We've already received over $5.8 million in funding for Ubuntu Edge in our ambitious Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign. We’ve been blown away by the generosity of our community, so wanted to give you all a chance to ask questions about Ubuntu Edge, the Ubuntu phone OS and our convergence story. http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ubuntu-edge/x/3927028.

Picture proof - https://plus.google.com/116812394236590806058/posts/Tx646g67BJd

Comments: 3100 • Responses: 68  • Date: 

vviikkrraanntt1874 karma

Hello, Thanks for empowering millions of people from developing countries like India(I'm from India) to have an alternative to Pirated Windows XP. We can't afford OS like Windows and the simplistic nature of ubuntu (native graphic and audio support with indic language support) really helps many people in the villages to learn computers. I don't know if i will again get the chance to talk with the founder in the future so Thank you.

Mark_Shuttleworth984 karma

Thank you - appreciate your saying hi!

namnuf961 karma

Hello Mark,

Will (parts of) the Ubuntu Edge be Open Hardware?

Mark_Shuttleworth1046 karma

This first version of the Edge is to prove the concept of crowdsourcing ideas for innovation, backed by crowdfunding. If it gets greenlighted, then I think we'll have an annual process by which the previous generation backers get to vote on the spec for the next generation of Edge.

So in this first generation Edge, no, we didn't look for open hardware specifically. We can choose silicon with more open drivers as we finalise the spec, but again I think the priority for the CPU / GPU will be performance to hit the goal of convergence.

In future generations, it would be great to see if we can do an all-open device, for example.

emansipater515 karma

And will you release the physical dimensions as soon as it goes to production so we can easily 3D print cases and accessories for it?

Mark_Shuttleworth1528 karma

Yes, the specifications will be released as soon as they are final. Love the 3D printing movement, be great to get an accessory-printing meme flowing!

viper474519 karma

Mark, Do you plan to add lower level donation tiers (under $200) for tangible, cheap goods (stickers, shirts, etc.) to help boost donations to fund Ubuntu Edge? Thanks, and I wish this project all the best!

vaniljezevs276 karma

That's a very good idea. I'm sure many of the existing backers are happy to add another $20-30 to get a t-shirt with the phone. At least I know I am!

Mark_Shuttleworth550 karma

Yeah, we could add some perks for folks showing support - good idea, thank you!

emansipater177 karma

This, and smartphone accessories like mhl docks, backup batteries, etc. Both Edge buyers and owners of existing smartphones buy a lot of these anyways, so why not get one for a good cause!

Mark_Shuttleworth265 karma

We did consider specifying a range of accessories - gaming, PC form factor, ultra-mobility stations, but decided to focus on the core device and let others build ecosystems around it. The connection is standard MHL which means it should be straightforward for folks to support, and more interesting to crowdsource ieas than for us to try and do it all.

I do think that the Edge coud be the heart of a whole wave of innovation - once you have a real PC in your pocket, who knows what entrepreneurs will build around it? Or kids with ideas from high school to MIT?

sspan473 karma

How will you address the privacy concerns on contemporary phones?

Mark_Shuttleworth570 karma

We're entering a really interesting phase where in a sense our very own tools spy on us.

We will certainly have an easier time providing transparency on the origin of the code in the platform than, say, your average android device, where it's all a big hacky mush. The core OS which will be updated regularly on the Ubuntu phones is all traceable directly back to standard Ubuntu source and binary packages.

There will be a core piece on each phone which handles the hardware, consisting of kernel and drivers and firmware and interfaces to things like the radio. That's where unhealthy things could creep in from manufacturers and carriers. We can offer... constructive guidance there.

marcusklaas359 karma

How will the 32 millions USD be spent? Will it all go to the hardware (including research/design etc), or is some of it going into the development of the software too?

Mark_Shuttleworth626 karma

Software is covered by our existing efforts to bring Ubuntu to mobile, nothing more needed there. The crowdfunding is really what it costs to bring a device to market, it would be more if we were a major brand, $32m is pretty lean I'm told. Hope the actual cost doesn't exceed it or I'll be carrying that baby but hey it's worth the risk.

Mark_979358 karma


Sapphire crystal is very hard but also, as far as I understand it, very brittle and more prone to shattering. Isn't it better to go with a material that is more flexible, even if it's not as scratch resistant? A shattered screen is worse than a scratched screen.

While I'm at it, I hope there's going to be a strap hole for phone straps/lanyards. Water resistance would also be fantastic.

*Edit strap hole, not eyelet.

Mark_Shuttleworth498 karma

Its an interesting question. We've done drop-test simulations and we have tried to shape the internal structure to manage this, and think it's going to be OK, but that's the point of pushing the limits, right?

Mark_Shuttleworth342 karma

And in closing - Reddit is a pretty fantastic resource for discourse and discovery, thanks for keeping it that way. Takes lots of work to preserve what's great about a society while not stagnating, keep it up.

venix0289 karma

Hello Mark,

Have you consider offering 1 year (or 2) free of Ubuntu One Service with some of the perks to help you reach your goals? Since phone will be out next year(if it reaches the goal) it would also be a good idea to offer 2 years for those who buy the phone and 1 year for founder perk (if it's over $40 for example) to give some extra motive for the rest who can't afford to buy one at the moment.

I am also interested to know whether there will be open hardware and open specifications for the Ubuntu Edge and future products. I personally believe that with open source hardware and software true innovation can happen at a large scale, and this is an opportunity to start large open hardware projects!

Mark_Shuttleworth200 karma

Good ideas, thank you!

dragonz7271 karma

Hi Mark! My question: Heat seems to be a problem after long periods of time using my current smartphone. Will you try to choose a processor that can minimize this for long periods of time? As a convergent device, this and battery life is my biggest worry.

Mark_Shuttleworth325 karma

We've done thermal modelling of the device (recognising that the processor options are still only guidance from the vendors). I think for this generation we want to go all-out for performance to get over the convergence hump - i.e. deliver a device that gives a good enough desktop experience when you hook it up via HDMI and a bluetooth keyboard.

But we are doing a lot of work on cooling off while you are not actually using it docked, so it doesn't warm up your pocket when you're not using it as a desktop!

Mark_Shuttleworth261 karma

Thanks all for your questions, thanks to backers of the Edge and here's to an excellent tech year in 2013. This really is a time when everything is getting reinvented, it's a great time to be part of the game!

jonnytechno188 karma

Have you ever been approached by the NSA/ CIA / FBI regarding access to Ubuntu systems and what are your opinions for safe and secure OS'?

PS much respect for all you've done for Linux via Ubuntu & your new phone project

Mark_Shuttleworth311 karma

No, we've never been asked to support a surveillance campaign. We've been asked to provide data in support of specific criminal investigations (child abuse) would do so again. We would not comply with a mass surveillance or extra-judicial request, and we would challenge requests that we think are unwarranted.

Saylar187 karma

Hi Mark and thanks for doing this.

1) Can you talk about the licences that will be used for this project and how open they will be? Are we gonna see binary blobs or can we expect the firmware to be released as open source? I think this is a really important question for a lot of people.

2) Are you trying to make sure that production is as fair as possible? I think the success of the fairphone is a good indicator that this is an important "feature" for people.

3) What architecture will be used?

4) What about VAT when importing to a country in the EU. Do I have to pay that on top or is it already included?

5) I'd really like to see an IR sender in this device. There are still so many devices in peoples homes and I want my mobile to replace the various remote controls that are laying around the house.

6) Just to make sure, the edge will be able to do 2G and 3G as well, right? LTE coverage will still be scarce next year.

Thanks for doing this, I really hope this will become a success, we need more competition in the market and this could show the industry what is important to a lot of people.

Take care.

Mark_Shuttleworth242 karma

There may be blobs in the first generation device. The way to a blob-free future is to show demand from folks who care about that, not to be ideological about it.

On architecture - that's an open question and we're studying the proposals and raodmaps of the top silicon providers to see what part has the best chance of crossing the PC / phone gap.

IR sender is a very cool idea, will see if we can work it in, thank you!

bradmont168 karma

Carrier interference/lockdown

How are you navigating the carrier & manufacturer interference waters with Ubuntu Phone? One of the most frustrating things as an Android user is that both the phone manufacturers and the cellular carriers lock down devices and install unwanted software.

Are you planning on allowing carriers to lock down certain features (like root) of Ubuntu phones? Do you forsee handsets with manufacturer-installed software (apps or even shells) that can't be removed or replaced by the user?

Edit for clarity: I'm asking more about the overall platform & the agreements Canonical is making with hardware manufacturers and carriers, not about the Edge specifically.

Mark_Shuttleworth208 karma

We've proposed to our carrier partners that:

  • there's a hardware part to the software that they are responsible, which is essentially drivers, that gets updated on their schedule (but is not user visible, no apps)

  • there's a core-OS part, which is Ubuntu, which gets updated automatically and is the same for everyone

  • there is a layer for carrier customisation, which may be additional apps or scopes or themes but not core OS changes

  • and then there are end-user apps

In that world, I think we'll have less silly bloatware, and we can certainly keep the core OS part clean and up to date.

CamilloBrillo167 karma

I'm curious about battery life of the Ubuntu Edge. How do you plan to make the battery last at least a full work day with such specifics? How long will the battery last when using the phone to drive a monitor?


Edit: typos, damn autocarrot!

Mark_Shuttleworth387 karma

We're hoping to blaze a trail with silicon anode batteries. Hopefully, that is the only blaze involved - a trail ;)

Saylar131 karma

As far as I understood, the phone will support MHL which gives out 5V and hopefully has enough power to power the phone when used as a "desktop"

Mark_Shuttleworth145 karma

That's correct.

potcorn159 karma

I just wanted to say thanks for Ubuntu.

Mark_Shuttleworth130 karma

Appreciate that - glad it's helpful for you!

Wanderwichtl154 karma

Hi Mark,

how do you see yourself and ubuntu in the context of the surveillance programs? Will there be some kind of full disk encryption?

Mark_Shuttleworth261 karma

Yes, we can to full disk encryption, thanks for the reminder and I'll suggest it to the team.

kakashi1814149 karma

Hi and thanks for your time. Will the Edge be covered by any warranties outside of the return policy?

Also how long will the Edge be recieving software updates?

Mark_Shuttleworth228 karma

We want to support the edge with updates to 14.04 LTS and then through the life of 14.04 LTS, which would be a total of 6 years.

therealmarv135 karma

Mark, do you plan to do something similar in the notebook sector? I miss premium haswell laptops which are well built like Macbook Airs and run Ubuntu out of the box without any problems and great battery life.

Mark_Shuttleworth169 karma

I don't see US doing a notebook this way, but if we prove the mechanism of crowdfunding and crowdsourcing ideas and priorities for innovation, I bet someone else will.

Personally, I'm interested in convergence, the idea that I could be typing this on a keyboard + screen attached to my phone, with the brains being in the phone. So successive iterations of concept phones is where I'd like to keep our involvement.

Backers become part of a community that can share ideas and debate priorities. That's what we do on the Ubuntu software side every day, so I think it's a good fit.

RobinJ1995133 karma

There were some concerns raised about the specs saying the Edge would have (at least) 4GB of RAM, although currently 2GB is the maximum amount of RAM a device is able to use with an ARM processor.

What are your thoughts about this? Has this been carefully planned ahead, or is it more a find-and-solve-problems-along-the-way kind of project?

Mark_Shuttleworth257 karma

I've been told by the CTO of a very big mobile silicon manufacturer they could do it.

caspy7126 karma

In what ways might alternate mobile OSes such as Ubuntu, Firefox OS and Tizen work together or share common technologies (in order to benefit consumers and each other)?

Mark_Shuttleworth160 karma

We do have areas of mutual interest and overlap. But... it's hard, through no fault of any one party, to discuss and agree on every detail. So I'd suggest you consider diversity a value in itself and let us work it out. And thank you for backing the Edge :)

dylcope115 karma

Hi Mark,

Hardware compatibility has always been a huge hurdle for Linux. Things like the Dell XPS 13 (Project Sputnik) and System76 are great for consumers to have the ability to purchase a machine and know that everything will work. Is Canonical actively working with manufacturers to get more machines approved for Ubuntu? I'd love to see other manufactures have an option to purchase a new machine with Ubuntu preinstalled.

P.S. Hopefully convergence will make this question moot in the future. :)


Mark_Shuttleworth200 karma

Well, within a short while every single machine from Dell or HP will be going through at least a baseline certification process with Ubuntu, so I hope there is always a way for you to get a version of Ubuntu working well on any of their devices.

Pepparkakan114 karma

So Mark,

...how much is a shuttle worth exactly?

Mark_Shuttleworth191 karma

Life's too short to hit refresh on that number too often :)

jjuhl42112 karma

Why is the Ubuntu Edge not featured on the front page of canonical.com? It seems to me that you need to spread the word as far and wide as possible to hit that crazy high $32m target, so you ought to use all the channels that you have.

Mark_Shuttleworth194 karma

Dude, the traffic is all on ubuntu.com, but it's a good point nonetheless and I'll suggest it, thanks!

Goonsacks107 karma

Are there any other phone manufacturers preparing to launch phones with Ubuntu Mobile OS?

Mark_Shuttleworth170 karma

There are several brand name manufacturers that have independently brought Ubuntu mobile up on their next-gen devices and presented that to carriers. No word yet on who might be first to go the distance, but I think that's pretty encouraging given it's off their own bat.

FiletMcShay104 karma

Hello Mr.Shuttleworth,

Although I am unfamiliar with Ubuntu (and Linux in general), I am excited to see it's popularity rise, as this means more competition, which creates better products.

My question is: As someone who is an iOS user, why should I buy an Ubuntu phone?


Mark_Shuttleworth138 karma

If you're interested in convergence between phone and PC, we'll do that first and imo best. If y ou're interested in accelerating the movement of new tech into the mainstream, the Edge is a very interesting new way to signal to Appe what you consider cool in hardware (and software).

bradmont103 karma

Other distros on the handset

I love the vision of device convergence, and the possibility of having open OSes take a more prominent role in the computing world. I also love the enormous options using Linux affords me.

So, as you build Ubuntu for phones, what is your vision for hackability? Do you expect other distributions will able to take your technology and build something similar on top of it? For example, a couple years down the road do you think we could see things like Debian Phone and Arch Linux for Android?

delta_epsilon_zeta112 karma

Just to save Mark some time, here's a quote from the Indiegogo page:

This is an Open Device, so users can tinker with the software and use standard flashing tools to upload custom builds.

Mark_Shuttleworth214 karma

.... and I hope they do!

emansipater99 karma

Idea for another donation tier: Mark Shuttleworth records you a custom voicemail. Would you do it?

Mark_Shuttleworth152 karma

Sure, but I'm no Liam Neeson :)

stedenko94 karma

Mr Shuttleworth,

Has Canonical been approached by the NSA regarding access to Ubuntu One?

Mark_Shuttleworth211 karma

No. I do have concerns that we have data in AWS and other US clouds which might be subject to PRISM. We're looking at a range of options to provide both security and also plausible deniability to users of Ubuntu who are surveilled.

sdef592 karma

"A phone for human beings" should "source raw materials that don’t fund armed forces or violent conflicts, from mines that treat people like the human beings they are". Do you have any plan to adhere to the principles of Fairphone? The minimum that I expect from an ubuntu phone is that it respects Africa. I know this could be difficult for the high specs of the phone, but please try it :)

Mark_Shuttleworth103 karma

Yes, that's an admirable goal, I will see what impact that has on the phone plan and at the very least, if greenlighted, can work that into the plan for a next-gen iteration.

LukeHoersten92 karma

Hey Mark. Question about UI and stability of Ubuntu:

I've been a long time Ubuntu user. I believe Ubuntu is the best OS but I just feel like design coherence and stability is all over the place. I understand you're iterating fast but it seems like stability should be improving over the years, not the other way around. Also, it just doesn't seem like anyone is paying attention to the UI details like on a Mac (or even Windows now). Unity looks great but the new Nautilus is a mess, for example. Where's the UI coherence? What's going on with stability?

Mark_Shuttleworth139 karma

Hmm... yes, Nautilus is tricky of course because of the source.

I do wish we could maintain full focus on both desktop and mobile, but I've asked the team instead to concentrate on touch, so more stuff is slipping through raw from upstream without going through the same level of integration/smoothing that we normally do. Crashes etc are still being addressed, but I agree there's more divergence in core apps than normal in 13.04.

If we're successful with the phone, then that platform becomes our core for desktop too, and it's really gorgeous, take a look.

ricoza91 karma

Do you think South African tech entrepreneurs have to eventually leave SA to make it really big?

Mark_Shuttleworth129 karma

Well, they certainly have to spend a lot of time on a plane :)

I was lucky with my first effort, Thawte, which was based in SA but didn't need much commercial infrastructure outside, it was all online. So the restirctive rules about global trading for South Africans didn't block that. But I couldn't do Ubuntu from SA, for example. Just recently half-won a constitutional case in SA to have some of those rules reconsidered, too early to know what the ultimate result of that will be.

wynalazca87 karma

Hello Mark. Thanks for doing this AMA.

What happens if the campaign gets fairly close to it's goal but is just a few million short? Will an "anonymous donor" (hint hint) buy out the rest that are required to get the project funded?

What processor are you expecting to choose for the Edge? Is it going to be a Haswell/Broadwell ULT or ULX chip?

Also, this isn't really a question, but more of a request... Please include a LARGE BATTERY in the device. I'd say that 4000 mAh should be the minimum design choice and hopefully more than that if possible. As a phone connoisseur, I really dislike that the standard flagship Android devices only have enough battery for a few hours of heavy usage (games, streaming video, etc.) I can easily kill my Galaxy S3 in less than 4 hours and I think that is unacceptable for a device that is supposed to be connected 24/7.

Mark_Shuttleworth176 karma

Lots of folks have speculated I might close the gap if it's close. But I think that would not be in the spirit of the project; rather I would hope someone smarter than me will come up with a better concept that DOES get greenlighted, because I really believe in the idea of crowdsourcing the signal to innovation.

zybler84 karma

Hi Mark,

Since the Ubuntu Edge will be dual booting Ubuntu and Android, can you say roughly how much of the 128GB storage on the phone will be available for user files?

Mark_Shuttleworth165 karma

I think at least 120GB will be available for files.

onlineads79 karma

How freakin awesome was space? Was it worth the preparation and money? Would you do it again?

Mark_Shuttleworth77 karma

It was a real privilege. I do hope to fly again, but am waiting till it's feasible to get a bit deeper into the unknown than LEO.

Sharky-PI75 karma

Are you worried that the long lead time (due May 2014 if all goes well) and pre-published spec will allow competitors to catch up / overtake and essentially gazump the Edge?

p.s. I've bought one already. Good luck!!

Mark_Shuttleworth83 karma

It's certainly possible that a particular feature might go into another phone, but the overall goal of a PC-class convergence devices is miles beyond anything the majors are looking to achieve, and I think the Edge will be the first by a long way to try.

If we get it greenlighted, then I hope we bring forward the commercial adoption of some of those tech by at least a year!

CerberusLabratSR268 karma

By your best guess, about how much do you expect each edge to actually cost to produce?

Mark_Shuttleworth105 karma

Our best guess is $32m for 40,000 devices, not counting the money spent to date on design validation. If we did more devices we could lower the price, but that would just make the campaign goals harder. And really, we want to focus on cutting edge tech, so setting too high a production requirement might limit us to stuff that's more conventional. Hopefully we found a good balance, you be the judge!

Magnesus66 karma

What audio chip are you planning on using. Wolfson would be great for best sound quality (they made an excellent premium chip recently) so Edge can be used as an audiophile-quality music player.

Mark_Shuttleworth100 karma

We are looking for audiophile silicon, but the harder thing I'm sweating about is speakers. We haven't found anything that looks like a potential breakthrough, any suggestions?

shravmehta59 karma

Hi Mark,

Are you planning on releasing an SDK soon and what will the app store experience be like on the phone?

mhall119146 karma

The SDK has been available as daily builds since Ubuntu Touch was announced earlier this year, and it just recently reached a beta release stage: http://developer.ubuntu.com/2013/07/ubuntu-sdk-beta-released/

Mark_Shuttleworth147 karma

^ that ;)

mesirii59 karma


do you plan to use new wireless charging technologies in the edge, like for instance http://witricity.com/pages/technology.html (which has been proven already 4 years ago).

Mark_Shuttleworth142 karma

We considered it and decided it would make the device too thick (because we are already pushing the limits on storage, RAM etc). In a future iteration I would like to do both wireless charging and wireless display for untethered convergence, but that's Not Ready Yet, even for the crazy people.

malefika56 karma

Hi Mark, so Ubuntu Edge has ben revealed, I'm kind of amazed about this project, just two simple questions:

  • Battery. When "docking" the Ubuntu Edge and using it instead of a PC/notebook, will an AC power supply be mandatory or will battery last for an "human" amount of time?

  • Heat. Phone seems little, hardware is powerful, internal heat will be... too much, won't be? So what about cooling? Will I get my hands cooked like an hot-dog while using or recharging the Ubuntu Edge?

Mark_Shuttleworth133 karma

I think when in PC mode you'll want a source of power, either a bigger battery in the screen / dock, or AC. But in mobile mode, we aim not to roast anything personal.

CanadianVelociraptor53 karma

Thank you for Ubuntu, and for doing this AMA! I started using Ubuntu at a young age, and it's what got me interested in open-source software. Canonical does great work! Some questions that come to mind:

  • Where would you recommend someone get started if they were interested in contributing to Ubuntu or similar?

  • Will the Edge's "desktop" OS have as much functionality and compatibility as the current Ubuntu operating system releases when the phone is docked? What functionality will be lost when the phone is mobile?

  • Do you think the transition to Unity on the Ubuntu desktop has turned out okay, or is the community still too reluctant to change?

Mark_Shuttleworth52 karma

The best place to get started in Ubuntu depends on your personal interests. If you're a writer and speaker, work on docs and materials. If y ou're a designer, pick a new mobile app and help on the design.

For developers, there's loads of open space in the new mobile core apps. That's brought a lot of new developers to the project, and to QML, which is a fantatic development environment, native performance with JS / CSS ease of design. I'd suggest starting there, with an app that can scale from phone, to tablet, to PC.

isaac071052 karma

Hi, Mark. Will the Ubuntu Edge have all LTE bands or diferent bands in each antenna?, will it work with any LTE carrier in any country?

Mark_Shuttleworth80 karma

No, it will be unusual in supporting TWO bands of LTE so it can work with LTE in both the US and EU, but it can't support every possible LTE carrier worldwide, the spectrum is just too fragmented at the moment. That's a real swamp we would like to help drain!

unjson45 karma

Would you consider Ubuntu a "traditional" Linux OS, given the number of exclusive features that got implemented in Ubuntu during the last years or is it maybe time to make a hard cut between Linux and Ubuntu? (Just from a top-level, consumer perspective of course. You guys are doing very exiting things with Linux)

Keep the Updates coming, very exited for 13.10 and Mir!

Mark_Shuttleworth91 karma

No, I think every Linux has its reason for existing, which means it has its differences. And that's just fine. I think Ubuntu is every much Linux - all the parts we invest in are free software for other distros to try if they want, too.

More generally, I think this meme is a bit of sour grapes, and if we want Linux to evolve based on sour grapes, we'll all just have a bad taste in our mouths in the end :)

smayonak40 karma

Hello Mark, I still can't believe I threw down hundreds on a mobile device. You are an amazing salesperson.

Here's my question:

Have you considered using Pixel Qi or Mirasol color full-motion E-ink display technology? They're both sunlight readable and have tremendously low drain, good durability and are superior to LCD screens in toughness - perfect for mobile needs.

You mentioned that you were trying technologies that mainstream manufacturers have avoided - color eink displays are perfectly representative of this. It's a technology that no one apparently wants to put into a device, despite its potential and advantages over LCD screens.

Another question - how rugged will the Ubuntu Edge be?

Take a look yourself.

Here's a write up on Mirasol

Mark_Shuttleworth41 karma

Yeah, I'm very interested in Mirasol. Not for this device but I'm told the next-gen display is pretty fantastic. So, perhaps Edge II 2015?

sehlers39 karma

Why Sapphire Glass instead of Gorilla Glass 3? Also, what will be the maximum resolution when hooked up to a monitor?

Mark_Shuttleworth61 karma

Full HD is the baseline requirement for the external monitor, we may be able to do more depending on final silicon options.

Sapphire, is much harder and more scratch resistant than any glass. Much more expensive and hard to machine, too, but we think its worth pushing industry to develop mainstream processing and volume for it.

captain_dyablos39 karma

first off, wow, that edge looks amazing. question though: with the way this convergence is going, do you think eventually in the future, we will just have our superphones that replace our desktops and laptops?

Mark_Shuttleworth55 karma

That's what we want to try!

MirakeshExpress38 karma

If this campaign becomes successful in achieving it's target and the phone's delivered in 2014, will you consider the same model for other handsets going forward?

Mark_Shuttleworth69 karma


What would be interesting is to invite the backers of this generation not only to help finalise the spec of this generation, but also to help select the most interesting combinations of technologies for a future generation, on say an annual basis.

For this generation, we had to go find ideas. If we're greenlighted, I think we could invite companies with hot and cool tech for phones to present their ideas to the community, and have a crowdsourcing approach to the design of say, the Edge 2015.

Indydegrees237 karma

Who is your inspiration?

Mark_Shuttleworth89 karma

Mahatma Gandhi, Jan Smuts, Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela. All flawed if you look closely enough, but that just makes me admire them more for what they did.

Azeem25936 karma

Hi Mark,

I ordered the edge and as excited as I am for Ubuntu OS, I am deeply invested in the android ecosystem and the dual boot feature is what pushed me over the edge for the phone. Will the phone be officially updated to new versions of android by canonical? I don't have the time and skills to root my phone and flash roms.

Mark_Shuttleworth42 karma

Yes, I am fairly sure there will be updated ROMs over time, we are working to make it both a very capable device (which will tend to attract a good community) and very open (which eases the path).

Gnufreetard31 karma

While I don't think the Edge will be a practicle desktop replacement, for the sort of tech enthusiasts who would buy this device and still use a desktop, I see no reason why this couldn't displace lowend laptops and even many ultrabooks. I'm so convinced that high end phone or tablet running Ubuntu can replace a dedicated laptop that I fully intend to replace my laptop with the Edge! On that note do you intend to do any additional crowdfunding campaigns for accessories for the Edge?

In your videos thus far, you have said there will be HDMI on the phone and I have seen users of Ubuntu on nexus phones connecting their phone to their screen using an MHL to HDMI adapter from a port which to my knowedge is basically both usb and hdmi but can only function as one or the other at a time. Do you intend to do something different with the Edge so that I can have both a monitor and a usb device connected to the phone at the same time?

How do you guys at Canonical make decisions about the design of the Ubuntu Edge? Is it just you dictating everything do you have an internal commity, etc? What has been the most interesting thing about designing the Ubuntu edge so far?

One last thing, can you make the African drum beat login theme from back in the Ubuntu 8 and 9 days one of the ring tones. Having that randomly get reset to maximum volume would be really nostalgic.

Mark_Shuttleworth42 karma

Good idea on the ringtone ;)

The edge has been a team effort, my role has been sort of editorial. There are a few key folks who have really put a ton of effort into it out of a passion for what's possible - I really hope we see it come to fruition for them, they deserve to see it happen!

mrcheese12331 karma

Hi Mark, I am one of the first 5000 to purchase the phone! How will dual booting work? Like will both Android and the Ubuntu OS be running at the same time with the option to switch between the two without rebooting or no? Can we have an estimate of the clock speed of the CPU? Will the phone have the dock shown in the video included?

Mark_Shuttleworth52 karma

You will be able to toggle what you boot - Ubuntu or Android. If you boot Android, then when you plug in a large screen, you'll have the option to launch ubuntu alongside it, as U4A.

medianbailey31 karma

Hi Mark, firstly, love ubuntu. Secondly, the hardware is pretty hardcore, will you use a shrinking ray to fit it all in to the phone, or miniature atoms to construct miniature chips?

Mark_Shuttleworth102 karma

My money's on the shrinking ray. It worked for my hairline, right?

leonadide29 karma

Does the Ubuntu Edge has a graphics technology for video games in the pc-mode? PS: Already bought one!

Mark_Shuttleworth43 karma

We're working with a few different games publishers on both PC and mobile, so yes, I think gaming on the edge will be pretty radical. It should certainly raise the bar on mobile gaming because we'll have a LOT of RAM and first-class GPU.

midnitefox25 karma

Mark, do you see the Edge as Ubuntu Phone's "Nexus" device? And would this device theoretically have an advantage over other Ubuntu Phones in regards to support/updates?

Mark_Shuttleworth44 karma

In a sense, perhaps, yes. But the real idea we're trying to express is that a community can make better decisions than a single person. So in making the Edge, we're also forming an extension to the Ubuntu community that can help with designing next generation Edges.

Mainstream volume PC and phone manufacturer is really best served by the existing players, I don't want to compete with them, we'd lose! But we're better setup to be a mediator between enthusiasts and those manufacturers, which is at the heart of this campaign.

bernie16wb24 karma

Can you comment a bit about the screen you're looking to use? IE: Why aren't other companies using sapphire screens? Cost, manufacturing difficulties?

Thanks a lot, Ubuntu was my first experience with Linux.

Mark_Shuttleworth31 karma

Cost mainly. They are in use in very, very expensive fashion phones. But we think the cost will come down if we can get more mainstream volumes and processing approaches, hence the push. No screen protector would be fantastic!

eyecreate24 karma

One of the big unanswered questions about this device is the architecture being used. Intel's new bay trail looks really great in performance and power saving as well as allowing easy compatibility with Ubuntu software center purchases. Arm processors might be easier/cheaper to come by as well as friendlier to the mobile side of this device. Arm, though, will require lots of work on canonical's side to make the full desktop side software supported by third parties. I personally think Intel's processor should be the one used, but if architecture isn't decided yet, what items are making the decision process difficult?

Mark_Shuttleworth31 karma

We are waiting for two things - final specs and benchmarks, and a community of backers to help make that decision.

Groggster19 karma

Hello Mark!

How confident are you that the Indiegogo campaign will reach it's goal?

Mark_Shuttleworth33 karma

It's going to be really tough, we'll need the support of a very large community of enthusiasts. A great start, for sure, but that's like all the folks in tutus and bearsuits at the starting line of a marathon. The finish is a little, erm, sweatier :)

necarpenter16 karma

How is Ubuntu's attempt at convergence different from others' attempts (Microsoft for example)?

Mark_Shuttleworth31 karma

We'll be the first to have the FULL OS on all devices, not an embedded version of the OS. And what's cool for me is that same OS works on servers too (even ARM servers). So there's one flat platform everywhere for developers. Pretty cool.

mdramsey11 karma

Good morning/afternoon Mark:

Great campaign, I hope it blows through the $32m mark by a mile.

That said, is Canonical leveraging any of its own in-house sales talent to bring existing relationships on board to support this campaign?

As you may know, Google unveiled the Nexus 7 yesterday which will be available as an "unlocked" LTE device, able to operate on AT&T, T-Mobile and Verizon in the US. Will the Ubuntu Edge also be unlocked in the this fashion?

Have participating carriers in the CAG advised at all as to whether you will pursue VoLTE functionality for voice or will you use traditional methods.

Has a decision been made as to which direction will be pursued to accommodate the LTE radios? Qualcomm RF360 front end?

While the final product will vary, as the Edge idea was being hatched, what kind of CPU was part of that vision?

How satisfied are you with the media coverage of this campaign?

My questions are hardware centric because this hardware will be unique and the grand scheme of things and I am not worried about the operating system environment at all, the proof of concept work done to date has already sold me.

All the best and looking forward to getting my Ubuntu Edge!!

Mark_Shuttleworth18 karma

Yes, the Edge will be unlocked LTE. We've briefed existing phone, PC and carrier partners, and I think they are watching with real interest and support. They would like to have a very strong signal from the enthusiast community as to what is really worth investing in.

nuggins10 karma

Oh hi Mark,

A few questions:

One common concern that has kept people from pledging is whether or not this phone will still be at the bleeding edge of technology in a year, when it is released. If this campaign is successful, how do we know other larger companies won't adopt these technologies in that time, and at a lower price-point (especially factoring in the potential earnings lost from tying up hundreds of dollars for a year)? Also, at what point before the release date will you nail down the product specifications?

One of the selling points of the Edge is that it will revolutionize mobile computing. A big advantage of mobile computing for many is that it can be done while commuting, where one would not have access to a docking station, or any sort of peripherals. Here, laptops and tablets are quite useful. In what situations would one see a significant benefit in using the Edge for computing?

Canada is notably absent from the list of regions in which you will "conduct interoperability testing" for the Edge. Especially because Canadian telecom is so notoriously monopolistic, do I need to worry about whether or not the Edge will work in Canada, especially if I'm not in a metropolitan region?

I think the majority of people who ruin their phone screens do so by dropping and cracking them rather than scratching them. Crystals tend not to be ductile - especially thin sheets. A sapphire screen may be more scratch-resistant than gorilla glass, but won't it fracture easily?

Mark_Shuttleworth9 karma

We have some visibility on what different companies will try in the coming year, and as a package, our best sources suggest that the Edge is waaaay more ambitious than anything else.

mllora817 karma

Any plans for wireless display WIDI?

Mark_Shuttleworth10 karma

In future I think wireless will make sense for convergence. But the delay on WIDI is still several hundred milliseconds (a noticeable fraction of a second) so it feels like your desktop is in treacle. We'll try to bring that into a future generation if we can find a way to get the delay down.

workingwriter4147 karma

Mark, Some people are suggesting that the Edge Indiegogo campaign was launched because the Carrier Advisory Group wouldn't fund the project. Please comment on the reasons for choosing the crowdfunding model.

Mark_Shuttleworth20 karma

We certainly didn't ask the CAG to fund it.

The POINT of crowdsourcing is to shift processes away from industry into the hands of enthusiasts and independent decision makers. We are able to propose a device which would never make it through the risk-averse selection process at a carrier or manufacturer - not because they are dumb, but because the consequences of failure are bad for them personally and institutionally. Crowdsourcing is a new way to approach hard choices, innovation, and risk capital, and I thought it would be a good way to accelerate tech.

We're doing it because we are setup to host a community, which is what the Edge backers become, that can help finalise the Edge spec and then work on next-gen specs too. We're already doing that every day, while the major carriers / manufacturers are not setup to do that.

The_lone_eagle_owl5 karma

Hello Mark, first of all I want to thank you, for a starting this project. Now questions and suggestions.

Will we have a laptop dock?

I don’t see scenarios of usage phone plugged to a bigger screen. At home I have laptop plugged to a 27 inch dell screen, at college we have computers if we need. However it is totally different story with small laptop dock. It can be used for taking notes on the study. Making sketches to explain something. Showing photos on a bigger screen. Better browsing experience. No need for a second sim for tablet/laptop internet. I made a sketch of how I see it. http://www.flickr.com/photos/filen/9366884190/in/photostream/ Some answers about concept.

Phone call answering options while phone is docked.

  1. Talk via speaker phone as usual on laptops.

  2. Plug earphones with microphone.

  3. Reject a call, unplug phone and recall.

Why not using phone as a touchpad?

The screen will heat up and become uncomfortable to use, also it eats buttery life.

Dream specifications.

11.6 inch IGZO touch display, as it is best energy efficient displays.

360 degrees hinges like in lenova yoga for use as a tablet. (some hardware or software options to switch off keyboard wile it in tablet mode)

Carbon material as it lightest material for a laptop

2 USB 3.0

Sd card slot


Keyboard layout as on Lenovo helix

Weight 800 grams (without phone) or less for comfortable function as a tablet.

Optional Wacom Pen

I think such dock could be a selling point by itself.

Thank you for reading and sorry for my broken English.

P.S. Move damn on/off button from top to the right side of a phone.

Mark_Shuttleworth16 karma

Well, we've been user-testing U4A for a while, and the interesting thing I learned was that a light cable (or better, wireless, but it's Not Ready Yet) is better than a dock. The reason is, you sometimes want to use the phone AS A PHONE (ie use a hpone app, or make a call with the phone next to your head) while still keeping the PC display visible and usable. Docks make that hard to do.