Pear OS 8: Linux-based software for tablets, desktops (inspired by iOS)

Pear OS is a Linux-based operating system designed to combine the beauty of Apple software with the utility (and open nature) of GNU/Linux. A year ago that meant making Ubuntu look like OS X. Now it apparently means giving Ubuntu an OS X and iOS 7-style user interface.

Pear OS 8 is now available for desktop and notebook computers, and developer David Taveres hopes to bring the software to tablets as well.

Pear OS 8

While Pear OS8 continues to take its design cues from Apple’s software, but not only has the user interface and app launcher been giving a touch of Apple’s desktop operating system, but the color scheme is very much inspired by iOS 7.

The desktop operating system is available in 32-bit and 64-bit flavors, and while there’s an emphasis on the operating system’s visual style, Taveres also promises speedy performance, compatibility with a wide range of peripherals including MP3 players, cameras, and printers, and the Steam gaming platform.

There’s also a Pear Cloud utility for backing up and synchronizing your contacts, documents, pictures, and other data over the internet.

Pear OS for tablets

The Pear team also hopes to develop a version of Pear for tablets, starting with support for the Microsoft Surface line of tablets. There would be x64 and ARM versions, with the ARM version eventually also supporting other tablets including Google Nexus and Samsung Galaxy Tab and Note models.

Tavares is launching a crowd-funding effort to raise €10,500 (about $14,000) to help fund the development of Pear OS for tablets.

If the team succeeds, this might be about as close as you’re likely to get to OS X on a tablet, since Apple seems intent on pushing two different operating systems, one for desktop and notebook computers and another for phones and tablets.

via Softpedia

  • Michael Thompson

    I don’t run iOS or RT devices, but bringing this OS to RT tablets sounds good enough for me to want to check out if and when it happens.
    Best of luck!

    • someguy

      Wait, people are able to install other OS’s onto RT tablets? Link to instructions please! I’m definitely interested.

      • CyberGusa

        Uh, no… I think they meant the same hardware, but there’s problems getting another OS to boot on a Surface tablet…

        Namely, two specific factors get in the way…

        1) Secure Boot can’t be disabled on ARM based systems like the Surface, running RT and it’s still a 32bit system… meaning you can’t use the 64bit boot loader and that’s the only version that will work mostly problem free for booting to a system with UEFI firmware… 32bit loader exists of course but it’s a lot harder to set up properly and the next factor renders it moot…

        2) MS specifically uses a Private Key for Secure Boot on the Surface, which means no 3rd party can boot on it… As you need a system with Public Key to allow for 3rd party boots…

        So, unless this was changed with Surface 2 then it means you still can’t use another OS on the MS Surface…

        However, there’s nothing that special about the ARM SoC hardware and you could have a system released with the same hardware but running another OS from the start.

        Alternatively, maybe they plan on flashing a new firmware onto the device that would allow another OS to run.

        There are firmware companies that already offer dual booting capabilities for UEFI Firmware, they just need companies to order the firmware for their hardware…

        Or, maybe they were thinking of the Intel based systems… In which case they can, as long as the system maker makes it easy and provides proper hardware support and 64bit UEFI firmware…

      • someguy

        It’s called sarcasm.

      • CyberGusa

        You’re assuming sarcasm but some people simply don’t know whether there are limitations or not or whether anyone has yet figured out how to work around the limitations!

        Like before XDA community figured out how to Jailbreak RT, I’m sure many people thought that was impossible at first as well!

        Besides, it’s usually customary to leave a symbol or other indication that a statement is meant in jest… such as ;-p, for example…

        Also, how others will tend to read it matters as this is a public discussion!

  • oomfoofoo

    Why hello there Cease and Desist!

  • Willy Wankah

    Great project in theory, but with both Microsoft-branded and closed-blobbed ARM hardware I must wonder if those straying outside the One Ubuntu Way will be keen to support it.

    Besides the MS factor and the decidedly closed-source drivers there’s also the long-awaited tsunami of roughly equivalent (ok some more speed and power-drain) Intel-based gear arriving which will have first class Linux/open-source support. Hopefully soon without the MS tax and boot obstacles as well.

    Until the wizards of ARM.com (UK) find the will to fix their house that side of the field would be best left to the androidgenous “kangsters” to play with. That is, until ARM starts supporting the free software that supports them (i.e. Linux-based Android), the Pears et al would be wiser to feed the hand that, umm, feeds them. That is, Intel’s hardware with good level of openness. There’s a present opportunity in tablets and fanless small form-factor laptops and in 2014 you’ll see growing interest in Tizen, Jolla etc. handsets that are both affordable and aren’t diverting your data traffic to the US National Security Administration via MS, Apple or Google.

    So Pear, make your Apple imitation as great as you can, but concentrate on supporting the Intel side for the time being and try to make some OEM preload or support deals where possible. You know MS isn’t going to be one of them so let people buying a boot-locked MS+ARM “solution” suffer the consequences on their own.

    • [email protected]

      Pear OS, by their own admission, does not support all of the Intel hardware platforms and they probably never will due to poor vendor (Intel) attention to Linux. For example, PowerVR GPUs aka Intel “GMA” 500, 600, 3600, and 3650 are not supported. Atom CPUs have had poor Linux support from Intel, in general. It’s a pity.

      • CyberGusa

        Uh, first not all ATOMs use PowerVRT GPUs… Second, Intel’s own GPU’s have had pretty good Linux support over the years!

        Only the 32nm SoC Penwell ATOMs really made it hard but the new Silvermont based Bay Trail goes back to all Intel hardware with a GPU based on the Ivy Bridge HD4000 but scaled down to mobile usage.

        Linux Kernel 3.11 onward already started adding support for Bay Trail, starting with audio support and Intel has added the Bay Trail HD GMA to its Linux support since April…

      • [email protected]

        The key phrase was “for example”. Yes, the i915 has been an effective kernel module coupled with xserver-xorg-video-intel for Intel in-house developed graphics. Unfortunately, Intel and notebook vendors have been dumping the PowerVR Cedar View graphics into many products, making it very difficult to install a stable desktop for Linux and BSD. Even Windows 7 is limited to the 32-bit version if one wants to install Intel drivers (highly recommended). I will be following the Silvermont progress with interest as I was personally burned with a D2550MUD2 motherboard from Intel (Xubuntu 13.10 and Windows 7 32-bit work satisfactorily).

      • CyberGusa

        I mean no offense but if you got burned it was because you didn’t do enough research before buying that product.

        Since, issues with PowerVR GPU’s are no secret and anyone following the market closely would have figured out that Cedar Trail was pretty much already on its way out even as it was being released.

        Most Notebook vendors didn’t even bother with Cedar Trail… the netbook market was already showing signs of decline before its release and few even bothered to update older netbook models with Cedar Trail, let alone release new models.

        Interest died out so fast that Intel never even bothered releasing 64bit Win7 drivers for Cedar Trail, one of the D Series Cedar Trail ATOM models even got discontinued with months of its release!

        Cedar Trail was just the last release before Intel officially switched gears to re-purpose the ATOM for the mobile market but they were still a long way from being able to put their GPU into a low powered mobile device.

        After all, the main market for PowerVR GPUs is the mobile market, where its IP represents over 80% of the market… covering both Android and iOS based devices!

        So they stuck with PowerVR GPU for Medfield and Clover Trail but it was never their long term goal to stick with them!

        The new HD GMA for Bay Trail represents the first mobile optimized version of Intel’s own GPU and that’s what they will be sticking to now.

        Anyway, the main hurdle for Linux support for Bay Trail isn’t the driver support (will get sorted pretty quickly) but rather the vendor’s support for the UEFI…

        Since some vendors are still releasing products with the 32bit UEFI, it makes it problematic to easily boot the OS of your choice.

        Only the 64bit Boot Loader easily works with UEFI and only the 64bit Boot Loader can work at all with Secure Boot enabled to make it even simpler…

        Companies are just not in a hurry to push full 64bit support with the majority of the mobile market still 32bit, several months to go before we’ll see 4GB RAM become standard, and MS isn’t releasing 64bit drivers for Windows 8 that will support Connected Standby until at least Q1 of 2014…

        Once that’s all sorted out, though, it should be relatively simple matter to boot the OS of your choice… as long as it’s based on a fairly recent Kernel version and they got everything else sorted as well…

        So, just wait until Q2 of next year before you get serious about looking for a solution for running Linux…

  • Cal Rankin

    Someone call Dan Schneider… iCarly needed this on their computers…

    • Good One

      LOL

  • Willy wankah

    Atoms with closed-sourced PowerVR GPUs are a past lesson learned. Well it helped kill netbooks for a while at least! Wonder why very few people bought them? We certainly didn’t.

    Current Intel CPUs and esp. graphics hardware does support Linux/OSS very well in the low-power segment and have done so on the desktop all along.

    Over here we have ageing Intel PCs, laptops and netbooks (well not all so aged) all running continuously updated Intel OSS drivers. Yay!

    The android mobiles here are lucky to get any (security, feature or speed) updates at all. Elkins, your arrows are pointing the wrong way, that’s all.

  • Andrew

    It’s Mac OS X for the poor.

    • RTM

      i think its for smart people, not for technician dependents.

  • Willy Wankah

    Maybe the poor (majority of billions) and opensource-minded should be allowed to share whatever practical general concepts are made available to them? OK, the obvious stuff anyway. The last time I actually liked Apple’s UI graphics was during the System 7 era. (not to be confused with iOS 7) Cue to Aaron Copland tunes which never materialized… well BSD/”X” did work for _them_.

    You do realize that Apple has been cashing in/riding on the coattails of deliberately partially open-sourced core software since their rebirth from oblivion? Sure they’re better than MS in some respects, but I don’t want my tech ending in landfills before its time just because some billionaire corporate honcho calculates that it’s better for his paycheck. Oh and I’ve got some prematurely obsolete Apple gear near my desk and even under my bed as I type. Hi Steve!

    So I’m with the poor with this. The more open and useful the longer this stuff stays away from toxic landfills and the kids still scavenging them.

    • Mirza Borogovac

      Why I agree with almost everything you said I must say that compared to Apple, MS Is a shiny beacon of interoperability and.freedom

      • dgrb

        Both companies are scum and I will never buy anything from either of them.

        Simples.

  • Mirza Borogovac

    I guess if someone likes apple stuff they can use this. I have a displeasure of occasionally using a Mac and I hate it. Instead Of a mouse there is a big square trackpad that feels clunky and unresponsive. You have to press hard down just to click. In order to select text you use two fingers, drag down and then you run out of space on trackpad and it is annoying to no end. That is just one example of many annoyances on osx.

    Now every OS has annoyances, but what angers me is this BS about great apple UI and design. That is nothing but denial and rationalization of people who paid too much for a computer. OS X UI stinks because it’s different for the sake of novelty.

  • ddevine

    My freakin’ eyes!

  • Chdslv

    Have you really checked the “Pear OS 8 Launchpad” as you’ve shown above? Why theer is only 21 apps in it? Where are the other apps? Have you tried searching for an app in that “serach box?”

    You just cannot open any other app in that “Launcher Menu.”

  • Carlos Teran

    A huge lawsuit is coming… it’s a shame, it looks very promising.

  • limabean

    port it to hp touchpad and the world will rejoice

  • james braselton

    hi there dont want ios clone for the pear os ios is too boaring i would like a next gen clone of windows 8 with live tiles at $80 for computers ipad iphones i have a nokia 1520 with windows 8 live tiles soo alwsoume