Friday, January 4, 2013

Finally! Ubuntu arrives on mobile handsets

I am quite excited about Canonical introducing the Ubuntu OS for mobile. Ubuntu, a Linux variant, has been powering servers around the world and has been known to enterprises, developers and institutions for years. The fact that they made it available for free to individuals and institutions alike, for so many years, is commendable. Whats interesting about the opensource community is that its a community of passionate folks who have help build and improve the OS over the years one iteration at a time.

When they announced the launch of Mobile Ubuntu, it was a turning point in the history of Ubuntu which has been lagging behind most ecosystems due to the unavailability of an environment to get it portable.

Here is a video where the founder of Canonical, Mark Shuttleworth speaks about the Ubuntu OS for mobile.

So why should this OS be exciting, you might ask. Here are some of the reasons, in my opinion.
(some in agreement with Mark's answers)

  • The OS can be downloaded for free. Free is good!
  • It can run on any mobile device. As of now, only on Nexus 4 as Mark mentioned. But in future, more handsets can be supported.
  • Its lightweight and most apps running on it are lightweight too. Remember Nokia N900 and N9?  Both ran on a variant of Linux.  
  • You can salvage an old smart phone and have it run smoothly with a new button free user experience. It reminds me of N9 a lot.
  • You can dock it on a PC and the entire experience can rearrange itself to be interacted with a keyboard and mouse. Office folks may rejoice at this. :) 
  • With basic foundation of free software for everyone. All apps on this OS will be free. Though I am not too sure about this as of now. But with a common app store of desktop and web, its very probable. 
  • Its been targeted at low end hand set and aims to give them a high end experience. So with a handset like Nexus 4, it till be bullet fast. 
  • It requires no button to operate. Except for the power and volume button as mentioned in the video. Which, again, like the Nokia N9 experience would be awesome. 
For those who might question the OS being lightweight, the Ubuntu desktop OS can be booted (launched) on a portable pen drive without a hard disk. And you can do everything with it including surf the web. It also works well on a Pentium processor. Now, how about that?