Story: Ubuntu Continues Focusing On The Nexus 7 TabletTotal Replies: 11
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Dec 09, 2012
10:39 AM EDT
This was well reviewed by Corbet on LWN. Bottomline is that Unity is a pain to use on this small tablet because many of the features need a microscope to access. He comments that the only upside is being able to open many terminal windows at once. Which begs a rather obvious question: What is Canonical's strategy here? I use Ubuntu on a DESKTOP (sans Unity) and I use Android on a Nexus 7. Why would I do otherwise? It's a bit like installing a car engine on a lawn mower. Possible and interesting from an engineering viewpoint (maybe) but rather pointless.

Am I missing something?

Dec 09, 2012
1:02 PM EDT
Quoting:Am I missing something?

Multiple things grouped in two.


a. Ubuntu has to run on every device possible to stay competitive with MS Windows surface/Win 8, Apple iPad, and Google Android. That is where the market is expanding.

b. Ubuntu is facing competition from Gnome and KDE on the tablet and has to keep pace to stay the most popular Linux Distro.


a. There is no reason why a tablet can not run standard office applications and specialized business application that consumes data, information and run some games while on the go. After all, many of such application can be run using a browser and tablet hardware resource are good enough or can be made plentiful for such uses.

b. Many applications could become very handy in certain areas of application such as hospitals, doctor offices, warehouses, manufacturing and power plants.

I am sure others can find more areas where a full fledged OS could be beneficial.


Dec 09, 2012
2:34 PM EDT
They made Unity as a cross-platform UI, so this is a money-where-mouth-is situation.

Dec 09, 2012
4:13 PM EDT
Quoting: Am I missing something?

Nexus 7: a very, very popular tablet. It may be small, but it is less cumbersome to carry than the 10" Samsung tablet. It has expandability in the form of OTG, and OTG should not be under-estimated for it's potential, ergo: mice, keyboards, and games controllers. It is now well known that Ubuntu has teamed up with the developers behind "Steam for Linux", and it is only to everyone's benefit, that that effort goes into bringing Steam to a portable form-factor like a tablet. Reviewers might state that details are microscopic on the Nexus, but that is due to the pixel density, which may be a deterrent in productivity (although I personally cannot see why- try going from a sharp screen to a fuzzier one (and whilst I might get grumpy over having to download yet another zoom level of mapping detail, I later relish the detail that I didn't notice previously)) but becomes immensely beneficial where imaging is concerned eg movies, graphics, and... yes... games. Steam on Android?? Come-on, that's obviously NOT where they want to be.

Dec 10, 2012
12:02 AM EDT
I am unconvinced by any of these arguments. Android has a huge headstart on tablets so Ubuntu needs to offer something on a tablet that Android doesn't. You can run office apps already under Android. You can already do a helluva lot with Android. I really don't see where the Unity competitive advantage is. This also applies to Gnome and KDE. You guys are simply saying that Linux on tablets is potentially viable and I agree. That is not what concerns me. What concerns me is why should I bother? This is a simple practical question.

As to Steam on Android I have a suspicion that the reason they prefer Linux is simply that a lot of the games need more power than a tablet has at present. If tablets get a lot more powerful then I would expect an Android client as well.

About the only argument I can come up with (and it is a good one) is to keep Android/Google honest through competition.

Dec 10, 2012
4:59 AM EDT
I can only see one obvious reason. Canonical doesn't have a tablet strategy of their own and the way things seem to be going is that you need a complete device range. Desktop, tablet and phone. Seemlessly integrated with similar software on all form factors.

So Canonical is scrambling to get a presence on phones and tablets; in addition to their desktop efforts. Thing is, they are going about it in a parasitic way. Getting on phones and tablets is only going to succeed if they get dedicated Ubuntu devices. Hitching their cart to Android devices might be a shortcut, but getting people to buy an android device and then install Ubuntu is the same failing strategy they have with their desktop software.

Google is nearly there, they have phones and tablets. If they give up on Chrome OS, bite the bullet and integrate the Aura desktop in Android, they will have the desired desktop (Android on Chromebooks), tablet and phone strategy with integrated software. Apple is already there. Microsoft is there too, at least with devices and software. Canonical only has software and a faint hope of somehow making it happen.

If Canonical was serious about this, they would get some ODM's to produce a phone, a tablet and a laptop, all Ubuntu branded. They are getting the games, the application store and they have the unified software interface to tie it together. Instead they keep botching their services strategy by integrating Amazon in the wrong spot (trying to mooch off of the searches of oblivious users) and bringing their software to hardware that doesn't need it.

Canonical needs to get their act together and stop trying to sleaze their way into addtional revenue streams. So separate out the affiliate searches in the general search tool. Make a dedicated Ubuntu Shopping Lens and put as much convenience in there as possible. Get real Ubuntu devices into peoples hands and make it a polished, integrated experience.

So as an end user, I see no reason to bother with this in its current form at all. No, ideological reasons don't factor in here for me. Supporting failing strategies is not doing FOSS any favors.

Dec 10, 2012
10:59 AM EDT
I remember using pre-Unity Ubuntu on a 7" desktop and it worked fine. One person's microscopic is another person's wise use of screen space.

I also believe Canonical is serious about tablets. Just because their strategy hasn't worked yet or doesn't fit what some folks here would like to see (myself included) doesn't mean they aren't serious.

If nothing else, choice is a good thing. I'd like to see Ubuntu (and a few others) seriously challenge Android. I'd like to see it done with a true FOSS OS, not one with tons of proprietary stuff piled on top.

Dec 10, 2012
11:11 AM EDT
> I'd like to see it done with a true FOSS OS, not one with tons of proprietary stuff piled on top.

I'm not sure Ubuntu is going to be the one you want then.

Dec 10, 2012
11:20 AM EDT
@jdixon: Ubuntu is NEVER what I want :) Having said that, I felt the criticism of Ubuntu in this thread was off the mark.

Dec 10, 2012
2:41 PM EDT
The whole sales job for both Unity and GNOME 3 is that we're in a tablet/touch world. I guess we shouldn't be surprised that these DEs don't yet run on those kinds of devices, or certainly not well.

I give credit to Ubuntu/Canonical for putting resources into this. Actual development -- like this very project -- is what they need to be doing and promoting.

Dec 11, 2012
9:55 AM EDT
Has anyone tried the Bodhi Linux tablet interface based on Enlightenment 17? It has some potential. The biggest issue I see with Linux on tablets is not really the desktop interface, but rather that application interfaces aren't generally designed to function well on tablets.

Steam on Linux for ARM based devices is not likely any time soon. The applications would all have to be recompiled on ARM. At this point, that would simply not be worth it. You have to remember that a big part of the potential for Android (and Windows RT for that matter) is that the software runs on a virtual machine which makes software potentially able to cross between ARM, MIPS, x86, and/or POWER with no recompilation.

Dec 11, 2012
10:41 AM EDT
Quoting:Android has a huge headstart on tablets so Ubuntu needs to offer something on a tablet that Android doesn't.

So is the desktop from MS and Apple iPad, does that mean we should not have Linux desktop either?

Ubuntu only needs to offer as good or better than the others. If it can offer more that would be icing but not totally necessary.

There were many Distro before Ubuntu, does that mean Ubuntu shouldn't have existed?

Quoting:You can run office apps already under Android. You can already do a helluva lot with Android.

Yes, but it doesn't run LibreOffice and many other FOSS applications that run on the desktop.

Bottom line is, choice is good and users want choice.

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