The folks at Canonical (the masterminds behind the Ubuntu Linux project) have been kicking around the idea of a mobile version of Ubuntu for about four years now. First hearing about it back in 2008, many a nerdly smartphone user (guilty) just couldn't wait to get Linux on their handset, but it never really came to light.
That could be changing, as a job listing at Canonical for a "Business Development Manager (Ubuntu Phone OS)" has popped up, and it mentions the "launch of Ubuntu as a smartphone operating system" in the description. Now we're not privy to the inner chambers at Canonical where all the secrets are kept, but this has to mean one of two things -- either a big push for Ubuntu for Android, or a full fledged Ubuntu Mobile OS following in the tracks of Kubuntu Mobile 11.04. Either one makes me get all warm and fuzzy inside.
But here's the thing -- we have a Linux-based smartphone OS, and it also happens to be the market leader. Of course we're talking Android. With Google behind the project, Android was able to succeed when others, like Maemo, simply tanked. I'm not so sure the average user is ready for a new Linux based smartphone OS, no matter how bad some of us want it to happen. It's going to have to have polish, be easy to use, and have a couple hundred-thousand apps to succeed. A multi-purpose device that runs a celebrated and successful OS while mobile (Android), and a fuller, desktop style OS (Ubuntu) while docked is the right way to go here I think. We'll just have to wait and see.