Ubuntu Mobile: who cares? Sorry, mostly coders and open source reality distortionists for now

Ubuntu Mobile: who cares? Sorry, mostly coders and open source reality distortionists for now

Summary: The folks behind the open source community-developed operating system Ubuntu are alll excited about Ubuntu Mobile. They view this as a technology that can turn Mobile Internet Devices (their CAPS) into a "new class of computers.

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The folks behind the open source community-developed operating system Ubuntu are alll excited about Ubuntu Mobile. They view this as a technology that can turn Mobile Internet Devices (their CAPS) into a "new class of computers."

This will all happen, you see, "via licensed codecs and popular third party applications."

Some of the woo-hoo, as expressed on the Ubuntu site:

  • Full Web 2.0/AJAX fidelity, with custom options of Adobe Flash, Java, and more
  • Outstanding media playback so you can enjoy videos, music and photos with superior quality and easy navigation
  • A suite of applications that work seamlessly to meet every need of a digital parent, student or anyone who is on-the-go
  • Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Dailymotion, 3D games, GPS, maps, in short, the full Web 2.0 experience delivered into your hands as a compact and powerful device that's easy and fun to use.

Sounds cool, but let's do a real-world reality check here.

Unless the device manufacturers and the carriers come on board and truly open up their networks and UIs to these applications, we're looking at nothing but niche, hacked applications from coder fanboys.

Example: in the grab at the top of this post, I'm pointing to the Skype icon. But what if your handset's carrier won't allow Skype to run? And if we are talking about Ubuntu Mobile via notebooks, wouldn't it be easier to just download and install Skype from the Skype site?

And for those of you who live in that world, please understand that enthusiasm for your apps ain't gonna bubble up from the mobile device user base.

That user base only cares about getting online, texting, performing basic functions- not installing what, in the repressive world of carrier-dictated mobile device functionality, sounds too much like a hack to me.

To you?

[poll id=198]

Topics: Open Source, Collaboration, Mobility, Social Enterprise

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10 comments
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  • Ironic

    Ironic that ubuntu is "going mobile" yet they can't seem to make some basic changes to their install-screens to allow for a better installation experience of their desktop OS on devices with less than 800 x 600 (ex. Asus eee pc 800 x 480).

    Well done ubuntu!
    croberts
  • some remarks

    [i]Unless the device manufacturers and the carriers come on board and truly open up their networks and UIs to these applications, we?re looking at nothing but niche, hacked applications from coder fanboys.[/i]

    from the Ubuntu website: OEMs, ODMs, operators and developers can customize Ubuntu Mobile to their desired look and feel and offer just the right capabilities to meet their specific requirements.

    So in short, if none of the OEM, ODMs or operators decides they don't need it, it will not happen, but if they want a cheap OS they can customize the hell out they can just use it. Is there a demand for these devices, I guess there is when you look at the Nokia N810, the ASUS eeePC etc.

    [i]Example: in the grab at the top of this post, I?m pointing to the Skype icon. But what if your handset?s carrier won?t allow Skype to run? And if we are talking about Ubuntu Mobile via notebooks, wouldn?t it be easier to just download and install Skype from the Skype site?[/i]

    The first part if the operator won't allow it on their network, they won't have it on the MID, but on the other side, my vodafone phone came with Fring installed on it and they allow the usage.

    You're notion that it's could be easier to install skype from their website probably is caused by you're lack of knowledge with regards to Linux, it's possible to install from their website but most users will prefer it to be installed out of the repository, as it then is kept automagically up to date using the update function. Something I won't get when I install it from their website.... And the skype version you're seeing is just the one programmed by skype, not by some hacker .....

    [i]That user base only cares about getting online, texting, performing basic functions- not installing what, in the repressive world of carrier-dictated mobile device functionality, sounds too much like a hack to me.[/i]

    Look at the Nokia N810, the operators don't have a say about this device, it's primarily used by hackers, but most seem to be very happy with the device...

    But in the end, if we won't see some of these MID's on the market anytime in the near future, it's just been a nice exercise, but as far as I've seen, Intel is pushing this form factor pretty aggressive with some sort of linux installed on these devices
    tombalablomba
  • It's not like he's got something new here.

    Between Android, QTopia and OpenMoko there are already perfectly viable open or semi-open platforms for mobile phones and a large part of the industry is already very interested in Android.

    Now to see if I can kick Ubuntu into recognising that my screen should be running at 1680x1050@[u]60[/u]Hz, Gnome's "the user is stupid" attitude doesn't allow me to auto-override it's idiotic misconfiguration, something even XP seems to manage.
    odubtaig
    • interesting

      mine is recognized at 1680x1050. what video card do you have
      tombalablomba
    • Re:It's not like he's got something new here.

      Find your /etc/X11/Xorg.conf file and find this section:
      Section "Screen" you should see a line like this: Modes "1680x1050" "1024x768" Just add your desired resolution, save the file (as root) close it and start the X again (Ctrl+Alt+Backspace) or reboot. It should work.

      By the way, ignorance on this open source systems is your shame Russell Shaw. You should be an author on ZDNet but it doesn't mean that you have a farsight...
      lynchaos
  • RE: Ubuntu Mobile: who cares? Sorry, mostly coders and open source reality

    "But what if your handset???s carrier won???t allow Skype to run?"

    Mobile Internet Devices are a new class of device based on Intel's new chipsets, notably Menlow and soon Moorestown, not phones.
    balthazor@...
  • RE: Ubuntu Mobile: who cares? Sorry, mostly coders and open source reality

    What Ubuntu guys don't want people to know is that Maemo and Hildon stuff are already in the official Debian Lenny repository. Also Nokia's N700, N800 and N810 internet tablets are ruinning Nokia's Internet tablet OS which is based on Debian, not Ubuntu.
    miksuh@...
  • RE: Ubuntu Mobile: who cares? Sorry, mostly coders and open source reality distortionists for now

    Hi,
    For a professional journalist this article shows a shocking lack of even a cursory 'flick through' of any background material. Russell seems to confuse a mobile internet device with a mobile phone which should have been picked up in editorial quality control.
    Also downloading skype rather than using repositories would mean missing out on specific Hildon (User Interface) customizations done by both Nokia for their N800/N810 and for Ubuntu Mobile. A good link for background reading on all this is http://umeguide.net and I hope that this helps improve the quality of subsequent reports about Ubuntu Mobile and the whole Gnome Mobile Initiative.
    xor81@...
  • VoIP....Who cares?

    Sounds stupid in the context of tech readers doesn't it? It has just as much of a chance as any of the other mobile OS offerings. Its all a matter of which ones the carriers pick up and find useful. Thats what competition is about. Developers will be happy to see a familiar technology platform and Ubuntu users will be happy with the publicity for Linux.

    Can we get real news in the tech world again. This blog crap isn't working.
    storm14k
  • RE: Ubuntu Mobile: who cares? Sorry, mostly coders and open source reality

    Yes, it does matter.

    However, the product isn't in the beta stage, so I won't be discussing it. As we all know, it might change a lot before it's out, so, it's useless to form an opinion about it now.

    That said, damn, those screenshots look hot.
    Vadim P.