Ubuntu OS: The spirit of ‘Humanity to others’ in the tech world

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The final chapter of our Open platform series is dedicated to Ubuntu OS, the ultimate Open source experience for all mobile and desktop devices

The battle for mobile OS  dominance is getting quite boring, numbers do change from time to time, but the endless competition between Google and Apple remains far out of reach for smaller players. On the other hand, the battle for third place is becoming very interesting, as the competitors always need to be more creative and innovative, thus raising  the level of quality and the User experience.

One of them is surely Ubuntu Touch, from the Linux OS family, based on free open source software. The name derives from a Southern African philosophy of ubuntu meaning “human-ness”, often translated as “humanity towards others” or “the belief in a universal bond of sharing that connects all humanity”.[1] Or as its creators like to say, “The Ubuntu operating system brings the spirit of Ubuntu to the world of computers”.[2]

Let’s take a closer look at Ubuntu Touch, and discover why it might be the next “No 3” on the global mobile OS landscape.

The Ubuntu Touch is the mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system developed by Canonical UK Ltd and Ubuntu Community, designed primarily for all touchscreen mobile devices. It was announced in late 2011 when Mark Shuttleworth, Canonical founder, presented the Ubuntu 14.04, the version supporting smartphones, tablets, TVs and smart screens; the Ubuntu Touch 1.0 was finally released on 17 October 2013.

The first reviews were very positive: the open nature of Ubuntu Linux, the support for both web and native apps that makes it very developer friendly, and the intuitive gesture based user interface are often cited as the its key assets. Let’s take a closer look at some of these features.

The unique interface, named Unity, is specifically designed to make  the use of the limited screen size of mobile devices more efficient. The Unity had a very long period of fine tuning, as it was initially released back in 2010. The crucial aspect of Ubuntu for mobile is that it’s identical to the desktop version, allowing the army of open source developers who already work on it, to continue improving it. Ubuntu also allows a wide variety of customization, even more than Android. Another characteristic that will surely be appreciated by the multi-screen users and that might actually be the strong point of Ubuntu- the idea of “one interface for all devices”, smartphones, tablets or desktops.[3]

Take a look at this insightful review Ubuntu in a Galaxy Nexus by Engadget

The idea behind Ubuntu mobile, in the words of Mr Shuttleworth, is “that one device can act as a single “brain” for multiple device so that a phone could alternately act like a tablet, a PC, or a TV, depending which peripherals you connect to it”. But is this enough to make a global impact? With its high price range ($200 to $400)  it might be a choice for those who are a bit frustrated with both major OS, and  seek for more intuitive UI and detail oriented design. It surely has a very bright future, considering its open nature and the promise that it will always will be free to use, share and develop.

Check out all the articles from the Open platform series:

  1. Firefox OS: the HTML5 Mobile OS
  2. Tizen: designed to run on everything
  3. Jolla OS: creating the mainstream alternative

 

 

[1] http://www.ubuntu.com/about/about-ubuntu

[2] Idem.

[3] http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/10-things/10-reasons-why-the-ubuntu-phone-should-be-your-next-mobile-device/#.