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Canonical (Nearly) Halts Development of Ubuntu For Android 55

Posted by timothy
from the go-all-the-way dept.
rjmarvin (3001897) writes "In a since-removed bug report on Launchpad, Ubuntu's issue tracker, Canonical's Matthew Paul Thomas stated that Ubuntu for Android is no longer in active development. In a statement, Canonical stated that while the project is not completely dead, Canonical is currently focusing on pushing Ubuntu for Phones. The company is open to working with partners on Ubuntu for Android, but will not proceed with further U4A development unless they can form a partnership with an OEM partner to launch it. The Ubuntu for Android project was first announced in early 2012."
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Canonical (Nearly) Halts Development of Ubuntu For Android

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  • Re:I use Ubuntu (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Dutch Gun (899105) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @05:28PM (#46893999)

    I use Ubuntu as my desktop, because while I like Arch and Slackware, I'm too old to spend time futzing with getting backups to work or writing custom trayer configurations or whatever. (And when I finally got everything I wanted on Arch, half of GNOME or KDE was installed anyway, so I didn't really see the point.)

    Anyway, you know what I wish Canonical would work on? Ubuntu for Computers. I don't need yet another mobile operating system; Android is there, iOS is there, Windows Phone is there, FirefoxOS is there. There's nothing that Ubuntu Touch is going to offer that isn't done better somewhere else. All it's doing is cannibalizing resources from Ubuntu Desktop and Ubuntu Server. Working on Mir just creates divisions within the open source community; there's nothing wrong with Wayland.

    So yeah, Canonical, don't just jump on the mobile bandwagon. You have a core product, focus on it.

    Wasn't the entire point of Unity that it was more mobile / touch focused? I think this is when they began to alienate a lot of their users, and spawned the rise of Mint. We've seen two companies now (Canonical and Microsoft) that have alienated many of their core desktop users by trying to slap on a touch/mobile focused desktop, replacing the more powerful and desktop-focused mouse+keyboard user interface that have been refined over the course of decades.

    I agree with you. Ubuntu/Linux offers a distinct and practical product in the PC world. I'm not really seeing what they would offer in the mobile space. Are they really thinking they can build up a unique ecosystem of their own to compete with Android or iOS? Hell, even MS can't seem to dent that market.

    We're moving to a stratified computing society, with big servers running the infrastructure, desktop PCs doing the bulk of the real production work or gaming, laptops for mobile or light work, and tablets and phones for casual computing or data consumption and communication. Eventually, people will figure out that you DON'T want to share the same user interface between a desktop computer and a tablet. Touch is fantastic for data consumption on small devices, but a disaster for production work on a PC.

    Hopefully the loss of market share of both Ubuntu and Windows 8 will make that fact clear to those making the decision. At least Apple has had the good sense not to discard their desktop operating system functionality in favor of an iOS-like interface.

  • Re:I use Ubuntu (Score:5, Interesting)

    by xeno (2667) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @05:49PM (#46894243)

    Anyway, you know what I wish Canonical would work on? Ubuntu for Computers. ....... You have a core product, focus on it.

    That would be Mint Linux. [linuxmint.com]

    No soapbox, no high-minded reasons here, just pure practicality: One of the places I've volunteered for a long time is a shelter for abuse victims. This county-funded program receives and triages women (mostly) and children into appropriate programs and mid-term housing, and provides courses ranging from home-ec and job training to computer literacy and online privacy before sending them back on their own. For several years those who completed the computer literacy program were given a good-spec laptop with Ubuntu + many apps, configured for security and privacy in the same way we'd done the training. We saw them all: hopeless tweaker prostitutes who went back and gave everything to their pimps, to beaten trophy wives hell-bent on recovering their independence after disconnecting the GPS tracker on the mercedes. After the first few months, the success rate surprised even us: Of those who were given a modern-spec PC with Ubuntu, more than 2/3 were still in active use a year later (still with Ubuntu, and usually with separate accounts for the kids). We probably had 250 Ubuntu PCs in the field at any given time.

    Then Shuttleworth jammed Unity forward. Ubuntu's shift to a Metro-esque gui was a disaster with this novice audience. We had people decline a free computer because they couldn't make sense of Unity. Others installed XP over it and called us when it broke or they discovered you had to pay for Office. Others called over and over for basic navigation support. In general, the answer was "no thanks" to Ubuntu.

    Switching over to Mint (first with Mate, then Cinnamon) rescued our program, and was a huge hit with the end users. Several years of .deb and ubuntu-based config & tuning was re-usable on Mint, and the interface didn't scare off the novices. Similar enough to the older W95/XP/7/OSX interfaces that they knew were to start, but modern enough for good security and functionality. Just to be clear *I* like playing with the latest and weirdest geekery, my s.o. does malware reversing to calm her nerves (so hot!!), and my home has kids who think nothing of reflashing cyanogenmod on their phones and argue over whether to use Win8+visual studio or Mint+Eclipse for their homework. But that's not the world most people inhabit, and it's really important to recognize that /. readers are not the norm or a good baseline for what is useful and usable to the general populace.

    Clem's just a regular guy solving regular problems.
    Shuttleworth is a philosopher of the future, with some distinctly reality-adjacent ideas of what ought to be, and enough monetary thrust to make his pigs fly just fine.
    I'd rather live and help people in the present. So yeah.... "Ubuntu for Computers" is Linux Mint.

  • Re:I use Ubuntu (Score:3, Interesting)

    by uncomformistsheep (2950041) on Thursday May 01, 2014 @06:12PM (#46894503)

    Wasn't the entire point of Unity that it was more mobile / touch focused?

    No. Originally, Unity was designed for notebooks (cheap and small laptops, now obsolete for tablets), and it was shipped only as a special Ubuntu notebook edition. Then they decided to make it the official desktop shell. I have a touch screen and I can tell you Unity is not very good for those. Unity is very keyboard based (launching applications is particularly impossible to do by touch), and using the menu bar and even closing a window is simply not suited for touch. You cannot do any meaningful work without a mouse and a keyboard with Unity. I am not complaining about Unity, I actually like it, but Unity was not designed for touch screens -- if it was, it is awful at it. It is designed for small screens, and (arguably) some people like it for wider screens as well.

I bet the human brain is a kludge. -- Marvin Minsky

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