Open Source

How Canonical's next moves could repaint the Linux landscape

Jack Wallen highlights how Canonical and Ubuntu are going to totally revolutionize the Linux landscape in the upcoming months. Will mass acceptance follow?

I'll preface this by saying that I realize I've been writing about Ubuntu/Canonical quite a lot lately. There is a good reason for this — Ubuntu 12.04 should bring about some major changes to both the Linux desktop landscape as well as the way people looking outside-in view Linux. How is that you ask? Outside of the bits and pieces I've already mentioned (HUD and various improvements to Unity), Canonical is planning on three major additions to the Linux-verse that could easily be a complete reversal of fortune (to the tune of the late Steve Jobs miraculously re-joining Apple).

Those three additions are:

  • Ubuntu on Android
  • Ubuntu TV
  • Ubuntu on tablets

Let's take a look at just how these new bits of tech could seriously change the way consumers and users look at Linux.

Ubuntu on Android

Many of us have tried docks for our mobile handsets. Most often they fall short of being, well, useful. Canonical is hoping to revolutionize this with Ubuntu on Android. What is this? Simple:

When you plug your Android device into the dock, you will enjoy a full-blown Ubuntu Linux desktop. When you remove the Android from the dock, your mobile device will return to the standard Android platform.

It gets better.

  • Both devices will share the same documents.
  • All multimedia files will be accessible from either state.
  • All calls, messages, and other data will also be accessible from either state.

Ubuntu on Android will be the first truly integrated mobile/desktop environment.

Ubuntu TV

I have seriously high hopes for this. Imagine, a TV experience with a full-blown desktop interface that offers:

  • Streaming video
  • On-line box office
  • Broadcast
  • Time shift
  • Personal cloud
  • Apps
  • Disk media

... all in a single box.

Imagine your TV, powered by Ubuntu with Ubuntu One and The Ubuntu Software Center ready to go. That is Ubuntu TV. It's an intelligent DVR with much more.

Ubuntu on tablets

Shuttleworth has been promising this for a while now (since the advent of Unity) and it looks like, within the next year, this will come to fruition. As everyone here in the TechRepublic-verse knows, I'm a big fan of the Android Tablet. I love my Verizon-branded Galaxy Tablets. But the second I can have a tablet with Ubuntu powering the device, I will be there. The Unity interface was designed for the tablet and the touchscreen. And having the entire Ubuntu software catalog ready for installation, will make for some serious mobile power.

What really makes this exciting (in a similar vein to that of Ubuntu on Android) is that the tablet will most likely (and seamlessly) integrate with the Ubuntu desktop and Ubuntu One.

I realize I've made a major shift from my position regarding Canonical and Ubuntu (once Unity was released)... but these things happen. Ubuntu has had a serious plan all along, one that not all of us were able to see from the initial release of Unity. Now that plan is becoming clear and that plan is powerful and could possibly bring Linux closer to mass acceptance than it has ever been.

I applaud Canonical and Ubuntu for what it is doing for the Linux desktop and platform. The future is looking incredibly bright for an operating system many predicted would just fade into the sunset. With Canonical repainting the Linux landscape, the sky is the limit.


Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website

Editor's Picks