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frugal technology, simple living and guerrilla large-appliance repair

Regular blog here, 'microblog' there

Many of my traditional blog post live on this site, but a great majority of my social-style posts can be found on my much-busier microbloging site at updates.passthejoe.net. It's busier because my BlogPoster "microblogging" script generates short, Twitter-style posts from the Linux or Windows (or anywhere you can run Ruby with too many Gems) command line, uploads them to the web server and send them out on my Twitter and Mastodon feeds.

I used to post to this blog via scripts and Unix/Linux utilities (curl and Unison) that helped me mirror the files locally and on the server. Since this site recently moved hosts, none of that is set up. I'm just using SFTP and SSH to write posts and manage the site.

Disqus comments are not live just yet because I'm not sure about what I'm going to do for the domain on this site. I'll probably restore the old domain at first just to have some continuity, but for now I like using the "free" domain from this site's new host, NearlyFreeSpeech.net.

Sun, 25 Aug 2013

Canonical's next move after $32 million Ubuntu Edge crowfunding failure: Find a real phone, put your damn system on it AND JUST SHIP SOMETHING ALREADY

I'm not surprised about the failure of Canonical/Ubuntu's million "give us , we promise to give you a phone packed with unproven, yet-to-be-seen technology sometime next year" campaign.

And it's not success wrapped in failure. It's just failure.

First of all, is a lot of money.

Second, Canonical is a company that has done a lot -- Ubuntu has certainly (and sometimes even successfully) gone its own way in the Linux desktop, server and cloud spaces. Live CDs, more drivers, a dependable release cycle for a Debian-based distribution, a huge and helpful community. Those are all great. But that seems so ... 2010. For Canonical anyway.

Canonical has promised a whole lot and delivered almost none of it:

  • Ubuntu TV (I don't think anybody ever wanted it ...)
  • That dockable Ubuntu-running Android phone from a couple years or so ago (seems eerily like Ubuntu Edge)
  • Ubuntu Touch preloaded on a phone or tablet (they're promising this "early next year")
  • Meaningful numbers of preloaded Ubuntu desktops (despite the claim by SABDFL Mark Shuttleworth of high percentages of Ubuntu-running PCs, you can barely find them in the real world)
  • The multicore Ubuntu ARM server (Remember that thing at the last [or nearly last] "real" UDS? It wasn't a Ubuntu-made product, but they did feature it, and I don't see it)

All we do have is Unity -- a desktop environment optimized for touch and tablet with few to no devices to show for it unless you can geek out and install it yourself.

Unity is a big achievement. I don't blame Canonical for jumping off of GNOME. I knew they'd go their own way when they couldn't control the upstream.

But this Ubuntu Edge thing was over the top. Asking tens of thousands to part with today for a phone next year that promises cutting-"Edge" hardware unproven by any manufacturer -- and all this from a company that has NEVER SHIPPED A SINGLE HARDWARE PRODUCT?

(Unless I'm missing something, Canonical has never shipped hardware of any kind.)

No. No. No!

Canonical can fix this. Here's what they should do today:

  • Find an existing phone -- a Nexus something-or-other -- that they can get in quantity
  • Pound Ubuntu Touch into this device so everything runs as it should. Order up these devices by the thousands, flashed with Ubuntu Touch and ready for market
  • Repeat for the tablet form factor
  • And then sell the damn things

Once again if I'm not being clear:

  • Develop for -- and sell -- the hardware that's available today. Just do it. Do it. Stop asking for multi-millions in advance and START FOCUSING ON DEVICES YOU CAN SHIP TODAY

Just ship. Everything else is noise.