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Say hi to Ubuntu for smartphones: Ubuntu Touch.
At first glance, Ubuntu 13.10 for smartphones, aka Ubuntu Touch, looks like any other mobile operating system. Some of the differences are minor. For instance, there's a search bar on the top along with the usual device indicators and the main window displays only what’s currently in use instead of a default selection of icons. A closer look reveals an operating system and user interface (UI) that's not quite like any other mobile UI.
Using the edges: Swipe the Ubuntu Touch's right edge to unlock it.
For starters, under the UI, there's the Mir display server and windows manager. Above it, there's the Unity 8 shell. Ubuntu has been using this shell on the desktop for years. A major difference from other device interfaces is that you start most activities by using the interface's edges rather than icons. For example, to unlock the phone, you swipe from the right edge.
You use the top edge to get to Ubuntu Touch's settings.
To access your smartphone's indicators, you swipe down from the top edge. This includes, from left to right on the top bar, GPS, Wi-Fi/cellular data settings, mail, the battery, volume, and time and date. Once you swipe, you'll be able to access these functions from icons that appear on the main display.