Ubuntu adds WebApps to its Linux desktop

Ubuntu adds WebApps to its Linux desktop

Summary: After adding its own cloud service to its Linux desktop, Ubuntu is now integrating Web applications into its currently shipping desktop Linux.

TOPICS: Linux, Open Source, PCs

Portland, OR: At OSCon, Mark Shuttleworth, founder of Canonical, Ubuntu Linux's parent company announced that it's adding a new feature to its Ubuntu desktop: the ability to use popular Internet services and Websites, such as Google's GMail and Facebook as desktop applications, Ubuntu WebApps.

This feature will formally appear in the next release of Ubuntu 12.10, Quantal Quetzal, in October. But, users won't have to wait until then for it. According to Jono Bacon, Ubuntu's community manager, the Ubuntu team has been working on this for some time and the feature will be available for Ubuntu 12.04 users in the next full days.

At this time, there are about 40 WebApps. This includes apps Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM, and Google+. Ubuntu WebApp's source code will be available on the Canonical Launchpad (https://launchpad.net/) project management service. The new feature's functionality calls up a Firefox plug-in to achieve its results. The program also has an application programming interface (API) and an integration script engine for users to make their own desktop applications.

WebApps is more than just placing Web short-cuts on the desktop. For users this functionality is integrated with Ubuntu's Unity/Head-Up Display (HUD). So, for instance, you can use Last.FM from the audio controls. They are also integrated into into Ubuntu's APIs and programs. So, for example, Ubuntu's message indicator can be set to alert you when new mail arrives in your Gmail account.

This is another step forward in Ubuntu's cloud integration. Last year, Ubuntu incorporated its own personal cloud service, Ubuntu One, into Ubuntu. This was a natural progression. Indeed, what operating system these days, Windows 8, Mac OS X Lion/Mountain Lion, and Google Chrome, isn't incorporating the cloud and Web sites and services into its infrastructure?

Related Stories:

A first look at Dell's 'Sputnik' Ubuntu Linux developer laptop

Assassins, Orcs, & Zombies, oh my! Valve brings Steam games to Ubuntu Linux

Has Microsoft opened the door to the Linux desktop?

If my mother-in-law can use Ubuntu Linux, anyone can

Ubuntu 12.04 arrives and it's great

Topics: Linux, Open Source, PCs

Kick off your day with ZDNet's daily email newsletter. It's the freshest tech news and opinion, served hot. Get it.


Log in or register to join the discussion
  • More Great News coming from Canonical today

    Hats off to Canonical
  • Cloud, Steam, web apps...Canonical is serious about taking down Windows.

    Been living in Linux exclusively for a few years and it's been great, but these last few months exciting things have really been happening. Of course, the final BIG piece of the puzzle will be how well Wayland works out. That and the fact that Windows 8 is likely going to tank hard.
    Version Dependency
    • RE: Canonical is serious about taking down Windows

      I've been following Canonical and Ubuntu for some years and I've never read "taking down Windows" as one of its goals. In fact, the last really big goal I remember coming out of Canonical was getting to the 200 million user mark for Ubuntu. This goal is a bit less than "taking down Windows". More than a few Linux fanbois laughed at this goal (I, actually, liked it).

      Even Apple, with OS X and all of their resources, has been able to steal only 2-3% market share from Microsoft Windows desktops. And popular software such as Microsoft Office, Photoshop, Quicken, TurboTax and AutoCAD, as examples, are supported on OS X.

      In addition, Canonical has stated that Ubuntu 14.04, to be released in April, 2014, will support smartphones and tablets all the way up to desktops (thus, Unity). While this is an admirable goal, Canonical will be significantly later to market than Microsoft has been with their smartphones and tablets. Look how Microsoft, with all of their resources, is struggling in the mobile market. And just how well will Canonical's Ubuntu compete with Amazon's and Google's Nexus Android-based smartphones and tablets on the low end. And Apple's iPhone and iPad on the high end?

      Google's Android and Apple's iOS are doing a pretty good job, so far, taking down Windows on mobile devices. Will Ubuntu on mobile devices make any difference?
      Rabid Howler Monkey
      • RE: Canonical is serious about taking down Windows

        "I've been following Canonical and Ubuntu for some years and I've never read taking down Windows as one of its goals..."

        Version Dependency
        • Thanks for sharing. Very interesting an enlightening.

          Just to expand on your link a bit:

          "Microsoft has a majority market share
          "Ubuntu -> Bugs -> Bug #1 (liberation)
          "Reported by Mark Shuttleworth on 2004-08-20

          P.S. 1 Canonical, Ltd. was founded on March 5, 2004 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_Ltd)
          P.S. 2 Ubuntu was first released as Ubuntu 4.10 on 20 October 2004 (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ubuntu_%28operating_system%29#Releases)
          Rabid Howler Monkey
  • Ubuntu is now integrating Web applications into its currently shipping desk

    Great job Canonical.
  • Ubuntu adds WebApps to its Linux desktop

    Hilarious how Canonical keeps wasting time and money with ubuntu when the linux desktop is dead. I remember this technology being around for years, congrats linux on being a decade behind. 2012 is not the year linux will catch up.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Run along

      You have never used any Linux Distros what so ever, let alone Ubuntu.
    • Windows is still using NTFS.

      Wasn't that around back in 3.1? I mean...speaking about being a decade (or two) behind.
      Version Dependency
      • Yep 1993, and

        after promising WinFS since 2003 - still no word on shipping it win8 (yes, i know bits of WinFS made it into MSSql - not the same thing). So, riding 1993 fs into 20`teens is ok by me - fs needs to be stable, but nor having ANYTHING on windows that can do snapshots, other LVM features - how can that be modern?
        • MS as modern?

          Well, with the brand spanking new boot protection scheme, won't that make MicroSoft virus safe, even with a 20 year old file system? ~inane giggles~
    • Parasite Removal

      What will it take to make you go away, Mr. HateLinux Davidson?
      • leave him alone, guys

        he's a zdnet institution - been trolling for, what, 10 years? No one can tell for sure if he's being sarcastic either - he's that good at being unreasonable.
    • Loverock, go fuck yourself

      I second that.
      • Show a little more class ............Loverock Davidson isn't woth that

        type of language, is he? take the higher road.
        Over and Out
        • just shows

          CaviarBlack's lack of education and unwillingness to allow anyone an opinion that disagrees with his.

          Sream louder, drive off everyone that offends you.

          Lives life of isolation.
          • Cynical99 you are either naive or out of touch with what

            Loverock Davidson is all about. He has never in the ten plus years he's posted here come forth with a factual statement to support any of his FUD. Loverock Davidson is a TROLL who get his jollies of upsetting any articles written about Linux. He dosen't make any attempt at carring on a rational conversation to support his point of view. His only reason for being here is to be a disruptive force and take away any positive points of view being made in the article. unfortunately after time other posters get tired of Loverock TROLLING and out at him.

            Loverock Davidson is a jerk and I stand behind my ststement. :-)
            Over and Out
          • Too bad you didn't take your own advice

            @SoYouSaid wrote:
            "Show a little more class ............ Loverock Davidson isn't worth that
            type of language, is he? take the higher road.
            Rabid Howler Monkey
          • To defend CaviarBlack is to defend Loverock

            Yup, both are so far out in left and right field, to defend one is to defend the other. Both are nut cases, so choose carefully who and what you defend.

            Extremes are rarely desireable outcomes. Both are the same type person, both eare extremes.

            Neither is worth defending.
          • But you'll defend me, @Pwned99

            After all, what else would you do if you didn't have me to follow around all the time in these tall weeds?