Canonical shows off Ubuntu tablet OS; founder makes a dig at Microsoft

A few weeks ago, Canonical announced plans to enter the smartphone market with a new user interface for its Linux-based Ubuntu operating system. Today, the company announced a plan to bring that UI to the larger touchscreens found on tablets.

Canonical posted up a video on YouTube which showed off the various features of the tablet themed Ubuntu interface. One of them allows for multiple secure accounts to be used on just one tablet. Another feature is called "side stage" which allows phone apps to run on the tablet at the same time as a tablet-based app as an example of multitasking.

Canonical claims that future versions of Ubuntu will be able to run an Ubuntu app across four different user interfaces (desktop, TV, smartphone and tablet) with no need for special programming for each version. Engadget chatted with Canonical's Mark Shuttleworth which claims Ubuntu has "cracked this one in a way that has eluded Microsoft".

Shuttleworth is referring to the fact that, at the moment, apps made for Windows 8 (x86 programs) cannot run on Windows RT or Windows Phone without a special effort to port those apps. However, we have reported that Microsoft appears to be making plans to solve that problem in future versions of Windows.

Canonical has plans to release the early developer source code for both the Ubuntu smartphone and tablet UI on Thursday, February 21st. The code can be used by the Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 smartphones as well as the Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 tablets from Google. A commercial tablet that will run on the OS won't likely be released until sometime in 2014.

Source: Ubuntu on YouTube

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what's the difference between the side-stage and snap in Windows 8? just that it can run made-for-phone apps?

I'll definitely dual boot this on my tablet, but honestly I don't expect to get a better experience than Windows 8 (especially since a fair amount of these "new" features seem to have already been introduced to the tablet market through Windows 8)

The transitions look neat, which is where Windows 8 falls down.

Overall I think MS have a better strategy overall, and a captive marketshare to test with.

Here are my take-aways:

1) DEAR GOD SO MANY ROUNDED CORNERS STOP THE MADNESS.

2) Looks a lot like my Galaxy Note 2's Touchwiz, to be honest, right down to the slide-in side bar for apps and the sliding divider pane in dual-app mode.

I watched it with the sound off, so it looks like I didn't suffer as much as the rest of y'all.

Canonical tried this whole "one device for everything" schtick back in 2012. Everyone ignored them. Everyone. So now they're trying it again after making a few tweaks, and it seems they're only wanting to talk to OEM's rather than release ROM source to the community.

It. Will. Fail.

Again.

To be honest it looks VERY good! I doubt it will be mass market as most of the public hasn't heard of ubuntu and it doesn't appear that they have hardware partners for this tablet but it looks rather nice.

torrentthief said,
To be honest it looks VERY good! I doubt it will be mass market as most of the public hasn't heard of ubuntu and it doesn't appear that they have hardware partners for this tablet but it looks rather nice.

Even my grandparents and pretty much every computer illiterate is aware of Linux and Ubuntu.

They are known, they arent used by the vast majority for a reason.

Lerosbeef said,
Please un-"elude" me, how yer gonna get x86 instructions working on ARM processor, ey?

I think you're the only one who asked this question so far.....

Some people say this is what windows 8 should have been... windows 8 is what this thing copied... and also you have more choice to work with desktop. the sweet thing is you have 2 environment and u can choose to spend time on one.

That Ubuntu has solved the problem with no need for special programming, what does it mean? Usually everything in the Linux world is open source, so to compile it for a different platform should not be that much extra work.

However I wonder how they solved the battery problem. A dekstop app works differently then a table/phone app. Microsoft had put in a lot of work on this for the new APIs for Modern UI to conserve as much of the battery as possible,

But anyway, welcome to the tablet world!

Sadly Microsoft missed the boat hardcore on this and Ubuntu is rightfully teasing them. Windows RT/Metro apps are built on .NET and so is Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 apps. So to not have made them share compatibility is just an insane miss on Microsoft's part.

Microsoft is internally forking .NET and various parts of Windows and working in a silo on each product. Instead they need to be working as a team on a common base.

LogicalApex said,
Sadly Microsoft missed the boat hardcore on this and Ubuntu is rightfully teasing them. Windows RT/Metro apps are built on .NET and so is Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 apps. So to not have made them share compatibility is just an insane miss on Microsoft's part.

Microsoft is internally forking .NET and various parts of Windows and working in a silo on each product. Instead they need to be working as a team on a common base.

Umm, no. Windows Store apps are built on WinRT, which is a language independent API (which is actually built on C++ and uses COM for language interop and is completely native). This API is then projected into different languages, currently being .Net, C++, and JavaScript. If you use C++ or JavaScript you don't touch the .Net stack at all. This is Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (although Phone doesn't support JavaScript.) Phone 7 only supported Silverlight, which is built on .Net.

BannanaNinja said,

Umm, no. Windows Store apps are built on WinRT, which is a language independent API (which is actually built on C++ and uses COM for language interop and is completely native). This API is then projected into different languages, currently being .Net, C++, and JavaScript. If you use C++ or JavaScript you don't touch the .Net stack at all. This is Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 (although Phone doesn't support JavaScript.) Phone 7 only supported Silverlight, which is built on .Net.

I'll read up more on WinRT, haven't looked at it in any in depth manner -- though it sounds more interesting now, but the story is still the same for Windows Phone.

Windows Phone 7 apps are 100% .NET based. And should be capable of running on the Phone, Tablet, and PC if it weren't for the Windows Phone Team forking Silverlight and .NET and doing their own thing.

LogicalApex said,
Sadly Microsoft missed the boat hardcore on this and Ubuntu is rightfully teasing them. Windows RT/Metro apps are built on .NET and so is Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 apps. So to not have made them share compatibility is just an insane miss on Microsoft's part.

Microsoft is internally forking .NET and various parts of Windows and working in a silo on each product. Instead they need to be working as a team on a common base.

you're clueless.

windows phone 8 and windows 8 apps can be written using C,C++,C#,JS and HTML5. The runtime is complete native code,not managed.

WIndows 8 is WinRT and Windows Phone 8 is a subset of WinRT.

Microsoft is unifying the API between WIndows 8 and Windows Phone 8 so you compile once and it runs on everything.

LogicalApex said,
Windows Phone 7 apps are 100% .NET based. And should be capable of running on the Phone, Tablet, and PC if it weren't for the Windows Phone Team forking Silverlight and .NET and doing their own thing.

Now now.
To be fair, this was not WP team's fault. More about Windows team hording information.
This will be addressed with Blue.

And there are some great Windows Runtime talks available online from the first BUILD conference from 2011.

Everything shown here is what Windows 8 should be doing. Hopefullyt his will be the kick in the pants they need. Because what's shown in this video, if fully realized crushes the experience offered by Apple, Microsoft, and Google.

Hum Windows 8 works very well on a tablet. It's a really good tablet OS. The problem is mostly on the desktop side of things.

warwagon said,
See Microsoft, that is how you make something sexy for a tablet. That looks a million times better than windows 8

Yup it "looks" better. But can it "work" better?

LaP said,
Hum Windows 8 works very well on a tablet. It's a really good tablet OS. The problem is mostly on the desktop side of things.

Yeah Metro is a good tablet OS if you're honey booboo

Windows 8 actually looks modern and stylish.

This just looks dated and like all Linux/OSX/iOS stuff. Grids of static icons with rounded corners, thats just sooo original and modern /s ... And clearly copying Windows 8 Snap feature.

It's just a little bizarro now, though. For years, KDE was the Windows copy-cat, while Gnome was the Mac OS copy-cat, but now Ubuntu is just confusing the natural order of things.

Hello, Linux Steve Jobs wanna be. He even does the "one more thing".

Does Ubuntu still send that dashboard search results to Amazon? 'Ubuntu. Linux monetized'

GarakObama said,
Hello, Linux Steve Jobs wanna be. He even does the "one more thing".

Does Ubuntu still send that dashboard search results to Amazon? 'Ubuntu. Linux monetized'

He tries to be Steve Jobs, but he sounds like Ricky Gervais.

Sartoris said,

He tries to be Steve Jobs, but he sounds like Ricky Gervais.

LOL what the... He sounds absolutely nothing like Ricky Gervais. This guy has a south African accent.

So they stole Edges and Snap from windows 8? Don't tell me it's not like windows 8 because those features was around in windows 8 since developer preview

I'm not a fan of Ubuntu at all, but I actually like their's a bit better than the way it works on Windows 8. There are a lot of neat ideas here that are good examples of things I would have loved to see in Windows 8.

Edit: meant to respond to link6155 below, but I guess this fits okay.

vcfan said,
yawn, Linux will always be irrelevant like it already is.

Eh, Android is hardly irrelevant. I think Ubuntu will stay in the irrelevance zone though. I think the founder should watch what he says though, considering how much looks and sounds as though it was ripped off from Windows 8 though.

Oh you mean like the Linux servers that run Neowin, Google, and Facebook, just to name a few? My KDE can do everything Windows can do and Android is so much better than any mobile os.

Edited by John S., Feb 19 2013, 7:50pm :

siah1214 said,

Eh, Android is hardly irrelevant. I think Ubuntu will stay in the irrelevance zone though. I think the founder should watch what he says though, considering how much looks and sounds as though it was ripped off from Windows 8 though.

Just so you know, Android is only "Linux" on the kernel level, that is, direct contact with the hardware. Everything else, i.e. the userspace is completely different, so it makes no sense to call it Linux in the traditional meaning. That's like saying OS X = BSD.

vcfan said,
yawn, Linux will always be irrelevant like it already is.

Linux is on the majority of phones, servers and supercomputers so it's hardly irrelevant.

I think this looks better than Metro. I'm not interested in a tablet at the moment but this would go above any Windows 8 tablet on my list (and I don't even use Linux on the desktop)

siah1214 said,

Eh, Android is hardly irrelevant. I think Ubuntu will stay in the irrelevance zone though. I think the founder should watch what he says though, considering how much looks and sounds as though it was ripped off from Windows 8 though.

actually as far as I understand, Android is the Linux kernel with a java platform running on top of it.

and yeah, I was watching the video hear him talk and think wow they took all this from windows 8. but to the truth of the matter is there's hardly anything original on the Linux side (not saying there aren't any, just saying there hardly is).

russianmonk said,

I'm a sys. admin at a web hosting company. Any guess at how many out of our 2k servers run windows???

I would think most of your servers are running apache, correct? and all those running apache and I bet they're all running wordpress to host some measly blogging website.
not to say you can't run wordpress on windows, its just always cheaper to go the apache way if you're running wordpress.

bviktor said,

Just so you know, Android is only "Linux" on the kernel level, that is, direct contact with the hardware. Everything else, i.e. the userspace is completely different, so it makes no sense to call it Linux in the traditional meaning. That's like saying OS X = BSD.


Android is technically a Linux distro although it doesn't use X-Window

ding ding ding. You are correct. I would say there is around 5% - 10% windows maybe? About half are word press and the other half I can't say. It's just annoying when people think they never use Linux. Majority of web and email (well at least the ones we have) are all Linux based.

vcfan said,
yawn, Linux will always be irrelevant like it already is.

It's not irrelevant but it sure has a steep learning curve.

ctrl_alt_delete said,

I would think most of your servers are running apache, correct? and all those running apache and I bet they're all running wordpress to host some measly blogging website.
not to say you can't run wordpress on windows, its just always cheaper to go the apache way if you're running wordpress.

forgot to quote the original

russianmonk said,
ding ding ding. You are correct. I would say there is around 5% - 10% windows maybe? About half are word press and the other half I can't say. It's just annoying when people think they never use Linux. Majority of web and email (well at least the ones we have) are all Linux based.

Tyler R. said,
Oh you mean like the Linux servers that run Neowin, Google, and Facebook, just to name a few? My KDE can do everything Windows can do and Android is so much better than any mobile os. GTFO.

Doesn't change the fact that Linux on desktop is irrelevant. It's only saving grace in consumer market is Android which is as far from Linux as Windows is.

Tyler R. said,
My KDE can do everything Windows can do and Android is so much better than any mobile os. GTFO.

Except play all Steam games.

russianmonk said,

I'm a sys. admin at a web hosting company. Any guess at how many out of our 2k servers run windows???


You can say whatever you want, The server market is 40-60% windows-linux. (varies a bit depending on what source you take). From an overwhelming 90% of Linux servers more then a decade ago.

Yeah its surely doing great

Also, is each and every Linux server updated?

Im familiar with many companies, including hosting companies as big as Rackspace rarely update their servers. They make sure they run and then usually do not touch the OS with a 10 foot pole.

Upgrading Linux servers has Always been a "Lets hope for the best" strategy.

Guess what Anonymous uses for their DDoS attacks, primarely Linux boxes due to this horrible updating regime with the idea of "Im using Linux, so I'm automatically the most secure in the world".

Tyler R. said,
Oh you mean like the Linux servers that run Neowin, Google, and Facebook, just to name a few? My KDE can do everything Windows can do and Android is so much better than any mobile os.

Can it open MS Word without using WINE?

Just because you are using linux don't mean you are any more secure than if you were paying for windows. Nothing can fix lazy, and if you are too lazy to understand how linux works, you likely use windows.

I know of no admin who understands linux that have any problems updating their servers. everything can be fixed in an SSH session usually, a reboot at most. Its a dead simple super flexible OS that works EXACTLY how you tell it to. Exactly can be deadly if you blindly apply updates.

To all the people that replied to me. If you did not, ignore this.

1. Steam just left beta for Linux. You aren't going to have 100% of all your games.
2. Why do you need word. Libreoffice can do everything Word can. You are paying for a cute box with a cd in it, loaded with drm.
3. It's irreverent only because you say it is. I'm on my Kubuntu machine 70% of the time now. No problems what so ever.

bviktor said,

Just so you know, Android is only "Linux" on the kernel level, that is, direct contact with the hardware. Everything else, i.e. the userspace is completely different, so it makes no sense to call it Linux in the traditional meaning. That's like saying OS X = BSD.


Just so you know, Linux is a kernel whilst GNU/Linux is what the majority of computers incorrected referred to as running just plain 'linux' are.
OSX isn't the same as NetBSD or any other BSD flavour, does that mean it's not BSD? No. It's base is BSD and therefore it IS a flavour of BSD.

"My KDE can do everything Windows can do and Android is so much better than any mobile os. "

What a load of utter tosh. Linux is a SERVER OS and was never designed for the desktop. Under the hood Windows is several thousand times more powerful.

Tyler R. said,
To all the people that replied to me. If you did not, ignore this.

1. Steam just left beta for Linux. You aren't going to have 100% of all your games.

I was just debunking your statement there. Linux cannot do everything Windows can, otherwise, it would play all of my games. But, if and when that day comes (and that's a strong if), I would gladly switch over to it 100 percent.

Major Plonquer said,
"My KDE can do everything Windows can do and Android is so much better than any mobile os. "

What a load of utter tosh. Linux is a SERVER OS and was never designed for the desktop. Under the hood Windows is several thousand times more powerful.


If so then why do users run the desktop version? clearly Linux can be used anywhere.

Mostly because they feel smarter merely because they use an alternative system. But fortunately they are still <1%. They like to think that's only because EVERYONE ELSE is FORCED to use Windows or just too dumb to use something else or doesn't even know about Linux, but oh boy, they're soooo mistaken.

^ It doesn't make us feel any smarter. I have complete (double underline complete) control of my system. It is a very powerful and capable OS for power users that like experimentation and building their own systems.

Most have never heard of Linux, and most people don't know how to install and OS, so yes they are stuck with it. You're obviously very young and new to the field if you don't know that.

Yeah, I was pretty sure someone will come up with the "freedom of choice" BS or the "i can review the source code so i'm safe" one (which, of course, would never happen and noone could guarantee that your binaries are built from that code anyway, not to mention that with public code hackers get more info as well), but this "complete control" thing isn't bad either. Even though it's not true OFC. Yawn...