Canonical answers Ubuntu phone critics

Not everyone thinks Canonical can create a unified Ubuntu for PCs, smartphones, tablets and TVs. But Mark Shuttleworth has an answer for them.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor

Most Linux fans like Canonical's plans for a unified Ubuntu for PCs, smartphones, TVs, and tablets. Some, however, such as Aaron Seigo, a leading KDE developer, have doubts about this claim.

Critics say Canonical can't deliver a universal Ubuntu, Canonical says they can.

Seigo, while thinking that the "Ubuntu Phone [is] a great thing to see,  worries that Canonical can't deliver the universal Ubuntu goods. On Google+, Seigo wrote, "Canonical's claim is a hollow one.... Unity [Ubuntu's default interface] currently does not use QML at all; Ubuntu Phone is pure QML. So, no, it is not the same code, it is not the sort of seamless cross-device technology bridge that they are purporting."

Seigo continued, "Making unfounded claims in this manner is, IMHO, ethically weak. But what is really disappointing here is that the Free software community is being told a fairy tale in hopes that they will believe it and as a result support Canonical.... under what amounts to false pretenses." And, thus those who support it, Seigo said, are "being duped."

Needless to say, arguments quickly developed about how "real" Ubuntu's attempts to develop a common Linux distribution were. Seigo maintained  that Canonical is in the wrong because, "Right now Canonical is stating things which they are currently not able to provide."

I asked Canonical for their take and Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical and Ubuntu's founder, replied, "By the time the work is complete, one Ubuntu codebase will deliver all four experiences: the desktop, the phone, the tablet and the TV. And one application binary will be able to do the same. It's not complicated; there's no point in splitting hairs over the semantics"

Jono Bacon, Ubuntu's community manager, added, "I agree with Mark; I think the vision is pretty clear, and I am not sure getting into a he-said-she-said debate on G+ is the best step forward. I would instead invite Aaron's participation in our development community to discuss the implementation of this vision."

Me? I always assumed that Canonical was proposing a goal and not claiming that they'd already reached their destination, or even that they were almost there. Let's just see how well Ubuntu can keep its promises. After all, the Ubuntu smartphone developer preview arrives soon and then we can start deciding who, if anyone, Canonical is "duping."

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