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Ubuntu Businesses Operating Systems Apple

Is Canonical the Next Apple? 511

An anonymous reader writes "With the release of 11.04 Natty Narwhal, Canonical is taking Ubuntu in a new direction, which puts cloud services and content like music at the forefront of the Ubuntu experience. Ubuntu is no longer 'Linux,' or 'desktop' or 'netbook'; it's just Ubuntu for clients and servers. Ubuntu has its own desktop in Unity, app store (Software Center), music service and personal cloud. If Ubuntu takes off, will it make Canonical the next Apple? Of course, Canonical doesn't sell computers, but then again Ubuntu can be used on any computer, even Macs."
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Is Canonical the Next Apple?

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  • No. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Desler ( 1608317 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:16AM (#35974362)


    • by Dunbal ( 464142 ) *
      Are oranges the next banana?
    • Agreed, but I'd like for you to be wrong. After 15 years of "This is the Year of the Linux Desktop" I'm not getting any hopes up.
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )

        Of course this is the year of the Linux Desktop. We will need it to operate our Jet Packs and desktop Fusion reactors.

    • by mellon ( 7048 )

      Wow, thanks for clearing that up!

      Of course, the first thing that popped into my head when I read the line in the article where it says "Canonical doesn't make hardware" was "damn, I wish they would—we need an open source computing platform that's designed that way from the ground up instead if being designed to be locked down, and then hacked open."

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:20AM (#35974406)

    People have been moving to other desktops like XFCE in droves because of Unity. Unity forces a cell phone UI on the desktop, and people hate it. There are threads with hundreds, even thousands of responses.

    There's a perfectly good UI paradigm for the desktop that's been around since the 80's. Constantly reinventing the wheel is one of the things putting non-computer experts off Linux on the desktop. With Windows, some things change sure, but the basic metaphor (icons on the desktop, a start button to launch programs, a taskbar to show your running programs) has been perfectly good for years and people are used to it.

    It's always more "fun" to invent some new half-baked thing than to spend time fixing bugs and problems, so that's what happens.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:30AM (#35974524)

      You missed the memo. We have to keep dumbing down Linux desktops until every last thing has been squeezed out. If you tailor your UI for the complete novice, as Gnome and Unity have been doing, that's great for like the first 2 days you use it. But that same philosophy causes problems for more advanced users because the features they want have been ripped out.

      Also, they tend to do these "usability studies" where they conclude feature X was only used by 5% of the users, and feature Y by 3%, so it must be OK to sacrifice them on the altar of simplicity. But everyone has a different X or Y they use, so eventually this hurts _everybody_.

      Please, Linux desktop people, STOP DUMBING IT DOWN! The world has other OSs out there for that kind of experience, We don't need to do that to every last Linux DE as well.

      • Or as Tolstoy would say, "All newbie users are alike; each advanced user is advanced in his own way".

    • "If I would have asked my customers what they wanted, they would have said 'a faster horse'." -Henry Ford

      I agree that Unity isn't exactly a step forward, more like a side-step, but you can't blame them for trying to innovate. If "The Year of the Linux Desktop" is ever going to come around, it won't come around by imitating the competition, but trying to be better than the competition [gnome3.org]. It might take a while to get there, but every competing effort helps.

      Also, Arch Linux is a distribution full of tweakers and

    • by RDW ( 41497 )

      'There's a perfectly good UI paradigm for the desktop that's been around since the 80's...With Windows, some things change sure, but the basic metaphor...has been perfectly good for years and people are used to it.'

      I agree, but it looks like MS doesn't:

      http://www.withinwindows.com/2011/04/02/windows-8-secrets-windows-explorer-ribbon/ [withinwindows.com]

      So, with the dreaded Ribbon coming to Windows 8, the dumbed-down Gnome 3 or KDE4 desktop shipped as the default on a Linux distribution near you, and the awful Unity on Ubuntu,

    • by Yaddoshi ( 997885 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:39AM (#35975370)
      "Unity forces a cell phone UI on the desktop, and people hate it."

      I'm probably a weirdo (actually I know I am), but I actually don't mind this release of Unity, and find that this version is significantly improved over the last one that shipped with Ubuntu Netbook Maverick Meerkat (10.10). The sidebar launcher automatically gets out of your way when you full-screen an app or drag a window to the side. It comes back when you mouse over the left side of your screen as needed. It's pretty easy to remove or add new icons (similar to how Windows 7 handles icons). It takes up a bit more space than I think it needs to, but for people who like big icons that's a plus. If you know the name of the app you want to launch, you can click the Ubuntu logo and type it into the search box, press enter, and it will launch (again similar to Windows 7).

      I think the real problem people have with Unity is that they don't like change. What everyone needs to remember is that Ubuntu does not forbid you from downloading and installing your preferred window manager and customizing it to your taste. You can also download one of several flavors already configured with alternative popular window managers, and as pointed out elsewhere the default Gnome window manager can be selected during login and will remain the default until it is changed again. So think of Unity more as a default option. If you don't like it, you still have your power of choice, and there's still a lot of customization potential out there. At some point when I have free time to tinker I will likely set up FVWM with a neat custom retro layout. Until then I will be happy to continue using Unity.

      Ubuntu is still LINUX. Anyone can set up their own distro, provided they have the time, resources and stamina to do so. That's what makes it so great.
    • by Eponymous Coward ( 6097 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:52AM (#35975524)

      For the record, I am a user who likes Unity. Sounds like I'm the only one though.

    • by ArcCoyote ( 634356 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @12:00PM (#35975624)

      log out
      select your account
      select "Ubuntu Classic" from the session menu at the bottom,
      log back in.

      Problem Solved.

    • by mixmasta ( 36673 )

      No need to move, just pick Classic from the menu at login time.

    • I like Unity. Its very slick and well thought out. It hides the complexity and just gets out of the way. Gnome 3 is way too busy. I prefer the simplicty of Unity. Unity is the reason Ubuntu in years.
  • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:21AM (#35974416)

    is start picking better names for their releases.

    Compare - Apple side: "Kodiak", "Cheetah", "Puma", "Jaguar", "Panther", "Tiger", "Leopard", "Snow Leopard."

    with - Ubuntu side: "Warty Warthog", "Hoary Hedgehog", "Breezy Badger", "Dapper Drake", "Edgy Eft", "Feisty Fawn", "Gutsy Gibbon", "Hardy Heron", "Intrepid Ibex", "Jaunty Jackalope", "Karmic Koala", "Lucid Lynx", "Maverick Meerkat", "Natty Narwhal", "Oneric Ocelot"...

    The Apple side is short, and carries images of animals all well-reputed and seen as powerful and respected predators.

    The Ubuntu side sounds like the cast list from a crappy saturday morning cartoon show.

    Just sayin'...

    • Actually, I'd call their naming strategy a success. In discussions about Ubuntu, I mostly see versions being referred to by the adjective part of the Adjectivated Animal pattern, rather than attempting to refer to the actual version name. People comparing Jaunty to Karmic seems to work remarkably well, unlike comparing 9.04 to 9.10, but like comparing Tiger to Leopard. Plus, ever since Breezy, they've been sticking to incrementing the initials of the name with every version, which is a damned handy mnemonic
      • by Moryath ( 553296 )

        The problem is, even non-apple folks can generally identify the names of the Apple OSX versions.

        Mention "Ubunty Jaunty" to a non-linuxhead and you'll get a blank stare.

        Try to sell (e.g. convince people to switch over to) "Ubuntu Jaunty" from their current OS, and you'll get it likewise.

        See my previous comment to another person above. Want to sell a brand of car? Name it "Mustang" instead of "Cute Cuddly Kitten", you'll sell more.

        Linux-heads never pop their head out into the real world long enough to underst

        • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

          > The problem is, even non-apple folks can generally identify the names of the Apple OSX versions.

          I think you need to lay off the cool-aid.

          • by Moryath ( 553296 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @11:07AM (#35975032)

            Howso? I'm not a Mac person nor am I a Linuxhead. But I can tell you that most non-Mac people can name at least one of the Apple release titles, probably more, whereas mentioning Ubuntu will get you that blank stare.

            The Ubuntu guys suck at marketing. Most of the Linux world sucks at marketing. One of the biggest reasons it's so hard for them to get any appreciable marketshare in the desktop world is that despite giving away what is very serviceable, functional product for free, they suck at marketing.

            And without marketshare, how are you going to get the rest of the ecosystem to port over to you? Answer is, you aren't. Without a certain amount of marketshare, you can't get games ported, you can't get office applications ported, you can't even convince many of the makers to hire someone to make sure they are interoperable. And "Open Standards Open Standards Whee" as chanted by 4-year-old wannabe cheerleaders doesn't do crap for you when you're trying to sell adoption to someone and they have to interact with their clients, who all just-so-happen to use OSX or Windows with some form of MS Office (now with .DOCX so that OpenOffice is no longer interoperable... not that it ever rendered anything more than basic Excel docs correctly anyways) installed.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:36AM (#35974614)

      Actually, the Ubuntu names are much easier to search for because they are less common. I always figured that this was their motive for choosing them. For example, you can type "natty virtualbox" or "lucid virtualbox" and get relevant results quickly and easily, that are zeroed in on what you are looking for.

    • ...is start picking better names for their releases.

      I've long said one of the things that hold back open source products from wider acceptance is that the OS/free software communities absolutely suck at marketing. Marketing isn't everything... the product has to be good... but plenty of good products have failed because the marketing effort behind them wasn't up to par. Mindshare is very often won on the ad page. Like it or not, that's reality. This is why companies spend untold millions on marketing. It's important.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by initdeep ( 1073290 )

        leave teh GIMP alone!!!!!

        • Are you countertrolling? Because I. Will. Bite. That really is an embarrassing name. I think people should have a sense of humor too, but for the love of all that is open, consider the impact naming has on adoption.

      • Seriously! Who thought "Ogg Vorbis" was a good name for anything? Sounds like a denture cream!
    • by jo42 ( 227475 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:57AM (#35974894) Homepage

      "Gracious Goatse".

    • The whole cutesy thing with Ubuntu can't change.

      It's what the boss wants, end of story.

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Interesting note, All the animal Apple chose are endangered species.

      I wonder how many non geek Mac owner actually no the code name for their OS?


  • by newcastlejon ( 1483695 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:21AM (#35974422)

    From TFS. Apple started with hardware and they still sell it. Without the iPod there would be no iTunes, no App Store. Who writes these claptrap headlines?

    At least the first post here was succinct - and probably right.

  • Maybe if you see Apple as a company providing a solution to a wider computing need rather then a hardware and sofware manufacturer, but I would say no.

    That said, I do welcome a complete approach, and also taking radical steps on the desktop (despite using Ubuntu on my HTPC and work computer I'm not a huge fan of Gnome or KDE). I tried installing Ubuntu 11.04 on a vmware virtual today and never even managed to get it to boot to the desktop. I guess I would not have managed to test Unity even if I reached the

    • Ubuntu sacrificed polish for frequent releases. Since it's free it doesn't have to rely on quality for revenue and is under no marketplace compulsion to change that.

      Geeks who want what it offers can sort out the little shit, the hardcore can use Debian for servers without multimedia, but polish AND features require focus and MONEY.

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        No. Polish and features requires discipline.

        They have to be willing to let a date slip and do things right. This isn't about money, it's about having discipline with regards to how you approach your work.

        They can't take the "but we can patch it after we shove it out" approach to development.

        Although to be fair, this is by no means limited to the likes of Canonical.

  • Apple was never really a software company at its heart. It was always a hardware company that chose to write its own software.

    IMHO, we should all violently protest cloud computing because eventually you will be paying a monthly fee for software and therefore will eventually pay for apps over and over and over ad nauseum until your bank account is empty.

  • Canonical may be forcing people to use PCs like they use cellphones, but people don't like this.

    They will never manufacture hardware as Apple does because it's antithetical to what they are. They will never have the control over compatibility issues that Apple does as a result.

    Linux unfortunately has no penetration into consumer computing space, but it's for some very good reasons that aren't going to be overcome by trying to turn people's desktops into iPhones vis-a-vis Unity

    • Re:Hardware? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by CastrTroy ( 595695 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:39AM (#35974652) Homepage

      Canonical may be forcing people to use PCs like they use cellphones, but people don't like this.

      You may not like this (I don't either), but people in general like a computer that is an appliance. This is the reason that the iPad (and other applie products) has caught on so well in the past few years. People never liked dealing with drivers, compatibility, registry editors, getting apps from reliable sources, or system configuration. They want a device that just does what they need, and they don't care if it's highly configurable, so long as it turns on and works every time they go to use it.

      • There's a qualitative difference, though, between removing compatibility issues (like Apple does) and dumbing something down to the point where it barely seems like a PC anymore.

        • by geekoid ( 135745 )

          Yes, but people want the dumbed down version.
          They want a device with minimal to no worries, that has a simple way to run the applications they want to run. Whether its a spread sheet, a game, or watch a TV show.

          Quite frankly, I don't blame them. It's not for me, but owning a PC is becoming an expensive nightmare.

      • The reason people are purchasing these "appliances" from Apple is actually quite simple.
        They work within their ecosystem and offer the ability to get what people want.
        Now, having said that, there are many more people rocking an iPod than there are ones rocking a complete Apple ecosystem because it's easy to use, easy to get what you want, can be used on the major OS's quite easily (other than iTunes being a crappy manager), and despite other manufacturers attempts, it really is one of the better. more easil

    • If Canonical DID start selling computers, it would force the last vestiges of Hardware bits to make an effort to write good drivers for Linux. The biggest problem, to this day, is drivers. The last time I had a laptop and tried to get wireless LAN working on it in Linux, it was painful. Had to install a wrapper to finally get it to work. Sorry, but that just doesn't cut it. And lets not talk about Video drivers either or you'll really get depressed.

      Look, I'm a geek. I can fiddle with settings, google proble

      • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

        ...this is one area where Canonical continues to not practice what it preaches. It likes to pretend to be like Apple but it never really executes. This is in contrast to other distributors in the past that have actually made efforts to make meaningful improvements to Linux either by contributing to these drivers or to useful hardware documentation. (Yes, this is my "Why can't Canonical be more like old Suse" rant.)

  • Apple is first and foremost a hardware company that uses software and services to give it a competitive advantage selling hardware. Canonical is a services company that uses open source software to advance its services business. App stores, clouds and streaming are not unique to Apple or central to its business.
  • Comment removed (Score:3, Informative)

    by account_deleted ( 4530225 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:31AM (#35974552)
    Comment removed based on user account deletion
  • design is arguably a strength of ubuntu, I think they are getting pretty damn good at it too.
    It runs on everything, which is a unique strength compared to others. Eventually, instead of having a different os on every gadget, ubuntu on all.
    Its easy enough to use for non-techies (my whole family uses it) while having full linux power under the hood.
    They have tons of karma, I would like them to succeed, which hopefully is a common sentiment and will pay off.

  • Good (Score:4, Funny)

    by MonsterTrimble ( 1205334 ) <monstertrimbleNO@SPAMhotmail.com> on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:43AM (#35974700)

    If Ubuntu takes off, will it make Canonical the next Apple?

    We can only hope. Unity is GPL, as is the vast majority of the Linux ecosphere. If Ubuntu becomes as big as (i)OSX and Win7 everybody in the linux community will gain a tremendous amount. Drivers, support, money - it will all get exponentially better for us.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      That will not happen at least in the next 10 years, and likely never. I have my wife using the last Long Term Support version of Ubuntu (Lucid) and after a few months of working fine it now locks up and freezes--requiring a power-off reboot--several times a day. I have reinstalled it fresh and it occasionally still does it. It's 2011, this is just completely unacceptable.

      And then when you go to Ubuntu Forums to try to figure out how to fix it, you find 163 pages of suggested incantations to put into the

  • Apple is whatever it is because of its long story in taking unorthodox choices and consequent revolutions.
    Which means a lot of work, a lot of betting and a bunch of wins.
    What I've seen so far is changing a default color schema, a "new" font and a new naming schema.
    Not even the "new" desktop is really new as

    Unity is a shell interface for the GNOME desktop environment

    (Very first line in Wikipedia [wikipedia.org])
    Ubuntu, like Unity, is a shell around something else (Debian) with very limited value added.
    Just "going to the clouds" (tm) doesn't make a winning company (alo because

    • by geekoid ( 135745 )

      Not a bunch of wins, just some wins. Apple has a long line of cast of products, market failure, and money spent on things that never made it to light. All of which is normal process for getting good products and RnD technologies.

  • by alispguru ( 72689 ) <bane&gst,com> on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:51AM (#35974826) Journal

    Apple went to the major printer manufacturers and said "You should support Rendesvous/Bonjour". And they did it.

    Apple went to the music labels and said "You should sell your stuff through iTunes - it's safe with our DRM". They later said "You guys should drop this DRM jazz". Both times they were heard, and Apple got the rights it needed.

    Until Canonical can do something similar, they're not an Apple replacement candidate.

  • by Torodung ( 31985 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:52AM (#35974830) Journal

    No, because I actually care about what happens to people using Canonical's products. ;^)


    Glad he doesn't have an iPhone

  • by geekoid ( 135745 ) <dadinportland&yahoo,com> on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:57AM (#35974896) Homepage Journal

    Don't be stupid.

  • by supersloshy ( 1273442 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @10:58AM (#35974920)

    1) Unity is built on top of GNOME. They didn't develop even half of that.

    1.5) Unity, IMHO, is much less usable than GNOME 3's default desktop and quite a few people I've seen online agree with me. This is not absolute though and YMMV.

    2) Every other distribution (almost) has an "app store"; it's called a freaking package manager and they've been around for a long, long time. Simply having a simple-to-use UI for one doesn't exactly qualify it as an "app store".

    3) The music service is just a re-branded 7Digital (which is a great place to buy music btw; they even sell some things in FLAC).

    4) The "personal cloud" is just a Dropbox competitor (with syncing for some apps, which is a nice touch).

    I have a feeling that these types of articles are only made for advertisement views and nothing more, as I've rarely seen an article like this that actually makes sense. Plus, Ubuntu is overhyped. I used it from 7.10 to 10.04, and after I tried switching to something else I never looked back. The exact same desktop I got in Ubuntu was actually less buggy in Arch Linux, which doesn't patch things nearly as much as Ubuntu does. Honestly, if you disregard the package manager, there's very, very, very little difference between Ubuntu and any of the other popular distributions like Fedora/OpenSUSE (if you're a desktop user that is). The only reason it's still popular, as far as I can figure out, is because it's hyped so much as being "the easiest" and "the most feature-filled" and whatnot, when every other distribution has caught up with and, dare I say, surpassed Ubuntu in usability.

  • Honestly Unity I had high hopes for until I tried living with it for a week with a RC.

    It's great for insulating all the dirtyness of a computer from a user... including keeping all the utilities and configuration apps away from you. changing the power settings ended up a frustrating search and a give up to the Xterminal to do it by hand in a command prompt. It also is badly broken on laptops as it will not return to full brightness after a screen sleep like 10.10 did. I can close the lid and 60% of th

  • It might just be my setup (windows on master hd, ubuntu on slave) but when I first installed it, GRUB messed up and wouldn't boot. I had to manually edit the boot loader to make Ubuntu work. Last night I installed 11.04, system reboots and guess what! System won't boot. Another GRUB error. At that point I turned off my computer and said to hell with it.

    I'm somewhat computer savvy as well. I build my own desktops, I've installed win98, win2k, winXP and Vista on machines before. If I'm having this much troubl

  • Who cares?? Linux is still open source, there IS still an alternative. If Canonical wants to push its own version to something apple-esque then thats their business. At the very least they are providing more variety of choices which is something you DONT get with apple. They are also helping to bring Linux to the mainstream so they must be doing something right. If you dont like it, stop complaining and go with one of the dozens of other distros.
  • by davidbrit2 ( 775091 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @12:01PM (#35975632) Homepage
    Let me laugh even harder.
  • by ischorr ( 657205 ) on Friday April 29, 2011 @01:26PM (#35976786)

    2011 will be the year of Desktop Linux.

  • For years, I've heard people complain that computer user interfaces are too complex and confusing. Recently, there's an enormous surge of enthusiasm for smartphones and tablets, and people keep saying how great the user interfaces are and how they prefer them to their desktops, despite the small screens with tiny print and the tiny keyboards.

    Perhaps smartphone UIs are actually really good UIs, and there are lessons to learn from them. Perhaps users who are used to smartphone UIs would prefer similar UIs on desktops.

    One thing I want from a general UI is for it to get the fsck out of the way when I'm using an application. Smartphone UIs are good at this. Unity is good at this.

I THINK MAN INVENTED THE CAR by instinct. -- Jack Handley, The New Mexican, 1988.