What does it take to run Ubuntu Desktop on mobile devices?

I just proposed the following blueprint  for UDS-R, and I though I will share it here to give it more visibility:

https://blueprints.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+spec/topic-raring-desktop-targets-for-embedded

What does it take to run Ubuntu Desktop on mobile devices?

It’s time to look at the core of Ubuntu and review it through a mobile lens. During 13.04, we will like to measure and improve how the guts of our platform performs against mobile metrics.

Things like battery life, memory footprint, support for sensors… are areas where needs and expectation widely vary between a PC and a mobile devices. 13.04 will be a cycle of exploration and learning. Because there is no better way to learn that getting your hands dirty, our practical exercise will be to get Ubuntu Desktop working on the Nexus 7.

The Nexus 7 exercise will be less like a 100 meters sprint (if you don’t cross the finish line you don’t get a score) and more like Javelin competition. The further that we can throw it, the higher the score!

On those basis, here are 8 types of Javelins to throw and some distance markers to hit for Ubuntu Desktop on Nexus 7:

*Memory Usage* ->Desktop runs well with 1GB RAM ->Desktop, Web Browser and email app all run well within 1GB -> Desktop runs well with 512MB -> Desktop, Web Browser and email app all run well within 512MB

*Power Mangement* -> Instant on ->Suspend/Resume 100 cycles with only 1 error -> boot up time <1 min -> Sensible Auto Suspend policy

*Battery Life* -> CPU on idle <1% -> Standby battery life is > 150 hours -> Battery life while browsing is > 8 hours -> Battery life playing HD video is > 5 hours -> Standby battery life is > 275 hours

*Testing* –> Functional shell test that can be loaded manually into the ROM ->Performance tests can be run -> Automated battery life test -> Automated battery life test

*Desktop Apps* -> Web browser boots < 3 sec -> Email client (local or web apps) -> Music Player -> Video Player -> Games

*Desktop Unity Performance* -> Fast App-Stack switching -> Launcher Reveal time < 2 secs -> Dash Reveal time < 3 secs ->Dash search < 5 sec ->Unity performs >60 FPS

*Functionality* -> Unity Desktop works ->touch input performs well -> Play a youtube video of a cat -> Play an HD movie -> Ubuntu one

*Sensors* -> Mic & Wifi -> Touch -> Camera -> position awareness sensors -> NFC

Click in the blueprint to see a summary of other releated UDS-R sessions.

23 thoughts on “What does it take to run Ubuntu Desktop on mobile devices?

  1. I hope the times are going to improve for 13.10 and 14.04: Launcher reveal 2 second, dash reveal 3 seconds, boot one minute – that is just so slow for everyday use.

      1. Yeah, I guess there is enough time till April 2014. I am currently still using my N900 and would like to eventually replace it with a Ubuntu phone, but as N900 is no star regarding its speed, this is the most important feature for me – not having to wait till an application starts, till everything happens. This is the reason I use my phone just for some selected task and never for browsing as it is just too slow. I do not really care about fancy effects or the number of applications – just give me something fast, superfast!

    1. It really depends on what system you have. I’ve found if i run a VM with the exact same hardware allocated each time ubuntu is faster booting and running than woe7, 8 & vista. But on a friends system, and on a laptop where graphics support was low unity ran pretty poorly, but GNOME3 was still faster by a mile, (and XFCE.) I’m hoping that there will be support for other desktop managers and environments in the kernel and that other DE’s such as gnome get a tablet makeover. Certainly in the case of gnome it’s already pretty tablet like in appearance anyway, so just replacing some of the functions in the activity pane with gestures and adding an on screen keyboard could make that work.

  2. Just bought a nexus today and have ubuntu on it now! Very excited for the talks this week and finding out how I can help (even if only on the front end/app side of things). Cheers for all your work and to everyone involved.

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