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October 3rd, 2014

Questions on Ubuntu Touch, GNOME and Oracle

FOSS Week in Review

Other than the continuous scrambling to fix Shellshocked — if nothing else we in the FOSS world are both quick to respond to fixes and quick to come up with great names for epic bugs — this has been a relatively quiet week on our side of the digital street. Yeah, we can laugh at Apple for releasing an update that wasn’t really an update and at Microsoft for losing the ability to count, jumping from Window 8 to Windows 10, now with the improvement of having — wait for it — a command line.

But here are a couple of morsels in the FOSS realm this week, answering a few questions, like:

Hold the phone? Remember the Ubuntu Edge, the smartphone for which Mark Shuttleworth went, hat in hand, begging for $32 million so the wider digital community could fund his pet project?

Ubuntu Edge campaign

The $32 million Ubuntu Edge campaign was one that would warm the heart of Bill Lumbergh.

You remember, it was about a year ago, the “revolutionary” idea of having your entire digital life on a device you could hold in your hand, put in your shirt pocket and then accidentally drop into the toilet (or, as a former news colleague did about a year ago, drop irretrievably into a deep lake high in the Sierra Nevada)? The one costing $800?

To the surprise of not too many, it doesn’t look like we’re going to see that anytime soon — if at all — though according to an article in Softpedia, folks are still expecting it. Those folks include me, only because I’d like to see Canonical follow through on what they say they’ll do for a change.

According to the article, Mark Shuttleworth has been asked numerous times if Ubuntu Edge will eventually be built. Right after the campaign he said this: “All of the support and publicity has continued to drive our discussions with some major manufacturers.”

OK, that was not exactly promising. A year has passed and not much has been heard on the Ubuntu Edge, and according to the article, Shuttleworth eventually said that Edge would not happen and that the focus of the development team was on the upcoming Ubuntu Touch.

To Canonical’s, um, credit, at least we’ll see a phone sometime before the end of the year with Ubuntu Touch.

But go ahead and add Ubuntu Edge to the long list of things we’ll never see from Canonical. You can pencil it in right there after Ubuntu TV.

A Comeback? With GNOME 3.14 now out — insert your own pi joke here, and sadly, it wasn’t available last week when I gave Fedora 21 Alpha a test drive — it appears that some think that the desktop environment, somewhat rattled by their diversionary changes of a few years ago, may be winning back the hearts and minds of people who abandoned it.

Gnome 3.14

Improved weather and maps are part of the many improvements in GNOME 3.14.
click to enlarge

So says Chris Hoffman in PC World, where he points out that GNOME is “back with a vengeance.”

Hoffman outlines some of the changes in 3.14, including captive portal handling, multitouch support, and new weather and photo apps.

“Well, if you haven’t tried it in a while, GNOME 3 has improved,” Hoffman writes. “Performance is now good. Debian just switched back to GNOME as their default desktop, partly because its accessibility and systemd integration was better than Xfce’s, but the interface has improved enough to make those considerations possible.”

Seriously? Quickly, am I the only one who laughs when I hear the words Oracle OpenWorld spoken aloud, the name of Oracle’s conference now being held in San Francisco? Can I at least see a show of hands of people who find this expo’s name even the slightest bit ironic?

Larry Cafiero, a.k.a. Larry the Free Software Guy, is a journalist and a Free/Open Source Software advocate. He is involved in several FOSS projects and serves as the publicity chair for the Southern California Linux Expo. Follow him on Twitter: @lcafiero

1 comment to Questions on Ubuntu Touch, GNOME and Oracle

  • tracyanne

    quote:: Quickly, am I the only one who laughs when I hear the words Oracle OpenWorld spoken aloud, the name of Oracle’s conference now being held in San Francisco? Can I at least see a show of hands of people who find this expo’s name even the slightest bit ironic? ::quote

    Ok, I’ll play.