KDE mobile

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.

Source: Canonical; via PhoneRPTEngadget


Reader comments

Job listing at Canonical may mean Ubuntu Mobile still lives


It is common knowledge that Canonical has been expending resources into the development of this project since mid-2011.

Having replaced the Ubuntu-esque webtop component on my Motorola Atrix with a more functional install of Ubuntu that runs off the HDMI port last year, I can say that this is a great idea by Canonical. Carrying a fully functional desktop computer in my pocket never fails to amaze people when I plug it in to their HDTV.

Furthermore, the recent integration of android code into the latest Linux kernel supports my belief that this is where the market is headed.


I'd like to see them have different teams for these efforts instead of trying to shoehorn Ubuntu from the smartphone to the desktop. They need to get it through their heads that laptops and desktops ARE NOT touch devices and if we want a tablet we'll buy one. Unity is God awful.

I'd like to see a decent tablet/smartphone product from them. If they think they can actually compete with their linux cousin Android and have a fighting chance against the fruit company.

Yep. I am no fan of Ubuntu... never have been. For MY use, there are plenty of much better distros (Mandriva/Mageia, Fedora, etc). But it is certainly popular, nonetheless. Unity is pretty horrendous for normal machines, give me KDE anyday.

As for phones/tables, you are right, you have to have a different design in mind when working on machines with less memory, less storage, usually less CPU, and a touchscreen interface. Who knows, maybe Canonical can pull it off. Personally, I would have no interest in it if it didn't support X, because that just throws all Linux GUI applications right out the window.

I disagree with the comments about unity. I use KDE, Unity, and Gnome 3. I like them all, but Gnome 3 is starting to be my favorite. Unity is good and I often swap between Gnome 3 and Unity. KDE feels too much like Windows for my taste, but it is definitely a nice DE.

It's nice how you have so many options in Linux, isn't it :)

Personally, I am crazy about Cinnamon from the Linux Mint team. I don't care much for Unity or Gnome 3 myself.

I agree with the conclusions of Jerry in the article. Android on one phone and full Ubuntu (or something very close) while docked to a larger screen, keyboard, mouse, etc. This is both easiest to implement and will get the greatest up front support. Don't reinvent stuff that don't need reinventin' :P

yeah... i just dont see the need for another smartphone OS that probably wouldn't bring anything new to the table.. but the whole android / ubuntu combo is the PERFECT solution for a LOT of people.. myself included.

I actually really like ubuntu... probably because that's what i have learned on but its still my preference.

Making a mobile system is very different from making a desktop Linux distro. First off you have to tailor and scale down the system to a less powerful embedded system. That's the easy part. You'll have to create a whole ecosystem with lots of developers specializing in this too - you can't just go make and make install on a phone, that won't work out. The fundamental difference is that mobile apps are too different from desktop programs and you'll have to create everything from scratch, like what Google did with the Android APIs.

I don't really want this as my main phone OS, but IF it can full Linux desktop apps, I would love to be able to boot into it as an option.