back to article Canonical reckons Android phone-makers will switch to Ubuntu

Canonical is courting Google’s Android partners in the hope they'll break ranks with the Chocolate Factory and deliver devices powered by Ubuntu. The Linux shop has received commitments from Android smartphone and tablet makers to ship devices using its Linux with devices “later this year.” Chief executive Jane Silber told …

  1. Hairy Spod

    a bit harsh on the other fruity one

    "Ramping up the Ubuntu Mobile push comes at a tough time: Android and Apple hold such sway that they’ve succeeded in seeing off two challengers. "

    mentioning microsoft and firefox and not even acknowledging blackberry

    1. Bob Vistakin
      Pint

      Re: a bit harsh on the other fruity one

      This any help?

      1. bdam
        Holmes

        Re: a bit harsh on the other fruity one

        The microsoft line on that chart is what statisticians term "floor noise",

        Surely the only meaningful equivalent in 2016 will just have Android, iOS and "others".

    2. Wzrd1

      Re: a bit harsh on the other fruity one

      Microsoft really didn't bother with actually marketing their windows phone OS, which undermined them tremendously. Granted, the app market for windows phone was lacking, but seriously, if you're going to introduce a product, advertise it and maybe it'll sell.

      As for Ubuntu phone, they're trying... I'll stick with my Ubuntu desktops and assorted OS servers that range from CentOS to *BSD. For a phone, I'll probably stick with the Chocolate Factory.

  2. Dr Paul Taylor
    Linux

    malware to follow?

    I am glad that Canonical is trying to break the Apple/Google duopoly. Running Ubuntu might conceivably persuade me to buy a smartphone. However, my worry is this: Linux desktop users like me have so far avoided malware because (the security model is better and) we have been too small a part of the market to be worth the notice of criminals. This is not so for Android. If Ubuntu is successful in the mobile market then the malware that it attracts will be compatible with desktops, servers and websites and so spread to them.

    1. gv

      Re: malware to follow?

      "we have been too small a part of the market to be worth the notice of criminals"

      Linux servers power pretty much most of the Internet, thereby making it quite the dominant part of the market.

      1. Dr Paul Taylor

        Re: malware to follow?

        Linux servers power pretty much most of the Internet

        I know that, which is why I was careful to say "desktop".

        I would guess that servers and websites (at least their hosting companies) are on the whole run by more competent people and have fewer frilly "apps" running on them than desktops.

        My point was that if Ubuntu becomes popular on phones it will attract malware and spyware, which would then have its way clear to my desktop.

        1. gv

          Re: malware to follow?

          My point was that there are people targetting Linux for their malware, but the security model is robust and has been hardened over a number of years, so their efforts have not, apart from the odd report of a server compromise, gained much traction.

          1. Tom 13

            Re: My point was that there are people targetting Linux for their malware

            And his point makes yours irrelevant: in the broader market the people running desktops aren't as security aware as the people running critical infrastructure on *nix servers.

            At this point there are three things protecting *nix systems:

            1) Being somewhat more difficult to install and maintain* than Windows or Apple systems they've been maintained for people who care more about security than similar people running those systems.

            2) A smaller market share which makes it less attractive to attack it.

            3) A high degree of fragmentation in that smaller market share which again makes it less attractive to attack because even if you can infect Ubuntu it's 50/50 for say Red Hat.

            *Remember MS had difficulty convincing users to click a button once a month, so they've switched to a default setting that enables it automatically.

    2. BebopWeBop Silver badge

      Re: malware to follow?

      In the long term - hell even the medium one, security through obscurity is a dead end. Remember that many linus installations run important parts of critical electronic infrastructure.

    3. Walter Bishop Silver badge
      Joke

      The malware Linux attracts ..

      "If Ubuntu is successful in the mobile market then the malware that it attracts will be compatible with desktops, servers and websites and so spread to them."

      A nice bit of projective fud there, if you don't mind me saying so.

  3. auburnman

    Too late for Ubuntu

    They've knackered their reputation amongst the kind of people who know or care about the OS on their phone. I'd say it's an android game until Google inevitably pisses of a critical mass of people by e.g. shoving Google Now down everyone's throat whether they like it or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too late for Ubuntu

      Are you talking about the Amazon search package?

      The one that was trivial to remove, and they removed it later anyway?

      Or is there another scandal I'm forgetting about?

      Compared to Windows 10 fiasco it is nothing. Literally nothing.

      I'd give an alternative phone OS a crack, because I'm distancing myself from Google. I only need about 5 apps and don't play games, so it could work for me.

      1. Loud Speaker

        Re: Too late for Ubuntu

        is there another scandal I'm forgetting about?

        You might have heard of Unity?

        Or systemd?

        Personally, I would love my Samsung Note to have a Gnome Classic like interface - drop down text menus.

        Icons were great when you have less than 10 apps on your phone, and they did not change with every update, but I keep thinking if we are going to have pictograms on our screens, surely it would be more useful to learn to recognise Kanji - at least they remain stable for thousands of years, rather than a few months, and quite a sizeable fraction of the worlds population would not need to learn new imagery at all.

    2. Mage Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Too late for Ubuntu

      Yes, they messed up their desktop product (search was only a part of it).

      I can't see why any major phone maker would swap out the Google supported eco-system for Ubuntu. It's not as if the phone makers care about Google's dominance or creepy slurping of user's data!

      1. enormous c word

        Re: Too late for Ubuntu

        If Ubuntu can produce a Phone OS that can overwrite exiting Android OS installs, then they will have a market - it will start with those who are geeky enough to try it and grow upwards to more general users. No idea of numbers of course - but I'd suggest they look to develop builds of Ubuntu for mainstream phones from say Samsung and perhaps older iPhones to bring new life to old phones or cudos, then I think they will have a better chance than trying to introduce a new OS on a new phone. But then the real competitor to Ubuntu isn't Android it's cyanogenmod... ...why don't phone manufacturers just put cyanogen onto their phones as a differentiator to all the other Android phones?

        1. Tom 13

          Re: can overwrite exiting Android OS

          That's essentially impossible. Too many variations in the ARM chips in the phone. This is a manufacturers only game.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Too late for Ubuntu

      "They've knackered their reputation amongst the kind of people who know or care about the OS on their phone."

      Except 80% of people don't care what's on their phone, it's just a phone.

      1. nkuk

        Re: Too late for Ubuntu

        They will care if all the apps they've bought don't work on their new phone.

      2. Darryl

        Re: Too late for Ubuntu

        "Except 80% of people don't care what's on their phone, it's just a phone."

        Don't care and don't know. I'm always amazed when I mention Android to someone who owns a Samsung or an LG and they give me a blank look because they have no idea what Android is. People like how the phone looks and works and the apps they can get and that's about it.

    4. Mr.Bill

      Re: Too late for Ubuntu

      google now is absolutely NOT being shoved down any throat. Its probably the default launcher with nexus phones, but you have to go out of your way to get it running on most other phones. Siri and cortana are being shoved down throats.

      With ubuntu and the unity launcher I was suprised to find various search lenses on by default such as Amazon.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

    I can imagine that for anyone using their phone to call, message, email and the occasional web visit it may well work;

    On the flipside, I can't see anyone using their phone to do this and only this giving 2c either way. They will keep using what they are using because it works. If it hadn't they would've stepped of the bus a long time ago.

    The compelling reason for people using a powerful smartphone is a multitude of apps and games specifically designed for droid and IOS. This is, I think, what sells them and drives people to upgrade them to more powerful hardware and better displays. We already know that a take-up of a new system relies heavily on what I would describe as non-basic use. Windows is allegedly hampered by the absence of a multitude of fart-emulators, aviary agression simulators and such. For people to accept and embrace a new means of going about their daily communication needs, you would either have to come up with a revolutionary (and possibly magical) way for them to send a mail or make a call OR offer them a 'killer application' that is not available from the competition (possibly a solution to a problem they didn't know they had before the solution presented itself). AND there would have to be a substantial immediate (and to a lesser extent future) gain to convince them to put in the effort.. If the only thing you can offer is less of the same, you are doomed.

    And all I see here is less of the same. Being able to plug my phone into my monitor does not sound very compelling to me.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

      Exactly.

      Just because you could get a desktop GUI Linux application running on a phone, doesn't mean that it would be pleasant to use.

      So, you could plug your phone into a TV (and mouse, and keyboard) and use desktop GUI applications, but it would be much easier to just use a separate 'computer on a HDMI stick', which is a form factor that is already available in ARM and Intel flavours. I mean, it just seems a kerfuffle to plug your phone into a TV, and then unplug it all again when you need to pop out for half an hour.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

        How about simply being able to buy a phone and reload it with an entirely open-source ecosystem? No manufacturer-supplied "Apps" that you can't uninstall. And a reasonable chance that it's not spying on you in undocumented ways, because you can read the source, or rely on someone else having done so.

        The bloatware that my Samsung came with annoys me - duplication of Google ware mostly, but it won't uninstall (and it keeps making noises that I can't easily identify to turn off). A Google Nexus is a nice phone, but I'd rather not have to trust Google so much.

        So yes, if/when Ubuntu phones are both price- and feature-competitive with Android ones, I'll probably choose Ubuntu.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

          >The bloatware that my Samsung came with annoys me - duplication of Google ware mostly

          > A Google Nexus is a nice phone, but I'd rather not have to trust Google so much.

          So, you'd like to have the option of not using Google, but the preliminary work that Samsung has done to to offer you a non-Google Android annoys you?

          Here's the thing: If a phone vendor ships a phone without Google Play Services version of Android, it is not allowed to ship *any* phone with Google Play Services ( APIs for location and other stuff, plus the Play Store, native GMail client, Google Maps etc). So, the only way for an Android phone vendor to break away from Google is to do it wholesale, and that would mean providing alternatives to all of Google's services.

          Samsung have been hedging their bets for a while (I don't know what their own strategists currently think of their chances), hence the duplication of apps and services (an app store etc). It also explains their Tizen OS efforts.

          Amazon tried an Android phone without Google. I haven't seen many of them.

        2. Charlie Clark Silver badge

          Re: On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

          How about simply being able to buy a phone and reload it with an entirely open-source ecosystem?

          Don't really give a toss about the open source bit but already done this with Cyanogenmod, 'cos I hate the crap that comes on a Samsung, too. I have lots of Google apps on it because Google works very hard to make them good but, for example, I've never used GMail and use OSMAnd for maps.

          The manufacturers don't really care: they'd rather sell you a new phone than provide you with updates. But the market for "anything just as long as it's open source" is pretty damn small.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

        HDMI-stick/phone set up to atuomagically mirror whenever in close proximity. [Actually the way I'd build it would have the mirroring to a VM on my home-server, ditto work, but I always over-engineer things.] You could have a similar setup at the office except, perhaps, securely locking up the stick off-hours. The thing is, wherever I go, I want access to my programs and especially my data. Basically my very personal environment. And no, I don't believe Continuim or some other cloudy thang to do this is right from a security or privacy perspective.

    2. Tom 13

      Re: On what merit will they be trying to convice the users ?

      If the compelling reason for iOS and Android is the well developed applications market, and the Ubuntu phone is a full Ubuntu OS, that problem has already been solved with the application set available to Ubuntu. The only reason iOS and Android need the market shops is because they DIDN'T have that to start with.

      Unless of course the Penguinistas out there are telling such absolutely huge whoppers even $Hrillary would be embarrassed to tell them. While some of them are a bit fanatical, lying isn't one of those things I regard as one of their typical faults.

  5. Salts

    Not Sure...

    They can persuade the general populace to move, they are comfortable with iOS or Android why move? On the other hand I would have one, just to try it, I use Linux every day having a convenient package in the shape of a phone that I carry with me works for me, but it needs to support heart rate monitors, bike speed & cadence, audio books as well as the normal apps otherwise no use to me, as I may as well stay with the laptop and that's the problem with breaking in to the market, you can cover 95% of peoples wants, but most of us have devices already that cover 100% of our wants, why downgrade?

    I really like the idea though, so do wish them all the best.

  6. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    haha

    I don't think people really care about the OS on their phone. They just want "the damn thing to work" (for their own definition of work) and this will include their favourite apps. Microsoft poured millions into making popular apps available for Windows Phone and look how far that got them. Is Canonical planning to do the same? Or are they planning to provide an Android runtime? Because that's worked so well for Blackberry.

    The manufacturers originally went with Google because it was the pass of least resistance to get a smartphone OS quickly and this is what they need to sell devices. They might make noises about selling services but that's half-hearted at best. What they like is selling a new device to someone every two years.

    The Chinese have demonstrated that it is possible to have Android without Google's services but that was initially down to government intervention. The services is where the market is. What does Canonical have to offer?

    1. Tom 13

      Re: Microsoft poured millions into making popular apps

      Microsoft has an image problem. They were branded a monopolist back in the 90s after which they've behaved in such a way as to deserve the branding. It doesn't matter how much they spend on developing apps for something new. People have stuck with Windows on desktops because that's pretty much been all that's out there, (No Apple doesn't count because Apple behave even more as monopolists than MS. They just don't have the market share to run afoul of the US or EU legal eagles.) but there's no way in HELL they're going to extend that monopoly beyond the desktop-server environment.

      Incidentally, they're behaving the same way with respect to Google. They accepted them for the search and free mail market, but they flopped when they tried to move into Social Media via Google+. Their only somewhat successful move there has been buying an existing social media venue in the form of YouTube.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The real reason?

    for this emnbiggening?

    Pehaps the Canonical coffers are starting to run dry and they need to make some money and lots of it?

    As someone who was a Ubuntu user from the early days until the 10.10 release, I get the feeling that their time has passed. With the rise of alternative distros like Mint their niche has become IMHO a lot smaller these days.

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: The real reason?

      >Pehaps the Canonical coffers are starting to run dry and they need to make some money and lots of it?

      I'm not sure that there is lots of money to be made by offering an OS to ODMs in competition to Android, which is 'free'.

      What the ODMs might want is a Google-free flavour of Android, as Amazon have attempted and Samsung keep flirting with. (That is why Samsung phones come with Samsung alternatives to 'Translate', 'Mail', 'Calendar' etc).

    2. fishman

      Re: The real reason?

      But Mint piggybacks on Ubuntu.

  8. AMBxx Silver badge
    Paris Hilton

    New icon please

    Can we have a Mandy Rice-Davies icon please.

  9. Anonymous Bullard

    I can't wait for Mobile Linux Mint

    1. Orwell

      I'm still running my Nokia "feature phone". One day it wiil die and no more available. Then I'll be looking for a phone that does not spy on me.

      A real open-source Linux phone would be great! Actually I'd love a Linux Mint tablet. Ubuntu OK. Looks like that might come soon. Had high hopes for the Jolla tablet. Paid my money. Seems that's not going to happen. I think they still make phones.

      1. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Mint (After dinner) Tablets

        Might have to wait a while for a Mint tablet (Gnome Shell might not be bad on a tablet, but I don't see Mate or Cinnamon fitting the bill).

        Ubuntu tablet from Bq due to launch March so the rumour goes.

    2. KeithR

      "I can't wait for Mobile Linux Mint"

      Despite the fact that there's NOTHING about Mint to suggest it would be anything other than useless and pointless as a phone OS.

      Linux zealots - don't you just love 'em?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Mint is based on Ubuntu.

        Jokingly, a mobile Ubuntu means there's then going to be a mobile Mint.

  10. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    "The goal in 2011 was for 200 million Ubuntu users by the end of that year – but today that figure, according to Canonical, is just 30 million desktops."

    What's the total if you include derivatives such as Mint?

  11. thomas k
    Thumb Up

    Sure, Linux on mobes ...

    around the same time as Linux on the desktop?

    1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Sure, Linux on mobes ...

      Linux is right there in every Android device.

      1. KeithR

        Re: Sure, Linux on mobes ...

        "Linux is right there in every Android device."

        Yeah - but it's Linux DONE RIGHT for mobile, isn't it? Not "Linux as a high maintenance hobby in its own right..."

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Smartphones are all about the apps

    That's where Linux phones come unstuck.

    I use sports trackers, news, shopping & weather apps etc. on my Android mobile; wouldn't want to have to use a web browser on it as an alternative. Not too bad on a larger higher definition tablet though.

  13. Palpy

    Because OS updates.

    Aren't Android phones, by and large, notoriously slow to receive updates? For various values of "slow", including "never"?

    What if Ubuntu phones received updates with the same frequency as Ubuntu desktops -- which frequency is, for those using other OS, approximately every third day?

    And then there's access to root operations. SUDO, they call it. No messing about with dodgy cracks just to be able to control your own phone.* In order to, say, put a firewall and packet sniffer on it.

    But here's the point as I see it: 95% of Android users will not care about updates or about a rooted-and-securable phone. So it may be a Good Idea That Flops (again).

    *I'm assuming that Canonical's mobile Ubuntu will in fact provide root despite the OEM partners' whimpers as they imagine users uninstalling all the manure-ware the OEMs traditionally scatter about their devices.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      You would not be any better off with Ubuntu

      The reason that OEMs are starting to itch about an alternative to Android is because Google tightens the screws on what they do with Android a little more with each release. This alternative would also add potential sources of revenue they could get if for example they made a deal with Microsoft to put Bing stuff on their phones instead of Google's stuff.

      So you'd see more provider customization on Ubuntu phones, not less. Yeah, maybe they leave you root (unless the OEM takes it away) so if you know what you are doing you can remove the bloatware and update it yourself, but that's a solution for the 1%. For the typical user the update situation with an Ubuntu phone would be no better than it is now with an Android phone.

      1. KeithR

        Re: You would not be any better off with Ubuntu

        " For the typical user the update situation with an Ubuntu phone would be no better than it is now with an Android phone"

        It'd be MUCH, MUCH worse - simply because of how much phone users can do (thanks to Android) with their phones, all of which would be denied to them by a Linux OS.

        Does ANYONE here honestly believe that the authors of the most successful phone apps out there are standing, primed and ready, to port their apps to a Linux phone OS?

        Cobblers - ain't going to happen. Phone users want an OS that JUST WORKS - not an OS which is a high maintenance hobby (or CHORE, depending on your mindset).

        1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

          Re: You would not be any better off with Ubuntu

          > It'd be MUCH, MUCH worse - simply because of how much phone users can do (thanks to Android) with their phones, all of which would be denied to them by a Linux OS.

          Android _is_ "a Linux OS", just not a GNU/Gnome/KDE/Unity/LXDE/... one.

          Some phone users may well prefer to run Unity scopes and full programs. Just as some Windows users would prefer to run Windows programs rather than UWPs.

    2. KeithR

      Re: Because OS updates.

      "Aren't Android phones, by and large, notoriously slow to receive updates? For various values of "slow", including "never"?"

      So what?

      Most phone users DON'T CARE, as long as the phone works. Frequent updates are a geeky irrelevance to the majority, and you can't knock this model for stability, can you?.

    3. Tom 13

      Re: Because OS updates.

      Given the customization that usually accompanies using an ARM processor, I wouldn't count on Ubuntu being able to push those updates any faster than Android. For the most part the bottleneck is the vendor, not Google.

  14. James Hughes 1

    Make it easy to port..

    to a new device and a lot of Android handset manufacturers might be interested. Android is unbelievably complicated, slow, and a PITA to work with under the skin (too much code, not enough decent documentation). It's also changing too much with every release, meaning handset people have difficulty keeping up.

    In other news, I've been waiting for a phone that could simply plug in to a monitor and turn in to a desktop for years. They are powerful enough for what I need to do. And I use Ubuntu with Unity already (which I quite like tbh). The plugging in could be exceptionally simply with a tiny docking station which also charges the phone (and could provide extra cooling if you want more cores in use when docked).

    1. AMBxx Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: Make it easy to port..

      Lumia 950XL perhaps? Continuum is surprisingly good. If you don't want to run windows, just use RDP.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: Make it easy to port..

        > Continuum ... If you don't want to run windows, just use RDP.

        If you _want_ to run Windows, just use RDP to a real Windows machine (not included).

        FTFY.

    2. Richard Plinston Silver badge

      Re: Make it easy to port..

      > Android ... It's also changing too much with every release, meaning handset people have difficulty keeping up.

      Exactly, they should follow the model set by Windows Mobile 6.x -> Windows Phone 7 -> WP8 -> W10M !!!!

      Oh, wait ...

    3. KeithR

      Re: Make it easy to port..

      "Android is unbelievably complicated, slow, and a PITA to work with under the skin (too much code, not enough decent documentation). It's also changing too much with every release, meaning handset people have difficulty keeping up."

      Hmmm...

      If you're making the claim that ANY significant number of Android phone end-users have expressed these concerns to you, I'm going to raise an eyebrow and say "reaaaaaallllly...?"

      Modern cars are similarly complicated pains in the arse to work on - but there's about as much of a case for going back to steam as there is to go to Linux as a phone OS.

    4. Tom 13

      Re: Make it easy to port..

      When I read your title, I thought you meant the data which is still a PITA on just about any phone. The problem with that of course is none of the manufacturers give a rat's ass about that, only the users.

      And yes, I DON'T update my Google contacts with people's phone numbers because of privacy concerns, which means I DO need to put all those damn numbers back in whenever I change phones.

  15. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Deja vu

    She believes Google’s partners are wary or the giant’s control of the Android operating system and efforts to push its own devices, competing with them.

    I recall Nokia execs saying something similar at the time they chose WP instead of Android...

    As Yoda said about Sith lords, always two there are. The third, fourth etc., technology platform will have a very hard time making any inroads. I dub it the "Yoda's Law".

  16. ma1010 Silver badge
    Holmes

    It's about choice

    I use Ubuntu on my laptop, but I'm one of those who can't abide Unity. Fortunately, it was easy to swap out Unity for a Cinnamon interface, which I like much more. The idea of having a phone with that kind of flexibility and, as others have pointed out, ability to easily get root privileges, sounds great to me.

    One of the key benefits of Linux over other systems is CHOICE. It's not a case of "You'll use what we give you, and like it" but empowering users to set up their machines the way they desire. Sure, there's a default interface that may be all most people will want, but the ability to go beyond that is very good.

    1. Orionds

      Re: It's about choice

      I was wondering the same. I would like to use Xubuntu and not Unity. Xubuntu is lighter and runs a lot faster particularly on higher end hardware.

      From what i've seen and read, Canonical's push is for Unity at the expense of other flavours of Ubuntu. For example, when the Munich government started to hand out install CDs free-of-charge to people through the libraries, I believe they started with Lubuntu (or maybe Xubuntu) but Canonical stepped in and persuaded them to change these CDs / DVDs to Unity.

      If Canonical locks in Unity and gives no options to install other distros then it would be a mistake. Canonical would only end up getting users who like Unity. If Unity is locked in, I would stay away from both the Ubuntu phone and tablet.

    2. KeithR

      Re: It's about choice

      " It's not a case of "You'll use what we give you, and like it" but empowering users to set up their machines the way they desire. "

      Sigh,,,

      Most phone users JUST DON'T BLOODY CARE.

      They want reliability, and familiarity - with maybe some versatility (and the form of millions of apps) - thrown in for good measure.

      They DON'T WANT their phone OS to be a hobby in its own right.

      1. Richard Plinston Silver badge

        Re: It's about choice

        > Most phone users JUST DON'T BLOODY CARE.

        So, you do agree that SOME users do care, SOME users do want a phone OS that they can do more with.

        No one is trying to force you to use one of these.

  17. JaitcH
    Thumb Up

    Apps are what put the wheels on Android and Apple

    The basic OS, even with a handful of Apps, is basically useless. The fact MS was offering coin for App writers to get with Windows Cell emphasised the point.

    And Google doesn't own as many Apps as have been written by Third Parties. They have Maps and Google Now which likely couldn't be used without consent but even these have alternatives.

    I've never bought/downloaded an App through Google - all mine are side-loaded through Third Parties.

  18. Old Handle

    The only way I can see this catching on with even a small number of people is if they give it the ability to run Android apps as well as conventional Linux applications. That would actually be somewhat tempting. Otherwise I don't see how they're going to get enough people to write phone-oriented software for a platform with nil market share.

  19. Paul Shirley

    “Five years ago people said, why do you need another Linux distro?"

    ...and we pointed at Ubuntu and it's eagerness to dumb down in the name of convergence or pimp local search traffic to the highest bidder...

  20. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    Have they learned from the last two times?

    When Netbooks were first a thing, every vendor realised that a Linux distro would be perfect for the device so ... they each created their own private distro which they didn't bother to keep up to date so they were all crap and buggy.

    When smart phones were first a thing, every vendor reaslised that Android would be perfect for the device so ... they each created their own private flavour of Android which they didn't bother to keep up to date so that were all crap and buggy.

    Aaaarhggg!!! Just give me a phone where I can configure "apt" to deliver automatic updates and perform all my day-to-day use of the device under a low-privilege account. If Canonical can persuade any hardware vendors to Get The Fuck Out Of The Way of the software stack, so that Canonical, who actually know about delivering software, can deliver the software and the hardware vendor can deliver the hardware, then I'll be firstly amazed and then very shortly after that a customer.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Have they learned from the last two times?

      You're ignoring the planned obselesence built into all of these phones. If you have an issue with their bastardized distro of Android, you're supposed to buy a new one, not update it forever (for certain definitions of forever). I can't see that changing save except Google removing that option from the manufacturers. Hell, even Google stops updating at a certain point.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: planned obsolescence

        Sadly for their plans, the law requires that devices remain fit for purpose for a number of years and when you are talking about a mobile internet device "fit for purpose" requires timely security updates.

        Put another way, if their business model conflicts with consumer law, they need a new business model.

        1. MacroRodent Silver badge

          Re: planned obsolescence

          Sadly for their plans, the law requires that devices remain fit for purpose for a number of years [...]

          Sadly, law, or its enforcement, has not kept up with the phenomenon of devices that in principle work two year later as well as the day they were bought, but are insecure, or incapable of browsing the latest web sites because of the actions of the site maintainers (sticking in more and heavier Javascript crap, with the latest features of Javascript and HTML).

          The entire information technology sector is based on planned obsolescence. Especially software, because it does not wear down, but even most hardware is usually replaced while in perfect working condition, hardware-wise.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting... So...

    Less Google snooping then?

    Or just a different snooper i.e. Amazon?

  22. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    At Last Some Privacy

    I chose unpopular Windows Mobile for 3 reasons

    1. For being a fan of Nokia's great hardware.

    2. For saving my moneybag from Apple(I'm south-Asian).

    3. And cause I didn't want to be a naked man in a glass room at Google's adsense lab.

    Now under Nadella, Microsoft is trying to follow Google's footstep. Plus WP team lacks common-sense(though due to Insider program, it has become a lesser issue) and MS didn't care about WP users last 2 years.

    So I'm going to buy an Ubuntu Phone once it get released and become stable enough to use. Good luck Cannonical!

  23. Maxei

    Enough of android. I want a REAL OS.

    I am tired of how Android works. It feels like a crippled OS, where important switches are absent, and I cannot yet get used to this, oversimplified OS, always hesitating what to do, touching wrong option. In short, Android irritates me, or better said, exasperates me. I thought that rooting the phone would be the solition, but that is a wrong misconception.

    What I want of my mobile phone, is the feel, the look and the works of a computer desktop, and that the applications have all the switches necessary for navigation. That would be the end of frustration, even when web surfing, not to have to mess with that stupid akward app in android, but a real Firefox.

    That would be awesome, really, to have a REAL OS in a hand-held microcomputer. The rest of things, like android, apple, is for children to play with their toy, engaged in filthy activities, perverted conversations and pornographic selfies.

    I want the real OS for serious work users. Hope Canonical will make this a reality. We do not need another copy of garbage android.

  24. Maxei

    I am tired of how Android works. It feels like a crippled OS, where important switches are absent, and I cannot yet get used to this, oversimplified OS, always hesitating what to do, touching wrong option. In short, Android irritates me, or better said, exasperates me. I thought that rooting the phone would be the solition, but that is a wrong misconception.

    What I want of my mobile phone, is the feel, the look and the works of a computer desktop, and that the applications have all the switches necessary for navigation. That would be the end of frustration, even when web surfing, not to have to mess with that stupid akward app in android, but a real Firefox.

    That would be awesome, really, to have a REAL OS in a hand-held microcomputer. The rest of things, like android, apple, is for children to play with their toy, engaged in filthy activities, perverted conversations and pornographic selfies.

    I want the real OS for serious work users. Hope Canonical will make this a reality. We do not need another copy of garbage android.

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