Ubuntu eyes all devices PDF Print E-mail

The open source Linux OS will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart-screens by 2014, says Mark Shuttleworth.

Ubuntu Linux has its sights set on moving beyond the PC within the next few years, according to founder Mark Shuttleworth.

At the Ubuntu Developer Summit, being held this week in Florida, in the US, Shuttleworth said the time is right for “Ubuntu on all devices”.

In a blog posted on Monday, titled `Ubuntu on phones, tablets, TVs and smart-screens everywhere`, Shuttleworth says this vision will be realised by 2014.

“By 14.04, LTS Ubuntu will power tablets, phones, TVs and smart-screens from the car to the office kitchen, and it will connect those devices cleanly and seamlessly to the desktop, the server and the cloud,” he says.

According to Shuttleworth, the current Ubuntu 11.10 desktop interface, called Unity, was designed with the idea of creating coherence across devices.

“This was the origin of the name Unity – a single core interface framework that scales across all screens, and supports all toolkits.”

Wide footprint

Shuttleworth says Ubuntu is well positioned and its established collaborations and partnerships will help spread the OS to a “huge audience”.

“Partnerships with the likes of Dell, HP, Asus, Lenovo, Acer, IBM, Vodafone and more are a gateway to users who want continuous, connected, cross-device computing.”

Vodafone and Canonical (Shuttleworth`s company that funds Ubuntu development) recently announced the release of the Ubuntu-powered Vodafone Webbook in SA. The partnership is part of a broader initiative together with the Department of Education to develop and distribute low-cost mobile computing solutions.

“We are determined to bring more free software to more people around the world, and building that future hand-in-hand with device manufacturers is the best way to do it,” says Shuttleworth.

“Ubuntu will not be restricted to small-screen or large-screen environments but encompasses both and all the form factors in between. We will see our work on the Ubuntu platform land in a variety of formats current and yet to be invented.

“It is without doubt the most exciting phase in the history of Ubuntu,” says Shuttleworth.

Support base

Shuttleworth is hoping to gain the support of the developer community during this week`s summit.

“Canonical will provide the heavy lifting needed to put us in the ball park, but there are opportunities for participation, contribution and engagement by all elements of the broader Ubuntu community, both corporate and individual.

“The direction is clear and the prize is great – to bring more free software to more people in more delightful ways than ever before.”

In 2008, Shuttleworth announced that Ubuntu could overtake Apple in UI by 2010. While this has hardly come to fruition, Shuttleworth remains resolute in the potential of the open source software OS.

Ubuntu will, however, face an uphill battle in contending with Google`s Android OS, which is already the base OS for a vast array of devices.

In an interview with ZDNet, Shuttleworth admits he sees Android as Ubuntu`s primary competitor, but notes: “From the industry viewpoint, the Google acquisition of Motorola Mobility has shaken up the hardware vendors, so some of them are looking for non-Android alternatives.

“The device world is highly competitive and highly dynamic, while Android and iOS dominate handheld devices, disruptive elements could still establish themselves. Ubuntu and Windows can still be a real force.”

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