The first version of Ubuntu to work on desktops, tablets, smartphones and smart TVs will arrive in early 2014, Canonical chief Mark Shuttleworth has said.
Speaking to ZDNet UK sister site ZDNet.com, Shuttleworth said his company had already been talking to partners about the idea for 18 months. He said the first version of the Linux distribution to work across the various form factors would be Ubuntu 14.04, scheduled for April 2014.
"We want a consistent platform with a tightly structured user experience," Shuttleworth said, adding: "Ubuntu is already working with hardware partners to bring products to market. As progress is made Ubuntu will take the device-specific code, open source it, and roll it into standard Ubuntu."
Recent versions of Ubuntu have used a large-buttoned sidebar interface called Unity that has split opinion, but given the distro greater potential touch-friendliness.
According to Shuttleworth, "Unity has a strong design vision and part of that is to provide coherent screens across platforms".
As the South African entrepreneur has previously hinted, Ubuntu will run on both x86- and ARM-based systems. Although Android and iOS dominate the smartphone market at the moment, "disruptive elements could still establish themselves", Shuttleworth added, while noting that "Ubuntu and Windows can still be a real force".
Shuttleworth also derided the consortium approach to smartphones OS development taken, for example, by Intel and the LiMo Foundation with MeeGo or Tizen.
"Consortiums can't win," the Canonical boss said. "They can't take a forceful, direct view with their products… Ubuntu has shown that we can hit deadlines and innovate. We can deliver a good plan and products."