Ubuntu operating system comes to Android smartphones
The Ubuntu operating system has now been adapted to run on smartphones. Fast, free and incredibly easy to use, the Ubuntu operating system powers millions of desktop PCs, laptops and servers around the world. Ubuntu will now work with your existing PC files, printers, cameras, music players and smartphones — and it comes with thousands of free apps.
An operating system is what makes your computer work, running all your programs and managing your hardware. Other examples include Microsoft Windows and Mac OS X. With Ubuntu, you can do all the things you can do with other operating systems, but with Ubuntu you can do them faster, more securely and, of course, for free. The good thing about Ubuntu is that it is free and it always will be. That’s because it’s the work of open-source software experts from all over the world — people who believe software should be free.
Ubuntu will allow users to run desktop apps on their handsets, this allows them to double for PCs when docked to monitors. The Linus based code will initially be released as a file which can be installed on Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus phone, replacing Android. There has been the question of whether the power of a fully fledged computer should be available on a phone.
Even so, Ubuntu’s founder, Mark Shuttleworth, said he was in talks with manufacturers for devices to be sold with the system pre-installed within the year. Shuttleworth did admit that in the first instance, the innovation would probably be limited to tech “enthusiasts and hobbyists”, he said it should appeal to a wider audience at some later point.
“It’s quite incredible that we’re at this point when the power of the phone is crossing over that with baseline processing power of basic laptops,” Mr Shuttleworth told the BBC.
“We’re taking advantage of that so for the first time in history you have the full consumer PC platform available on a phone.
“I’m very confident if we look ahead over the next three to five years that’s a transition that Apple is going to have to make… and if it’s not Windows 9 it will be Windows 10 that will see Microsoft bring its phone and laptop together into one device. It’s really cracking to do that ahead of everyone else.”
Phones running the software will be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas next week.
Ubuntu is the most popular operating system to be based on the Linux kernel – the code that lets software and hardware work together. It is available for free via the London-based firm behind it, Canonical, and has been helped by thousands of volunteers who contribute to the open source project. The way the company makes money is to offer support and training and to take a share of sales from online marketplaces offered by handset makers who adopt its software.
It estimates that more than 20 million PCs already use it. In many cases these are older machines which benefit from the fact it is less demanding on computer power than Windows – and is virus-free.
The new version has been designed to work on last and current-generation Android handsets which share the Linux kernel. This means Ubuntu can re-use existing software drivers to control the hardware.
There are already 45,000 native apps for the system – albeit with several notable omissions such as Adobe’s Photoshop and the Office suite, although alternatives do exist.
Developers will be urged to adapt their apps’ interfaces to look different when running on a phone’s screen while offering the same core functionality.
When running on phones Ubuntu can be controlled by the “head-up display” (Hud) option it introduced last year.
This allows users to type or say what command they want a program to carry out rather than having to click through menus.
“The Hud was born out of the phone design process,” revealed Mr Shuttleworth.
“The key question we were asking is how do we allow developers to express some of the deeper richer functionality that you get typically in a desktop application when they write for a phone. Typically phone and tablet applications are streamlined slimmed-down versions of stuff that might have existed in a more sophisticated complicated form on the PC. And in our world where all of the functionality is there… you can invoke the Hud on the phone and talk to it with voice recognition instead of typing in your command – so you could say [for instance] you want a photo in a 1930s style – and our R&D effort is to make that natural.”
A version of the code will shortly be made available to developers to start adapting their apps.
The firm then plans to release a file for Galaxy Nexus phones by February, and later for other handsets and ultimately tablet computers as well.
Source BBC News
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