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Thread: Ubuntu Mobile OS Stability?

  1. #1
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    Question Ubuntu Mobile OS Stability?

    I've been hearing about the new Ubuntu Mobile OS being released and I've gotta say, I'm excited about it. But, to me it begs a question - whereas with many computers, installing Ubuntu/Linux isn't just about completing the process with the CD, but also requires some tinkering to get everything to "fit" properly for stability - will this likely be my experience of an Ubuntu phone?

    For all intents and purposes, I'm a noob. I don't know Linux well enough to do all the post-install corrections and such on a desk or laptop, so I'm guessing the same would be true of my success doing so on a phone if it were necessary. I've had the experience of trying to install Ubuntu only to feel like I'm walking around in a minefield, trying to keep it from coming apart at the seems afterwards. Ultimately, I love the freedom and aesthetic of Linux and Ubuntu and want to use them, but until I learn to really make it work, the prospect makes me nervous. Even if I were a highly skilled Linux user, I need my phone to *work* as well as it would with proprietary phone OS's. A 911 call can't wait for me to stop and deal with unresolved dependencies, public-key issues or any number of errors that may have (for instance) inadvertently disabled dial-out.

    So, people knowing more about this than I do - what are your thoughts? Will Ubuntu Mobile be a much-simplified version, not complicated enough for stability issues? Is there just no way to know until it's been in the market for a few cycles?

  2. #2
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    Re: Ubuntu Mobile OS Stability?

    Stability issues or rather, compatibility issues, have very little to do with the complexity or otherwise of software. I had never had to "tinker," as you put it, with Ubuntu to get it fitting on my PC since I started using Ubuntu back in 2007. And I have installed every version since then. I do modify the user interface. And if I go outside of the default options I need to do a bit of tinkering, I admit that. Most stability issues with Ubuntu are down to the user and not the OS.

    Do not forget that Linux and Linux distributions like Ubuntu are under constant development and refinement. And we keep on insisting on installing Linux on the very latest hardware, often without researching if it will install without problems. Add into the mix the existence of another OS on the machine. I do not wonder that we have to tinker.

    Just stop and think what we are talking about. A mobile phone. Would you expect that phone to work and do all that the manufacturer says it should do? Of course. Why should it be any different with a mobile phone running Ubuntu Touch that we have purchased ?

    Would you expect to be allowed to tinker with a mobile phone without voiding the warranty? No. So, if and when I purchase a Ubuntu Touch mobile phone/tablet, I will not be surprised find the device working as it should and with my options to tinker severely limited.

    On the other hand, if I choose to buy a mobile device that does not come pre-installed with Ubuntu Touch and I then decide to somehow install Ubuntu Touch on to it, I would expect to do a lot of tinkering. I would expect to find myself in a situation similar to that of many people who try to install Linux on hardware that may or may not be compatible.

    I might buy a Ubuntu mobile device or I might not. I would expect any Ubuntu mobile device to meet all of the product standards that are expected by users from existing mobile device products. The one thing I am going to avoid is buying a mobile device and trying to fit Ubuntu Touch on it. That is not for me. I suggest that it is not for you either. And this is not because I have a low opinion of Linux code or in particular, Ubuntu code. It is trying to fit Linux on who knows what hardware that is the problem.

    Regards.
    Last edited by grahammechanical; September 26th, 2013 at 01:42 PM.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


  3. #3
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    Re: Ubuntu Mobile OS Stability?

    "Would you expect that phone to work and do all that the manufacturer says it should do? Of course. Why should it be any different with a mobile phone running Ubuntu Touch that we have purchased ?"

    Yes, of course I would. However, I would also expect that of a computer and an operating system, but for me, installing Ubuntu/Kubuntu and getting it to do what seem to be basic tasks has been a disaster. I've never really felt like I've asked very much of it. KDE, multiple desktops, desktop cube (that last one has been especially tricky for me) internet, instant messenger, picture and video editing, and that's really just about it. But as you say, some devices aren't very compatible and I've never really done research into what computer to buy if I want it to work with Ubuntu. That will have been my fault.

    It seems logical that if a device came with an OS pre-installed (for instance, Ubuntu Phone) that it would be made to be compatible therewith. Of course I don't think we can always trust corporations to be sensible or put out good quality (or even working) products. Most of the time these days they don't even test things - just release them for "consumer testing" and let the people who buy them suffer with the bugs.

  4. #4
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    Re: Ubuntu Mobile OS Stability?

    My point is this, if we expect Ubuntu Touch to be released to install on any and every mobile device that is on the market, then we are in the same situation that we are in when it comes to installing Ubuntu desktop on any and all hardware on the market. A fact that you have noticed.

    From the beginning Linux development has relied on "consumer testing." Only it is called 'bug reporting.' I cannot predict the quality of a retail Ubuntu mobile device that has not yet been produced. It is to the commercial advantage of Canonical that any Ubuntu devices be viable commercial products that will give Ubuntu a good reputation. I know that Canonical is working with Original Equipment Manufacturers to get products on the market that meet the required retail standards that we both demand. With this in mind I would expect any official Ubuntu mobile device having Ubuntu Touch installed to be a usable and stable device. I expect Ubuntu Touch pre-installed to be complete without the need for consumer testing.

    Mobile devices have a limited life span. Consumerism is fed by newer products coming on the market every few years. Or should that be months? Although I expect Ubuntu Touch to be developed over time, I do not expect the version of Ubuntu Touch on a particular mobile device to be supported or upgraded in the way Ubuntu desktop is supported and upgraded. If my memory is correct, Ubuntu Touch on the Ubuntu Edge device was only going to be supported for 3 years. How often do people change handsets? This I think will work for stability

    Regards.
    It is a machine. It is more stupid than we are. It will not stop us from doing stupid things.
    Ubuntu user #33,200. Linux user #530,530


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