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Ubuntu eyes mobile Linux devices

May 7, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Canonical is readying a version of its popular Ubuntu desktop Linux distribution specifically for mobile Internet devices (MIDs). “Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded” will ship in October, concurrent with Ubuntu 7.10, the company announced during the Ubuntu Developer Summit this week in Seville, Spain.

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The Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded Project was announced Saturday by Ubuntu CTO Matt Zimmerman (mdz) in a brief post to the Developer's Announcement list. Zimmerman's post read in part, “It is clear that new types of device — small, handheld, graphical tablets which are Internet-enabled are going to change the way we communicate and collaborate. These devices place new demands on open source software and require innovative graphical interfaces, improved power management and better responsiveness.”

According to Zimmerman, Intel will be making “significant contributions of technology, people, and expertise” to the Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded Project. His post suggests the Project may have been founded largely in response to Intel's Tolapai project to create a Pentium M-based system-on-chip (SoC) for mobile Internet devices (MIDs) and UMPCs. The announcement also comes on the heels of a similar Mobile and Embedded Initiative announced in late April by the Gnome Foundation.

MIDs, according to Intel, are smaller and more appliance-like than the UMPC concept co-launched about a year ago by Intel as the UMPC and by Microsoft as Origami. Whereas UMPCs have 5- to 7-inch displays and boot the slow-moving Windows GUI, MIDs will have 4- to 6-inch displays, boot simplified Linux-based UIs with “instant-on” performance, and offer consumer price points — along the lines of Nokia's N800 and 700 Internet tablets.

Zimmerman closed by inviting members of the open source community to get involved, through the usual Ubuntu channels — i.e., “Launchpad, the developer mailing lists, and IRC.”

In related news, Ubuntu was the second-most popular distribution used in projects by embedded developers, behind Debian, in LinuxDevices's 2007 Reader Survey.

Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth could not be reached for comment by publication time.


 
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