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back to article Open source port-a-thon brings Ubuntu to more phones, tablets

Curious to try out Ubuntu Touch but don't have any Nexus kit to install it on? You may soon be in luck, thanks to the efforts of the Ubuntu open source community. When Canonical launched its new, Linux-based phone and tablet platform on Thursday, it made installation images available for only a few of Google's flagship Nexus …

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Linux

There's a storm coming-

Better board up your Windows.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There's a storm coming-

Dream on. This is just another unwanted fork of the same old crap that no one wants or needs.

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Re: There's a storm coming-

I'm not going to argue this is going to put MIcrosoft out of business, that would be more than slightly silly. But as for this forked crap you mention, if they get it working properly, I'd be willing to pay premium. Having a single device that can be a phone/tablet and a full-fat computer would be amazingly convenient.

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HMB

Re: There's a storm coming-

Unwanted crap?

I have Ubuntu running on Android running on my Nexus One and it runs like a dog, a dog that's been shot in the leg, no, two of it's legs.

I'm hoping that the native version of Ubuntu on the Nexus One may just offer a low power raspberry pi like computer for my old phone. If it does, I will find a way to use it! I think it's exciting. I want this, but possibly not for the reasons that Canonical decided to go down this route. I'll use it as a graphic-less task master that I can SSH into and get to do my bidding.

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WTF?

Re: There's a storm coming-

"I have Ubuntu running on Android running on my Nexus One and it runs like a dog, a dog that's been shot in the leg, no, two of it's legs."

Let me see if I have this correct.

You have Ubuntu running apps running on top of Android.

And it runs kind of slow.

Had you complained about it's UI fair enough but you don't seem to understand what the word "replacement" means.

Perhaps you should look it up.

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HMB

Re: There's a storm coming-

Not content with me understanding the situation, clearly you had to imagine that I didn't and interact with me on that imaginary basis.

Thanks.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There's a storm coming-

You and the other 0.01% of the market running Ubuntu...Now one else cares.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: There's a storm coming-

^No

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Trollface

ubuntu hmm

Bets Amazon search will be working very early on? The El Reg review hinted that Amazon and their deep pockets are definitely coming along for the ride. Ubuntu once great is now nothing but a pig walking like a man ala Animal Farm. More and more like a commercial OS minus the polish you expect out of one. The Debian folks worst fears are being realized.

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Re: ubuntu hmm

And yes I realize that Linux has been like a commercial OS now for quite some time in the form of RHEL for example. Ubuntu has become the free adware version though. The Angry Birds of linux distros if you will.

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Re: ubuntu hmm

You can turn off the Amazon search you know, unlike any adware that I have ever used, like the internet.

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Devil

Re: ubuntu hmm

As someone who runs LTS as an OS on his laptop (I have to do demos and develop on it) I beg to differ.

I have yet to notice anything particularly Orwellian in it. It is still good old Debian with some extra spit and polish. There are times when the spit and polish gets on my nerves and I have to tweak it but they are few and far between. Definitely more usable than windows and faster an by order of magnitude or so for most stuff (especially for virtualization related work).

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Thumb Down

Re: ubuntu hmm

>It is still good old Debian with some extra spit and polish.

No its not. Install Mint Debian for example and see just how far Ubuntu has drifted and why its best days are behind it. Unity, b_tch please.

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At least, when installed on a Galaxy Nexus, it can make phone calls and send SMS (and receive them) so it's not completely useless.

Regarding the port-a-thon, like every Linux distro, Ubuntu has a problem that it never gets tested on enough different hardware so getting it ported to as much hardware as possible is a sensible way to find issues early and fix them.

I for one am very interested to see how quickly they will get to something usable as I need a new phone :-)

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Mushroom

Not totally useless....

....just mostly.

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Happy

"At least, when installed on a Galaxy Nexus, it can make phone calls and send SMS (and receive them) "

Some say this is the iPhone's less developed ability.

"enough different hardware so getting it ported to as much hardware as possible is a sensible way to find issues early and fix them."

Agreed provided they get on the case and fix it.

"I for one am very interested to see how quickly they will get to something usable as I need a new phone :-)"

Not tempted to dev/port an app or two to the UI yourself?

That is the point. This is a dev version. I don't think they seriously think anyone is going to dump their current phone OS and flash a copy of this on there.

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Meh

Just because it can be done...

...doesn't mean it should.

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Flame

It's a Developer Preview

I don't think they called it a finished product and charged anyone for it.

Developer Preview does not mean chav-proof OS-replacement, which some people seem to confuse.

Go try a WinFS developer preview from 2003 that still isn't on the market (and never will be, to the grief of Mr. Gates) and complain about that.

On the risk to get fanboi-slapped (go on, I know you want to) Apple Maps was supposed to be "brilliant", when it was handed out. SSDs were supposed to STAY faster than HDs (the first ones weren’t, were they?).

It was wrong of Shuttleworth to tell anybody about this project before it was perfect, because everybody nowadays expects that everything is safe if you can get it, warnings are allowed to be ignored. Like this the only open alternative to IOS, BBOS and Android gets talked dead before it's out.

It's like aborting your baby in the 3rd month of pregnancy because it can't walk yet.

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Re: It's a Developer Preview

Yes we understand its not finished. The problem is Android has largely been finished for years. Even WP is on its second more more iteration. Ubuntu is very late to the party and imho worse is they have have brought their butt ugly date who is footing the bill, Amazon. Not sure what Ubuntu will bring to the table that Android doesn't already have except more bloat and bugs.

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Re: It's a Developer Preview

Sorry, what asdf? You're saying "they're late, so what's the point?" effectively. If everyone had that attitude, no companies would ever enter a market if it had others there. Microsoft were late to the console market.

You're still letting a dev preview influence your view of the project beyond getting an idea of what it is - a platform for developers to work on.

To many, the idea of having a single device which will work as a PC as well as a phone, just plugging it in to a dock to switch, is a great idea and we look upon it eagerly.

And then you're annoyed that they've partnered up with Amazon. Sure, they are cheap when it comes to their taxes around the world, but they also are one of the most successful companies in history, with a majorly successful server back-end also. If you were looking for a partner, you'd be pretty damn thrilled by being partnered with them.

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Re: It's a Developer Preview

Yes I agree the more the merrier and wish them the best of luck. Ubuntu in general has lost the significant amount of early goodwill they had with me over the last few years (and many others see the recent surge in success of Mint linux much of which is fellow disgruntled exUbunters). Oh well I guess there will be Tizen(vapor trail) or FirefoxOS (bloaty?) to try and my current bad boy Android of course.

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FAIL

Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho.

So this portathon will get Ubu running badly on a whole bunch of different handsets. Superb achievement. That is just what Joe Public wants.

Can I suggest a few improvements?

1. A Cassandra backend for the address book, that scales to 20 trillion entries.

2. Better make that MongoDB. Or something else.

3. Make the address book case sensitive, because that is really helpful too.

4. A useful command line tool called 'addressbookgrepper.pl' written in Perl that has a -i flag to do case-insensitive address book lookups. Make that a hidden feature for 'power users'.

4a. A rewrite of 4, called 'addressbookgrepper2.py' that is written in Python, but has absolutely no more functionality.

4b. A rewrite of 4a, called' addressbookgrepper.sh' that is written in shell ONLY.

4c. A complete rewrite of 4, this time in C. For speed.

5. An embedded Erlang web server, to serve up MP3s to 4 million concurrent listeners. The App (sorry GNU/App) should be called Burt, for reasons known only to the Author of Burt. Actually the reason should be written in a readme file.

6. A dialler program called GNU/dialler that actually doesn't work, but will do in the next release. Maybe. But please send patches.

7. A clock widget that uses only 32MB of RAM.

8. Announce that 30,000 apps are all available immediately. And point out to users that all they need to do is use apt-get. Include a 50 page handbook for apt.

9. Make all the widgets huge and ugly.

10. Make a new version of addressbook called addressbook2 that is not backwards compatible. Write a helpful read me that explains that users must export their old addressbook and import it into addressbook2. Do not provide any information on how to do this.

11. Erlang is so last year. Rewrite Burt in Python. Do not include all the limited features in the original version of MP3Spod.

12. Rearrange the numeric keypad, because really counting should begin from 0. So 0 1 2...

If you do all of that I am sure that another 4 people will use Mobuntu. That's short for Mobile Ubuntu, in case you didn't recognise that.

Or you could just try and fix all the things that are wrong with Mobuntu on one phone, then think about porting later. But that would be difficult.

Thanks.

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Silver badge

Re: Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho.

Porting is important for a system that Canonical will attempt to get people to install themselves, as well as getting OEMs to ship it. It will be useful to the latter too, as a lot of the work that the OEMs and Canonical would need to do may well already be either done or well on its way.

First rule of building - get a stable foundation before building a roof.

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Anonymous Coward

@HereWeGoAgain

Awww. Can I guess that you were recommended linux to try out but found that it was too complicated for you to get working (step 1: put disk in dvd drive, step 2: switch on computer, etc)?

The joy of linux is that anyone can do what they want. And the flack you give it often comes from those who want it done for them. Why should they fix it on one phone then release it, its a community! People porting the code in their own time to get the device they want working with linux, because they want to.

If you want a finished product where you can complain about the company not getting it right buy an android/Iphone/winphone which requires no work on your part to do just what you want. There is nothing wrong with this and most people have a mobile phone with a large portion being these pre-built systems.

Linux is for people who want to build stuff. They want to play with it and make it work as they please. In the end it has produced some very successful products for server and there are some great desktops out there (all of mine run linux, even at work). But it is forever under development and the community will take it in whatever direction they please.

I laughed at some of the points you made because they are the same complaints for the finished phones. Apps taking too much memory. MS OS not backward compatible. QWERTY keyboard vs numeric standard vs touch screen.

These guys are porting the code for their own enjoyment. Can you do that?

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FAIL

Re: @HereWeGoAgain

Can I guess that you were recommended linux to try out but found that it was too complicated for you to get working (step 1: put disk in dvd drive, step 2: switch on computer, etc

No. I have used Linux for 15 years, installing from floppies long before you were born.

The joy of linux is that anyone can do what they want.

Not true. It does some things well, and a lot of things very badly. Like this developer preview of Ubu for mobiles/tablets.

Linux is for people who want to build stuff.

So it's not for Joe Public.

They want to play with it and make it work as they please

Within its limits.

there are some great desktops out there

< 1% market share = failure.

But it is forever under development

= not consistent.

they are the same complaints for the finished phone

Err, no they are not.

These guys are porting the code for their own enjoyment. Can you do that?

If I wanted to waste my time, yes.

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FAIL

Re: Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho.

No OEM is going to ship an OS that does not work properly. Except MS in the past.

"First rule of building - get a stable foundation before building a roof."

Agreed. So don't port a load of crap and call it success.

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Re: Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho.

Some very funny points there! I particularly like the points about constantly rewriting apps in the latest fashionable language.

I'll certainly keep an eye on the Ubuntu OS though as my ideal phone would have a real keyboard (I currently have an Nokia E7-00), access to a shell and gcc and hopefully access to Nokia Maps (as they are opening it up for other vendors, maybe this isn't the pipe dream it once would have been). Of course if Nokia see sense and get back to Meego, I will look at that. Then there is Samsung and Tizen.

Whoever does this right will definitely have some kind of market. I'm not sure how big that market is, but quite possibly quite a bit bigger than a lot of people think. I like the Ubuntu feature where you can plug in a big screen and have an instant PC. There must be loads of admins out there that would wet them selves over that feature...

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Thumb Up

Re: Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho.

" I like the Ubuntu feature where you can plug in a big screen and have an instant PC. "

Me too. So it would be good to get that working, together with all the usual features of modern mobiles, on one phone first. Rather than wasting time porting a load of spaghetti to every phone possible.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @HereWeGoAgain

Linux is for people who want half finished crap that looks shit.

I cant wait for the fanboi defence arguments when Mobuntu gets released half complete and completely unusable as a phone. I imagine their will be conversations like

Average user: "How do I put my phone on silent??"

Fanboi: "well fire up a shell, and go to /etc and edit this file and then restart the sound daemon."

Average user: "so there is no simple way - no button to press or option to select??"

Fanboi: "the above is simple! whats wrong with you, you *** *** * **** * ** ***** !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!"

or

Average user: "How do I delete an txt message??"

Fanboi: "open up a shell and then fire up mysql, then do a search over smsmessages_dev table and delete the record you dont want"

Average user: "oh ffs"

or

Average user: "Why doesnt the camera work on my HTC One??"

Fanboi: "Its coming in the next release, if you download camera.c from last nights build and compile it yourself it should work"

Average user: "what?? huh?! I got none of that"

Fanboi: "You have a shit phone, buy a real phone you dumbass m****** ******"

Quality times ahead :)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @HereWeGoAgain 10:42

"No. I have used Linux for 15 years, installing from floppies long before you were born."

Good for you, but then why do you think this should be a finished product when its being made available to devs to try out and port to other devices? It seems to me that someone with as much experience as you should know this. However they have got a generally working official port which surely the people who want it will want to try out AS A DEVELOPER PREVIEW (the key is in the words).

"So it's not for Joe Public."

Now move that statement next to what you said earlier- "this developer preview". See how well these words gel! Yet as the developers port this onto other systems and mobuntu (I do like that name) is updated further the problems fade and it slides into the joe public market! Ubuntu desktop still has some problems with some hardware, but it is joe public usable (although I do think mint is nicer). If linux is not for joe public then android must have flopped? It is built on the kernel isnt it? Maybe a community mobile OS will improve things?

"< 1% market share = failure."

I love this failure on my machines. All 3 (including work). They took less time to set up (I am no expert in linux as have always built/setup my own windows system) and actually work so much easier than windows in my job. I am debating installing steam on my home failure which means the windows partition would rarely be loaded up (only for the non-steam games I have). Linux isnt for everyone but failure it is not.

As for the rest of your comment you seem not to be a developer (which is not a problem). And so it sounds like the DEVELOPER PREVIEW is not for you. Maybe you should wait for the polished version or just stick to one of the other phone platforms. Everyone is different. If you dont like linux dont use it. Just the same as people who dont like apple/google/microsoft offerings use something else. Its not a crime. Nor is it wrong to use something different.

You also talk about it being a waste of time. Yet you comment on a message board to complain about others successes. Kinda sucks dont ya think? Even if you wont ever use the OS on a mobile does your negativity seem productive to you?

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Silver badge

Re: Ha ha ha. Ho ho ho.

The first rule of building is to have a customer who wants the building.

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Anonymous Coward

What's with all the whinging...

Ok, I switched from Ubuntu to Mint when gnome-2 was dropped, but I still applaud Canonical for trying this, might be interesting if it ever becomes usable, would like to try it on my old Desire-Z.

So it's rough, it's niche, it may never be popular, it may never even work properly, but so what, some people will moan about anything, if you ain't interested, then shut the fuck up...

....no I ain't new around here, just occasionally all the whinging dickheads get to me....

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