Open Ballot: Are you excited by the Ubuntu tablet?


As reported by Andrew on our own Twitter account yesterday, Canonical has announced that it is bringing its famous touch interface to tablets. Nexus-bound developer previews of silky smooth transitions will be available tomorrow - at the same time as its smartphone previews, and early videos and renders look pretty convincing. We want to know whether you think Canonical is living the dream, bringing to fruition devices that the Linux community has long lusted over - or do you think it’s all too little too late in the face of Android dominance? Let us know your thoughts and we’ll mingle them with our own when we record the podcast, either on Friday or Monday morning.

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Your comments

I have a so called smart

I have a so called smart phone that is full of stuff that I will never use and is impossible to get rid of; so an operating system that I could control would be nice, but please don't tie in links to Amazon or Bing or any other cruft.
Can we have Arch for mobile or something ;-)

I am excited

I am excited, however with all the players in the tablet game I do wonder about its success. If Ubuntu can deliver true convergence across multiple devices like the tablet, computer, and smartphone then they really have a strong chance. Otherwise many people will deem it as just "Android like" tablet.

hi windows

looks like windows has taken over this and now i guess i`ll have ta look more in to other ditros ........



Sure - but not

Nice flash presentation.

Yes. This looks brilliant.

Yes. This looks brilliant. I'm now starting to see the point of tablets and smartphones. Canonical and the Ubuntu community are innovating. It's a shame more people can't get behind them instead of slagging them off!

two minds

The UI looks decent with the swiping-from-all-sides we saw on the phone demo and I'd certainly like a tablet OS which isn't just a Linux kernel with a java-like VM on top.

The Android tablet experience is very polished now though, very predictable and smooth. I don't have to dick around for hours getting something to work or getting vsync working on vidoes or trying to coax some pisspoor proprietary graphics drivers (which are still leagues ahead of the open source ones) into running something a fraction as well as I can on Windows.

Will they nail all that? And will they, in a Linux first, nail the details? I love swipe-typing on my Nexus 7, I always hated trying to jab away at a soft-keyboard, will it have that and a thousand other little things like it?

I'm also confused as to whether apps have to be specially coded or whether this just runs desktop apps and tabletifies them. I thought the former (which would be a massive problem for adoption - you're appealing to neither the normal user nor the geek that way) but then when they plug a keyboard and mouse in it's (essentially?) the desktop OS, presumably with desktop apps.

Also that slide-in-from-the-side phone UI thing, no idea what that is.

If it runs everything in the ubuntu repos rather than needing specially-coded apps then I'll probably give it a go at some point. If not then there's really no point, it's then just a worse solution than Android.

Either way, they've got an uphill battle on their hands. But then so did Android when it started out.

This comment is getting far too long, I realise, but lastly I have to say that I don't really understand what they're doing strategically. Google is a rich company with a guaranteed income (from ads) for the foreseeable future. For them Android is just their saying 'we may as well make this thing, get a load of users for our services and monetise them later'. They can afford to do that.

Cannonical, as far as I am aware, are a relatively poor company with no income to speak of. Is that really the time to be chasing a massive market with a free product? Sure they'll make money with apps and referral stuff but that's waaaaaayyyy off, and if this OS is going to catch up and then keep up then they're going to have to spend a fortune on coding, design and R&D and I'm not sure they'll last that long. They needed to be where they are now two years ago.

Half of me just wishes they'd go back to making a really good desktop Linux. Yeah the desktop market's not as big as mobile but it's big enough and all their competitors seem to be evacuating it.

My third half wishes they'd taken all this money they've spent on Unity, Ubuntu One, the cloud stuff, the phone and tablet stuff etc. and spent it on giving Linux a decent sound and openGL stack (including drivers, if necessary) and making Linux the best serious gaming platform.


Never got the idea of tablets, still don't

Can't see where I would use it between my phone and my laptop.


I think a tablet might come in handy for sales presentations. Which I don't do.

Perhaps tablets will replace phones? Be kind of nice having more screen space for the apps. Yet my nexus phone works just fine.

Anyways it is good to have a unix solution in the tablet arena just in case tablets ever become useful.

Tablet could be cool

I have a Nexus 7 tablet running stock Android and generally enjoy it, although I do hit frustrations with flash-esque based services that won't work (catchup TV, lovefilm etc).

An HDMI output to plug it into a TV would be good, for entertainment or presentations, and bluetooth keyboard perhaps.

So I'm reasonably excited by the prospect of a Ubuntu tablet.

In a word: No...

Am eagerly awaiting a 32GB Nexus 10.

I kinda lost "faith" in Ubuntu/Canonical when Unity was introduced. Try as I might I just don't seem to be able to get on with it. Rather perversely though I *do* seem to manage with Gnome3. That said, XFCE rules for ease of use and simplicity. How about a tablet that runs XFCE? ;-)


Both TVCatchup (if that's what you meant) and Lovefilm have (free) apps on the Play store.

For the other flash video sites, 'Flash Player 11.1 for Android 4.0 (' from:


Works fine with Firefox on Jellybean.

(When I say 'works fine', I mean as fine as it's ever been. It rips through the battery in minutes of course)

Yes I am!

With the Vivaldi on hold, an Ubuntu tablet must be the next best thing. Canonical are clearly trying to converge their software on multiple devices, and from my point of view, I hope they succeed. We really need some software than can be customised, and assuming Canonical allow the tablet distro to do that, then we'll have more freedom with the device.

Excited for tablet and the future

I never had a use for a table until I actually got one(as a gift). Now I use it all the time.
I am excited for the table. It looks great and in my opinion streamlines what a tablet should do. The tablet makes the most out of the usable screen space.
Im also excited with the direction Ubuntu is going. It has speed bumps like any other Linux distro. But its end goal looks very promising.

Looking positive but..

I am hopeful that this will work. It should provide a single experience across multiple platforms.

I fear that it will be restricted and the ability to change Unity to something else may be compromised leaving those who don't like the interface in the like it or lump it pile. How many other distros are using Unity?

Now a Cinnamon tablet........

A community Android?

A community-driven open-source tablet operating system is an essential project for the current market - but Tablet Ubuntu is not it, unless we can strip out the commercial and proprietary elements for re-spins. Until then, we have the illusion of choice between Apple and Android, both locked-down systems.


I just cannot see where a Tablet will ever be better than a small laptop. Who wants dirty finger marks all over their screen anyway?


People have a point about the commercial/proprietary apps included with Ubuntu. But it's Linux, so you can get rid of them!! I have to break and root and fight my Android-based devices to do get rid of pre-installed cruft and get it to do what I want.

I see this is the first real Linux tablet and that's very exciting. It will be awkward and buggy at first no doubt but it will be more open than what's available now. And hopefully the community will jump on it and start improving it.

Greater adaptation is good for GNU/Linux

Android is a Linux success. Ubuntu not so much. The surface area for GNU/Linux on the desktop (or the tablet) is equal to GNU/Linux enthusiasm and experts.

You can't walk into any electronic stores and get a GNU/Linux PC. The Chrome book, Ubuntu tablet, KDE tablet and Ubuntu phone will increase the adaptation of consumer ready Linux devices. Android enables this because Android allows customization (as the Ubuntu phone reportedly will), meaning Android diversity echos GNU/Linux diversity, so people will be ready to get something different.

Probably won't buy one myself, but it opens for the possibility of once in the future finding Slackware powered laptops for family members who want hassle-free and transparent computer systems.


I cannot see how this (or Ubuntu Phone) will prosper at all. Let's see what they have so far
No hardware manufacturers
No major apps
No advertising
No customer recognition
on top of that they have the most confusing interface I have seen on any tablet (Who can tell me how many swipe gestures it has? I counted 7) and no ecosystem outside of Amazon affiliate links. But can't you just get a Kindle fire for that? At least the Kindle fire has a major company behind it and probably will cost less than an Ubuntu tablet.

Tablet Shmablet

Oh, these kids today with their pagers, Palm Pilots, Apple Newtons. Am I the only computer geek that has no interest what so ever in smart phones, tablets, etc? Give me a desktop (or a large screen laptop), and not an Ubuntu, please. Cell phones are for finding out if I need to pick up milk on the way home from work.


Canonical have been doing a very good job lately of showing how out of touch with the community they are; invading users' privacy, for example. I won't touch Ubuntu with a barge pole these days.


No. BTW why does Mark Shuttleworth look like a poor imitation of Jonathan Ive?


No, I'm not excited. I don't like tablets.

I like my machine to do what I want. Tablets are not powerful enough. They cost too much. They get dirty smudgy fingerprints on the screen. They tend to be more locked down.

I couldn't give a monkeys about tablets. Even if they run Linux.

nice one Ubuntu

Definitely a good move. The Ubuntu site states that it will be possible for developers to build apps that will run on a desktop or tablet (ie. you won't need to make 2 versions). Presumably however apps in the Software Centre today will not run on tablets until the developer chooses to adapt them?


I agree with everything Heiowge said above. Tablets are a waste of money. I don't need to carry a computer around with me and if I do, a laptop is far more useful and powerful.

Are you excited by the Ubuntu tablet?


Linux Tablets & Linux Viruses ?

If Linux Tablets were successful and became pervasive, would we see a corresponding growth in viruses targeting Linux platforms?


At the moment I possess no tablet. I wanted to wait for the Vivaldi, because it looked like a truly novel approach to the usage of a tablet or mobile device with plasma active and its activities, which I liked very much on my desktop and looked like it would translate very nicely to a mobile device. This is what I would expect of a true Linux tablet. The potential of the same functionality, work flow and integration of programmes with the OS and each other condensed to a smaller screen size and adapted to a touch device without losing any of its power.
Ubuntu is just like Android and iOS and Windows phone 8 phone RT phone 8 Pro starter edition Metro phone Modern UI phone edition (or whatever their mobile OS is called) just a bucket for your apps with some cool swooshing effects. And if it is just a bucket for your apps, the entire OS stands or falls with the (quality of) apps available of which there are currently next to none. But this can change in the future of course.
Yes, the HUD would be cool, but it probably won't work properly for languages other than English (at least for now), if it works at all. Yes it has some multitasking but that is not a very novel concept. Yes you can access certain menu's via the screen edge, also not a novel concept, although it looks to be a very nice implementation.
For businesses this may be attractive, and that's whom they seem to be aiming for, but that's not me. If it is true that you can develop your programme for the desktop, the tablet, the phone and the web in one fell swoop, then I can see why this would be interesting for developers as well.
All in all it isn't bad, but it's just more of the same, nothing to get exited about, I had trouble to finish watching the video to be honest. I just couldn't be bothered. I thought to myself "Pfff." (The Dutch version of "Meh").

yeah why not...

Ubuntu is Linux and any news like this is good news...
I've never used Ubuntu as my main distro, well the kids use Mint on their netbooks... so kinda...

but anything that stops MS and Apple from dictating the market is good news... but am I excited? not exactly but I am happy 'bout it...

Kind of

Just gave it a spin. The interface is nice, looks really good. Some of the gestures aren't really intuitive to me though. Mainly how you navigate the top settings bar (where the wifi applet is). Also to exit from an app you need to drag up from the bottom for a menu there. Not bad overall, just takes some getting used to. I was hoping that it would be configurable already, but not there yet. Overall I'm impressed if they can get some momentum behind it.


Ubuntu on Tablets is probably the best thing I have heard since the UEFI crises.

Are you excited by the Ubuntu tablet?



Yes I am excited but have my reservations. Would love to have a tablet which has control like my desktop. Install, remove, delete whatever, whenever. Fear it will be like a Android clone - App adverts, contacts read, browsing habits sent to the evil one. Lets hope not.

It certainly feels like its too late to get on the market especially when tablets are so cheap now and Android is so well known. It will be tough for it too survive but this may ensure we get a darn good tablet.


Just brought a nexus 10 and 4. They almost sync as one at times. Want to sync to desktop too. So Ubuntu may be my heaven but would prefer Android sync for desktop.

Too many options about so Apple and Win8 for those with the money and Android for the rest of us will be the status quo.

Just need Google to up Chrome to a full PC desktop model. Ubuntu will make others work harder and help drive innovation.

I'm not excited at all. It

I'm not excited at all. It makes me think linux desktop is dead....

I might be...

I might be, I could be... Sort of... Canonical have pleased and disappointed me in equal measure of the last two years, so I'm really must not going to commit to a yay or a nay... Least until I have one of these things in my hand... And I'm only going to get one if it appears on Amazon Vine and I get it... cus... I don't see a reason to buy a Ubuntu tablet - or phone for that matter - when I have my Ubuntu Laptop and Ubuntu Desktop, and several Ubuntu virtual machines...

*Cough*... I'm rambling... So, in short.. meah.


If everything works like Shuttleworth said, this will be a great opportunity for Canonical. I've been looking for a long time for a tablet that does not only feature stretched phone apps but also desktop apps, and I'm shure I'm not the only one. Having access to all desktop applications anywhere sounds just to good to be true! If the whole thing is not just another Shuttleworth- dream that never becomes reality, I will be one of the first to happily buy it! I could imagine it having greater success than either ubuntu phone or ubuntu tv.


I like the vision - I think Canonical have some wonderful ideas for redefining how a device should be used. I'm not quite sure whether or not they have a good idea of how to achieve that vision.

As a fan of the open source underdog, I wish Canonical the best in their efforts. But it doesn't seem to me like they understand the business end of their task. Developing the "best" product will not make it sell, and I don't see anything coming from them that will make consumers even approach their product.

Can we have our desktop back now then?

I think Ubuntu on a tablet should do well.

Now that Canonical have what they want, a useable tablet system, can the rest of use desktop users have our UI back please? You cannot, without bloat, sensibly have a one size fits all devices OS, it's just ridiculous. Unity (and Windows 8) has proved that. I would come back to Ubuntu if Canonical lost it's Microsoft-like arrogance, got back a bit of humility, listened to it's existing userbase and gave them what they both wanted AND needed. Meanhwhile, I'm happy with Mint Cinnamon, but 2 years later, I'm still peeved at break of trust.

well, no.

It would be bad enough to be "excited by" a real tablet, let alone an imaginary one. There's no such thing as "an Ubuntu tablet", yet, you know.

What to be excited about?

There are two aspects to this question. The main aspect is that there is an attempt to add competetively to the tablet market with a well designed product incorporating both hardware and software (which kind of takes on Apple rather than MS particularly), and that is to be applauded, but does it excite me? Not really.
The other aspect I suppose is that there is an Open Source aspect - ie. it's canonical that's doing this. Which I would also applaud, but don't find exciting, actually it's been something I'd have expected to happen long ago. Also you already do have Android which is a form of linux operating on phones and tablets so all well and good for the open source community (but just *try* telling the android phone users that they are actually _now_ using linux and that it's stable and functional and effective and their eyes will glaze and they'll lose interest pretty quick - in fact they'll probably turn to their phone and start playing angry boirds or something.

But I have to agree with Graham (Morrison) about the whole tablet thing. I don't use one, but my experience with the touch screen interface left something to be desired. I just think laptops probably suit my purposes better, and though I don't have anything other than that specifically against tablets, I suspect that they are more of a fad than a paradigm shift. Yes other (probably younger) people may disagree, and that's fine. I just reckon that there was a bit more of the marketing than a real substantial change in technology.
After all I have an O2 XDA II that works fine, it's a bit bulky and battered but it works and does what I need it to do. I wouldn't bother putting a thousand APPS on it, and I am curious as to if I can actually put linux on it (such a geek!) but it's good enough as a phone and a note-taker and calendar and calculator (you'd be surprised how often I use that single function) but I am reminded of an old adage that harks back to the ancient times of software development - in fact I am sure it's a "fortune" - which says that all software develops to the point it can do email at which point it becomes obsolete - or words to that effect. Who said that? I wonder if it might have been Stallman? Emacs, you may be aware actually *does* do email.

Anyway, best regards and thanks for the opportunity to put in my opinion.
as always,

There is no such thing as a problem
without a gift for you in its hands


I love Android as a laptop, aka, the Asus TF Infinity.

If this could install on the Infinity and use it's dock... that would be simply awesome.

Intrigued rather than excited.

I would like Canonical to have some success in this market, it doesn't need to belong Microsoft, Google or Apple. The unity interface should be ideal, the trick will be getting people to put it on their hardware or getting a manufacturer to pre-install it. If there is success for unity in this area maybe Canonical will rethink the Ubuntu desktop, as for me Mint Cinnamon is far superior.


Too many no from geeks on here i think.

We should all be proud of both Ubuntu and Mozilla take it to the big boys. I just wish tablets and phones were like PCS more where you can choose easily which OS you want on any device.
So i am excited for them!

Ubuntu Tablet I Doubt it.

It will probably turn out to be like Android with its proprietry GUI keeping linux well hidden, or raspberry pi with its proprietary codecs. Gradually linux is being buried by corporate interests.

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