As flavors of Linux go, Ubuntu has been pretty popular over the years. The open source operating system can be installed on a wide range of computer hardware, and there’s even a version called Ubuntu Netbook that’s specially made to optimize the relatively tight 1024×600 screen resolution found on many of today’s netbooks.
The most recent release of Ubuntu Netbook touts several new features; most notably the “Unity” interface, which docks programs on the left-hand side of the screen and features large, square desktop icons (see above image).
The new interface also includes multitouch support, which opens the door for Ubuntu Linux tablets. Gerry Carr of the Canonical Blog shows off Unity’s multitouch support in the following video:
As Carr points out in his post, “there are a very limited number of touch-enabled devices out there at present.” These newly-added multitouch features, however, pave the way for enterprising tinkerers to eventually roll their own tablets that support an operating system that’s popular and polished (and has a built-in app store with plenty of free apps, coincidentally), yet still open enough to allow for a wide range of customization. Harry would be able to get his huge honkin’ tablet after all.
It’ll be interesting to see if hardware manufacturers eventually start building Ubuntu tablets. It’s not a bad idea at all. You could argue that Ubuntu’s more suited for a tablet than the cell phone versions of Android that are getting shoehorned onto tablets nowadays. That could all change with Android version 3.0 (Gingerbread) that’s due out in the near future, which is supposed to be specifically designed for tablets.
But, again, Ubuntu already has an app store and plenty of apps (all free, all pretty polished) in place, and this version is designed to run on low-power netbooks. Seems like it’d work pretty nicely on tablets as well.
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