Is Ubuntu Edge Worth the Money?

UbuntuTo say that Canonical’s $32 million crowd funding effort on Indiegogo is ambitious is an understatement. If they reach their target it will blow previous crowd funding records out of the water and as it is they’ve already surpassed many of the sites previous funding records. The money is intended for the production of the “Ubuntu Edge”, an experimental phone running Ubuntu Linux as its operating system and with the capability of running as a full desktop computer when docked with an HDMI monitor.

The smashing of records like “fastest project to raise $1m” reveals something of the projects popular backing, but Canonical still have a long way to go before they reach the target they’ve set. Nay-sayers would have us turn away from the project, insisting that the money should come from more traditional sources, like the mobile carriers. As Canonical founder Mark Shuttleworth explained in a short interview at OSCON last week, this view ignores one of Edge’s key guiding principles. The crowd funding of the project allows it to take big strides forward in innovation that conservative phone companies are currently unwilling to enter into due to the fact that the technologies are not yet proved to be popular. If the crowd funding succeeds, that in itself will be a massive validation of the technology and will help enable similar future technologies to break into the mobile market much sooner than they would have otherwise.

Ubuntu Edge is an exciting project, pushing the boundaries of technology and committed to putting open source software into the mainstream. Read Simon’s reasons for backing the project and more in this weeks InfoWorld article.

Ubuntu Phone

UbuntuFor a work in progress Ubuntu Phone has a lot of things going for it. Great appearance, an efficiently smooth user experience through the use of the phones edges as  universal start points to summon menus and start searches and a dedicated existing community of advocates and end users. But there are a number of big questions that still need to be resolved.

Ubuntu Phone is still very much a work in progress. The developers claim to be entering the “dogfooding stage” of the OS’s creation; using it on their own devices to get a working understanding of its strengths and weaknesses. That’s still a long way off completion and even a way behind Firefox OS which is available on an actual device via Geeksphone.

Talking to Canonical’s Jono Bacon revealed that they’re currently framing the lack of associated app store as a strength rather than a weakness. That’s a hard position to justify in today’s mobile market. It was also interesting to hear his views about how Ubuntu Phone fits into the market as a whole. Read more in today’s InfoWorld article.