Day 1 – Ubuntu Live

The first day of Ubuntu Live is coming to an end. One thing that has permeated the first day is the amount of energy in the Ubuntu community. People are excited and eager to get things done. While originally mostly a desktop distro, Ubuntu is scaling in multiple directions from there – from LTS on the server to the mobile and embedded edition. A certification ecosystem is also in the works. If the growth and energy can be maintained, the future for Ubuntu is certainly bright. Off to Fun, Food & Drink (sponsored by Canonical) now, but I’ll continue coverage tomorrow.


Ubuntu Live & OSCON

I’ll be leaving for Portland in a few hours to attend both Ubuntu Live and OSCON. OSCON is always a great conference and I’m looking forward to the first ever Ubuntu conference. If you’ll be in Portland for the event(s) and would like to meet up, drop me a line. See you in Oregon.


Intel Launches Mobile Linux Project

The mobile Linux space continues to heat up (recent coverage). Now, Intel has jumped into the fray with the Mobile & Internet Linux Project. From the about page: hosts the Mobile & Internet Linux* Project which is an umbrella, open source project focused on the development of Linux for Intel-based devices. To this purpose, will host various projects that will provide key elements of community-based projects such as Ubuntu’s Mobile and Embedded Edition*, and Red Flag’s MIDINUX*, targeted for such devices. We also intend to be an incubator for prototyping new ideas and projects targeting these types of devices, such as the Intel-based Mobile Internet Device (MID) and various consumer electronic devices.

Looking at the projects page I was happy to see that the UI Framework is actually Hildon, which runs on the N800 and was released as Open Source by Nokia as part of maemo. Other projects will be contributing directly to upstream Open Source projects. Awesome.


Ubuntu on Two New Inspirons

In a move that would seem to back up initial indications that the Ubuntu Dell offerings were selling well, Dell has officially announced that it is adding two additional models to its Linux lineup:

From a Ubuntu perspective, we’re now offering Ubuntu 7.04 to customers in the United States on the Inspiron 1420N notebook and the Inspiron 530N desktop. Both are available for order now at Since these are new systems, it usually takes us a bit of time to ramp production. Because of that, we expect to ship these new systems by the middle of next month.

Additionally, Dell has confirmed that it plans to extend the Ubuntu roll-out to countries outside the United States (currently the number one request on IdeaStorm). Dell also indicated that they are considering bringing Linux to their small business customers. Great to see that the Ubuntu offering is being well received. This move could very well be paving the way to both additional large scale OEM Linux plans and someday even a simple “Linux on any model” type roll-out by someone. Kudos Dell.


More Microsoft Patent Dealings

So, Linspire is the latest company to sign a patent deal with Microsoft. They’ve even managed to wrangle some additional items they claim are not in the other deals:

Linspire Inc. has announced an agreement to license voice-enabled instant messaging, Windows Media 10 CODECs, and TrueType font technologies from Microsoft for its Linux distribution. Additionally, Microsoft will offer protection to Linspire customers against possible violations of Microsoft patents by Linux.

In his June 14 weekly Linspire Letter, Linspire CEO Kevin Carmony stated, “This agreement will offer several advantages to Linspire Linux users not found anywhere else, such as Windows Media 10 support, genuine Microsoft TrueType fonts, Microsoft patent coverage, improved interoperability with Microsoft Windows computers, and so on.”

Linspire has always been more willing than most to include proprietary codecs and drivers, so this is no surprise. While I may not agree with their stance, I do think they are legitimately trying to improve the desktop Linux experience, and you can’t fault them for that (or at least I don’t). I do find it odd that they’d choose to have a demonstrably inferior product in Live Search be the default, but I digress. What’s troubling once again is the inclusion of dubious patent protection. Now, Linspire (nee Lindows) and Microsoft have a tumultuous history. In that vein, this post has some interesting tidbits.

We now have three Linux distributions wrapped up in this patent debate. It was speculated that Mandriva may be next. Based on the profile of the latest two companies, it seemed a logical guess if you had to make one. It’s good to see that they have gone on the record saying that it’s not going to happen. Red Hat already rejected the idea and Mark made his feelings very clear in this post:

There’s a rumour circulating that Ubuntu is in discussions with Microsoft aimed at an agreement along the lines they have concluded recently with Linspire, Xandros, Novell etc. Unfortunately, some speculation in the media (thoroughly and elegantly debunked in the blogosphere but not before the damage was done) posited that “Ubuntu might be next”.

For the record, let me state my position, and I think this is also roughly the position of Canonical and the Ubuntu Community Council though I haven’t caucused with the CC on this specifically.

We have declined to discuss any agreement with Microsoft under the threat of unspecified patent infringements.

Allegations of “infringement of unspecified patents” carry no weight whatsoever. We don’t think they have any legal merit, and they are no incentive for us to work with Microsoft on any of the wonderful things we could do together. A promise by Microsoft not to sue for infringement of unspecified patents has no value at all and is not worth paying for. It does not protect users from the real risk of a patent suit from a pure-IP-holder (Microsoft itself is regularly found to violate such patents and regularly settles such suits). People who pay protection money for that promise are likely living in a false sense of security.

I welcome Microsoft’s stated commitment to interoperability between Linux and the Windows world – and believe Ubuntu will benefit fully from any investment made in that regard by Microsoft and its new partners, as that code will no doubt be free software and will no doubt be included in Ubuntu.

He also goes on to state why he dislikes OOXML.

With regard to open standards on document formats, I have no confidence in Microsoft’s OpenXML specification to deliver a vibrant, competitive and healthy market of multiple implementations. I don’t believe that the specifications are good enough, nor that Microsoft will hold itself to the specification when it does not suit the company to do so. There is currently one implementation of the specification, and as far as I’m aware, Microsoft hasn’t even certified that their own Office12 completely implements OpenXML, or that OpenXML completely defines Office12’s behavior. The Open Document Format (ODF) specification is a much better, much cleaner and widely implemented specification that is already a global standard. I would invite Microsoft to participate in the OASIS Open Document Format working group, and to ensure that the existing import and export filters for Office12 to Open Document Format are improved and available as a standard option. Microsoft is already, I think, a member of OASIS. This would be a far more constructive open standard approach than OpenXML, which is merely a vague codification of current practice by one vendor.

The speculation as to what Microsoft’s end goals are with this remain all over the map. I maintain they themselves may not even be sure yet. One might think they are trying to fracture the Linux market – a sort of divide and conquer. As long as Ubuntu and Red Hat remain on the other side, however, that plan isn’t going to work. The only real loser in that scenario would potentially be Novell. It’s clear that smaller, desktop oriented companies are their current sweet spot, which says a lot in my opinion. Not sure where this is all going, but it’s getting more interesting to watch by the day. Stay tuned.


Update: Free Ubuntu Live Conference Pass

A follow up to this post. I’m happy to announce that a winner has been selected and Benanzo will be receiving a gratis pass to Ubuntu Live via O’Reilly Media compliments of A big thanks to O’Reilly for allowing us to do this. See you in Portland.


Free Ubuntu Live Conference Pass

I’m happy to announce that as a Media Sponsor I’ve just been informed that LQ is able to give away one full Ubuntu Live Conference pass absolutely free of charge. To be eligible please post in this thread saying how you are involved in the Ubuntu Community and why you’d like to attend. One winner will be randomly selected on June 19th. Ubuntu Live is being held in Portland, Oregon and is July 22-24. Good Luck!


Ubuntu Live and CrossOver Linux Discounts

Would you like to attend the upcoming Ubuntu Live Conference? As a media sponsor, I’m happy to announce that LQ can over you a 35% discount. Simply used the code ubu07ucm when registering and the discount will be automatically applied. I’m looking forward to attending Ubuntu Live (and OSCON, which starts the very next day).

While on the topic of discounts, the recent LQ CrossOver promotion has been so successful that I’d like to extend it another 10 days. Until June 10th you can get 20% any CrossOver Linux product by making your purchase here and using LQCO20 as a discount code.


In San Francisco for OSBC

Landed in San Francisco earlier today and spent most of the day walking around. The OSBC starts tomorrow morning. My recent post on Dell and Ubuntu seems to have gotten a fair bit of attention while I was traveling. If I get any further information I’ll be sure to sure it.


Dell announces the models for Ubuntu

I just got the following email forwarded to me by a Dell employee:

We will be launching a Linux based OS (Ubuntu) on the E520, 1505 and XPS 410 starting next Thursday, 5/24. We expect these systems to be less than 1% of our OS mix for the entire year which is ~20,000 systems annually. Please cover the huddle deck below with your team by EOB Sunday. If any questions come up, please let me know so I can address them before launch.

The goal of launching Linux is to continue to give our customers more choices to customize their new Dell. Providing more options to our Linux Enthusiast customer group will hopefully create even more Raving Fans!!

It was also noted that people within Dell can now officially start discussing the desktop Linux situation with customers. It’s great to see this initiative being followed through on so quickly. I was hoping for a bit more than three models, but what’s more important right now is how those three models are actually rolled out. The long term implications for Linux on the desktop in the mainstream here are huge. Kudos to Dell for finally making the leap. With less than 1% of sales at stake here though, it’s possible Dell doesn’t have the incentive to put a huge effort behind this. I’ll be keeping a very close eye on the roll out and will certainly be posting more on the topic. I’d like to thank Rick, who forwarded this to me.