Linked by Thom Holwerda on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 14:44 UTC
Ubuntu, Kubuntu, Xubuntu Take this as a sign of things to come in the land of convergence. Yesterday, Ubuntu announced Ubuntu for Android. This new product basically allows you to run the entire Ubuntu Linux distribution on your Android smartphone connected to an external display and keyboard and mouse.
Order by: Score:
Video
by cubus on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 15:01 UTC
cubus
Member since:
2012-02-22
v RE: Video
by Luminair on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 15:25 UTC in reply to "Video"
I want it!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 15:26 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

If it works well enough on the dual CPU smartphone, that might be enough incentive for me to upgrade.

Of course, If I'm the extent of the market, they're probably doomed. I'll take an internal office pool of the geeks in the immediate vicinity and report back later.

Edited 2012-02-22 15:27 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: I want it!
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 14:03 UTC in reply to "I want it!"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

FYi, I think I was the only one excited about Ubuntu on Android.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: I want it!
by Jondice on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 16:36 UTC in reply to "RE: I want it!"
Jondice Member since:
2006-09-20

Sadly, using my phone would be an upgrade over what is provided for me in my office (ya i'm a grad student...).

Edited 2012-02-23 16:37 UTC

Reply Score: 2

I've been doing it for months
by Jesuspower on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 15:39 UTC
Jesuspower
Member since:
2006-01-28

Well, not on an android, but on my webOS phone. Here's a screenshot with my favorite environment: Window Maker:

http://photos.phnxapp.com/show/yhv8b
http://photos.phnxapp.com/show/k4TWV

works nicely on my tablet too, where I use e17.

And its not scaled down either. its full blown ubuntu-arm.

I guess the news here is that ubuntu is going to support it officially. I guess that's cool.

Reply Score: 3

RE: I've been doing it for months
by brejoc on Fri 24th Feb 2012 23:51 UTC in reply to "I've been doing it for months"
brejoc Member since:
2010-07-21

Very cool! Is there a howto available for this?

Reply Score: 1

Jesuspower Member since:
2006-01-28

If you have a webOS phone or tablet, the instructions are here: http://www.webos-internals.org/wiki/UbuntuChroot

I can't vouch for these android instructions because I don't have an android phone, but they are here regardless: http://androlinux.com/android-ubuntu-development/how-to-install-ubu...

Reply Score: 2

Battery drain?
by OMRebel on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 15:45 UTC
OMRebel
Member since:
2005-11-14

Since Ubuntu will be running along with Android on the phone, the question that will have to be addressed is how significant will the drain be on the battery? I have an older Android phone (Galaxy S Showcase). While the battery will usually last me throughout the entire day, I cannot imagine how much juice would be required if the phone were actually running multiple OS's on it at the same time.

When looking at the battery consumption, the top 4 items are:
Display 29%
Cell standby: 19%
Wi-Fi: 15%
Android OS: 12%

The above are without me having really done anything with my phone (such as browsing the web, sending texts, etc...) today. Adding an additional OS would surely jump up the drain by the OS's by a significant amount.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Battery drain?
by Jesuspower on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 16:00 UTC in reply to "Battery drain?"
Jesuspower Member since:
2006-01-28

only while that OS is running though. It would make sense that your android is charging while its plugged into the display keyboard and mouse.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Battery drain?
by OMRebel on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 21:22 UTC in reply to "RE: Battery drain?"
OMRebel Member since:
2005-11-14

only while that OS is running though. It would make sense that your android is charging while its plugged into the display keyboard and mouse.


Correct me if I misread the article, but it seems Ubuntu is running even without the phone being docked for the display.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Battery drain?
by ichi on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 21:58 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Battery drain?"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

Correct me if I misread the article, but it seems Ubuntu is running even without the phone being docked for the display.


It would make sense if they put Ubuntu in some kind of suspended state until you attach it to the TV.

Then again maybe they don't, but it'd be a waste of resources to keep it running on the background all the time.

Edited 2012-02-22 21:58 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Battery drain?
by lemur2 on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 22:14 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Battery drain?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"only while that OS is running though. It would make sense that your android is charging while its plugged into the display keyboard and mouse.


Correct me if I misread the article, but it seems Ubuntu is running even without the phone being docked for the display.
"

The Android kernel is running all the time, as is the Dalvik runtime & Android userland. The Ubuntu desktop program (namely, Unity) runs only when the phone is docked and a keyboard, mouse and HDMI display are attached.

Edited 2012-02-22 22:14 UTC

Reply Score: 6

RE: Battery drain?
by lemur2 on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 22:11 UTC in reply to "Battery drain?"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

Since Ubuntu will be running along with Android on the phone, the question that will have to be addressed is how significant will the drain be on the battery? I have an older Android phone (Galaxy S Showcase). While the battery will usually last me throughout the entire day, I cannot imagine how much juice would be required if the phone were actually running multiple OS's on it at the same time.

When looking at the battery consumption, the top 4 items are:
Display 29%
Cell standby: 19%
Wi-Fi: 15%
Android OS: 12%

The above are without me having really done anything with my phone (such as browsing the web, sending texts, etc...) today. Adding an additional OS would surely jump up the drain by the OS's by a significant amount.


FTA: Ubuntu runs on the same kernel as Android. You aren't adding another OS, merely another desktop program. In this case, the desktop program is called Unity.

Edited 2012-02-22 22:15 UTC

Reply Score: 4

Just need to add....
by gan17 on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 16:01 UTC
gan17
Member since:
2008-06-03

First caught news of this on SlashGear yesterday.
Link : http://www.slashgear.com/ubuntu-comes-to-android-for-a-full-desktop...

Just thought I'd highlight this bit:

Canonical has also been vocal about how this release will not be open source as Ubuntu is otherwise, instead this being an application that will be coming pre-installed on devices in what they hope is the near future.


Disregarding that bit, this is more of a sign of things to come in the mobile sector, Ubuntu or otherwise.

I recall seeing a video on AnandTech (Galaxy Nexus review, iirc) where he mentioned that many of the current SoC vendors envision a day where the smartphone/handheld will be your primary computing device (a replacement for the sub-$400 computer, I suppose). A day when you connect your device to a monitor and keyboard to perform daily office or browsing tasks and whatnot, and then just unplug it and take it with you. Then at work, you'd just plug it in again.

I guess Ubuntu-for-Android, along with Motorola's Webtop and whatever Google's planning for Android 5.0, are the first steps.

Edited 2012-02-22 16:02 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Just need to add....
by AWdrius on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 20:56 UTC in reply to "Just need to add...."
AWdrius Member since:
2006-07-18

I was amazed when I saw Ubuntu-on-Android the way I was always dreaming of having one device for all my communication and entertainment needs.
Originally my idea was for a Raspberry Pi. Image everyone having USB hub with full keyboards and mouse attached. You come visit your friend and suddenly you get an important e-mail you need to reply with, say, some files attached (from web) and so on. Ask you friend permission, connect you Raspberry Pi to the USB hub, TV set and mains, use nano WiFi to get networking capabilities and you are set for a serious work.
Now this Ubuntu solutions is even better. You already carry your phone with you all the time and it has WiFI *and* bluetooth (for wireless keyboard and mouse)!
The only downside I see is that phone then becomes a so much more dangerous device to loose.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Just need to add....
by intangible on Fri 24th Feb 2012 19:12 UTC in reply to "RE: Just need to add...."
intangible Member since:
2005-07-06

I've been excited for the potential of this idea ever since BlackDog way back in 2005: http://www.engadget.com/2005/08/11/blackdog-linux-a-em-real-em-pock...

It's pretty inevitable that your mobile device will be your PC in the future... and there won't be any wires as 60ghz wireless gets more widespread... Good stuff!

Edited 2012-02-24 19:14 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[3]: Just need to add....
by zima on Tue 28th Feb 2012 09:21 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Just need to add...."
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

It's a pretty safe bet one wire will be connected frequently - the one supplying power.
(so it might as well double for some large transfers; and yes, there's inductive energy transfer... but a) waste b) tying the device in one spot anyway, hence making "a" even harder to justify for most people)

Reply Score: 2

butters
Member since:
2005-07-08

Nobody really wants to use a mobile touch application on a large pointer-based terminal. Users are better served by applications and shells suited to the terminal in use, sharing a synchronized distributed store of data and state.

Ubuntu One is nearer to an effective convergence architecture for heterogeneous client devices.

With appropriate design patterns, many kinds of applications can factor out common data and logic layers while offering alternative interface layers for different device classes. But we're still taking about multiple representations of common resources.

Reply Score: 4

Docking...
by witold.bolt on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 20:52 UTC
witold.bolt
Member since:
2009-04-17

If they manage to work a way not to require any physical docking device (use only barebone micro-HDMI for display, and wireless mouse+keyboard) than I'll go for that!

Obviously it's a prototype solution targeting the future - but... we should have 4-core CPUs + powerful GPUs in mobile phones some time in the near future, so it all should work really smooth!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Docking...
by ichi on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 22:02 UTC in reply to "Docking..."
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

If they manage to work a way not to require any physical docking device (use only barebone micro-HDMI for display, and wireless mouse+keyboard) than I'll go for that!


Wireless HDMI would be cool. I'm not a fan of having cables around, and a few more of them hanging from the back of the TV doesn't really appeal me that much.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Gone fishing
by Gone fishing on Wed 22nd Feb 2012 20:53 UTC
Gone fishing
Member since:
2006-02-22

Looks good to me - I haven't really been attracted to smart phones. You have a pocket computer, which is less than a computer; this seems to potentially really liberate the computer potential of the phone.

I’d want one.

Reply Score: 6

Linux makes it on the desktop!
by Jondice on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 00:16 UTC
Jondice
Member since:
2006-09-20

It would be funny if this were to become a major inroad for Linux "on the desktop".

Seriously though, maybe this could be the instigating cause for more packages to be ported to working (well) on ARM linux.

Reply Score: 4

RE: Linux makes it on the desktop!
by ozonehole on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 01:21 UTC in reply to "Linux makes it on the desktop!"
ozonehole Member since:
2006-01-07

It would be funny if this were to become a major inroad for Linux "on the desktop".


And now just watch Microsoft start demanding more royalties or start suing phone vendors again for their "intellectual property" in Linux.

Edited 2012-02-23 01:22 UTC

Reply Score: 5

lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

"It would be funny if this were to become a major inroad for Linux "on the desktop".


And now just watch Microsoft start demanding more royalties or start suing phone vendors again for their "intellectual property" in Linux.
"

Microsoft doesn't have any "intellectual property" in Linux. They simply just demand royalties anyway.

Example here:
http://www.groklaw.net/article.php?story=20120209222500188

“And what they basically told us was, it doesn’t matter if you have defenses, whether you don’t infringe, whether our patents are invalid, you’re going to need to take a license, because there’s no way that you can get out of our grasp, that we have so many patents that we could overwhelm you.”

...

"In particular, the ALJ’s decision simply does not address the central basis for Barnes & Noble’s patent misuse defense—namely, that Microsoft’s Android licensing program has improperly leveraged patents covering at most trivial and outmoded design choices and implementation details in order to require OEMs to take licenses (and pay substantial licensing fees to Microsoft) for every Android device they sell, regardless of whether those devices infringe any of Microsoft’s patents."

Reply Score: 4

saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

When reading your quotes one should bear in mind that they are from Barnes & Noble's petition for review. They are not the words of an impartial party.

That doesn't make them false, but this context is important; and totally missing from your post.

Reply Score: 1

zima Member since:
2005-07-06

You can't know the terms of all those licensing deals, they are secret - you're imagining what you want, and seek out a quote from a party which happens to say what you like (one heavily impacted by the issue, making their stance naturally balanced in their favour - just like MS would do in the other direction)

Sure, MS has some influence to push things, too much even ...but doubtful if that much, to push virtually everybody.
Also, at the least, they most likely remember that the EU is quite fine-happy.

Reply Score: 2

Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 00:29 UTC
shmerl
Member since:
2010-06-08

How were they able to do it, i.e. did OEMs produce missing drivers for normal Linux?

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by shmerl
by lemur2 on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 00:37 UTC in reply to "Comment by shmerl"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

How were they able to do it, i.e. did OEMs produce missing drivers for normal Linux?


http://news.softpedia.com/news/Android-Is-Finally-Coming-Back-to-Li...

http://www.webosnation.com/linux-standard-kernel-33-include-android...

That may have had something to do with it, but I don't think so. The Linux kernel is already included and running on a standard Android phone. All that Canonical have done is added the Unity desktop running on that kernel when the phone is docked and connected to a keyboard, mouse and display.

Edited 2012-02-23 00:41 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 00:42 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

I'm not talking about merging of the kernels. I mean there are simply NO drivers to support normal Linux stack on many devices (for example GPU drivers for X.org and so on). Unless it's some kind of VM setup, or Canonical managed to squeeze these drivers from manufacturers.

Edited 2012-02-23 00:42 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by lemur2 on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 03:08 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
lemur2 Member since:
2007-02-17

I'm not talking about merging of the kernels. I mean there are simply NO drivers to support normal Linux stack on many devices (for example GPU drivers for X.org and so on). Unless it's some kind of VM setup, or Canonical managed to squeeze these drivers from manufacturers.


As I understood it, the kernel includes the drivers.

Reply Score: 3

RE[4]: Comment by shmerl
by saynte on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 08:04 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by shmerl"
saynte Member since:
2007-12-10

Android doens't use X.org AFAIK, I'm not sure a vendor would have written drivers for it.

Reply Score: 1

RE[5]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 20:41 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

Unity does though. So the only way it could work if X is running in parallel with Android graphical stack. And that is only possible if there are X.org drivers available.

Edited 2012-02-23 20:43 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[6]: Comment by shmerl
by s-peter on Sat 25th Feb 2012 01:11 UTC in reply to "RE[5]: Comment by shmerl"
s-peter Member since:
2006-01-29

Unity does though. So the only way it could work if X is running in parallel with Android graphical stack. And that is only possible if there are X.org drivers available.


AFAIK most of Ubuntu (including Gtk3/Gnome3) uses Cairo ( http://cairographics.org/ ) which is not limited to X.

Reply Score: 2

RE[7]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Sun 26th Feb 2012 01:14 UTC in reply to "RE[6]: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

So is the actual architecture of Ubuntu running on Android described anywhere?

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by shmerl
by shmerl on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 00:49 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by shmerl"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

And a second question is, if they did get the drivers, can they be used to support a full blown handset distro without Android?

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Comment by shmerl
by ichi on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 02:05 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by shmerl"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

And a second question is, if they did get the drivers, can they be used to support a full blown handset distro without Android?


I read somewhere that Canonical's plans were releasing this version of Ubuntu only to OEMs. If true, that could be a business decision or maybe there's something about the drivers that they just cannot publicly release as open source (or at all).

In any case I think that would mean the answer to your question would be "no", or at least not straight from Canonical (other than Canonical themselves releasing an Ubuntu phone).

Reply Score: 2

v and in other news...
by cmost on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 01:39 UTC
RE: and in other news...
by Johann Chua on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 08:16 UTC in reply to "and in other news..."
Johann Chua Member since:
2005-07-22

And yet you cared enough to comment.

Reply Score: 4

Comment by UZ64
by UltraZelda64 on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 09:17 UTC
UltraZelda64
Member since:
2006-12-05

"This kind of versatility does require a hefty phone - a dualcore 1GHz processor, a shared kernel driver with associated X driver, Open GL, ES/EGLStorage, 2GB for Ubuntu's disk image, HDMI video out with a secondary frame buffer device, USB host mode, and 512 MB RAM are all required."

God damn, all that in a pocket? Dual-core 1GHz processor, graphics acceleration, HDMI output, 512MB RAM? That's insane. It does sound pretty cool though... it has potential.

Every time I re-read this article I can't help but think, "Ubuntu? Come on, it uses Unity, it sucks now." But then I remember that you're talking about running it on portable touchscreen devices--just the kind of computers Unity was designed and works best for--automatically it all falls into place. *This*, IMO, is where Ubuntu with Unity really has the ability to shine. It was great on the desktop with GNOME, but IMO it sucks for that purpose now, with both Unity and GNOME 3.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by UZ64
by ichi on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 18:31 UTC in reply to "Comment by UZ64"
ichi Member since:
2007-03-06

God damn, all that in a pocket? Dual-core 1GHz processor, graphics acceleration, HDMI output, 512MB RAM? That's insane. It does sound pretty cool though... it has potential.


Doesn't the Galaxy Nexus beat those specs already? It lacks HDMI, but it looks like an MHL adapter would work as well.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by UZ64
by WereCatf on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 23:52 UTC in reply to "Comment by UZ64"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

God damn, all that in a pocket? Dual-core 1GHz processor, graphics acceleration, HDMI output, 512MB RAM? That's insane. It does sound pretty cool though... it has potential.


Uh, those are already pretty low specs these days. My Galaxy Note sports a dual-core 1.4GHz processor, H/W accelerated graphics, HDMI out, USB, bluetooth and 1024MB RAM, and anything more recent already has atleast 4 cores these days.

Every time I re-read this article I can't help but think, "Ubuntu? Come on, it uses Unity, it sucks now." But then I remember that you're talking about running it on portable touchscreen devices--just the kind of computers Unity was designed and works best for--automatically it all falls into place.


You're missing the point here: the point is NOT to run Ubuntu on the small touchscreen. The point is to dock the device, attach a proper mouse, keyboard and a large screen and use it just like you would use any regular computer.

Reply Score: 4

Looks good
by siki_miki on Thu 23rd Feb 2012 20:11 UTC
siki_miki
Member since:
2006-01-17

Concept is fine. Plug a HDMI cable, USB peripherals and use phone as a PC, with a desktop OS. Such devices are going to have a wide use, and replace PC's in some cases.

Technically, do they run Xorg on top of GLES, with acceleration? That would be something similar to Xgl.

It's hard to get this right and create a smooth functioning. For example, X apps can't survive if X server is killed (when it's undocked). Maybe solution is to suspend them together with the X process (but this consumes RAM, or flash in the worst case). Also a question is if Android apps can survive, even migrate to Ubuntu Window and back on (un)docking.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Looks good
by zima on Tue 28th Feb 2012 08:21 UTC in reply to "Looks good"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

Plug a HDMI cable, USB peripherals and use phone as a PC, with a desktop OS. Such devices are going to have a wide use, and replace PC's in some cases.

There are around 2 billion PC users (somewhat less than two per PC) - while there are already over 5 billion mobile subscribers.

Yes, most of the latter on quite basic phones ...but I can imagine large part of them, in the next 5 or 10, maybe 15 years, getting a mobile that - while still roughly satisfying their strict cost or dependability expectations - will be at least as "advanced" as contemporary batch of top smartphones. I also imagine some of those future handsets to be relatively large, essentially phone-tablet hybrids (but without the ridiculous price premiums such now have in developed markets) satisfying more "heavy" usages but without the waste of getting another device.


Oh, and also, there are now (IIRC) over 2 billion TV sets in the world, and booming - largely via so called developing world. So decent large screens might get there relatively common in a decade+, ready for the "mobile PC" mode.
It wouldn't be so much about replacing PC's, but giving PC's to, possibly, many millions of people.


(and I wonder about peripherals ...touchscreen could be used as a touchpad after all; maybe even switchable to keyboard mode, if physical one is not at hand)

Reply Score: 2

Cool
by WorknMan on Fri 24th Feb 2012 02:39 UTC
WorknMan
Member since:
2005-11-13

Will this work natively (without HDMI) on tablets, esp the Asus Transformer with the keyboard dock? If so, how much of a pain in the ass is it to get running?

Reply Score: 2

Bleah
by twitterfire on Sat 25th Feb 2012 11:08 UTC
twitterfire
Member since:
2008-09-11

It's just a chroot, people were running Debian and Ubuntu on Android phones using chroot since ages.

Edited 2012-02-25 11:08 UTC

Reply Score: 2