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Ubuntu Mobile Announced

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the umobile dept.

Handhelds 66

Placid writes "The BBC has up an article detailing the 'Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded' project which was announced by Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu's CTO, on the Ubuntu developers mailing list. Zimmerman stated that 'These devices place new demands on open-source software and require innovative graphical interfaces, improved power management and better responsiveness.' According to the article, Intel will have their finger in the pie too, as they've recently announced a prototype device running Ubuntu. Part of the project's goal is to maximise the power saving abilities of a planned low-energy chip codenamed Silverthorn. The chip will be just one-seventh the size of normal chips, and consume only 10% of the power of existing processor. What does this mean for projects such as OpenMoko? Healthy competition, or the beginning of the end?"

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Competition (2, Interesting)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036075)

Surely, this will be good for competition?

Re:Competition (2, Interesting)

ClaesMogren (894070) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036899)

I'm sure it will be good for the competition, and it will make more people interested in getting their applications to run on embedded devices. Ubuntu is generally good at contributing patches upstream and I'm sure this will give the GNOME Mobile And Embedded [gnome.org] initiative an extra push. It's nice to see free and open software becoming more widespread on other devices than just PCs.

Re:Competition (1)

Mipoti Gusundar (1028156) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036957)

Good for competition, or good for THE competition? ( The former is being abstract concept, second is being other company that make things, for those not understanding english )

Re:Competition (2, Funny)

link7 (966918) | more than 7 years ago | (#19037511)

I'm sure it will, and don't call me Shirley.

Re:Competition (1)

Da_Weasel (458921) | more than 7 years ago | (#19040693)

Is it just me or is that OpenMoko logo dangerously close to infringing on the Cingular trademark?

Same industry, same color, same over all picture.

I dunno...maybe it's just me...

I also never heard about openmoko (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036101)

http://projects.openmoko.org/ [openmoko.org]

Hosted Projects: 20
Registered Users: 525

That's not so much... Even http://opensource.y7.ath.cx/ [y7.ath.cx] doesn't cover them...

Re:I also never heard about openmoko (1)

janrinok (846318) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036215)

I agree, but I was thinking of competition in a much wider sense. A power efficient chip will create some competition amongst the (few!) chip manufacturers. The fact that Ubuntu is being used could create competition between other linux distros and even other OS'. A power efficient device manufactured using this chip could also create something of a stir in the market place as it should have a battery life considerably in excess of other similar devices which use a different chip.

means nothing for openmoko (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036993)

openmoko uses openembedded.

essentially, projects like openembedded, openmoko, and openwrt are a collection of patches and build scripts.

if ubuntu keeps updated with the latest embedded patches, then it can provide the same function.
Though Ubuntu has a different focus.

Also, the "embedded" devices keep getting bigger.

Re:I also never heard about openmoko (1)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19040473)

OpenMoko was demoed at the last Ubucon. It's very nice if you like touchscreens. I don't. I hope the next one has real buttons with real tactile feedback (unlike Razrs which sort of have buttons but have no feedback at all). Can't dial n drive with a touchscreen.

Only 10% of power? (4, Informative)

dcskier (1039688) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036173)

Sounds great, but rather bold prediction of using only 10% the power of existing chips. I seem to remember the crusoe chip [wikipedia.org] being hyped like this, until it was released.

Re:Only 10% of power? (2, Insightful)

viewtouch (1479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038011)

I was able to do something useful with the crusoe chip, running this portable wireless X terminal. http://www.viewtouch.com/mobile.html [viewtouch.com] The problems were that Hitachi sold these in small quantities at three times the price it sold them in larger quantities and that Hitachi stopped manufacturing these without any notice.

These devices can and do work. What's needed are hardware designers and manufacturers who are absolutely convinced that mobile devices are NOT going away, that they need to be able to be as useful as versatile terminals not just when they're being used for phone calls but also when users are interacting with software apps. ThinLinx is one such company.

Ohhh, embeded you say. (2, Funny)

jusDfaqs (997794) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036291)

Now i get to see exactly how fast I can txt "sudo aptitude update -y && updatedb"

SMIRK

Re:Ohhh, embeded you say. (-1, Flamebait)

gitargr8 (966020) | more than 7 years ago | (#19037301)

Now i get to see exactly how fast I can txt "sudo aptitude update -y && updatedb"


You won't need to use that command, as you'll never be able to get your WiFi connection working anyway...

But... (5, Funny)

AltGrendel (175092) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036337)

...will it run Beyrl? [beryl-project.org]

Re:But... (1)

Mikeeee84 (969805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19037387)

...will it run Beyrl?
The absence of hardware graphics acceleration would suggest not. While Beryl/Compiz have their uses, a phone wouldn't achieve any great benefit from their addition.

OpenGL ES (1)

viewtouch (1479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038123)

As mobile device makers begin to put OpenGL ES chips into their devices, like this, http://www.imgtec.com/PowerVR/Products/Graphics/MB X/index.asp?Page=2 [imgtec.com] and if these devices are used as X servers (i.e., remote display terminals) then the only thing that remains for fantastic user experiences is people to write X apps to make the devices specifically useful in the different scenarios in which all people find themselves day in and day out.

Re:But... (1)

Joe Snipe (224958) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038321)

score: -1 wet blanket

Momentum (4, Insightful)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036455)

It seems like Ubuntu is gaining alot of momentum in different areas right now. I hope they can make all/alot/some of the objectives they set for themselves real.
 
Especially the fact that larger hardware/software companies are willing to work together with them (the Dell deal, now Intel with this chip) looks like a big step in the right direction! What's good for one distro is good for every distro as far as I'm concerned. If Ubuntu becomes more mainstream perhaps we'll finally be able to get some good drivers for our hardware and such!

Re:Momentum (2, Insightful)

Hercynium (237328) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038159)

Well, while Canonical's approach *seems* to be working, I personally am skeptical of the long-term maintainability of all these projects. Granted, they've got money right now and they might as well spend it developing and advancing Linux... but can they make their efforts profitable?

RedHat has managed to pull this off... but they had to take their previously more diverse product offerings and pare them down to just serve the applications/server market - since everything else was simply not profitable.

What will become of the non-profitable Ubuntu projects after the money runs out?

I want Ubuntu to succeed in a big way - I'm an admitted Debian fanatic, and despite the flame-wars over Ubuntu's 'encroachment' (for lack of a better word) I believe Ubuntu can be the vehicle to get Debian-based systems as widely accepted as RHEL. Mark Shuttleworth has, so far, put his money where his mouth is... and it looks like other people's money is beginning to pay attention (does that make any sense??)

OK, I'm just putting this out there as food for thought - I haven't thought it as fully through as I would like... any ideas?

Re:Momentum (2, Insightful)

howlingmadhowie (943150) | more than 7 years ago | (#19040275)

i think linux has the advantage of being open source. this means that ubuntu can take the product advances red hat has made and then add their own. people are starting to hear about ubuntu, it's as if "the industry" has got together en masse and decided that it's time for linux to move onto the desktop and has singled-out ubuntu as the distro to push. it would not surprise me to hear of linux-versions of products from adobe et al. being released in the next year. as well as this, mark shuttleworth must be laughing at the people who ridiculed him for pumping so much money into canonical and ubuntu. now that the deal with dell has been announced, the future looks pretty rosey for his company.

my optimism comes from many things. i would say the most positive sign is that dell has chosen canonical to provide support for ubuntu and is working with canonical to make sure the hardware works out of the box. that a chip manufacturer like intel is working with the linux kernel team together is nothing unusual, but having them talk to a distribution is as far as i know unprecidented. it would imply that intel has very well-defined plans for this chip and may well be releasing a device with it in the future running mubuntu (TM howlingmadhowie 2007).

also of note is the article on the bbc website. "the increasingly popular Linux operating system Ubuntu" is just the start. they actually manage to explain what foss software is, rather than just stressing the "free as in beer" aspect. all in all, a piece which shows an understanding of foss and ubuntu, and that from auntie beeb.

Re:Momentum (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19038761)

What Dell deal are you talking about? The one with NOVL and MSFT?

OH NOES THE END!!!11!1 (4, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036475)

What does this mean for projects such as OpenMoko? Healthy competition, or the beginning of the end?

Unless it is based on anticompetitive practice, competition is always healthy.

If the other projects deserve to survive, because they add substantial value, then they will continue to exist. Otherwise not.

I have to say, I'd really appreciate a version of Ubuntu that would run on my iPaq. I installed Familiar but it wasn't all that exciting (it did, however, work. I don't want to take anything away from those guys.)

Re:OH NOES THE END!!!11!1 (1)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#19037621)

If the other projects deserve to survive, because they add substantial value, then they will continue to exist. Otherwise not.


Or if they solve different problems. For example, OpenMoko may be better for OEMs manufacturing embedded or mobile devices, while Ubuntu will probably be better for aftermarket installs, since Ubuntu will likely be much easier for the end-user to install and upgrade.

buy a phone (5, Interesting)

Mariani (700617) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036571)

Does anyone know when/where/how to get a hold of a phone capable of running an open os? Information is really scares on that subject, can seem to find many answers on the openmoko site. People are developing for it, so there must be a way to get a hold of one right?

Re:buy a phone (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036629)

They're pretty early in the development phase. I think they only recently finalized the hardware and got development units out to a couple key people. They're looking at a September date for making it available to the public.

Not September (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036907)

The Slashdot crowd can get a bare-bones phone and start hacking on it in mid-May.

You can buy the Neo1973 from FIC (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036661)

At the http://openmoko.com/ [openmoko.com] website after May 10th.

Re:buy a phone (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036921)

You probably wanted "scarce" not "scares." It's a different word.

Make sure to type "I can't seem" if that's what you mean.

You also need a comma between "one" and "right."

When communicating your thoughts to others it's important to not make the reader stumble on these little issues so that they can spend time thinking about the concepts you're trying to get across to them.

Re:buy a phone (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19037139)

Cut him some slack, he's probably a dago or something like that.

Re:buy a phone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19039011)

Information is really scares on that subject

If you're scared of information, you're probably in the wrong field.

can seem to find many answers on the openmoko site

If you seem to have found many answers, what's the problem?

there must be a way to get a hold of one right?

What sort of right are you looking for? You can get a hold of more than one right in countries like the USA or Canada. Some say rights are slowly being taken away in those places, but you can definitely still get more than one right there.

Re:GreenPhone (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19041233)

check out the green phone, google it.

Re:buy a phone (2, Interesting)

N8w8 (557943) | more than 7 years ago | (#19043887)

Though it's not _completely_ open (a few proprietary kernel modules IIRC), I love my new toy, a Motorola A780, which runs Linux natively.

It runs a distro named EZX, which is based on a Montavista-modified Linux 2.4 kernel, a GNU-ish userland (glibc, etc.), and Qt Embedded as the graphics framework.

You can easily cross-compile apps for this EZX environment (mkezx.org). Even cooler is that work is being done to reverse engineer the closed parts, and run Linux 2.6 on the device (openezx.org). Besides the kernel, people are also working to make it run a completely different distro (angstrom-distribution.org).

Anyway, I love this device :)

Pocket PC's, too? (1)

skeftomai (1057866) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036627)

Will this run on Pocket PC's as well, or is this just for mobile phones?

N800 and Maemo (4, Informative)

lexarius (560925) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036637)

The N800's Maemo distribution is based on Debian, and while it does have a development community, things are a bit lacking right now. Would be nice if this device were supported, since a dist for many devices will probably get more development done for it than a dist for approximately two devices.

Hm (1)

UPZ (947916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036665)

Competition is a wonderful world dun you think?

A nice thought. (4, Interesting)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036683)

Most embedded Linux installs are hand made. usually you do not need a full distro for an embedded device but a smaller subset to get the job done.

I hope that Ubuntu project can create something that is workable that also delivers where all other embedded linux distros fell on their face, Size and performance.

Honestly a kernel+busybox+your custom app is all that is needed for most embedded linux uses. and can be rolled together by your in house engineers in a day.

Now trying to make a inly multi-purpose low power generic device is a different story but is the exception in the world of embedded lnux.

Re:A nice thought. (1)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036985)

Now trying to make a inly multi-purpose low power generic device is a different story but is the exception in the world of embedded lnux.

But that's what they (Intel) are trying to make, an Intel version of the Nokia N800 (which also runs a Debian derived distro)

Re:A nice thought. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19037677)

One thing i've noticed with embedded linux is that it tends to be very device centric. Each piece of hardware seems to have a community around it and its own distro. It seems that many projects end up duplicating 50% of the effort from others and that co-operation between this projects is often lacking or only by chance when somebody happens to own two or more Linux enabled devices.

I've used OpenPsion, Open Zaurus/pdaXrom, Familiar, OpenWRT, OpenSlug and Gumstix-buildroot on various platforms (Psion 5mx, Zaurus 5500/cl-1000, WRT54G, NSLU2 and gumstix) and found that each has its own quirks in the way the distro is setup and in what works and what doesn't. Some distros use uClibc buildroot, others use openembedded, some require you just to install a toolchain manually and others have their own scripts. This gives great variety to what software is available on different hardware despite the hardware being nearly identical.

What i'd love to see is a standard distro which takes care of building all the components which are always the same (e.g. nearly all the user applications) and has device specific bits that cover all the embedded Linux devices. I know openembedded pretty much does this but its such a pain to use and way beyond what the average user (and even many developers) will be prepeared to do. If Ubunutu can provide a standard distribution with the same GUI, the same config tools, the same /etc layout and someway of repackaging files depending on the firmware needs of the device this would be really nice.

Re:A nice thought. (1)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19039495)

Yep, and they're usually made by the manufacturer of the hardware. ARM has one guy up in the UK doing the whole toolchain, which is why it's still using GCC 2.95 for most platforms (although I now have access at work to a platform using gcc 3.4).

...or (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036725)

"Healthy competition, or the beginning of the end?"

...or a false dilemma?

More like Maemo than OpenMoko (4, Interesting)

TobascoKid (82629) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036805)

Looking at the article, this seems to be more about a version of Ubuntu for Web tablets instead of mobile phones. It looks like Intel are using Ubuntu for their Nokia N800 style device.

Re:More like Maemo than OpenMoko (3, Funny)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038487)

At some point, somewhere, the entire internet will be found to be illegal.

That's because it will all be echoing: 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C0

If Jack Valenti were here, he'd set you straight. (1)

Valacosa (863657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19049637)

It's for the best. That number on the internet is to the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone.

But ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19036853)

... will I still get that bloody Grub error 17 on startup ??? >:-(

At first glance, I thought that it was a car! (0, Redundant)

scum-o (3946) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036879)

An Ubuntu-Mobile? Like a brown car that runs on ubuntu? Like the Bat-Mobile? That's what I thought when first reading the title and thought Cool! :)

Re:At first glance, I thought that it was a car! (2, Funny)

MrNiceguy_KS (800771) | more than 7 years ago | (#19037971)

The Batmobile runs on bats? No wonder you never see Batman stopping by the gas station.

I OpenMoko built on OpenEmbedded (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19036901)

Which is a descendant of OpenZaurus, which is a descendant of Debian/Arm. I wouldn't be surprised, therefore, to see Ubuntu building on one of those. It'd save them lots of effort.

Re:I OpenMoko built on OpenEmbedded (1)

absurdist (758409) | more than 7 years ago | (#19040269)

Well, if so, I hope Ubuntu can come up with a working package manager. After all these years the OE/OZ one still sucks seven different kinds of ass. And when I brought it up in their forums, I got the usual elitist explanation that all I had to do was fix the packages myself. Great for a hobbyist toy, not so great if you actually want to market a system based on it.

I didn't have trouble with them (1)

wiredog (43288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19053919)

Copy the ipk to the sd/cf/whatever card, run it, app installed.

motorola kernel (1)

crAckZ (1098479) | more than 7 years ago | (#19037605)

this is great. i have the motorola kernel and wanted to make something for my treo but this might make my life easier. so if you have carrier specific code and a custom rom, i wonder if you could feed that info into the ubuntu system and get it to work. this could free alot of people of preloaded cell phone software. usually you buy a phone and can personalize some of it but if this takes hold you could customize the whole thing. then that will make the other carries step up and be more creative with what they offer. and as stated earlier ubuntu has gotten alot of press lately. while not my distro of choice i applaude them for all the hard work they have done and wish them success. 6f 6e 63 65 20 69 6e 20 61 20 67 72 65 61 74 20 77 68 69 6c 65 20 79 6f 75 20 77 69 6c 6c 20 6d 65 65 74 20 61 20 77 6f 6d 61 6e 20 79 6f 75 20 6c 6f 76 65 20 73 6f 20 6d 75 63 68 20 79 6f 75 72 20 68 61 70 70 79 20 74 6f 20 6a 75 73 74 20 74 61 6c 6b 20 74 6f 20 68 65 72 09

Intel... (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19037991)

Intel will have their finger in the pie too, as they've recently announced a prototype [...] chip [that] will be just one-seventh the size of normal chips, and consume only 10% of the power of existing processor. What does this mean for projects such as OpenMoko? Healthy competition, or the beginning of the end?"

Or more of Intel ridiculously over-hyping future products?

Ubuntu for grannies (1)

packetmon (977047) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038051)

Re:Ubuntu for grannies (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19040247)

Stupid users who run insecure code as root will always be a problem.

YUO FAIL IT!? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19038145)

become an unwanted lead developers c0nsider worthwhile it a break, if

Ubuntu: The Name (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19038213)

Ubuntu is African for Halitosis.

Do The Math (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038445)

The chip will be just one-seventh the size of normal chips, and consume only 10% of the power of existing processor.

Do the math. Core 2 Duo dissipates 65W. Silverthorn at 10% of that (65 * .1) = 6.5W. Transmeta used to have a 1W processor that Intel could only match by basically shutting down and underclocking everything possible, to the point of usability. I guess there are just different concepts of what a true low power processor is intended to be.

Well... (1)

MostAwesomeDude (980382) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038759)

As somebody who helps maintain an embedded Linux distro (iPodLinux [ipodlinux.net] ), I honestly have to wonder whether or not Ubuntu could ever become light enough to fit comfortably onto handhelds, and whether or not they're going to bring any improvements to community projects like ucLinux.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19046887)

you mean ipodlinux.ORG?

Linux on portable devices: already got mine... (1)

ulzeraj (1009869) | more than 7 years ago | (#19038799)

Heh, It's kinda fun to use Linux on portable devices. I got an old HP Jornada 690e (sh3 133 mhz 32 mb sdram) running JLime [jlime.com] . Once you get Linux running on it, the configurations possibilities are almost infinite. I installed many lite versions of the software I run on my desktop and plus some weird stuff for pocket devices like Apache.

who would go with this as a solution? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19039603)

only an idiot, imho.

A Little OT but I could use some help (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 7 years ago | (#19040311)

It seems that whenever I try to sudo I get a "cannot initialize..." error. Anyone know how to correct this without reinstalling?

Why would this be bad for OpenMoko? (2, Insightful)

phonics (312657) | more than 7 years ago | (#19040985)

OpenMoko is primarily a HW platform + kernel bits, AFAIK. Wouldn't this... help them?? I mean, I would LOVE an OpenMoko phone with Ubuntu. I don't see the poster's logic.

http://wiki.openmoko.org/wiki/Neo1973 [openmoko.org]

"The Neo1973 is the first phone designed to run OpenMoko. It is manufactured by FIC who instigated the OpenMoko project."

Project run by HW company, I can't imagine them being sad there is more embedded linux SW dev happening, especially by a major distro as opposed to another HW company.

Re:Why would this be bad for OpenMoko? (1)

ilovegeorgebush (923173) | more than 7 years ago | (#19050583)

It's a hardware platform, yes, but it also means they have a direct (and rather large) competitor in the Linux-based phone market. That was my point.

wow! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19043945)

you linux fags still sucking them dicks? how many dicks can you linux fags suck?
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