Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Handhelds Ubuntu Linux

Ubuntu Touch On a Nexus 7: "Almost Awesome" 116

Posted by timothy
from the battery-life-is-a-killer-feature dept.
colinneagle writes "I installed Ubuntu Touch "1.0" on my first-generation Nexus 7 tablet and have been using it as my main tablet system for the last four days. Here's how it went. First off, the installation was surprisingly painless. I followed the official instructions and didn't encounter a single problem. That being said, the installation is really geared toward software developers, power users or people already comfortable on a Linux command line. If you're not in one of those categories, I recommend holding off for the time being. Once installed, Ubuntu Touch booted up rather quickly — in only just a few seconds (a fair bit faster than Android 4.x on the same tablet). And, immediately, I was presented with a short tutorial that appears the first time the system is booted, which, I might add, has got to be one of the slickest, least annoying tutorials I've seen. But... there were problems. The battery life was, to put it mildly, terrible. Performance has been mixed, and the OS was prone to what I call 'The Pulsating Seizure Feature' a few dozen times over the weekend. In a nutshell: launching apps (and, occasionally, moving between apps) can cause the device to freeze and begin flashing the screen rapidly."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Ubuntu Touch On a Nexus 7: "Almost Awesome"

Comments Filter:
  • by gl4ss (559668) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @10:57AM (#45200749) Homepage Journal

    is it smoother?

  • Finally (Score:5, Funny)

    by lesincompetent (2836253) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:00AM (#45200797)
    This will be the year of the linux tablet.
    Though technically it's always been.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not if the installation requires familiarity with the Linux command line. Tablets are designed to require even less computer skills than PCs. The fact that it's "geared toward software developers, power users or people already comfortable on a Linux command line" is not going to help sell this at all.

      • by Xicor (2738029)
        well, it hasnt officially been released yet. people are just installing the developer previews... which kindof do suggest that you have familiarity with linux cmd line.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        Not if the installation requires familiarity with the Linux command line. Tablets are designed to require even less computer skills than PCs. The fact that it's "geared toward software developers, power users or people already comfortable on a Linux command line" is not going to help sell this at all.

        Those who lack the skill to install them will have it pre-installed on their devices. Flashing custom rom on mobile devices was never easy and straightforward . Not for iOS, not for android, not for windows mobile, and certainly won't be happening for ubuntu

        • Linux probably makes it harder. I've never flashed a cell phone/tablet, but I've flashed various stuff like an old modem/router, a couple microcontrollers (in school), a Game Boy flash cartridge where you can put a couple dozen stolen game ROMs in there, and of course computers BIOS and various bits of firmware for internal PC components.
          All in DOS or Windows : it invariably consists in downloading an .exe and running it, and telling it what image file to flash (and at worst choosing between LPT1/LPT2 or se

          • by Xicor (2738029)
            you do realize that all android devices and roms are essentially linux, right?
            • My router was linux, but flashing it was done from a Windows .exe program on my (then) Windows PC.
              Then the messing with the box was to set it up in an unadvertised way (simple bridge wifi extender), but the flashing was Windows based and through USB (PC as host, router as device).

              So at least in theory a tablet, which is a linux based computer that can act as a USB device just like that old router, could be very easy to flash. Maybe I'm naïve.

              • by Xicor (2738029)
                most people who use phones are technologically incompetent
              • by RoboJ1M (992925)

                Historically Canonical have done a fantastic job of making it easy to put Ubuntu on what you put Ubuntu on.
                Eventually it will be shipped hardware but I won't be surprised when I see a Windows EXE that auto-flashes your Nexus tablet with Ubuntu 1.x.

      • Tablets are designed to require even less computer skills than PCs.

        Says who? I thought they were different tools for different purposes. Tablets are designed as consumption devices, whereas PCs are designed to be more general-purpose and production devices. There are many people who are perfectly capable of performing the task they need done on a PC, even if they don't know the difference between bash and sh

        Just because a tablet is designed to be a consumption device doesn't mean that it has to be associated with Fisher-Price

    • My New Car (Score:5, Funny)

      by MightyMartian (840721) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:31AM (#45201225) Journal

      I'd like to introduce to my new car. It's almost awesome; except when the engine stalls, or the accelerator sticks at maximum revs, or the doors won't open or the wheels sometimes fly off when I'm going 60mph. But other than that, it's a dream!

      • Re:My New Car (Score:4, Insightful)

        by darthdavid (835069) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:49AM (#45201481) Homepage Journal

        Except your analogy is dumb. This isn't buying a new car, this is more like getting invited down to the factory to try out a prototype of a new model they're still in the process of designing.

        I mean gee, you'd almost think that this was an unfinished OS running on a Tablet that wasn't specifically designed to run it or something...

        • by LQ (188043)

          Except your analogy is dumb. This isn't buying a new car, this is more like getting invited down to the factory to try out a prototype of a new model they're still in the process of designing.

          I mean gee, you'd almost think that this was an unfinished OS running on a Tablet that wasn't specifically designed to run it or something...

          I've been using Linux and Windows varients professionally for over twenty years. I'm sorry to have to say it but Linux distros never really get past that functional prototype feeling. The mix of bleeding edge, inconsistent design, playing catch-up with commercial apps and "if you don't like it, fix it yourself" never fails to slightly disappoint.

          • by RoboJ1M (992925)

            Ah yes, but Windows never gets past that feeling that it was designed and implemented my many teams of many types over many years and not once did they ever speak to each other.

            Although I too hate the Linux ecosystems "tinkerers" attitude.

            Luckily for us we have Canonical, which have been developing their OS which has shown consistent improvement for 9 years.
            Still a long way to go though, but once you get there, well, you're there aren't you? :)

          • by eriqk (1902450)

            I've been using Linux and Windows varients professionally for over twenty years. I'm sorry to have to say it but Linux distros never really get past that functional prototype feeling. The mix of bleeding edge, inconsistent design, playing catch-up with commercial apps and "if you don't like it, fix it yourself" never fails to slightly disappoint.

            But fortunately, a lot has happened since 1998.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Hats off for Ubuntu to make a generic OS for mobile devices... However those problems are big ones. Every device is setup just a little differently as to try to get a competitive advantage over their rivals.
    Android is often heavily customized for each device so it runs more optimally, having a generic OS will be harder, because who knows what drivers should be on all time time and what should be on then off then back on again.

    PC and Laptop do not suffer as much as they are not so much designed for Power Co

    • by ebrandsberg (75344) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:04AM (#45200843)

      Cyanogenmod is doing a good job getting a more unified version of Android on many vendor's devices. I have several devices using it and it works well. (http://www.cyanogenmod.org/)

      • by EmagGeek (574360)

        Mod parent up. Cyanogenmod comes conveniently stripped of Google Apps and can be used as a "generic" operating system. I use CM on my devices without Google Apps and it's very pleasant. Battery life is amazing too as long as you don't have apps running that track you constantly (Facebook and other spyware) in the background.

        I have a Gen1 N7 that I use basically just for playing music in the car, and Torque Pro for gauges. Vanilla CM is perfect for it.

      • by EricTheRed (5613)

        Cyanogenmod is doing a good job getting a more unified version of Android on many vendor's devices. I have several devices using it and it works well. (http://www.cyanogenmod.org/)

        I have to agree. Currently running it on a Nexus 4 & 1st gen 7 as well as a 1st gen Kindle with no problems whatsoever.

        • I miss being able to revoke app permissions. Being able to deny location data, to WhatsApp for example, was A Good Thing for privacy. I know it is claimed that location data is only used if you choose to send your location to another party, but I'd rather be either notified each time access was requested to prove it, or deny it altogether.
    • by X0563511 (793323)

      Nexus is Google's (Asus rather) product. It's the closest to stock android you can get, because it is stock android.

  • I'd definitely consider using this if it were in a usable state ... I tried an early alpha version nearly a year ago and it was much worse than what you describe, so at least by the sounds of it they've made inroads since then. What with all the attention Linux gaming has been getting on the desktop, and knowing how big-an industry gaming is now, it'll be interesting to see if any developers turn their attentions to getting games out for Ubuntu on mobile processing architectures.
  • by SpoonStomper (1330973) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:07AM (#45200889)
    Seriously.. "Almost Awesome" ... this sounds a lot like a nightmare and border line unusable.. I can only imagine the headlines if this was a windows device that failed to function. Which by the way windows 7/8 mobile has been smooth since day 1..
    • by Xicor (2738029) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:13AM (#45200977)
      it is just a developer preview. the actual release wont happen until next year. try to compare it to windows 8 preview lol.
      • by nojayuk (567177)

        I ran Win8 preview on an AMD desktop for several months. Were there any serious problems (flashing screen, bad power consumption on laptops etc.) reported during the Win8 beta? I can't recall anything that got in the way of me doing stuff.

      • by smadasam (831582)
        I assume you didn't run the Windows 8 or 8.1 previews then. I did and don't recall it having this level of fail. In fact the software ran almost completely reliably. I am speaking of software quality and reliability and not personal preference in the UI design.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seriously? No really, seriously? This is more like the semi stable nightly i run on my phone (although the one on my phone as had much more time to get more stable), of course there is going to be bugs, and performance issues and says nothing about what the final stable release will be, that said it appears that battery life will be a common theme here that will have to be worked on. And if you think there wasn't a buggy alpha and beta version of Windows whatever, i have a bridge to sell you... Just because

  • by new death barbie (240326) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:17AM (#45201037)

    Have the Ubuntu releases wrapped around, then? I thought we were at "Teething Tapir" or some such thing.

  • ftfs:

    the OS was prone to what I call 'The Pulsating Seizure Feature' a few dozen times over the weekend. In a nutshell: launching apps (and, occasionally, moving between apps) can cause the device to freeze and begin flashing the screen rapidly."

    oh good, I was afraid that we would have to get through a technology review without taking swipes at medical communities.

    • by cdrudge (68377)

      What swipe at medical communities? The screen pulses and seizes, as in "My computer seized up". It wasn't ever aimed at any medical communities, presumably those who suffer from epileptic seizures that can be induced by flashing screens. Although those that suffer from that condition probably should stay away from this OS for the time being.

      • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

        What swipe at medical communities? The screen pulses and seizes, as in "My computer seized up".

        nopee. I was going to respond with something, but you're just being intentionally difficult so I won't waste my time.

        • by BluBrick (1924)
          To resolve the conundrum in your sig, see your comment.
          • by noh8rz10 (2716597)

            you don't know what you're talking about. I don't see a conundrum here. I see a pair of idiots who should have tickets to the idiot farm.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @11:26AM (#45201151) Homepage

    I had it installed on my Nexus 4 and it was a heaping steaming pile of crap. Kept dropping data connections and phone calls were full of bugs like not being able to hang up, or the phone app crashing when you press dial.

    My favorite was the notification of incoming call just failing to appear until the carrier sent it to voicemail.

  • What did you expect would happen?

  • It sounds to me like it sucks pretty bad, especially with all those freezes you mentioned. I think Canonical can do a lot better. What you described sounds very disappointing.

  • Tablets are about being a consumer, or in many cases of "free" software, you're the actual product.

  • So, when Ubuntu Touch is having a seizure, it kindly induces one in the user as well. How clever! The user will never notice that their tablet has become unresponsive when they're spasming uncontrollably on the floor, trying not to bite through their tongue. As long as the user's seizure ends before the tablet's, the user will remain blissfully unaware that there was any problem!

  • Battery Life (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday October 22, 2013 @01:01PM (#45202571)

    Vanishingly few here understand the problem of battery life on these ARM devices. A desktop OS cannot- repeat cannot ever have a decent battery life on such a device. Why?

    Low power ARM SoC devices are designed with MULTIPLE, special purpose low-power hardware blocks, that run as much of the actual processing as possible. Playing an MP3 or video, for instance, is NOTHING like the implementation path on Linux or Windows, even with hardware acceleration. The Android device actually has special pathing for such operations, where hardware solutions independent of the normal CPU cores is triggered, allowing the CPU system to enter a minimum power-state.

    DOING NOTHING is another key part of Android. Doing nothing is MEANINGLESS as a Windows or Linux concept. Doing nothing is everything on a mobile OS, where the device is constantly looking for such a time in order to enter the lowest power state for a 'running' device' as quickly as possible.

    ARM SoC devices are a new computer paradigm, and this is something old-school nerds cannot get their heads around. Why did Apple HATE Flash on mobile devices? Because Flash CANNOT be made power-efficient - it is a "throw CPU resources at the problem" solution, and a lousy match for mobile devices.

    This means that mobile ARM devices will NEVER be a good match for continuous computer processing applications that cannot be handled by dedicated hardware blocks, but how much heavy general CPU based-processing does a mobile device need to do?

    Linux on a tablet is moronic. Windows on a tablet is moronic. Go to a laptop format with a MUCH larger battery, and now ordinary desktop operating systems are fine. But the issue of dedicated hardware blocks really clouds the issue. Once, Intel told us we needed their latest CPU chips to play video on our desktops, then to play MP3s. Later still, Intel told us to spend hundreds of dollars on Intel chips if we wished to encode video. Or recognise speech. Or render graphics to the screen. Each of these excuses for heavy, GENERAL PURPOSE, computing elements, like Intel CPUs, has vanished. Doing any of these tasks on your CPU today is the height of foolishness.

    Without most people even noticing, computers have split into two camps. The old-school computers that need to run CPU intensive tasks much of the time. And the computer 'devices' that rarely run CPU intensive code for anything but very short durations. The second class are NOT the thin-clients once mistakenly anticipated as becoming the common platform for 'devices'. The second-class are also TRUE general purpose computers, but lack the energy resources to do continuous general purpose computing calculations.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Would you say that Android on a tablet is moronic? Would you say that Android is not a Linux OS?

  • i frequently have the same pulsation problem with the stock android, so perhaps it is a hardware failure.

  • "Almost Awesome" I think that must have been meant as a joke. Constantly crashing and crap battery life on release software is probably the opposite of awesome...at least for me. Maybe he meant that it would have been completely awesome if it managed to electrocute him or kick him in the nuts some how.

Dennis Ritchie is twice as bright as Steve Jobs, and only half wrong. -- Jim Gettys

Working...