Ubuntu Archive

Hands-on with Mark Shuttleworth’s Ubuntu phone

At the Canonical booth at Mobile World Congress, I had a chance meeting with Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical and spiritual leader of Ubuntu. I was actually at the booth to try out the new Ubuntu Edition of the Meizu MX4, a mid- to high-end smartphone, but all of the untethered devices had run out of battery - every phone, that is, except for Shuttleworth's.

Ubuntu Phone looks good on this device. The Verge has an additional story.

Video demos Ubuntu Convergence on tablet, phone

Although long talked about, the Ubuntu Edge campaign exemplified the concept best with its "super phone" boast: your phone would hook up to a monitor, mouse and keyboard and become a fully functioning Ubuntu desktop PC. Phone apps would run on the desktop in an appropriate guise like responsive websites do on phones.

Today, ahead of Mobile World Congress next month, Ubuntu Desktop Manager Will Cooke has posted a three-minute video that shows how Canonical's engineering team is progressing.

My dream smartphone would be a phone that automatically turns into a PC the moment I get home. It knows I'm home, wirelessly and automatically hooks up to my display, mouse, and keyboard in my office, and done. Of course, it'd also automatically detect other displays and input devices in my house - say, a remote control and my TV.

Ubuntu is working on it.

Ubuntu smartphone offers alternative to applications

Canonical has announced the first actual Ubuntu phone, which will go on 'flash sales' in Europe over the coming days.

The Ubuntu handset can run apps written in either the HTML5 web programming language or its own native QML code.

However, its operating system effectively hides them away. Instead of the traditional smartphone user interface - featuring grids of apps - it uses themed cards that group together different facilities.

Canonical calls these Scopes, and they are reminiscent of the swipe-based card system used by the Google Now personal assistant.

I'm curious about this new approach. It seems a bit cumbersome to me - configuring your own 'Scopes' - but I'd love to try it out.

Snappy Ubuntu Core arrives for connected devices

Canonical is today bringing Snappy Ubuntu Core out of the cloud and into physical devices with the reveal of Snappy Core for smart devices.

First announced in December 2014, Snappy Core is a new lightweight Ubuntu distribution designed for the cloud and Internet of Things (IoT) specifically. Before today, only the cloud image had been revealed, but now the company is showing off its work on real connected devices.

I have no idea what any of this means in normal-people-speak.

Announcing Ubuntu Core, with snappy transactional updates

What if your cloud instances could be updated with the same certainty and precision as your mobile phone - with carrier grade assurance that an update applies perfectly or is not applied at all? What if your apps could be isolated from one another completely, so there's no possibility that installing one app could break another, and stronger assurance that a compromise of one app won't compromise the data from another? When we set out to build the Ubuntu Phone we took on the challenge of raising the bar for reliability and security in the mobile market. And today that same technology is coming to the cloud, in the form of a new "snappy" image called Ubuntu Core, which is in beta today on Azure and as a KVM image you can run on any Linux machine.

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS released

Ubuntu 14.04 LTS is the first long-term support release with support for the new "arm64" architecture for 64-bit ARM systems, as well as the "ppc64el" architecture for little-endian 64-bit POWER systems. This release also includes several subtle but welcome improvements to Unity, AppArmor, and a host of other great software.

Is it just me, or do releases of major Linux distributions simply not create much excitement anymore? I remember a time when these releases were hotly anticipated and much debated. These days, they go by and nobody really seems to care. Is this a reflection of shifting focus in the industry - towards mobile - or because the interest in desktop Linux in general has waned considerably?

What to expect from the first generation of Ubuntu smartphones

The Ubuntu Touch smartphone OS has come a long way, but it still has further to plod before it's ready for market - all Canonical will tell us that it hopes to see an Ubuntu phone before the end of this year. Nevertheless, now that some phone manufacturers are on board with the project, we've been able to play with a couple of prototypes: One was just a non-functioning handset from a Spanish company called BQ, showing off plain but solid build quality reflective of a mid-tier device. The other was more interesting - a re-purposed Android handset from a second Ubuntu partner, Meizu, which makes light work of the operating system and interface.

It looks a bit choppy to me, but alas, it's a development build.

Canonical announces first partners to ship Ubuntu phones

Canonical today announces it has signed agreements with mobile device manufacturers bq (Spain) and Meizu (China) to bring Ubuntu smartphones to consumers globally. Canonical is working with these partners to ship the first Ubuntu devices on the latest hardware in 2014. Ubuntu has also received significant support from the world's biggest carriers, some of which intend to work with OEM partners to bring phones to market this year.

Good news for Canonical.

Canonical releases Ubuntu 13.10

After the customary six months of incubation, Ubuntu 13.10 - codenamed Saucy Salamander - has hatched. The new version of the popular Linux distribution brings updated applications and several new features, including augmented search capabilities in the Unity desktop shell.

Although Saucy Salamander offers some useful improvements, it's a relatively thin update. XMir, the most noteworthy item on the 13.10 roadmap, was ultimately deferred for inclusion in a future release. Canonical's efforts during the Saucy development cycle were largely focused on the company's new display server and upcoming Unity overhaul, but neither is yet ready for the desktop.

It's also the first version available for phones. Well, for the Nexus 4.

Ubuntu’s X Window replacement ‘Mir’ coming in next OS version

"Mir, Ubuntu's in-progress replacement for the X Window System, is being used internally at Ubuntu developer Canonical and will be available to all users in the next version of the operating system. Mir was announced in March, with Canonical saying that a new display server is needed to power the Unity interface across desktops, phones, and tablets." Anyone here experience with Mir? Is it any good? any downsides?

Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop Support Ends in April

Oh no! Automatic updates for Ubuntu 10.04 Desktop stop in April (updates for 10.04 Server continue for two more years). Desktop users need to consider whether they'll upgrade to Ubuntu 12.04 LTS, which will receive updates for both Desktop and Server through 2017. This handy chart diagrams the situation. You can directly upgrade 10.04 (and 11.10) to 12.04, as explained here. Canonical's policy is that you get at least 18 months of updates for both Desktop and Server, and -- starting with 12.04 LTS -- 5 years of support for both desktop and server for LTS (Long Term Support) editions.

Ubuntu releases may become slightly more rolling

On his blog, Mark Shuttleworth has outlined a proposal to change how Canonical handles Ubuntu releases. In the proposal, future LTS releases will receive new kernels and software (something we've already seen in 12.04.2 which had a backported Xorg stack from Quantal) and interim releases will only be supported for 7 months instead of 18. Of course, the current situation where you often have to upgrade the whole OS just to get new software and drivers isn't great, so Canonical might be on to something here.