Kubuntu 11.10 Mobile Devices Sneak Peak

As mentioned in the general sneak peak, Kubuntu 11.10 will have a strong focus on mobile devices. Since I did not go into details yet, let me make up for this by presenting all the more interesting changes in the area of mobile device support.

First off, Kubuntu 11.10 will get a tablet version.

Kubuntu Mobile

For Kubuntu 10.10 we presented for the first time a tech preview of Kubuntu Mobile, the first Plasma Mobile powered distribution ever. It was (and quite frankly still is) primarily targeting the Nokia N900.

In 11.10 we will make this amazing product see its first stable release. In particular it will be the first release to finally integrate telephone features.

Namely it will be possible to do phone calls and send SMS. Additionally Kubuntu Mobile will get spiced up with a completely reworked default software selection. This has various advantages. First we will remove all non-mobile parts to shrink the size of Kubuntu Mobile down to a bare minimum. Instead of “desktop” applications we will then include a whole bunch of awesome software for mobile devices. This includes primarily Kontact Touch and Calligra Mobile, two amazing upcoming mobile versions of the well-known desktop applications.

Kubuntu for Tablets

For as long as we have been working on Kubuntu Mobile, we were thinking about expanding to the tablet as they are in many ways very similar. No wonder, that the Kubuntu team welcomes the arrival of KDE’s Plasma Active project, trying to bring the awesomeness of Plasma for emerging devices such as tablets and smartphones. All the better is the fact that they are currently having tablets as primary target.

Following this great development we will release (at least) a tech preview of a Kubuntu version for tablet devices alongside Kubuntu 11.10. At the center of Kubuntu for tablets we will once more place the excellent Plasma technology, in the form of Plasma Active. The on-screen keyboard will either be provided by Plasma as well, or by the keyboard used in MeeGo.

Which devices might be targeted by this new version of Kubuntu is not yet known as the Kubuntu team is not sufficiently supplied with tablet-like devices to work with at the time of writing. Something which we hope to get resolved in time, so that we can make our new product available to users of certain devices as soon as possible.

I do however have a prototype running on my Archos 10.1 internet tablet, using Kubuntu Mobile:

KWin OpenGL ES

More mobile stuff, will it ever end?!

Some time ago the KWin developer Martin Gräßlin presented a KWin version that is capable of using OpenGL ES for desktop effects. This a very important development for two particular reasons:

  1. Most graphics drivers of ultra mobile devices only support OpenGL ES (well)
  2. Plasma and KWin strongly interact to make the Plasma user interfaces super attractive (transparency, blur and the like)

So, having OpenGL ES support is crucial for Kubuntu on mobile phones and for Kubuntu on tablets. In Kubuntu 11.10 we will provide a KWin version for OpenGL ES, alongside the regular OpenGL version. This enables everyone who would like to test it, to do so, even on the regular PC (if the graphcis drivers supports OpenGL ES of course :)).


Amazing times are ahead! Nothing more to say.

24 thoughts on “Kubuntu 11.10 Mobile Devices Sneak Peak

  1. I really look forward to chilling out in the sofa with my feet up while checking the TV-programme on a WeTab or similar 🙂

  2. How did you install Kubuntu Mobile on your Archos device? I have an Archos too, and I like to test (and use) this KDE software in the future…

  3. Yep, kde guys are working on Plasma Mobile.

    Maybe am I dumb.. but what has kubuntu to do with that ? I mean how is kubuntu different from any other kde-centrinc distrib’ on that ?

    • @rom1dep: To my knowledge, Kubuntu was (is?) the first prominent distribution to ship Plasma-Mobile. Given that *buntu is also probably the best-known Linux distro to the average person, it’s also a good opportunity to show it off.
      @Apachelogger: Has the Kubuntu team added anything unique, or is it just stock Plasma-Mobile on top of the *buntu core?

      • Kubuntu most of the time ships stock software. Plasma Mobile is no exception there. So the biggest difference is always in terms of software selection and default configuration. The reason for this is that the Kubuntu team is commited to not patch KDE software, but improve it upstream and then form it into a coherent distribution downstream.

        I have a blog post about this ready in some days.

        What I wonder though, is why you think that Plasma Mobile is not a unique product. Because I think it is very unique.

        • @Apachelogger: I’m sorry, I think you misunderstood me. What I meant was to ask whether Kubuntu Mobile’s offering had any substantial end-user-visible differences from another distribution shipping Plasma Mobile (for the sake of argument, say, a hypothetical “Fedora Mobile”) in the same way that the desktop editions of different distributions shipping KDE software sometimes differ in terms of defaults, utilities, integrations, etc. That was the context in which I used the terms “stock” and “unique”; I wasn’t meaning any offense. I am really excited to give this a try, and I commend the Kubuntu team for its work. 🙂

          • Oh, well, just like with regular Kubuntu, Kubuntu Mobile uses the core of the KDE workspace (i.e. Plasma and KWin). In what way they are configured is of course made suitable for the target device. The software selection complementing the workspace experience is probably what differs most in desktop distributions and would be what differs most in a KDE software based mobile distribution. However, as there is only a small set of KDE software that ought to be considered suitable for mobile devices, or touchable devices at large if you will, I could not tell you in what way Kubuntu Mobile would differ from a *hypothetical* other mobile distribution.

            Generally speaking though, Kubuntu usually prefers KDE technology based software over anything else (taking into account migration paths, reliability, release frequency, integration benefit, etc.), so perhaps that would be one difference. Like another mobile distribution chooses Fennec whereas Kubuntu would go with Rekonq Mobile (though latter does not exist right now ;)).

            What we have to keep in mind is that a mobile operating system has a much smaller set of use cases, thus restricting the amount of possible difference in a lot of areas. Which is actually something I’d very much hope to remain that way. If other distributions join the mobile game it would be much better if all of us worked on a small but high quality set of software upstream, as to provide a common user experience among mobile KDE software deployments.
            Fragmentation is not always a good thing, as Android has unfortunately shown.

  4. Do stop by #meego-inputmethods @ freenode or our mailinglist if you have any questions about or problems with the Maliit/Meego Input Methods keyboard.
    — Maliit developer

  5. So looking forward to this, I know what Distro I will be working on porting to Galtab 7″ and Asus EEE Pad Transformer hehe.

  6. I have an ExoPC and I would love to try the tablet edition out. It’s an atom processor, do you have a version which I could install on that?

    I’ve tried playing with MeeGo and it’s just not up to scratch. I would love this. I’m going to see if the standard netbook image will install anyway! 🙂

  7. Hello you help me to install kubuntu possibly moving the stable or the most stable or the best in your opinion on my Nokia N900

    I tried yesterday I’ve installed the 1.2 Meego on 4GB SD card but I am not convinced
    -Now I know what and where to download kubuntu

    know if I should install it on SD card if you like?
    Will you give me links easy to follow in order to install Kubuntu on n900 thank you

    Sorry for English but I used google translate

  8. just read the news about a mobile edition- but:
    nothing can be found about this – beside news/blogs/etc that talk about the note in the general sneak peak. And this blog entry here.
    As you seem to know a bit more. So maybe you can give some answers.
    Where to find more infos? Where to look for (development) news and stuff? Where to see the involved people communicate?? Where, where, where.
    I´m not a programmer nor do i want to install/test it (currently i´m only thinking about getting a n900+ installing meego 1.2) – but i´d like to keep track whats happening.
    Would be great if maybe you can help out a little.

  9. I have just bought a nokia e72, and i would like to install kubuntu, or some linux distro on it. Where could i get the necessary documentation, I am surrounded by linux at home and at work (…mostly) and i love it, but i have never tinkered with mobile devices. Also it would mean an arm and a leg for me to lose my device because of a mistake.

  10. hi apachelogger,
    could you offer some reply regarding the subject i have specified above, i know it is a huge amount of work to be done, but since you are already in the development business, I thought that you could help so that it would cut the searching/learning curve.
    please just give a reply, any kind of reply would be good.

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