Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth has made no secret of his plans to make the popular Ubuntu Linux operating system more touchscreen-friendly. The company recently released a tool that makes it easy to install the operating system on the Google Nexus 7 tablet. And last year the company teased software that would let you run Ubuntu on an Android phone, using it like a desktop computer when you plug in a monitor.

Now there’s a countdown timer on the Ubuntu homepage with the message “so close you can almost touch it,” suggesting that a major touch announcement is coming on January 2nd, 2013.

Update: Canonical has introduced Ubuntu Phone OS, a new smartphone operating system which will launch on handsets in 2014. Early builds will be available for existing devices such as the Samsung Galaxy Nexus in the coming weeks.

Ubuntu countdown timer

It’s not clear exactly what the company will announce this week. Ubuntu 13.04 isn’t due out until April, and the next long-term-support version of Ubuntu comes a year after that.

But Shuttleworth has suggested that Ubuntu development in 2013 will be heavily focused on mobile devices including phones and tablets. Maybe Canonical will be announce a hardware partner for Ubuntu on Android soon, maybe there’ll be tools that make installing the operating system on tablets beside the Nexus 7 easier, or maybe there’s something entirely new to announced.

According to a job posting in April, Canonical was looking for people to work on something called “Ubuntu Phone OS,” which could just be another name for Ubuntu on Android. But maybe it’s a special version of Ubuntu designed to run on phones… because what the world needs now is clearly yet another smartphone operating system.


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9 replies on “Ubuntu is getting touchy feely (or at least touchscreen-friendly)”

  1. This would be nice for running some productivity and anti-productivity (aka gaming) apps that are available for linux but don’t yet have mobile variants.

  2. I can’t imagine the average Linux user needing or even wanting touchscreens. Most geeks find them to be toys and Linux users (seemingly) prefer a more utilitarian interface. Mark seems a bit out of touch these days.

    1. It has been proven constantly and repeatedly over the years that Ubuntu’s target market is *not* the average Linux user.

      1. I think that depends on what you mean by “average Linux user.” If you mean “users of server distributions” or “users of enterprise desktop distributions”, then you’re correct that’s not their target market.

        But if you mean “users of non-enterprise desktop distributions”, then, er, have you looked at distrowatch in the past four years?

        1. Believing that all desktop distributions are the same is naive.
          Ubuntu fucks up every single release without fail. They do things that practically *nobody* likes – nearly always to appeal to a group of users who frankly don’t even exist.
          Everybody I know who whines about Ubuntu (and that’s most people who use it) are having their issues because Ubuntu gives zero fux about them as a user – because they’re not the target market.

          1. I’m not sure what the first sentence is in reference to. As for the rest, my point is that if you look at the distrowatch rankings, Ubuntu or an Ubuntu derivative (Mint) has held the top spot since 2006, and two of the top three spots since 2008. Well, until last week, that is. The whining and complaining that I’ve heard going on has to do with Unity, not the rest of Ubuntu. This even shows in the shifting popularity from Ubuntu to…Mint.

  3. An Ubuntu for Android device would be nice (although I have already bought an ARM ChromeBook and it works fairly well with Ubuntu)

  4. Another smartphone OS is required. I just don’t like any of the current 3!

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