Please see the release notes.
We’re preparing Ubuntu GNOME 14.04, the Trusty Tahr, for distribution in April 2014. With this early Beta 1 release, you can see what we are trying out in preparation for our next version. We have some interesting things happening, so read on for highlights and information.
This is a Beta 1 Release. Ubuntu GNOME Beta Releases are NOT recommended for:
- Regular users who are not aware of pre-release issues
- Anyone who needs a stable system
- Anyone uncomfortable running a possibly frequently broken system
- Anyone in a production environment with data or workflows that need to be reliable
Ubuntu GNOME Beta Releases are recommended for:
- Regular users who want to help us test by finding, reporting, and/or fixing bugs
- Ubuntu GNOME developers
To help with testing Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see Testing Ubuntu GNOME Wiki Page.
To contact Ubuntu GNOME:
Please see our full list of contact channels.
Thank you for choosing and testing Ubuntu GNOME!
Today we’ve released a new version of Ubuntu Resources with some new functionality and design improvements, and we’ve now moved from alpha to beta!Feedback
We asked visitors to the site to give us their feedback based on their visits on their mobile devices, and we received lots of useful comments since we launched the alpha version of the site in November.
Several of the comments focused on the same themes, which became our areas of focus for this release, such as:1. Understanding which site you are visiting
Because of the way we were using the Circle of Friends roundel without the “ubuntu” wordmark next to the word “resources”, many people didn’t understand that was the name of the site. In this iteration, we went back to using the standard brand extension, reducing the overall size of the logo and making that more clearly the title of the site and homepage link.
Navigation before (left) and after (right).2. Understanding the variety of content that the site has to offer
Some people thought they had landed on the “Ubuntu Blog”, because of the way the homepage and other topic pages were laid out.
We’ve designed landing pages that are more curated and show the most recent and featured content with the option to see all archived content related to that topic near the bottom of the screen.3. Learn more about the topics presented (cloud, server, etc.)
A common mistake when designing for brands you’re familiar with is to think other people will have the same understanding of it as you do.
Some people that we showed the site to and that were not too familiar with Ubuntu or Canonical did not understand exactly what we meant by “Server” or “Ubuntu on phones”, for example. Links to learn more about these topics used to be at the bottom of screens, so we moved that content to the top of the topic landing pages for easier access if you’re new to the subject.
New introductions to the topics.Learnings from Canonical.com
With the launch of the new Canonical website in January, we changed the way some of our small screen patterns work:
- We’ve updated the font sizes, so they are now slightly larger
- We’ve updated the background of the pages
- We’ve change the way content is divided, reducing the number of lines and using different blocks of colour instead
These were fed back into Ubuntu Resources so that we can keep our patterns as consistent as possible across sites.
In terms of the less visible updates, we’ve also:
- Improved the pre-populated messages when content is shared
- Tweaked the style of the tags which can be used to navigate the site
- Fixed some bugs in the rendering of SVG icons
In the next iteration of the site, we will be focusing mainly on layout improvements for medium sized screens (think tablets), as at the moment the site is still only displaying the small screen style sheet regardless of screen size.
We’ve already started to improve the search functionality, so that it’s possible to filter search results, but visitors should only be seeing these changes in the next release, in a few weeks.
Once we’ve built the site to scale up to large screen sizes smoothly, and have integrated all the top-priority functionality, the plan is for it to replace the current Insights website.
If you haven’t checked it out yet, head to Ubuntu Resources and feel free to send us your comments via the feedback link in the site’s footer.
Today we announced the start of the next Ubuntu App Showdown, and I have very high hopes for the kinds of apps we’ll see this time around. Our SDK has grown by leaps and bounds since the last one, and so much more is possible now. So go get yourself started now: http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/
Earlier today Jono posted his Top 5 Dream Ubuntu Apps, and they all sound great. I don’t have any specific apps I’d like to see, but I would love to get some multi-player games. Nothing fancy, nothing 3D or FPS. Think more like Draw Something or Words With Friends, something casual, turn-based, that lets me connect with other Ubuntu device users. A clone of one of those would be fun, but let’s try and come up with something original, something unique to Ubuntu.
I take a lot of pride in the work I've done for Ubuntu. I've met so many wonderful people, made incredible friends, talked to interesting people, been to unique shows, run booths, been featured at conventions, published magazine articles, and even been on the radio.
I've always enjoyed being a public face for Ubuntu; someone you can come up to and ask questions and have discussions about the operating system, its goals, and computing in general. I haven't always enjoyed the lack of design work done for the community after the Ubuntu branding changed in 2010. While Canonical designed sleek and modern-looking branding assets, the design team was never given the resources to make sure that the community had the most basic materials. The brand asset guidelines are spectacular but they are also difficult to apply fully. I've been very vocal about the need for name badges or business cards, and while I was touched by the efforts of certain persons to get new business card templates out to the community, it was eventually for naught. I worked on creating new ones in time for Ubuntu 12.04 LTS but I burned out along the way. I did manage to print cards for SCALE11X in 2013 but they didn't come out right.
There's a funny thing about community, though. It's something you belong to but it's also something that gives back. This year at SCALE12X I worked hard to get the Ubuntu booth in a shape that I was proud of and worked with volunteers from the Ubuntu California LoCo to show off Ubuntu. While some were interested in the Kubuntu, Xubuntu, and Lubuntu computers we had on display, the cell phones we had running Ubuntu was even more popular than the year before. Canonical was kind enough to provide two Nexus 4s running Ubuntu, and myself and another volunteer also had phones running Ubuntu. And while the expo floor was busy and exciting, I was really struck by the enthusiasm and generousity of various community members who were at SCALE.
First and foremost, Jono Bacon was around and quite busy, although he definitely made time for me. I have to say that I talked to him more this year than probably in the last seven years combined. He's been speaking and exhibiting for a long time, and I was pleased when he noticed some of the booth and design work I had invested in for SCALE. Jono is a really sincere guy, and if you've ever spent time with him you know how infectious his optimism can be. Jorge Castro was around and happy to see me, and I had the pleasure of meeting Marcos Ceppi for the first time. Everyone stopped by the booth for as long as they could spare and spent time greeting visitors and talking about Ubuntu. José Antonio Rey was also at the booth all weekend. I knew he was a newly-elected member of the Ubuntu Local Community Council but I had never met him or interacted with him before. He really amazed me with his friendliness and energy. He's as good working the booth as I am today, and he never hesitated to pitch in. Robert Wall was immeasureably helpful as always and Elizabeth Krumbach was so busy speaking at SCALE (four times!) that she only dropped by the booth each day to say hi. But I was able to catch up with her briefly. She's another person who is an incredible member of the Ubuntu community. I even got to talk with Amber Graner again, which was a real treat. Not to mention Eric Stolz, Matt Mootz, George Mulak, and others who volunteered at the Ubuntu booth at SCALE.
It's impossible to work with incredible people and not be affected by it. Running a booth is really hard work, and having such skilled and talented people around makes the work so much easier. Without ego or the slightest appearance of effort, everyone worked together to provide an exciting booth for SCALE attendees. And throughout various talks I had with each of them, I remembered what I loved about the Ubuntu community.
It's really important to be able to put your best face forward in all of your projects in life. And I think that it should be easier for Ubuntu members and advocates to proudly identify as part of the Ubuntu community. So I quit being annoyed at the two things that bother me most and, after recovering from SCALE, I've done something about them in time for the next LTS cycle.Ubuntu name badges
I've taken a simple design reminiscent of the UDS name badges and created two name badges that elegantly identify volunteers who are representing Ubuntu. They are perfect for shows, booths, expos, release parties, installfests, and anywhere else it's important to show your assocation with Ubuntu. There are two designs. The first is a striking orange name badge which is perfect if you hate ink, and there is an elegant white name badge which is perfect for when you need sometimes a little more understated. Both are available at SpreadUbuntu and are available in the public domain. I've also added them to the Ubuntu Advocacy Kit to make them more easily available to LoCo teams and community champions who are focused on bringing Ubuntu to others. These badges are ready to print as-is but also make a quick starting point for custom name badges.Ubuntu business cards
One of the most prominent perks of Ubuntu membership is the right to print business cards with the Ubuntu logo. For the last 4 years there haven't been good, solid cards that reflect the new branding that the Ubuntu project has enjoyed, although Jacob Peddicord and Murata Nobuto have come just short of perfection in my opinion. Canonical and Ubuntu are partners, and I envisioned that matching business cards would help illustrate the intertwined relationship we share. Thanks to the assistance of Paul Sladen and Marco Ceppi, I had what I needed to produce a sleek, clean business card design that looks stunning and professional all at once. I spent quite some time reviewing the existing design I had, and expanding upon it--providing space for project roles, extra contact information, GPG keys, and more.
With a stunning orange design, Ubuntu members will be able to share their contact information with pride. I've also created a white design that is perfect to use when color matching is a concern. These two designs are fully customizable and are twins of their Canonical business card counterparts. With Ubuntu 14.04 LTS nearing and a bold new roadmap that puts Ubuntu on devices all around us wherever we go, this is the perfect time to for project members to carry around strong Ubuntu business cards.
I'm an Ubuntu community advocate. It's what I love to do and what I do best. I've been fortunate enough to work with incredible people only two months into the year, and it's been revitalizing. I'm looking forward to expanding my efforts in the Ubuntu community this year, and I'm proud to show my Ubuntu pride along the way.
So, today we announced the Ubuntu App Showdown where you can build apps with the Ubuntu SDK and win some awesome prizes such as the Nexus 7 (2013) tablet and the Meizu MX3.
This got me thinking, which apps would a love to see on Ubuntu as part of the competition? Well, this is them, and hopefully they will be food for thought for some developers:
- Email Client – this would be an email client that looks and functions like Discourse. With it you could connect to an IMAP/Gmail account, see mail as threads, reply to mails, create and send new emails etc. Bonus points for supporting multiple accounts.
- Social Media Client – I haven’t found a Twitter and other social media client that works well for me. This one would show my timeline of tweets, have mentions on a different tab/screen, and support searches too. It would use the Online Accounts platform service to connect.
- Google+ Client – I would love to see a G+ client that integrates neatly into Ubuntu. It would need to browse my timeline, show notifications, let me reply to posts and add +1s, and browse communities.
- Ubuntu LoCo Teams App – an app where I can view the content from loco.ubuntu.com such as browsing teams, seeing current and up-coming events, browse the blog, and include the content in the Ubuntu Advocacy Kit. The power in this app would be looking like a beautiful app that any LoCo member can use to find cool events and do interesting things.
- Riff Recorder – an audio recording app where I can adjust the volume of the mic (for when I am in a room with lots of noise such as a rehearsal) and then record the audio at that level and have the ability to share it somewhere.
If anyone manages to build these apps, you will make me a very happy man.
Today we launched our next Ubuntu App Showdown.
The idea is simple: you have six weeks to build an application with the Ubuntu SDK that converges across both phone and tablet (which is simple). We have the following categories, each of which has a prize:
- QML – a native app written in QML (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).
- HTML5 – a native app written in HTML5 (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).
- Ported – an app that has been ported from another platform to Ubuntu and used the Ubuntu SDK (wins a Nexus 7 (2013) tablet).
We are also delighted to include an additional category with two prizes sponsored by Meizu:
- Chinese – an app that is written in either QML or HTML5 that would be of most interest to Chinese users, such as connecting to Chinese sites and services (2 x Meizu MX3s as prizes).
In preperation for the showdown we have also landed a number of significant improvements to HTML5 in the Ubuntu SDK. This includes:
- Our HTML5 technology has been fully revamped and now all works from a single container.
- A new single default template for creating your HTML5 app.
- Full access to device sensors via cordova.
- API documentation.
- A brand new HTML5 section on developer.ubuntu.com complete with new guides, tutorials, API docs, and more.
Remember, we award extra point for blogging about and sharing on social media about your app and how it is developing, so be sure to share your work! Good luck!
Many people may be looking at the Mt Gox implosion and wondering if this is the end for Bitcoin or even cryptocurrency in general.
I don't want to speculate either way.
Any currency - cryptocurrency included - largely depends on the confidence of its users and the quality of the systems they put in place.
While I won't speculate on whether people should or should not use Bitcoin, banks themselves have explored these counterparty risk issues many times. One of the solutions they have implemented is called delivery-vs-payment, implemented very widely by Continusously Linked Settlement (CLS Group). This type of solution is likely to be no more or less reliable for crypto-currency as it is for traditional cross-border FX settlement.
In practice, one method of implementing this solution involves each counterparty breaking a trade down into smaller units (each being 1% of the full amount, for example) and then making 100 small exchanges instead of one lump sum payment. In this example, neither party can lose more than 1% of the trade value. In comparison, MtGox users may have been speculating with 100% of their cash each time they trade and that is why they have come unstuck.
Michael Hall declares that there is no “Touch”, only “Ubuntu”. And he’s absolutely correct. Sadly for the rest of us, though, he’s writing that post from the future. There will be One Ubuntu, but we’re not quite there yet.
Mike says that the difference is Unity 8. Actually, for the purposes of most people writing apps, I think that Unity 8 and Unity 7 don’t really enter into it. Unity works roughly the same way and presents roughly the same APIs. The biggest discrepancy right now between “Ubuntu Desktop” and “Ubuntu Touch” is that there’s a bunch of stuff available on the desktop which is not yet part of the platform API, which means that that stuff is not available on my Ubuntu phone yet and so I can’t use it.
Let’s take a little example. Right now, push notifications are still being worked on for Ubuntu (which is fine; it’s a difficult project and needs care), and in their absence I don’t have a way to have something on my phone which tells me when I get an email. I hate that. I really don’t like not having email notifications: they were the first thing I turned on on my new machine. So I thought: how can I do that on my phone? I’m prepared to sacrifice a bit of battery life for this, if need be.
Voice of the audience: just use cron! that’s what it’s for!
Sadly, I can’t use cron on an Ubuntu phone. If I ssh into my phone (which I’m happy to do) and then do crontab -e, it doesn’t work, because the main filesystem is read-only and so crontab can’t save a cron file. Nor can I use upstart, because upstart doesn’t include time-based scheduling, sadly.1 I could, I suppose, run a daemon which schedules for me (and that’s what I’m looking at doing) but that’s not very excellent a solution.
Voice of the audience: you can make the filesystem read-write!
Yes. You can. I do not want to. If I do that I don’t get to have system updates any more. More importantly, though, if I do that, I’m not an app developer. I’m a platform developer. I don’t want to be a platform developer. I want to make apps. If I’ve done some platform-developer things — marked the filesystem read-write, written things to it, installed other packages, tweakd the config — then I lose one of the most important things about mobile development, which is knowing that your device is the same as everyone else’s. I’ll no longer be sure whether “it works on my device” means “it’ll work on someone else’s”, because now it might work on my device because I’ve poked the platform. I’m not running Ubuntu, then; I’m running Stubuntu. It’s the same reason I won’t install third-party non-Ubuntu stuff with sudo — Ubuntu owns the root filesystem. If you’re a third-party package or package manager, you go in my home folder. If you insist on not going in my home folder, or you make it really difficult to do so2 then you just don’t get installed at all.
Look, I know this stuff is being worked on, and it’s fantastic. Ubuntu will be even better than it is at the moment, which is saying something. But at the moment there’s just no way to do a bunch of stuff on “Ubuntu Touch” which is possible on “Ubuntu Desktop”, until the ability to do that stuff appears in the platform API. That gap closes every day, and it’ll be brilliant when it’s finally gone, but until then there still is a difference between “Ubuntu Touch” and “Ubuntu Desktop”. Because when I ask the question “how do I get notified of new mails on Ubuntu?”3, the answer for my desktop is “install this app”, and the answer for my phone is “we can’t do that yet but we’ll be able to soon”. I’m fine with that being the answer: this is not a complaint that it’s not done yet, and I’d like to stress that point. This stuff is being worked on, and I know it’ll be great when done, but the fact remains that it’s not done yet. Until that day, there’s a distinction between “Ubuntu for my phone” and “Ubuntu for my desktop”, and it’s not just about phone-specific stuff like hardware access or app confinement. That distinction is currently present. Roll on the day when it’s not.
- and presumably will not, now that the focus has generally switched to systemd. That does have cron-ish abilities, but the phone isn’t using it yet ↩
- rubygems, you are the weakest link, goodbye ↩
- or “how do I get notified of new G+ posts” or “store key data from my app in a secure way” or “programmatically list what’s pinned to the launcher” or “update my desktop background whenever a particular file changes” or anything which requires some sort of background processing ↩
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Read this article in English.
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- Shuduo SangďźŒSoftware Engineer in Canonical PES
- Lucas Romero di BenedettoďźŒUbuntu Community Design Team
- Nekhelesh RamananthanďźŒUbuntu Core App Developer
- Joey-Elijah SneddonďźŒOMG!Ubuntu editor
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Today we are announcing our third Ubuntu App Showdown! Contestants will have six weeks to build and publish their apps using the new Ubuntu SDK and Ubuntu platform. Both original apps and ported apps, QML and HTML 5, will qualify for this competition.Categories and prizes
This App Showdown is going to be very special, because we will have four dedicated categories in which you can participate and win a prize.
- Ported: apps ported from another platform, regardless of the technology used
- Chinese apps: apps in this category will have to be original and specific to China and the Chinese culture. They will be judged by two native experts in our jury.
The set of prizes will consist of a Nexus 7 (2013) per category for QML, HTML5 and ported apps. The top two Chinese apps will receive a Meizu device each.Review criteria
Apps will be reviewed by a jury composed by an international team of seven judges:
- Jono Bacon, Ubuntu Community Manager
- Joey Chan, Ubuntu Core App Developer
- Adnane Belmadiaf, Ubuntu HTML5 expert
- Shuduo Sang, Software Engineer in Canonical PES
- Lucas Romero di Benedetto, Ubuntu Community Design Team
- Nekhelesh Ramananthan, Ubuntu Core App Developer
- Joey-Elijah Sneddon, OMG!Ubuntu editor
The jury will judge applications according to the following criteria:
- General Interest â€“ apps that are of more interest to general phone users will be scored higher. We recommend identifying what most phone users want to see, and identifying gaps that your app could fill.
- Convergence â€“ apps that have a convergent layout that expands to dedicated tablet mode or optionally run well on the desktop will also be scored higher.
- Features â€“ a wide range of useful and interesting features.
- Quality â€“ a high quality, stable, and bug-free application experience.
- Design â€“ your app should harness the Ubuntu Design Guidelines so it looks, feels, and operates like an Ubuntu app.
- Awareness / Promotion â€“ we will award extra points to those of you who blog, tweet, facebook, Google+, reddit, and otherwise share updates and information about your app as it progresses.
- Chinese culture â€“ apps optionally submitted in the China category will be reviewed with the same criteria above, plus their relevance to Chinese users of the app. This can be by providing access to Chinese services, being related to Chinese culture or being generally useful to somebody in the People’s Republic of China.
To make it easier for you to get started with writing apps for Ubuntu on the phone and tablets, weâ€™ve set up a week packed with video streaming tutorials where experts from the Ubuntu community will teach you how to use Ubuntu platform technologies to write apps.
If you cannot join, review our app developer documentation.How to participate
If you are not a programmer and want to share some ideas for cool apps, be sure to add and vote apps on our reddit page.
The contest is free to enter and open to everyone.
The six week period starts on the Wed 26th February and runs until Wed 9th April 2014!
JitMeet takes the power of the traditional Jitsi Videobridge and makes it accessible to anyone, anywhere (with a modern web browser) using WebRTC.
Yana from the Jitsi team with a table full of devices running different operating systems and browsers connecting to a JitMeet video conference. The demo also extended to the Debian table which was immediately underneath (ground floor) and within range of the real-time lounge private WLAN.
What makes this so exciting? The thing that stands out for me is that you can run it on any web server under your own control. This gives people real choice in an era when people are starting to realize the risk of using "free" cloud services.
Any Linux web server - big or small, running your preferred distribution - can run a JitMeet conference. Here it is running on a very small Intel i3-based NUC with Debian
Emil's lightning talk about JitMeet
I wrote earlierthat I was having a new roof put on my house. Well that all starter unceremoniously at 7:30am on Monday, and the hammering over my head has been going on non-stop for two full working days. Everybody who joined me on a Google+ Hangout has been regaled with the sounds of my torment. It looks nice though, so there’s that.New Developer Portal
Well, new-ish. We heavily revamped the Apps section to include more walk-through content to help new Ubuntu app developers learn the tools, the process and the platform. If you haven’t been there yet, you really should give it a read and get yourself started: http://developer.ubuntu.com/apps/New HTML5 APIs
In addition to the developer portal itself, I was able to publish new HTML5 API docs for the 14.04 release of Ubuntu. Not only does this include the UbuntuUI library from the previous release, it also introduced new platform APIs for Content Hub, Online Accounts and Alarms, with more platform APIs coming soon. The Cordova 3.4 API docs are proving harder to parse and upload than I anticipated, but I will hopefully have them published soon. If you’re an HTML5 app developer, you’ll be interested in these: http://developer.ubuntu.com/api/html5/sdk-14.04/New Scopes
While not exactly a secret, we did start to make some noise about the new Scopes framework and Unity Dash that bring in a lot of improvements. As much as I liked the Home lens searching everything and aggregating results, it just wasn’t reaching the potential we had hoped for it. The new setup will allow scopes to add more information that is specific to their result types, control how those results are displayed, and more clearly brand themselves to let the user know what’s being searched. You can read more about the enhancements at http://developer.ubuntu.com/2014/02/introducing-our-new-scopes-technology/ Like I said, it’s been a crazy busy week. And we’re not done yet!
Qemu 2.0 is looking to be released on April 4. Ubuntu 14.04 closes on April 10, with release on April 17. How’s that for timing. Currently the qemu package in trusty has hundreds of patches, the majority of which fall into two buckets – old omap3 patches from qemu-linaro, and new aarch64 patches from upstream.
So I’d like to do two things. FIrst, I’d like to drop the omap3 patches. Please please, if you need these, let me know. I’ve hung onto them, without ever hearing from any user who wanted them, since the qemu tree replaced both the qemu-kvm and qemu-linaro packages.
Second, I’ve filed for a FFE to hopefuly get qemu 2.0 into 14.04. I’ll be pushing candidate packages to ppa:ubuntu-virt/candidate hopefully starting tomorrow. After a few days, if testing seems ok, I will put out a wider call for testing. After -rc0, if testing is going great, I will start pushing rc’s to the archive, and maybe, just maybe, we can call 2.0 ready in time for 14.04!
nb: Ubuntu Core is very minimal – be prepared to install just about everything you’re going to need.
T/master: support for the Beaglebone/Beaglebone black boards was added to the
armhf generic multiplatform kernel
Release Metrics and Incoming Bugs
Release metrics and incoming bug data can be reviewed at the following link:
Milestone Targeted Work Items
4 work items
2 work items
1 work item
1 work item
4 work items
Status: Trusty Development Kernel
The 3.13.0-12.32 Trusty kernel is available in the archive. It’s pulled
the v3.13.4 upstream stable updates. We have also queued the next
v3.13.5 upstream stable patches and anticipate this to be uploaded
shortly. Our unstable branch has also been rebased to track the latest
Important upcoming dates:
Thurs Feb 27 – Beta 1 (~2 days away)
Thurs Mar 27 – Final Beta (~4 weeks away)
Thurs Apr 03 – Kernel Freeze (~5 weeks away)
The current CVE status can be reviewed at the following link:
Status: Stable, Security, and Bugfix Kernel Updates – Saucy/Raring/Quantal/Precise/Lucid
Status for the main kernels, until today (Nov. 26):
- Lucid – Verification and Testing
- Precise – Verification and Testing
- Quantal – Verification and Testing
Saucy – Verification and Testing
Current opened tracking bugs details:
For SRUs, SRU report is a good source of information:
Open Discussion or Questions? Raise your hand to be recognized
No open discussions.
It is the Beta 1 week for Trusty Tahr and now, we do need your help to test this build of Ubuntu GNOME Trusty Tahr urgently so that we could release the Beta 1.
This is a call for testing for all testers of Ubuntu GNOME. Please, help as much as you can.
We had broken images for a week due to some bugs and there are likely to be lots of changes with the recent build (which is our Beta 1 candidate) so basically, we need everyone to start testing ASAP
For Testing, please see: Testing Ubuntu GNOME
If you have any question, please join Ubuntu GNOME QA Team and send your questions or feedback to the mailing list.
Please understand that reporting bugs should not be on the mailing list but you do need to follow the correct procedure – please see this.
As always, thank you for testing and your endless support!
Let’s make Ubuntu GNOME Trusty Tahr (Beta 1) as solid as rock
Next in Kubuntu:
Improved on-demand installation and notifications for localization, as well as improved internal handling to increase reliability of things.Click to view slideshow.
There’s been a lot of talk about Ubuntu’s phone and tablet development over the last year, and it’s great that it’s getting so much attention, but people have been getting the name of it all wrong. Now, to be fair, this is a problem entirely of our own making, we started off talking about the phone (and later tablet) developments as “Ubuntu Touch”, and put most of the information about on our wiki under a page named Touch. But there is no Ubuntu Touch! It’s not a separate OS or platform, there is only one OS and it’s simply called Ubuntu.
What people are referring to when they say Touch or Ubuntu Touch, is really just Ubuntu with Unity 8. Other than the shell (and display server that powers it), it’s the same OS as you get on your desktop.
Everything under the hood is the same: same tools, same filesystem, even the same version of them, because it’s all built from the same source. Calendar data is stored in the same place, audio and video is played through the same system, even the Unity APIs are shared between desktop and phone.
So why is the name important? Not only is it more accurate to call them both Ubuntu, it’s also one of the (in my opinion) most exciting things about having an Ubuntu phone. You’re not getting a stripped down embedded Linux OS, or something so customized for phones that it’s useless on your desktop. You’re getting a fully featured, universal operating system, one that can do everything you need from a phone and everything you need from a desktop.
This is the key to Ubuntu’s convergence strategy, something that nobody else has right now. Android makes a terrible desktop OS. So does iOS. Chrome OS won’t work for a phone either, nor OSX. Even Microsoft has built two different platforms for mobile and desktop, even if they’ve slapped the same interface on both.
But with Ubuntu, once Unity 8 comes to the desktop, you will have the same OS, the same platform, on all of your devices. And while you will run the same version of Unity on both, Unity 8 is smart enough to change how it looks and how it works to meet the needs and capabilities of what you’re running it on. Better still, Unity will be able to make these changes at run time, so if you dock your convertible tablet to a keyboard, it will automatically switch from giving you a tablet interface to a desktop interface. All of your running apps keep running, but thanks to the Ubuntu SDK those too will automatically adjust to work as desktop apps.
So while “Ubuntu Touch” may have been a useful distinction in the beginning, it isn’t anymore. Instead, if you need to differentiate between desktop and mobile versions of Ubuntu, you should refer to “Unity 8″ if talking about the interface, or “Ubuntu for phones” (or tablet) if you’re talking about device images or hardware enablement. And if you’re a developer and you are talking about the platform APIs or capabilities, you’re talking about the “Ubuntu SDK”, which is already available on both desktop and mobile installs of Ubuntu.
This last weekend I was in LA at SCALE12x and gave a presentation providing a detailed update of much of the work going on as we build a convergent Ubuntu. As I have mentioned before, there is lots of other foundational pieces being built as part of this work (app insulation, SDK, click packages, developer.ubuntu.com, platform services etc), and this presentation covered where we stand today in this work.
Obviously a lot more of you couldn’t be at SCALE than couldn’t, so I have recorded the presentation to share online. You can see it below or click here to watch it. Enjoy!