Opensource Ubuntu takes on Apple, Google, and Microsoft in mobile fight

Opensource Ubuntu takes on Apple, Google, and Microsoft in mobile fight

Ubuntu, the free open source operating system leading the charge towards making Linux mainstream, is getting ready to take on the hotly contested world of mobile operating systems (OS).

A video released today by Canonical, the UK company spearheading Ubuntu's development, shows the OS running on a Google Nexus 7 tablet. The device usually runs Android OS, but it can be reprogrammed to run modified versions of Android, or in this case, a completely different OS all together. 

The demo video shows Canonical CEO Mark Shuttleworth walking through the features of the OS, many familiar to most people who've used a tablet in the last two years. This includes a mixture of native apps built for Linux, as well as HTML5 web apps. 

Multitasking is handled in a similar style to Windows 8 on tablets. Swiping apps from the side of the screen lets you dock one large app and one small app to run side by side, which is useful for things like watching a video stream with a social media feed running next to it.

Good news for developers, Canonical says you''ll be able to create your apps once and publish everywhere. The phone, tablet, TV and PC versions of the OS run on the same code as each other, unlike iOS, Android, and Windows which have different flavours for different device formats.

A software development kit (SDK) will be released to the community in two days, and Canonical says this will include tools to convert Android and Blackberry apps into a native Ubuntu one. 

It's unclear how polished the actual experience on a tablet will be until the OS is seen working in the wild, and Ubuntu-specific devices are unlikely to be on the shelves until at least next year.