Ubuntu 13.04 on my Nexus 7 (2012), CM 10.2 on Note 2, et. al.

Last night I installed Ubuntu 3.0 on my Nexus 7 using this guide.

Order the Thai Breaker, its really good.

The Ubuntu Desktop Installer did not work for me so had to do it manually from the command line.  I can confirm those commands do work.  If you’ve ever re-installed Android onto your Nexus 7, its a virtually identical process.  Once all of the files were pushed to the device, it rebooted, and presented me with the usual Ubuntu setup wizard, and an on-screen keyboard!  After completing the wizard, it rebooted again, and I was at the usual Ubuntu desktop that we all know and love.

The experience of interacting with a real Ubuntu desktop on my Nexus 7 blew my mind.

In the flesh

Even right now its still awesome.  Touch interaction still has a ways to go before I’d recommend this for prime time (I’ll probably be switching back to Android when I get home from typing this).  If you planned on only using this with a keyboard and mouse, I’d say no problem, but chances are, you’ll want to pick it up and poke at it to get it to do things.  If you are planning on using this at all as a “tablet” don’t do it just yet, Android is still a better option for that.  Once the interface becomes more touch friendly (and I don’t think they have too far to go), they’ll be golden.

Fit and finish is a little lacking, as you can see in the picture below:
Glitchy text
Text in window chrome is glitchy.  This is a super new use of Ubuntu, and its not really meant to be used by the masses yet, so I’m willing to forgive things like that.
I’m just amazed that it works at all!  Sound works.  WiFi works.  No flash, but I had the brilliant idea of getting a user agent switcher for Chrome that tells websites that I’m on a mobile browser instead of a desktop browser, so that helps a bit.  Bluetooth almost works.  It says that it doesn’t work in the “Known Issues” but I was able to see (but not successfully pair with) my Motorola Xoom Bluetooth keyboard.  Just confirmed that GPS works!  Navigated to Google Maps, Chrome asked me if I would allow the website to access my current location, said ‘yes’, and it went right to where I am!

Have you ever had a netbook?  Its little better than that.

Interesting that the text glitches showed up in the screen capture
Its not as fluid as Android on the same device, but that’s to be expected.  It’s also not as fast as Ubuntu on a real desktop.  It strains easily..  Good at unitasking, not so great at multitasking.. quick.  If I just needed to do one thing at a time, this wouldn’t be a bad option.  Although it does make me curious how well Ubuntu would run on more potent hardware, like the new Nexus 7 that just came out.  Tried some video playback.. Still better off in Android.
You’re also going to encounter issues with architecture.  This isn’t the same Ubuntu that you run on your desktop (assuming you’re running an i386- or AMD64-based desktop).  This is Ubuntu for the ARM architecture.  So even though there is Flash, Dropbox, and Skype for Ubuntu, there’s not Flash, Dropbox, and Skype for Ubuntu on ARM.  However, you DO have all of those for Android.. except maybe Flash.  I think adobe axed that, which is fine with me (C’mon HTML5!).  Ubuntu on my Nexus 7 does a LOT of what I want my tablet to do, but not everything.  Touch interaction has some work to do.. animation and interface bugs need to be ironed out..  The whole thing needs to be optimized so that its lean and fast.  It would be nice if it could approach the responsiveness of Android, but I’m not holding my breath.

Overall, I love it, in spite of the fact that I’ll be reinstalling Android very shortly.

If Ubuntu for ARM contained both interfaces that would be ideal.  If the OS had the ability to switch between the conventional desktop interface and the touch interface they’re developing for mobile, that would be perfect.  Although, I think they should also make the desktop interface more finger-friendly.

The flipside of that would be to make a desktop for Android.  I feel like it would be easier for Android to make a desktop, than what Ubuntu is having to go through to make a touch interface.  You can already use a keyboard and mouse with Android, but applications take up the whole screen, and I’m still waiting on a LibreOffice APK.  Android already has a massive library of applications, it’s already optimized for ARM..

As I’ve mentioned before, the PC revolution as we know it is over.  We’re in uncharted territory now.  Microsoft seems to be the biggest player that’s actually pumping out products that are trying to address this.  Ubuntu is hard at work too..  Apple, ironically enough, seems content having a desktop OS and a mobile OS that, while sometimes sharing similar UI elements, are entirely different operating systems.

Also I installed CM 10.2 on Yong’s Samsung Galaxy Note 2 (i317) this morning.  Everything works!  Even GPS..  a feature that still eludes me on my Galaxy S2 (i777) running CM 10.2 as well..  If my GPS worked..  I would have zero desire to replace my handset…

Recent price cut on Nexus 4 = sold out 4GB mdoels.

Next Android OS (4.4) to be called Kit-Kat.  New (?) Nexus accidentally leaked in video from Google advertising new operating system code name, so that’s kinda exciting.  Might actually get this one if it’s priced right.

Time to go home and swim.  I typed this entire post on my Nexus 7 running Ubuntu 13.04.  Exciting times ahead!


2 responses to “Ubuntu 13.04 on my Nexus 7 (2012), CM 10.2 on Note 2, et. al.”

  1. You're obsessed with snapdragons

  2. The Nexus 7 has Tegra!

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