by Swapnil Bhartiya

2015 is shaping up to be the Year of Ubuntu

May 12, 20154 mins
LinuxOpen Source

Ubuntu has been making big promises since 2011 when they chose Unity to be at the center of their universe. And while they failed to deliver on Ubuntu TV or Ubuntu for Android, they've got other tricks up their sleeves.

Year 2015 is becoming ‘the year of Ubuntu’. The company saw the first Ubuntu powered mobile handset hitting the market. Then we saw a drone powered by Ubuntu and now market leader GE is showcasing the first smart fridge powered by Ubuntu.

First more about the drone

I got into drones recently, so I am more than excited about the Ubuntu powered drone. Last week Erle Robotics introduced Erle-Copter Ubuntu Core special edition, a smart drone powered by Snappy Ubuntu Core. The drone has official ROS (robot operating system) support and is capable of the different flight modes. It has been designed for an extended flight time and can carry a takeoff weight of about 2 kilograms, which make it ideal for outdoor operations. It’s available for €399 from Erle Robotics.

Canonical at IoT World

At the center of Canonical’s solar system is Snappy Ubuntu Core, a new approach Canonical has taken towards turning Ubuntu into an OS ready for the 21st century. (You can read more about it here).

Canonical said in a blog post that at IoT World this week, Canonical, GE’s FirstBuild, Acer, Microsoft and DataArt will “… demonstrate the latest in highly innovative, next-generation connected devices for the home but also illustrate how the industry at-large is behind ‘Snappy’ Ubuntu Core as the natural choice when designing and deploying industrial and commercial IoT projects.”

Canonical will be showcasing a smart refrigerator called ChillHub at the event. The fridge is powered by none other than Snappy Ubuntu Core. It was developed by FirstBuild, an online and physical community of industrial designers, scientists, engineers, makers and early adopters. The community is a joint project of Local Motors and GE Appliances.

In addition to performing the typical tasks of a fridge, which is pretty much to keep things cold, ChillHub will enable developers, hackers and users to add more features to the fridge.

The 18 cubic foot top freezer refrigerator will retail for $999 and can be ordered through Limited pre-orders will also be available at an early-bird price of $799.

FirstBuild is providing Canonical with the much needed platform to materialize their ambitions. The company is working with the FirstBuild community to create more IoT devices. They collaborated at the HacktheHome hackathon to reward the most innovative ideas and we may soon see the winner, a smart crockpot called CrockWatch.

“I think that Snappy is going to solve problems that are just now becoming apparent with the internet of things,” said Jason Chodyniecki, Wi-Fi Connected Appliances Architect at GE Appliances, who is also behind the crockpot. “I envision a world with home appliances that are controlled very differently than they are today, and I believe Snappy could help get us to that point.”

Beyond crock pots, drones and fridges

Acer’s BYOC (bring your own cloud) unit and Canonical are partnering to showcase Acer’s aBeing One cross-platform smart center. It’s powered by Snappy Ubuntu Core and Acer Open C&C Platform 3.0 core technology.

Acer’s Mark Yang, Director of IoT Solution of BYOC Business Unit puts his faith in Snappy Ubuntu Core, “Working together we can combine clever technology like Snappy with go-to-market experience, incentivizing the developer community to design more and more innovative Snappy apps to run on Acer hardware. This collaboration is just the start of more to come for the world of IoT.”

When bugs become features

Gone are the days when Microsoft’s Windows used to be the #1 bug for Ubuntu. Not only has Canonical marketed the bug as fixed, but also Canonical’s founder is full of praise for Microsoft. The change of tone reflects the new partnering between the two companies.

At IoT World, Microsoft, Canonical and DatArt will show how industrial predictive maintenance can be setup in minutes and how IoT, Cloud, Big Data, machine learning and Docker can all be integrated via Snappy Apps, DeviceHive and Juju Charms.

All of this says only one thing: 2015 is going to be very exciting for Ubuntu. We may even call it the Year of Ubuntu.