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Ubuntu Linux to get big push on phones, tablets through 2014

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]

by MacNN Staff



  1. Mr. Strat

    Joined: Dec 1969



    As long as they don't frig it up like they have Android...OK. The cell phone people load up the phones with crappy, useless apps and skins. Then you're lucky to get any updates for longer than six months. And features that are advertised too often don't work after you've bought the phone.

  1. Flying Meat

    Joined: Dec 1969


    This sounds vaguely familiar

    "...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."

  1. ruel24

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Mark Shuttleworth is delirious! Ubuntu won't even make a dent, just like it didn't make a dent on the PC line, either, despite backing from names like Dell.

  1. shiggie

    Joined: Dec 1969


    as long as the desktop is still usable

    The vast majority of people aren't going to install a custom OS on their phone. Maybe their tablet, but the non-iPad tablet market is miniscule. It may open up more if you could throw Ubuntu on it, but it's still a small percentage of a *really* small niche.

    Not saying that they shouldn't aim at that market. But, not at the expense of the desktop.

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