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Canonical confirms the death of the Ubuntu Phone ecosystem

Canonical confirms the death of the Ubuntu Phone ecosystem

Canonical has confirmed that those few people who picked up a smartphone based on its Ubuntu Touch platform will receive no updates past June, and that the app store will be deactivated at the end of the year.

Canonical has confirmed that it is ending support for its wildly unsuccessful Ubuntu Touch project, with security and functionality updates to cease as of June this year.

Created following a failed - though, it could be argued, intentionally so - attempt to crowdfund an Ubuntu-powered top-end smarpthone capable of acting as both a mobile device and a desktop computer, Ubuntu Touch has not been a success for Canonical. Though a handful of low-end handsets appeared featuring the software, including the Bq Aquaris M10 which had an early version of the unified device vision installed, it failed to capture any real market share from Android or iOS.

When the company announced it was abandoning its Unity desktop environment, along with the related Mir display server and the Unity-based Ubuntu Touch, those few with an Ubuntu smartphone knew their days were numbered. Now, though, Canonical has put an official date on the tombstone: Ubuntu Touch will receive no further security or functionality updates past June this year.

As well as leaving existing devices with no upgrade path to fix vulnerabilities or other bugs, Canonical has confirmed to Network World that it is also to remove from sale any paid-for applications on the Ubuntu Phone app store at the same time. Developers will be given the choice of releasing their software for free or having it removed from sale, while they will be able to push updates to existing applications through to the end of 2017 after which that feature too will be disabled.

6 Comments

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dstarr3 25th April 2017, 14:50 Quote
Pity.
Wwhat 25th April 2017, 17:52 Quote
And why can't it be carried by enthusiasts? Since it's linux based and so open source right? And if there are few that use it it doesn't take much bandwidth either.
Even the store feature could just be run on the same system as their desktop setup as a small addon, if nobody uses it it's a few bytes of storage, who cares.
Especially now that the whisper is that Apple and Alphabet both are looking again at the 'phone that is also desktop' concept it might get suddenly popular if the concept catches on through those big players.
Gareth Halfacree 25th April 2017, 17:55 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwhat
And why can't it be carried by enthusiasts? Since it's linux based and so open source right? And if there are few that use it it doesn't take much bandwidth either.

Same reason you can't make everyone's Android phones look to your server for updates, even though that's open source and Linux-based too: can you imagine what a security nightmare that is?

Sure, someone can fork Ubuntu Touch and release Notbuntu Touch with their own app store and blackjack and hookers, but there's no way to roll that out to all current Ubuntu Touch users automatically without Canonical's cooperation - and Canonical ain't going to do that, 'cos then they'd be arguably responsible when Notbuntu explodes peoples phones.
bagman 25th April 2017, 22:18 Quote
What advantage did the ubuntu phone/software have over android?
RedFlames 25th April 2017, 22:30 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by bagman
What advantage did the ubuntu phone/software have over android?

It's selling point was the ability to hook it up to a monitor mouse and keyboard and use it as a linux PC, a concept MS then borrowed for Continuum and now Samsung are having a go with the S8 and DeX.
edzieba 26th April 2017, 07:43 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wwhat
And why can't it be carried by enthusiasts? Since it's linux based and so open source right? And if there are few that use it it doesn't take much bandwidth either.

Same reason you can't make everyone's Android phones look to your server for updates, even though that's open source and Linux-based too: can you imagine what a security nightmare that is?

Sure, someone can fork Ubuntu Touch and release Notbuntu Touch with their own app store and blackjack and hookers, but there's no way to roll that out to all current Ubuntu Touch users automatically without Canonical's cooperation - and Canonical ain't going to do that, 'cos then they'd be arguably responsible when Notbuntu explodes peoples phones.

And on top of that, it would require some enthusiasts who actually give a damn about running Ubuntu on their phones. You might get an outpouring of love for Symbian even now, but not a peep for Ubuntu.
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