back to article New Ubuntu for phones due 'by end of May' – usable this time

When Canonical released the Developer Preview of the smartphone version of its Ubuntu Linux OS, it warned users that it was only an experimental snapshot and that it couldn't replace their current handsets. That could change soon, however, as one Canonical exec has vowed to make an Ubuntu device his day-to-day phone by the end …

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Oh.

I'm actually a bit underwhelmed by this news. I guess I'm just not feeling what another part-finished mobile operating system is bringing to the table to tempt me away from the similarly priced Android ecosystem.

Eadon will express my share of whelm though I expect, which is nice.

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Linux

Re: Oh.

Perhaps if this part-finished system would allow for porting FOSS programs to the platform it would be bringing something to said table.

Access to the Ubuntu repo's re-worked for your phone might be interesting to some.

A compiler and libraries could also provide some selling points.

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IT Angle

Re: Oh.

The news isn't supposed to be overwhelming in any good way, it's Ubuntu. With recent news of Debian uptake, they will have to shamefully play their Debian card to get any real attention to this device. After all, the trendy news says NASA uses Debian, so Ubuntu has to be stable too right? How much do you think it stings Ubuntu when the quiet and low brow Debian becomes more recognized than the flashy loud mouth Ubuntu? Ubuntu should actually pack it in and push Debian on their mobiles for a chance of greater success. After all, they only have to change a splash screen to fool 99% of Ubuntu users.

Ubuntu: Debian's Section 8.

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Anonymous Coward

Yawn...

Yet another mobile OS for uber-nerds like Hardon to get uhm... a hard-on over.

Anything Microsoft have ever belched out is better than this abomination!

(Cover ears and count to 3 and wait for the Hardon hissy-fit)

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Re: Yawn...

Microsoft Bob was probably worse.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Oh.

These are even more DOA than Blackberry 10......

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Anonymous Coward

Why does the good Lord tempt us all like this?

I can think of no better simile for what Canonical produces, than "dogfood".

An entire joke book could be written using this as its basis.

Keep up the sterling entertainment, Canonical.

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Go

Re: Why does the good Lord tempt us all like this?

I can. And that would be what the dog-food very soon becomes following consumption by said dog

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why does the good Lord tempt us all like this?

See how easy it is? It's so easy, everyone ought to submit a one-liner.

One more thought: Shuttleworth, with his famous mandate (dictators-for-life don't ask, they demand), "if you don't like it, move on. Don't poison the well", is hoping that we're forgetful and unaware of the fact that it is HE who has poisoned his OWN well with good, old-fashioned high-handed, arrogant, hubris. But I repeat myself. He has made a LOT of unpopular, BAD decisions ("you want spyware with your order? Never mind; it comes free.") and his answer to his critics has always been the same, and of the form, "Tough! Get over it. We created it, it's got to be good for you; learn to like it. This is not a democracy!"

WHO POISONED THE WELL, Shuttleworth?

Be careful what you wish for, people: you most always will get it. Keep Shuttleworth always in mind as a sterling example.

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FAIL

Re: Why does the good Lord tempt us all like this?

You kind of have to admit Shuttleworth for thinking big (Megalomaniacal tendencies perhaps?) - otherwise Ubuntu would be just another Linux distro with just the same stagnant - and increasingly in the consume space - obsolete business model. However, seeing that Apple, Microsoft (and to a lesser extent Google) are providing eco-systems, and deciding he wants to play the same game as well is possibly misguided.

Right now Canonical are building out a bunch of cookie-cutter cloud services to support their new family of devices, and it's precisely the kind of thing their existing customer base is going to hate.

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Re: Why does the good Lord tempt us all like this?

From your post, I presume Shuttleworth is some higher-up at Canonical?

Anyway, with Ubuntu on our phones, whatever spyware there is won't last a week before someone distributes a way to cut that cancer. All we need is Canonical to complete it enough to go on phones, any imperfections will be fixed soon after.

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me!

I want one!

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Linux

Re: me!

"make and receive calls and SMS messages; allows you to browse the web over either Wi-Fi or 3G and switch between both; lets you add, edit, and import contacts; retains your data even after you re-flash the OS firmware; and will dim the screen using the proximity sensor when you're talking on the phone."

Add playing back mp3 music files to that list and I would use one as well!

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FAIL

Feedback from early UX testing (and yes, Ubuntu employs a huge team of UX experts at top $) was that the number 1 missing feature was ..... a console application. That is evidence enough that this enterprise is doomed.

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Re: evidence that this is doomed

Most curious. Why would even the most hardened nerd want a console on a phone when they could just SSH in from a nearby (or even not so nearby) machine with a proper keyboard and screen? (Come to think of it, why aren't *all* poxy small devices maintainable using a nearby machine with a person-sized interface?)

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Re: evidence that this is doomed

Simply because they *can*, and because they intensely dislike interacting with any other kind of interface. You'll probably find they eschew the built in mail app, and run Mutt instead. And naturally there will a choice between Vi and Emacs - neither of which i imagine to be fun with a touchscreen.

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Trollface

1. There's no "huge" whatsoever UX experts team at Canonical. I don't think there's actually a single one, but even so-called UX experts there can be counted with the fingers of your hands.

2. Actually THERE IS a terminal app (which, as has been already pointed out, is utterly stupid for a consumer phone OS). Developed by the illustrious -and UX non-expert by all means- Michael Hall.

In other words, you just made this one up. Or, in other words: you're just trolling.

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Re: @Ken Hagan

Ken, I've rarely found an available machine with 'person-sized interface' available in hard core hacker venues like pubs, public transport or outdoor. To be fair the urge to do some misguided command line hackery while sitting with a pint is best resisted, rarely needed however badly botched up the phone is.

But it's better to have but not use than need but not have ;)

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@Ken Hagan

The same reason I use my android phone to ssh into servers when on the move... the ability to run the odd command on the move is invaluable!

I look forward to a fully linux based phone!

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Hey stop bashing guys!

If ubuntu gets anything much done here it's a win to us all. The stuff that I want to do with my phone is easy on my linux desktop (except for the telephony bits), but very clunky via android.

The more applications and the better linux support the more flexibility we all gain. You know benefits of FOSS software, etc.

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Unix phone

I want a proper unix based phone.

With a keyboard, and an escape key

And a commandline where I can make a call with "call -n 0118 999 881 999 119 725 3" and add a contact with "vi /etc/phonebook"

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Trollface

Re: Unix phone

Wouldn't you need to quote that command line argument?

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Re: Unix phone @Ken

Not necessarily. It would be perfectly possible to write the command line phone interface to take the last group of numbers on the command line a single phone number. Not normally the way you would write a UNIX-like command, but possible.

What I would say about the OP is that I would not want my phone book installed in /etc. That is for non-personal, system configuration files owned by root. Maybe something like ~/.phonebook instead.

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Re: Unix phone @Ken

perhaps that was a list of short dial numbers

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Re: Unix phone

You would. What fun typing all of this on a touchsceen would be?

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FAIL

Just looking at the screenshot in the article and I have to say, what is the point of this mobile OS? It has boring icons like many other mobile OSes. What new and revolutionary does it bring to the table?

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Sounds good to me

Simple, a phone that can make/receive calls and sms that doesn't require a loin to Google, Apple or MS.

Bonus features are allowing me to do what I want with it.

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So long as I can change the bloody desktop

I would love to have a phone that allows me to run a lot of the stuff in the repositories.

Its a shame they don’t do Psion5 formats or the world really would be my clamshell.

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"a short list of modest, yet achievable goals."

Which IMHO sounds a hell of a lot better than grandiose takover-the-world plans.

Now if they could keep doing an update a month (a mix of new stuff and gradual refinement of the placeholders) this might start to get some momentum.

So thumbs up for this and hope they keep it up.

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Does Amazon get to listen to all my calls?

They'll have to fight it out with Rupert Murdoch's boys.

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Anonymous Coward

How to make Windows 8 look good.

Step 1 - Try Windows 8. Crap, isn't it?

Step 2 - Now try Unity. There, doesn't Windows 8 now seem so much better?

What with Unity, Mir and the general disdain Canonical shows for the community; you'd be an idiot to want this. The shining hope for mainstream GNU/Linux is dead. Your only hope is Android.

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Re: How to make Windows 8 look good.

Oh I dunno. Unity is geared around mobile, which was (and is) half the problem with Canonical's (and Microsoft's) current desktop approach. What's nice with a touch screen is generally pointlessly huge and oversimplified for a mouse and keyboard.

At the same time though, if the next generation of Unity apps play in the GNU/Linux ecosystem (oh god, somebody please shoot me) nicely, I'm wondering if you can have access to the apps as easily from KDE, Gnome, XFCE, Ion3 or whatever else as you would for other apps from foreign desktop environments. Tell your repository manager to pull in the dependencies and hey presto. Everything At Once, without having someone's idea of an awesome UI paradigm forced on you.

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Re: How to make Windows 8 look good. @AC

Piss off tarring everyone with the same brush. I get it. YOU don't like Unity. But, and this is where you might have to actually listen to what others say and get a fucking clue, a lot of people DO LIKE Unity. However, they don't feel the need to fling out (derogatory) comments every time Canonical make an announcement.

I use Unity every single day, and yes, there are some rough edges (but a lot less than when it first came out), but I can do EVERYTHING I need to do on the machine with it. Browse, email, dev work. EVERYTHING. It doesn't get in the way, it's easy to use, and it's pretty damn stable. My 7 years old gets on fine with it, as does my 11 year old. Compared with my experiences on Vista and to a lesser extent Windows 7, and it's been a delight.

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Anonymous Coward

"...Most of the preinstalled 'apps' were really just placeholder icons..."

That's been done before. The guilty know who they are.

<cough> <cough> <RIM> <cough>

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HBT

Wanting a command prompt on a phone

.... isn't such a stupid idea if it's remote. I have that on my Android phone, like many others. Very useful for all sorts of reasons.

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Anonymous Coward

Ubuntu Phones

Let people have what they want I say. If you really WANT linux on a phone, you should have it. Choice is great.

It might mean it's a bit niche-y but I'm guessing the people using it will not be "the average punter" but tech savvy enough to get it working how they like. Let Canonical release it, get over to XDA and customise it like people have done to Android - enjoy. Dictatorships suck, but then so does death-by-committee. If you don't like what Canonical do, you can compile your own distributions - supposedly one of Linux's major advantages...

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