Canonical, the company that markets the open source Linux distribution of Ubuntu, will be porting Ubuntu to smart phones, tablets, and more. The company is expected to make an official announcement at the Ubuntu Developer Summit in Orlando, Florida.
The move is not entirely unexpected, since the entire impetus behind Ubuntu has been to create “Linux for humans” rather than for machines – something that Canonical’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, has in common with Steve Jobs, whose focus was on user experience rather than machine code perfection.
So can this work? Would Ubuntu work on smaller machines?
As it is currently, probably not. But Apple’s OSX wouldn’t work on mobiles either, so Apple made iOS. The biggest difference between the companies being size and the fact that Canonical doesn’t seem to have plans to build and market their own device, only something that will run on devices.
Some of the current design trends in Canonical’s proprietary Ubuntu desktop interface, Unity, are actually there in order to facilitate a smooth transition for users when moving from a Unity-enabled computer to a Unity-running smart phone or tablet. This is intended to create a uniform user experience – something few Linux users are interested in, by most accounts, but which everyday (read: non-technical) users can appreciate.
So when can you expect to see Ubuntu Unity on a smart phone? Probably not anytime soon – in fact, likely right around the time you see Windows 8 and Microsoft’s planned Metro interface; around 2014.
With Google acquiring Motorola Mobility and Microsoft fast moving to (maybe this time) embrace mobile, it could be a very shaken market by the time Canonical gets their foot in the ring.