Ubuntu Next (alias Ubuntu + Touch)

Linux Ubuntu touch interface with Unity 8

The tablet market is ever extending. Back in the dark days of IT, touch was only a dream of a few people, also even less people could afford touchscreens. Today touchscreens are a reality and everybody owns a so-called Smartphone. However what about tablets? They say they are the conjunction between Desktop and Mobile, but they still can’t seem to satisfy one or another user pool. Today I want to show you one of my greatest hopes for the tablet world: Ubuntu Next.

Windows 8

I’ve always liked tablets, the first one I bought was equipped with Windows Vista. At that time, touch was meant only for smartphones or small devices, however the tablet-market was about to explode. In my mind tablet means “computer+touch” but at that time the term gained the meaning “ARM+touch”=”Computer-programs+touch+Apps“. When thinking “I won’t be able to run my favourite programs!” I went nuts, and decided that I would never buy an ARM based tablet, and so it has been for long time. However, when I found myself with a Windows-powered tablet in hands, I felt the lack of “Apps“. After many years of using that first HP tablet with Windows 7 (upgraded from Vista), Microsoft announced Windows 8 and it was like a ray of light for me. And Windows 8 be! I upgraded my 7 to 8 with that useful offer, and excited installed it the same day on my tablet, hoping to find myself projected in a new world. But it was just a false hope. Windows 8 was just a touch interface with not-so-many useful apps, and an old desktop interface glued together. Windows 8 had pictured the conjunction: no usefulness in touchscreens and an old-desktop paradigm. Windows 8 was thought for tablet, but it ran on “computers”. My experience was awful (compared to my imagination), and I was frustrated.

Ubuntu Next

And here it comes my next light ray of hope. (developed from Canonical, the same company behind Ubuntu) that aims to fill that gap. To be usable in touch-only, and to become a normal laptop, when connecting a keyboard and a mouse: the so-called Convergence. I was sceptical about it until I saw some videos. Let’s take a look at the last one I saw

Got your interest, huh? Well, we know a limited number of things:

  • It will use Mir (opposed to Wayland and Canonical’s successor for X).
  • It will run systemd.
  • It will be highly pre-customized by Canonical (like Unity itself).
  • It will run Unity 8.
  • It will be based on Linux 3.19 (the first release).

I hope it will become what Windows 8 couldn’t. Don’t get me wrong: Windows 8 did a good job, but it didn’t enough for me: Microsoft glued many things together and sold it as “the future”, but it was just the past. Canonical is promising almost the same thing, done better (I hope). I can recall being positive about Windows 8 apps different SDKs (like HTML5+JS). Ubuntu is doing something similar. In Windows 8, I wasn’t quite satisfied, hope Ubuntu will “standardize” apps more than Windows, so that the experience will be continuous.

If you want to know more go to Ubuntu on Tablets, or watch Mark Shuttleworth demonstrating Ubuntu Next capabilities. Release date? It should be this April :) But if you really want to try it now you can take a peek through this link (care it’s not stable).

Thanks to Gizmochina for the image.

Image courtesy of mark | marksei

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