Matt Zimmerman on Ubuntu Mobile

Matt ZimmermanUbuntu Mobile is one of the most promising flavour for Canonical distro. It will run on different devices such tablet pc, Intel MID, UMPC and, probably, lost more.
So we intervieweved Matt Zimmerman, Ubuntu's CTO and chairman of the Ubuntu Technical Board, to better know which are the main features of this Ubuntu derivative and what we have to expect:

1) Matt, can you say to our readers which are the guys involved in Ubuntu Mobile and their tasks?

Tollef Fog Heen is the technical lead for the project, assisted by fellow Canonical engineer Adilson Oliveira. Intel is contributing a lot of code through, and members of the Ubuntu kernel team, desktop team and others, both at Canonical and in the larger community, are participating.

There is a very active mailing list at

2) Which are the main goals to achieve before the release date (18/10/2007)?

In summary, our aim is to assemble a functional and free mobile operating environment which can be used as the basis for further development. For the initial 7.10 release, we'll be focused on getting the infrastructure and basic features in place.

You can read about the various components in some detail at

3) The only architecture for Ubuntu Mobile is x86. Do you plan to develop a port for other platform?

More specifically, the supported architecture is LPIA (Low Power on Intel Architecture), which seems to hold a great deal of promise for more powerful and flexible mobile devices.

At present, we have no plans to port to a new architecture, but the capability is there, and we expect a sizeable interest in this once we have established the basic platform.

4) There is a lot of buzz regarding Ubuntu Mobile on Nokia N800 tablet, what can you say about this rumor? Is it only a buzz?

There is a lot of interest in the N800 platform on the part of open source developers, many of whom are also advocates of Ubuntu, so I think this kind of speculation is to be expected.

5) Will It be possibile to see mobile device with Ubuntu preinstalled?
Are you talking with hardware manufacturer?

Absolutely, we expect to see mobile devices based on Ubuntu next year.

6) Will it be possibile to see Ubuntu mobile also on some cellphone or UMPC, Intel MID and tablet are enough for now?

Phone handsets have their own challenges, distinct from MID platforms.
People expect different functionality from them, and the form factor and capabilities are quite different. As such, bringing Ubuntu to phones would be a separate project, rather than an extension of what we are doing now.

7) Last but not least one question about human interaction.
The interaction with mobile device is focused on touch. Do you plan to include other kind of interaction such voice control in the near future?

As Ubuntu has always been focused on the quality of the user experience, we're definitely interested in exploring the different ways in which people will want to interact with mobile devices.

The iPhone has shown some of what is possible with restricted form factors, and MID is a much less restrictive platform than the iPhone.

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