Ubuntu To Enter Tablet Market

Apple's iPad was hardly the first tablet to appear on the scene, but it is unquestionably responsible for the recent spike in tablet development. Now it looks as if Ubuntu — the Linux distro everybody loves to hate, but uses anyway — will be entering the field as well.

Canonical — the sponsor-company of Ubuntu and a number of other projects — revealed last week that development on a tablet version of Ubuntu is underway, which will be merged with its existing netbook edition to form Ubuntu Light. An existing version with that designation will presumably be renamed, integrated, or dropped altogether.

Canonical OEM Vice President Chris Kenyon said the company considers tablets "a really exciting space right now and we're really bullish on it", and could enter the market as early as the beginning of next year. At the same time, he made clear that tablets are as far as they intend to go — responding to the suggestion of a potential smartphone OS, he described that market as a "crowded space with a lot of powerful players".

Unlike Ubuntu — which though available pre-installed from some vendors, is primarily a user-installed distribution — it appears the tablet version will be developed with manufacturers in mind. According to Kenyon, Canonical has already inked deals with chipmakers Texas Instruments, Freescale, and Marvell, and is actively working with other manufacturers.

The initial version of Ubuntu Light — which will compete in the Linux space with power players like Google's Android — will be based on Ubuntu 10.10, due to be released in October. In addition to focusing on speed and power consumption, the OS will feature a streamlined UI optimized for touch-screen use.


Justin Ryan is a Contributing Editor for Linux Journal.


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Open Source

Shankara's picture

No OS will be perfect to all the machines/ hardwares. It is for us to decide which one to use. Liking or loving a particular distribution of GNU/Linux and arguing for it is a kind of religious argument. It does not help GNU/LINUX distributions to come to main stream.

true true

yawanamaestro's picture

I agree! Seriously, these people who treat linux as the Holy Grail is kinda creepy, like a cult or something.

Fear of success?

jimvandamme's picture

I don't get this attitude of not wanting Linux to succeed. Are you afraid of more malware? Or losing uber-geek status??The way I see it, it will mean more drivers and apps, and Microsoft will have to improve their OS or die.

Any Linux

WSiaB's picture

I am not a great fan of Ubuntu or Android, but am happy to see any open-source distro meet acceptance by the mainstream. The more users find that there are options out there other than Doors, the better.

I don't see the problems

Vanzippee's picture

I must say that I have had very few issues with any of my installs. I have been using ubuntu for about 4 years exclusively. I have installed it on 4 computers spanning 10 years of production, 4 manufacturers, different graphics cards, etc. I don't think I use them too hard, mainly the basics with a little bit of 3d modelling and animation.
In that time I have had 1 real issue, with a toshiba of my wife's that due to the design the volume wheel would not send a stop signal when engaged, so it would continue to change the volume. That is a hardware issue due to odd development, not the OS.
I have never had a freeze up for any reason other than the above. When I compare it to the other options (other OS) I don't find any that work better. Apple is more reliable, but when you control the whole show (hardware and OS) there should be no problems, just try to upgrade or add components, and the fun can start. Operate within the small defined parameters then everything is fine, but the same with ALL linux distros as well. Choose the advised chipsets and graphics cards and the whole thing runs perfect.
So to sum up, there is no clear better option pay or free. There may be one that works better for a given situation. If you want plug in and forget about it, then pay for it. If you want to be able to get almost any app fully polished, and you don't minds paying through the nose, you can have that. If you like a particular linux distro then go with it, but to claim that this is better than that is just about the most useless argument I have ever heard, and one that is getting as old as linux v. XOS v. MS.
That is my rant for the day. Feel free to disregard. (If you wish to flame, then please find a spelling or grammar error, I love it when retorts start with pointing out petty details.)

I think that Canonical should

fernandoc1's picture

I think that Canonical should at least release a version of Ubuntu with fewer bugs.
Every day I find an annoying bug on Ubuntu. I fear that these bugs goes to tablet.
Android is a great open source and free system and I think that it is enough in the mobile market.
Another open source system will cause trouble.
If Canonical want's to take Microsoft place on the market, it should focus on make Ubuntu a good system to replace users needs of using Windows.
I every day try to convince people to use Ubuntu instead of Windows, but when they call me telling about the bugs that they find on their daily use, I loose all my arguments.
Please Canonical, make Ubuntu a great OS for PCs and stop adventuring on places that you can't succeed.

ok, buy why?

Anonymous's picture

ubuntu- easy to use all the way around, auto detects and auto configures most everything (admittedly I've had some nightmares with certain video cards but nothings perfect). what else do you people need?


Anonymous's picture

Who exactly loves to hate ubuntu?


Anonymous's picture

everybody is a strong use of language, maybe in your tiny little world everyone loves to hate Ubuntu , but out in the real world people love it cause it just works. and the dude who said there is nothing wrong with RPM , you have obviously never worked in an enterprises environment creating your own rpm's, rpm has so many limitations compared to deb's but thats a discussion for another time.

I have had tons of trouble

Anonymous's picture

I have had tons of trouble from Ubuntu. A lot of it is Ubuntu's fault, and some is just bad luck, but I really don't prefer it. If it weren't for the bugs, I would love to recommend it to more new Linux users but at this time I gave up on that. Which is sad because it really is a little easier to use than some Linux distros. I had about 3 or 4 times where it locked up during an update and that completely screwed up the whole system requiring a new install.


mikesd's picture

I want it and all Debian based distros, including Debian itself, to die.

That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable.


Dave the Ocker's picture

And why might you want Debian and Debian based distros to die?

Because they're slow

mikesd's picture

to update. Their politics get in the way. And mostly because of Apt and dpkg. There is nothing wrong with RPM.

That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable.

Some people

Doug.Roberts's picture

Some people would complain (bitterly) if you gave them the rest of their lives off, with pay.

I've used many of the Linux distros out there, and most of them are quite good. Ubuntu has the advantage of having a market-savvy leader, and therefore it has captured a significant lead in market share, making it a target for those envious of Canonical's success.



linuxrev's picture

Some people... [no comment]. I've used quite a few distros too. I'm quite proud of Canonical's success & charisma. However, for some reason I always find myself returning to openSUSE (which is not perfect either). But today the openSUSE Dicumentation linked me straight to an Ubuntu page (which could not solve my problem after all). Life has its surprises.

I thought I was the only

mikesd's picture

I thought I was the only opensuse guy around.

That which does not kill me only postpones the inevitable.


linuxrev's picture

Me -- well, dislike is a better word.


Ross Larson's picture

Any news if apps made using Quickly would be usable on Ubuntu Light? This month's article on Quickly was quite nice.

Linux rocks!
Personal blog: zootlinux.blogspot.com