Thursday, June 26, 2008

Ubuntu MID Edition ships Jun. 25, 2008

Ubuntu MID Edition ships Jun. 25, 2008

[Updated Jun. 26] --Canonical Ltd. has quietly launched a full "developers release" of Ubuntu 8.04 ("Hardy Heron") for MIDs (mobile Internet devices). Desktop and embedded Linux developers can now begin porting applications to the platform, which will be pre-installed on MIDs by OEMs, Canonical hopes.

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Ubuntu MID Edition is based on the Canonical-sponsored Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded (UME) community project, in cooperation with the Intel sponsored Moblin-org project.

Ubuntu MID Edition is also a modified version of the new Ubuntu Desktop Edition 8.04, optimized for handheld MID devices. The initial developer release is available for both Intel Centrino Atom ("Menlow") and Intel's A100/110 ("McCaslin") platform (targeting the Samsung Q1U ultra-mobile PC). Additionally, a handy KVM image and launcher shell script let users easily try out the stack on desktop PCs running Linux. It runs fairly quickly on systems with hardware virtualization support and Linux's the KVM (kernel virtual machine) loadable kernel module.


Ubuntu Mobile and Embedded 8.04
(Click any image to enlarge)


The free, open-source Ubuntu MID Edition offers modifications for displaying on smaller 4- to 6-inch MID displays and for making applications "finger friendly for touch screens," says a UME blog that appeared yesterday from David Mandala, UME Project Manager.

Canonical Ltd. announced the UME project in May 2007, and then issued a roadmap for the project a month later. The Ubuntu MID Edition is based in part on technology from the Moblin community, which has developed a Linux kernel, UI framework, browser, multimedia framework, and embedded Linux image creation tools designed for MIDs and other mobile devices. Ubuntu MID also includes a browser based on Mozilla's Gecko, which offers a zoom function and contains applications for email, calendaring, document reading, contacts, and a media player.

According to Mandala, Ubuntu MID will be pre-installed on MIDs by their manufacturers, who will typically add drivers and new applications, or even modify the user interface. Users will be able to download and install additional applications developed by the UME community and Moblin.org. Meanwhile, developers are invited to port Ubuntu Desktop Edition applications to UME, and they are encouraged to share their work with the communities.

Availability

Ubuntu MID Edition is available for download now, says Canonical. Along with an image built to run on a KVM virtual machine [download link], there's an installable "McCaslin" image, and an image targeting Intel's Atom-based Crown Beach development station. The latter Menlow version is not available for direct install on any OEM device, Mandala adds, and adapting it for Menlow platforms is said to require "substantial modifications," and is not recommended.

Ubuntu MID will start synching up with the normal Ubuntu 6 monthly release cycle starting with version 8.10, says Canonical. More general information may be found here and information on UME for developers can be found here.
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