FOSS Force News Wire

February 12th, 2016

Poll: You Say, ‘Ship Ubuntu Tablets by the Boatload’

The FOSS Force Poll

Our latest poll indicates that many FOSS advocates will end up purchasing a Ubuntu tablet when they become available in March.

Granted, you’re a special audience with a special interest. For the most part you use Linux, and not because you’re a mooch and it doesn’t cost you anything, but because you recognize it as the best that’s available. Certainly it doesn’t hurt that it’s free and open source software. Indeed, you probably think that’s what makes it best, as you most likely see FOSS as the best software development model.

You use GNU/Linux on your desktops and laptops, and most likely use Android on your mobile devices, mostly because it uses the Linux kernel and at least claims to be open source. But you know the difference between OSS and FOSS and would like nothing better than to be able to run GNU/Linux, real honest-to-goodness FOSS, on your phone or tablet — especially now that Firefox OS has been removed from the shelf.

That’s what we figured going in with our latest poll. It was an educated guess, for sure, but it turned out to be correct.

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 02-05-2016 11:27:34
End date 02-12-2016 00:10:59
Poll Results:
If the price is right, will you be considering buying a Ubuntu tablet when they're released in March?

On Monday when we ran Christine Hall’s opinion piece on why she thought the upcoming Ubuntu tablet could change the future of mobile computing, we included a poll which asked, “If the price is right, will you be considering buying a Ubuntu tablet when they’re released in March?”

Guess what? Well over half of you said you’re ready to break out your credit card and make a purchase.

The poll actually went up on our front page on Friday, before being included in Hall’s article. Five hundred twenty-three of you took the poll, with 288 of you, 55.2 percent, answering with a flat-out “yes” vote. Another 110 of you voted “maybe later,” which we take to mean that you’re not necessarily in the market for a tablet right now, but if you were, the Ubuntu tablet would be on your list.

The lowest number of votes in the poll went to the “I don’t know’ crowd — 17 votes or 3.3 percent.

On the nay side, the offered answer with the most votes went to “don’t like tablets,” which took in 48 votes or 9.2 percent of the total. This is interesting, because it indicates that these votes weren’t against the Ubuntu tablet per se, but against tablets in general. However, a small minority of 4.6 percent, or 24 votes, did indicate a vote against Ubuntu, perhaps even mobile GNU/Linux in general, by choosing the answer “No. Anroid/iOS.” A slightly larger minority, 35 votes or 6.7 percent, picked the flat-out negative answer: “No. No reason.”

This poll is closed! Poll activity:
Start date 02-12-2016 09:25:00
End date 02-19-2016 00:15:00
Poll Results:
Should advertisers and ad agencies be forbidden to track users as they surf the web?

Doing a little quick addition: 398 of you, representing 76.3 percent of the vote, chose one of the two answers offered in our poll that indicated you would be at least willing to consider purchasing the Ubuntu tablet when it comes out in March. One hundred seven of you, or 20.2 percent, picked one of the three answers that indicated you’d in no way even consider the possibility of purchasing the tablet, with a mere 3.3 percent undecided.

In the comments to the article, we got to hear — read, actually — your reasons. A commenter named 3arn0wl was perhaps the most enthusiastic:

“Even after three years, the Ubuntu phone platform is nascent, but Ubuntu phone is already a trend-setter, with convergence and scopes and all the rest of it. But will Ubuntu phone catch on? It might!

  • “Scopes offers something intuitive and fresh.
  • “The PC/Phone thing might play well in emerging markets as well as in enterprise.
  • “And, if the community can provide the ‘must-have’ apps to sit alongside the Linux canon of productivity apps, the platform has at least as much to offer as the competition.

“Unlike Mozilla, Canonical seem to have a solid business platform to allow for development, and with convergence, developing one area of the code enriches all the code.

“There’s an image by Banksy of the carcass of an iPhone turned into a prison, with an escapee making a dash for it. There will come a point where people tire of the restrictive app-grid, and the single-tasking norm of ‘smartphone’ use.”

Reader Mat has had previous experience with Ubuntu Touch on a mobile device and made this nuanced comment:

“I bought a Nexus 7 (2013), which I put Ubuntu Touch on so I could keep up with how the system was evolving. … I think a converged device will be fantastic, with the ability to run the full OS with keyboard and mouse. However, the device still needs to be usable when in tablet/phone mode. Maybe the converged code will lead to mobile versions of the desktop apps. I am cautiously optimistic.”

Another reader, Mike S., took a little more pessimistic — alas, some might say realistic — view:

“I’m an FSF member. I want free software to conquer the world. But I just don’t see this getting any traction.

“If the battle with Microsoft has taught open source users anything, it is that most people using computers won’t switch away from what they already know. The iPhone and Android were fluke exceptions, partly spurred by the fact that the mobile operating systems were uncompetitive. iPhone came in and blew Blackberry and Symbian and Palm away. Then Android came in and targeted the same market, but at any price point instead of just the $600+ range.

“But now desktop computing and mobile computing is saturated with offerings [that] the average person that doesn’t care about free software will perceive as competent and competitive. And the failure of Windows Phone is proof that such a market is incredibly hard to penetrate. 95% of the population cares nothing for open source, and even with an otherwise decent product and billions in promotions, Microsoft couldn’t establish a strong presence.

“I wanted Firefox OS to take the world by storm and I would love Ubuntu Touch to take the world by storm. But I don’t see either happening.”

As expected, our poll found some of our readers wishing for a GNU/Linux device with a distro other than Ubuntu. Our favorite comment here came from Colonel Panik who wrote:

“Hmmmm, if it runs Ubuntu it might be able to run a real
Linux distro.

“When I hear I can put LMDE on it I will buy one.”

With March only a couple of weeks away, we’re waiting with more than a little anticipation to see which way this goes.

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12 comments to Poll: You Say, ‘Ship Ubuntu Tablets by the Boatload’

  • lizbeth

    Firefox was taken from phones but will it still remain for tablets?

  • Deserthowler

    Although a tablet would be handy, I would never own one. I don’t trust Apple or Google because of their business models. The Ubuntu tablet, because of convergence, sounds attractive. It is Linux and FOSS and that means a lot.

  • I did buy a tablet a few years ago. Unfortunately, my fingers don’t do touchscreens well. That tablet went to a grandkid, and I bought a laptop. With the keyboard and mouse/trackball, I can use that laptop. I will be buying an android phone soon, which I will use with stylus. Being an accessibility advocate, I need to find out how well it works. It’s getting harder to advise on buying phones when mine is a flip-phone. It makes phone calls well, of course.

  • Nonya

    I would only buy a Ubuntu tablet if I could wipe it clean, and put Linux Mint (KDE) on it instead! I know that Mint is based on Ubuntu, but Ubuntu absolutely SUCKS without the changes Mint makes to it. Also, it would have to be priced around $125.00 (US). To me, no tablet (or phone ) is worth any more than that!

  • GotTablet

    I have two tablets one with openSUSE and the other with Debian installed.Too much bloat in Ubuntu and you have Canonical backdoor data collecting, will stick with the much better choices 🙂

  • GotTablet

    ” It is Linux and FOSS ”
    That is partly true, it does also come with proprietary by default.
    Hey but it does also come with FLOSS ( FOSS with Libre ! )

  • Lizbeth

    My Next Tablet will be a Shield K1

  • CG

    Convergence doesn’t do all that much for me, but getting a Linux based device attracts me. That and it gives me a chance to throw some support and thanks to Ubuntu/Canonical for all the work that have put in. I’d like to add my two cents to demonstrate there IS a US market for Ubuntu this and that. It irks me that they did not sell the phones into the US market.

    So, I’ll order one asap.

  • 3arn0wl

    🙂 to be mentioned, and quoted. Thank you.

  • MartyS

    Same as Reader Mat – Ubuntu Touch on a Nexus 7 (2013). It was a great experience, much much better than Android. But, the sheer lack of Apps was the reason I went back to Android…for now.
    There are some great Apps in Android that out-perform Browser based alternatives like Maps. If more Devs get involved, that could change very quickly….

  • 3arn0wl

    Guess you heard that bq’s Aquaris Ubuntu Edition tablet won Best of Mobile World Congress award for its convergence. Jane Silber tweeted:

    “Thanks to @trustedreviews for the #BestOfMWC award. #Ubuntu #convergence #MWC16”

  • Woohoo Ubuntu tablet, really looking forward to having this new toy in my hand.

    Thanks fossforce for making me happy today!