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Ubuntu comes to Maemo

Written by Jamie Bennett on November 13th, 2008 at 7:36 pm in Uncategorized

So, its kind of official, Ubuntu is coming to Maemo.

Today, Canonical announced that they are to officially create a ARMv7 version of their most popular software product, Ubuntu Linux, but what does that mean?

There has been a lot of talk lately about a merge of technologies in the Maemo and Ubuntu camps with the ‘unofficial’ word being that a somewhat arranged, but welcome marriage between the two has been coming for some time. The move today from Canonical signals a clear intention that Canonical, with “demand from device manufacturers” (hello Nokia), are targeting the very popular net book and tablet markets.

The press release is full of thinly veiled statements that hint at the fact that Canonical have had more than a few exchanges with the big boys in the mobile space.

“This is a natural development for Ubuntu, driven by the demand from manufacturers for an ARM technology-based version,” said Jane Silber, COO of Canonical.

Canonical are clearly in collaboration with major manufacturers.

The time frame given for the ARM based Ubuntu release also fits in exactly with Nokia’s Maemo 5 plan’s. The alpha version of Nokia’s new Maemo platform SDK (Software Developer Kit) is due this month, followed by a beta release March/April next year. This will mean a summer release at the earliest for Nokia’s flagship Linux device and the statement today firmly aims the Ubuntu release at April 2009, coincidence?

With Nokia’s admission that they are making steps to work more upstream, collaborate rather than invent, the writing seems to be on the wall. But is that a such a bad thing?

Nokia will benefit from the huge support that the most popular Linux distribution has gathered over the last few years and having the backing of a major commercial Linux entity such as Canonical can only propel Maemo far more into the mainstream than anything Nokia could do.

“The combination of a commercially supported, optimized Ubuntu distribution for ARM, together with Canonical’s ability to tailor solutions to specific ARM technology-based devices and OEM requirements, ensures that highly-optimized systems can be rapidly deployed into the fast growing mobile computing market”.

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