If you've been wishing your Google Nexus tablet could run the Ubuntu version of Linux, your wish has been granted. A preview version of Ubuntu Touch can now be downloaded from Canonical.
[click to view image]There are a couple of cavets, though. First off, this version is only for the Google Nexus 7 and Nexus 10. The goal is to eventually bring support to all devices that currently run Android, but that's still quite a ways away.
Also, Canonical assumes that anyone who wants to try out an Ubuntu tablet is already running a desktop with this same operating system, and is familiar with using terminal coomands. This process is not for timid Linux newbies.
Instructions for downloading Ubuntu Touch Preview can be found on Canonical's web site.
More about Ubuntu Touch
Ubuntu Touch will run on Nexus smartphones as well as tablets, and integration across these two typpes of mobile device is one of the hallmarks of this version. Users will be able to run a tablet and an smartphone app side-by-side, and drag-and-drop content between the two.
The Nexus tablets do not have many hardware buttons, and this operating system has been designed to not need them, as the four edges of the screen are used to navigate between apps, settings, and controls.
Ubuntu Touch offers multiple secure user accounts, plus a guest account, allowing a family to share one device, or for one to be shared by employees at an office.
For the security conscious, Canonical promises that data protection is "world class" with full disk encryption, and additional encryption for personal data.
Users will be able to add a keyboard and mouse to turn their Ubuntu tablet into a laptop.
Ubuntu is able run HTML5 software as well as native apps. And Canonical says it supports remote-access over standard protocols from Microsoft, Citrix, VMware and Wyse.