updated 12:35 pm EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
Canonical vows Ubuntu becoming relevant in mobile
Canonical leader Mark Shuttleworth on Monday vowed that Ubuntu Linux would be getting a much stronger emphasis on mobile in the future. The company would be pushing developers and partners to go beyond the desktop and develop smartphones as well as tablets, TVs, and in-car systems by the time Ubuntu 14.04 arrives in or near April 2014. Speaking at the Ubuntu Developer Summit, he said there was a "underlying hunger" for an alternative to Android among free, open-source platforms.
Google's $12.5 billion buyout of Motorola had changed "everything," he said. He acknowledged that the current smartphone platform situation, between Android and the iPhone, was mostly a "done deal" but saw it changing over time. The current remarks were only the "start of the conversation," Shuttleworth said.
Ubuntu already has traces of mobile support, such as touchscreen-optimized elements and new ARM support in 11.10 Oneiric Ocelot.
Google has publicly claimed to be keeping Motorola at arm's length and focusing mostly on the patent claims, but it has steadily put out signs that it wants to control the hardware and make Motorola its official design wing. HTC, Samsung, and other partners have been told by Google to publicly support the deal, but they will still end up competing against the very company providing their mobile OS if the Motorola deal is approved.
An Ubuntu mobile platform still faces significant hurdles challenging Android, iOS, or others established in the market. Typically, 'pure' versions of Linux have failed in the market, such as those based on work from the LiMo Foundation. Android is based on Linux but isn't open-source on the same level, since Google regularly refuses to give source code for some versions and doesn't normally allow developers to make contributions back to the main project, instead preferring to hold advantages for itself. [via GigaOM]