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It is often said that Linux Desktop distros spend half their time playing catchup with the Windows or OSX Desktop environments. I’d agree for many years this has been the truth however something is happening in the world of Linux. I is starting to innovate again.
Some might say that it has been doing this for years, however i think its fair to say with the numbers of Windows users coming over to the desktop it’s had to slow down the innovation and focus on the usability aspect.
None more so than Ubuntu, which has taken a huge chance by going down the path of the Unity desktop and ignoring the KDE platform. When Unity was first released and een today in some sections of the Ubuntu community it was given a lot of negative press. Change on any platform is hard to deal with, and thankfully on the Linux platform if you don’t like something you can either fork it or created a new GUI.
Ubuntu while seen as mad, are doing what they are doing with Unity for good reasons in so much as someone at Canonical can see the future and they want Ubuntu to be part of it. In the Ubuntu vision of the future Gnome3 and KDE don’t have a place at the table as they are Desktop GUI’s Ubuntu see Unity as more than just a desktop GUI it’s a flexible GUI.
This vision has stuck it’s head round the door in the last few months with Ubuntu TV and Ubuntu for Android as well as running Ubuntu on what are being released as Windows 8 Tablets. Unity you see is an everyman GUI. A GUI for all seasons…
Both the TV and Phone systems however are a slight departure for Ubuntu as while the TV OS can be installed on a PC both OS’s are really designed to be run on Hardware installed by the Vendor. And this is a different pitch. Ubuntu OS can be installed on a myriad of hardware, but a whole swath of user skills and thus support is an essential part of the OS. However when you are working with a manufacturer this lends itself to specific hardware, and a known entity for installation onto the device and as such you can fine tune things more effectively.
Of both the TV and the phone project i hand on heart believe that Ubuntu have the idea with Ubuntu for Android spot on. This if picked up by a tier 1 handset manufacturer Canonical have a winner here.
What is the pitch? Well here is the video
I love this idea, the concept of having a mobile device with contacts, mails, calendar dates, 3G access etc and plug it into a dock which swaps over to an Ubuntu desktop which is far removed from Windows for users not to want it to be windows (amazingly a common problem) and still have access to all the same data. Do your work, save your files, access Citrix/VMware View basically what is expected of an Office PC and once finished just undock and that data is still held locally and you are on the move.
The uses for this are what mobile computing should be, no more need for a PC in your pocket, some simple standards on the dock and you are good to go for an entire industry.
This is what Unity and Ubuntu are all about moving forward, while not forgetting their roots i’m sure, the innovation and leading the way in key areas as computing leaves the desktop and migrates to your phone, tablet or TV over the next few years.
It’s not a Windows Desktop..
That statement i made before about Ubuntu not looking like Windows, don’t mis understand that. I’ve worked on a project where the development made the desktop look as close to Windows as possible, start bar, menu, icon’s etc and this causes a huge number of problems, it’s close, but not close enough so themes get created, but not too close, still people are expecting windows like functionality. Ubuntu heading to unity makes a clear statement that this is NOT a windows desktop however it is a clear, easy to use point and click interface..
hope to see more of this in the future..