested in Android phones, Google had to ensure they gave power over feature set and update release to the carriers. This "control" caused a massive fragment in the market were phones today are still being sold with Android 2 to 3 versions behind the version of Android Google wants to ship.

While it may have ultimately made Android the top phone platform on the market today, it's cause a huge headache for Google to try and now release value added features like Play Music and Apps while supporting a wide assortment of random versions. Its also a nightmare platform to develop on unless you ignore everything before Android 4 and accept the limited scope of customers.

Not sure this is the best model for Ubuntu to follow because they don't even have the clout Google has that still struggles to get control back.

Carriers need to be told that they features of a phone is defined by the phone, if their networks can't support the feature then they don't get the premium top brands to sell to customers. For instance any carrier that does not support iPhone has seen significant decline in their customer base, this forces the carrier to support the features that Apple wants, not the other way around, to get back customers.

Also this goes completely against the openness of the Ubuntu platform as carriers are more interested in "locking down" rather then "opening up". Not sure open source and phone carriers are a good synergy, this product is doomed.

Re:First mistake, and last (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | about a year ago | (#44052879)

Google is trying to wrestle control away from the carriers after whoring out Android under their terms when it first came out. Obviously to get carriers interested in Android phones, Google had to ensure they gave power over feature set and update release to the carriers. This "control" caused a massive fragment in the market were phones today are still being sold with Android 2 to 3 versions behind the version of Android Google wants to ship.

While it may have ultimately made Android the top phone platform on the market today, it's cause a huge headache for Google to try and now release value added features like Play Music and Apps while supporting a wide assortment of random versions. Its also a nightmare platform to develop on unless you ignore everything before Android 4 and accept the limited scope of customers.

Not sure this is the best model for Ubuntu to follow because they don't even have the clout Google has that still struggles to get control back.

Carriers need to be told that they features of a phone is defined by the phone, if their networks can't support the feature then they don't get the premium top brands to sell to customers. For instance any carrier that does not support iPhone has seen significant decline in their customer base, this forces the carrier to support the features that Apple wants, not the other way around, to get back customers.

Also this goes completely against the openness of the Ubuntu platform as carriers are more interested in "locking down" rather then "opening up". Not sure open source and phone carriers are a good synergy, this product is doomed.

These are all great points, and I don't disagree with anything per se.

However, I think you are assuming that the future must be like the past. The phone market has undergone a series of significant changes over a period of decades, the past five (+) years with the rise of Apple and then Android coupled with the collapse of Blackberry and Nokia have only accelerated that.

I suspect that as the technology becomes both more powerful and ubiquitous the easier it becomes for a small competitor or open source project (Like the raspberry pi) to effect the entire market.

Competition is good.

And it enters the fail phase.... (2)

Lumpy (12016) | about a year ago | (#44052877)

"The group is designed for the carriers to let 'mobile operators shape Ubuntu's mobile strategy. " This will do nothing but destroy the platform. Carriers have nothing good to "advise" any phone OS maker about. Every one of them shovel more crap on top of the phone that what is upposed to be there and destroy features they dont like.

Thus ends Ubuntu Phone OS.

I'm sorry to hear this (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44053321)

I was hoping Ubuntu might possibly make a phone that doesn't suck, and with Nokia's exiting the market a couple years ago, there is a huge demand for that.

But this... Hey Shuttleworth, for the desktop OS, did you poll cable and DSL ISPs asking them about your desktop strategy? No. Because that would be ridiculous. So how is this less ridiculous?

0% of users want their ISPs to have a say in how their computer works. At most, the ISPs should be the supplicants in this situation, saying things like "we are going to have multicast, so please make sure your OS is able to take advantage of it."

How do you differentiate a Comcast customer's desktop and a CenturyLink customer's desktop? Easy: different users choose to install different packages from the repository. Indeed, that's how you differentiate one Comcast customer from another. Or not. A lot of people probably run Ubuntu with the same default set of packages, so they're not differentiated. But their ISPs don't care.

Self-defeating premise? (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | about a year ago | (#44053577)

"We mapped out our approach to the key question I’ve been asked by every carrier we’ve met so far: how can we accommodate differentiation, without fragmenting the platform for developers?"

The field is already dominated by Android and iOS. If they add yet another OS to the mix, aren't they further fragmenting the market no matter what??

Re:Self-defeating premise? (1)

MysteriousPreacher (702266) | about a year ago | (#44054043)

Market != platform

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