Boston Linux & Unix (BLU) Home | Calendar | Mail Lists | List Archives | Desktop SIG | Hardware Hacking SIG
Wiki | Flickr | PicasaWeb | Video | Maps & Directions | Installfests | Keysignings
Linux Cafe | Meeting Notes | Blog | Linux Links | Bling | About BLU

BLU Discuss list archive

[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[Discuss] The next Linux desktop: Ubuntu 12.04

Richard Pieri wrote:
> It's intended for small, touch-based devices, and with good reason.
> That's where the money is these days.
> What is Canonical focused on?  I just don't see the point.  Without
> mainstream tablets and smartphones running Unity in the pipeline there
> really isn't a point to it.

I think it had more near-term relevance when netbooks were on a rising
tide. Now that netbooks are giving way to tablets, and tablets are
initially predominantly using iOS and Android, having Unity seems less

But there's no doubt that they are working a longer range game. Tablet
hardware is obviously getting progressively better (the current ASUS
tablet has a quad-core CPU, the next model (TF700T) will have 1920 ?
1200 resolution, which is better than what most desktops and laptops
have, and the iPad 3 offers 2048 x 1536; about the only place tablets
lag is in RAM...still maxing out at 1 GB for the foreseeable future).

With Microsoft making a big push for Windows 8 on tablets, which
inevitably will drive towards even higher performing hardware, and with
Canonical having ported Ubuntu to ARM, there should be a good selection
of hardware that can comfortably run Ubuntu. Once you have that, it is a
small leap to vendors partnering with Canonical to ship tablets with
Ubuntu. (We've already see one, though the hardware was nothing impressive.)

Microsoft is going to have an uphill battle to carry its monopoly over
to tablets. By their own design - creating an app store with new rules
that programs need to adhere to - they've cut off the "network effect"
that their library of applications has traditionally provided.

They'll be on more of a level playing field with their competitors, and
it will be less likely to be a repeat of what happened when netbooks
first shipped with Linux, and frustrated buyers replaced the OS with
Windows because they couldn't run the programs they needed to "do real

> I think that what we have here is another case of a Linux desktop
> following the leaders (Macintosh, Windows) without understanding *why*
> those leaders are doing what they're doing.

I think they understand it. I applaud them for going off in their own
direction (which really isn't that radical of a departure). The broader
marketplace will prove out whether they came up with a superior design.

As I've written before, my complaint is that they didn't provide a
viable migration path for power users. They should have either 1.
delayed Unity until the customization hooks were available so that
Canonical and other developers could provide a tool to morph Unity to
more closely emulate GNOME 2, or 2. officially supported and maintained
GNOME 2 (or a good quality emulation of it in GNOME 3) until #1 was a
viable option.

Bill Bogstad wrote:
> I think the race towards tablets is not so much about the size of the 
> market as the high rate of growth and the perception that the winners 
> (and losers) are not yet set in stone. The market for PC/notebook form 
> factor devices seems less ripe for major changes in market share among 
> the various choices and thus is attracting a lot of attention from 
> companies that want to "own" this new market.

I don't think the excitement is over being the first to stake out ground
in a minority market. Instead it is because they see the kind of market
penetration that smartphones have achieved (something like 850K Android
activations a day, and they're only half the market, so over a million
new phones daily), and they realize that is because these devices appeal
to a wider audience than traditional PCs. They see tablets as falling in
between the two. So on that reasoning, tablets should create a larger
market than PCs.

> If I had to do all of my computing via a virtual on-screen keyboard and 
> a screen smaller then a 8.5"x11" piece of paper, I would go crazy.

You're not the target audience. No BLU member is representative of who
will make up the bulk of the tablet market.

> Cooking: Oven, Stove Top, Microwave, Toaster, Toaster oven, Rice
> Cooker, CrockPot/Slow cooker, Electric waffle iron, Electric griddle,
> Electric drip coffee maker, Bread machine

You left out the hot plate! That's important in this analogy, because it
is the small, portable, general purpose appliance that can do 80% of
what all those other appliances do.

They don't handle cooking more than one dish (multitasking). Not
particularly fast. And hand one to a chef (power user) and he/she will
rip their hair out in frustration. :-)

But college kids love them.

Vendors are betting that most of the needs of the largest market for
computing devices can be met by the equivalent of a hot plate.


Tom Metro
Venture Logic, Newton, MA, USA
"Enterprise solutions through open source."
Professional Profile:

BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
BLU is a member of BostonUserGroups
We also thank MIT for the use of their facilities.

Valid HTML 4.01! Valid CSS!

Boston Linux & Unix /