back to article Ubuntu hoists skirt, flashes 'concept' gadget at CES

Ubuntu shop Canonical has promised to make a splash at the annual gadget jamboree, the Consumer Electronics Show, in Las Vegas, Nevada, next week. The Linux specialist will unveil "an exclusive Ubuntu concept design" that will be announced at show. The minimal reveal, announced here, will accompany the display of the latest …


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  1. petur

    "Canonical claims Ubuntu is now the world’s third largest desktop operating system"

    And falling fast as users are migrating to linux mint

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Or going back to Debian, depending on what they came to Ubuntu for in the first place.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        ..going back to Debian myself, Unity is very half-arsed, unfinished, and restrictive, and slows me down. It's one of several things I need to disable on a newly-installed default Umbongo box to make it pleasant to use. I have stuck with it on one desktop and it's really getting on my nerves now.

        I predate distros, then remember playing with Softland, Slack and all that other stuff, so maybe my standards are a little... different..

        Mint advocates annoy me due to being advocates ("if you only have a hammer"..)., It's probably high time I went back to Debian for my Linux boxes. I will grin and bear the neo-Stallamist carping, as they have made great strides in tidying the distro up, making the installer nice, making it easy to find ISOs etc.. I might even point other people at it too, on this basis.

        However, Mint is still a bit of a "OMG mee to"(tm) in my mind, reminds me of all those Mandrake/Mandriva kids during the Distro Wars. I will be delighted to be proved wrong in the coming years, but for now, it only has negative associations for me- entirely subjective, I know.

        However, the nice thing, we can toss around switching distros, as it's all free, so no-one needs give a rat's raes about my slightly crazily skewed opinions. Yay!

      2. Old n Cynical

        @AC 14:10


        dump Linux completely and go (back) to *BSD. Gimme a decent BSD any day.

        1. Wile E. Veteran
          Thumb Up

          Amen, brother

          I went back to FreeBSD 9.0-rc3 (in its PCBSD incarnation) and it takes my dual-processor Athlon64 desktop and makes it faster than shit off a shovel. Add Gnome 2 (customized to resemble XFCE4) and it's such a great experience I won't need to by a replacement box for years. As soon as I get my Canon printer drivers ported my laptop switches from XUbuntu 11.04.

          Nice to have something _descended_ from the One True UNIX again.

      3. Shanghai Tom

        Shuutleworth, the Steve Jobs of Linux

        I am also moving to standard Debian, forcing a back level gnome shell on me in the latest version finally did it. I don't particularly like KDE, but what if Unity soon becomes the ONLY UI that is readily available on Ubuntu.

        Unity on a very large screen is not comfortable, not only that I NEED to see various windows on the desktop at ALL times as part of my job, showing me an A4 document as 1 foot high and 2 ft wide is not very useful or appealing.

        It was NOT an upgrade, it was a Replacement. I foolishly assumed the revert to Gnome Shell ( which I had to download! ) would be the familiar one, hah hah, good joke...

        I know, I know, I can do whatever I like on any distro, but to do that takes time, time I am better spending on getting a Distro with a UI that works with minimal tweaks and is likely to stay that way.

        Goodbye Ubuntu, Goodbye Steve Jobs of Linux, your arrogance is astounding.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      And I'll be trying Fedora

      after falling foul of the bug linked below that is now nearly six years old in Ubuntu:

      But which Fedora may have a fix for:

    3. Anonymous Coward

      Third largest desktop OS at a whopping 1.29%! Go get 'em boys!!

      1. Anonymous Coward


        That 1.29% is for ALL Linux OS varients. Desktop & otherwise. Rather pathetic I'd say.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Until you find out just how big some of the machines in that percentage actually are.

  2. The BigYin

    Whilst I want this to succeed...

    ...because I want to see some actual competition and innovation, I have my doubts. I have seen stories about GNU/Linux getting on to consumer devices one too many times. Whilst it is there (routers, set-top boxes) it's always behind the scenes and unnoticed by the masses who drool over iOS.

    It would be good to get some more open hardware in the TV market. Most decent TVs today are small computers (probably running some Linux flavour, natch) but they are all so crippled and locked into walled-gardens. What I want from a TV is a monitor. Err, that's it.

    To that I will attach a device (say a RaspberryPi or something) and have that broker all the media requests. The TV is not the hub, it's just the display.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "What I want from a TV is a monitor"

      think the clue is in the question

      1. TeeCee Gold badge

        What I want from a TV is a 50" plasma monitor with several HDMI ports, a couple of SCARTs for legacy, one or two component inputs, some decent speakers to avoid running up the surround system just to watch the news and a remote to adjust sound/picture settings and swap between inputs.

        Trouble is, anything that fits the bill seems to be described as a TV and come with loads of other cruft bundled......

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      "Most decent TVs today [] are all so crippled and locked into walled-gardens"

      I don't understand why this matters (especially as you want your hub to be elsewhere). The walled garden does not prevent viewing of local content (photos, videos, ...) over the local network under your control. I used to own a PS3 and while I could use it to surf, I didn't bother (other than the PS Store) because I use my PC, laptop, ... for that. So, I wouldn't care about some CE manufacturer walling up the internet on my Smart TV (as yet unbought).

      If your point is that to get a decent TV (picture quality, inputs, net connections, ...) you have to pay extra for all sorts of crap you don't want then you may have a point but where's the evidence that these things are rated as premium features by the marketing men? I have a feeling (not backed up with facts, I grant you) that they are really just shiney things to distract the gullible. The release schedule for TVs is such that the time to wait for rinky-dinky new (and expensive) features to become standard is less than a year

      1. JEDIDIAH

        The walled garden

        > The walled garden does not prevent viewing of local content

        Sure it does. It limits the formats that devices will natively accept. This leads to a lot of bother and futzing as you either convert data or need to set up an uneccessarily complex media server.

        1. Peter Mc Aulay

          You're a geek (or this issue would not arise in the first place). You already *have* a media server :)

    3. Pete 2


      > I have seen stories about GNU/Linux getting on to consumer devices one too many times.

      The basic problem that Ubuntu would have as the engine in a TV is its interface. While Unity may (though I'm sticking to Gnome on my 10.04 boxes) be fine for a multi-cored, 2+GHz screamer with several GB of RAM and a graphics card that can run a virtual universe in your office. It's less than useful in a TV where cost, complexity, power, fan noise and board size must be minimised.

      The good news is that there are alternatives. Appliances such as The Dreambox run a GUI called Enigma2 that provides pretty much all the functionality and expansion (users can download and install modules on it) necessary to run a TV. While it has a few rough edges which we can forgive due to it's OSS-ness it largely does the job.

      If I was Mr. Ubuntu I'd be seriously looking at this sort of front end for a slim format Linux/Ubuntu badged TV that (with the addition of an outboard HDD/SSD) did most of the stuff that all the boxes underneath your home TV did between them, now.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        @Pete 2

        Nooooo. Unity is not fine on a multi-core 2GHz screamer. Touch-focused interfaces for touch-based devices, and the traditional desktop metaphor for desktop devices. (10-foot interfaces are a third category.)

  3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Big Brother

    In other news,

    Microsoft is seen following Canonical Execs to meeting with prospective Tablet & Phone makers and reminding them that if the are ever so foolish to agree to this, then the great god from Redmond will expect to be paid its tithes. Say $50 per unit.

    BB== Microsoft

    Personally, I think that Canonical has missed the boat here. Are they really trying to copy Android? Google will ensure that they fail.

    1. auburnman

      Agreed - it's looking more and more like a big f-up for Canonical lately. If they really aren't expecting tablet Ubuntu until 2014 why has the touch/smallscreen-centric interface been made the default option now? Also re the 2014 earliest tablet date, how do they propose to be relevant when the big boys have had 2-3 years of refining existing products and entrenching themselves in the market?

      1. James Hughes 1

        Why does seemingly everyone hate Unity on the desktop?

        I've been using it for ages and it works fine. No better or worse than Gnome2, and given it's much younger I expect it to just get better and better. Each version is already an improvement over the last.

        1. crowley
          Thumb Down


          Because I like to see/select the running tasks without alt-tabbing duplo blocks.

          Because the thing on the left is just annoying and uninformative.

          Because of the extra clicks to find what's installed in logical order, as per the Applications menu.

          Because I want my menu with the app I'm using at the bottom of the screen, not at the top.

          Because tearing my skin off in strips to whip myself with til I bleed is a more pleasant experience.

          Will that suffice for now?

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A mole told me

    the concept gadget will be a rebadged Amstrad Foot Spa, but sporting the new Ubuntu Unitoe interface (or interfoot, as it will be henceforth be known). It will run the upcoming Snarling Snail release.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Thumbs down - really?

      What, no Toes Down?

  5. bobdobbs

    hey El Reg,

    you forgot the future tense in your headline. Ubuntu has yet to lift said skirt.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is there a distro...

    that does not have at least one important package marred by some ancient battle, denying functionality to its users for purely ideological reasons?

  7. BatCat

    I've got...

    ... Unity and an Applications menu.

    Using a wide-screen laptop, I appreciate the extra vertical space provided by moving everything into one status / menu bar - even if it takes a bit of getting used to, but agree that searching for applications is counter intuitive after 20-odd years of using an application menu of some sort.

    1. Martin

      It's not just counter-intuitive....'s also stupid.

      Once you know where something is in a menu, there it is. Two or three mouse-clicks and it's open.

      But searching needs at least three or four keys on the keyboard.

      Menus lasted a long time, because they work well.

      (And don't get me started on those ridiculous vanishing scroll-bars...)

  8. Steven Pemberton

    I like Unity, but it's easy to replace

    I don't understand the fuss. I run several versions of Ubuntu on different machines, as well as Fedora, but having given it a chance, I now prefer Unity over Gnome. But I also don't understand all the hissy fits from people who don't like it. You just install Gnome from the software centre, and you're back to how it used to be. No need to go looking for other distributions. Choice, it's what free software is about.

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