Shuttleworth made the announcement during his keynote address at the Ubuntu Developer's Summit in Florida.
In a blog post afterward, he wrote:
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.
Unity, the desktop interface in today?s Ubuntu 11.10, was designed with this specific vision in mind. While the interface for each form factor is shaped appropriately, Unity?s core elements are arranged in exactly the way we need to create coherence across all of those devices. This was the origin of the name Unity ? a single core interface framework, that scales across all screens, and supports all toolkits.
Although it has long been popular for applications like web and database servers, Linux has never caught on as a mainstream desktop OS for the average consumer. With the rise of the smartphone market, Linux is finally coming into its own.
In fact, it would be fair to say Linux has been the top smartphone platform for years. Both Symbian and Android are Linux distributions at heart.
However, there are significant challenges Canonical will have to address before their plans can become a reality. The creation of Unity, a user interface better suited to touch control than the previous default UI (GNOME), is certainly a start.
But they will also need to have enough interest from hardware vendors. According to comments Shuttleworth made to ZDNet yesterday, it appears he expects fallout from Google's buyout of Motorola Mobillity to generate some of that interest.
He said (via ZDNet):
from the industry viewpoint, Google acquisition Of Motorola Mobility has shook up the hardware vendors, so some of them are looking for non-Android alternatives.
However, Ubuntu also shares one key weakness with Android. Like Google in the pre-Android days, Canonical does not have a patent portfolio to defend its OS with.
That is likely to scare off potential hardware partners unless they already have cross-licensing deals in place with Apple and Microsoft.
In reality, the idea of Ubuntu Linux on a smartphone seems like more of a vague goal than an actual plan right now. At a minimum, it will take another 2 years.
That's a long time out to forecast any market, especially when it's as young as mobile computing.
Written by: Rich Fiscus @ 31 Oct 2011 14:31