Ubuntu-UMPC, Ubuntu-MID 8.10 launch. Time to join the party?

Updated on 11 November 2019 by

You might not have seen the announcement that Ubuntu-mobile had a last minute name change to Ubuntu-ultra mobile PC based on the fact it was targeting mobile computers rather than the lower-spec Intel-based MIDs. Oliver Grawert, one of the lead guys on the Ubuntu-ultra mobile PC project, explains on his blog. It was just in time for the release of version 8.10 (AKA Intrepid Ibex) which was went live today.


Before I give you the links to the 8.10 versions (that I’ll be trying out ASAP) though, let me quickly give you an overview of the two distributions…

Ubuntu-MID is the project that started about 18 months ago with the aim of producing an Intel-supported distribution based on Moblin (Intel’s core Linux and driver build for their MID platform) that can be taken by OEMs and finished into a market-ready operating system. The chain of command is a bit long but think Intel -> Canonical -> Canonical Customer -> End Customer. Its running a similar course to the Asianux, the group of Asian Linux distributors that have created the Midinux build we’re seeing filtering through to the west via the Aigo and Benq S6 MIDs.

Ubuntu-UMPC (formerly Ubuntu-Mobile) is a more recent project that takes a standard Ubuntu distribution and builds in the necessary modifications and enhancements to make it more useful on small-screen and touchscreen devices. The initial builds were done on a Q1 Ultra ultra mobile PC but there’s already been a lot of feedback from both ultra mobile PC and netbook owners and an obvious desire from Canonical to take it much much further before the next, Spring 2009 release.

Live Aigo MID popularity graph.
(Updated daily. From the Aigo info page)

We’ve seen a lot of interest in the Aigo MID since it started shipping outside Asia and there are obviously early adopters out there that are very keen to get working on modifying it. The Pocketables, UMPCFever and UMPCPortal forums have all been very active on the subject and we’re already seeing software mods filter through but the frustrating facts are 1) There’s no-one in the Midinux or Asianux teams that is focused on the English-speaking community that can help by answering questions and 2) There doesn’t appear to be a way to feed this great community work back upstream so that it gets pushed down in future releases. Maybe its time for a few of us with the Aigo devices to jump into the Ubuntu-MID community and really push them hard to produce a consumer-ready version. Now that devices are in people hands it seems an appropriate time don’t you think?

Update: It appears the Ubuntu-MID hasnt quite got it together yet. Most drivers are missing meaning nothing actually works. JKKMobile has posted a video highlighting it!


27 Comments For This Post

  1. Josh Bancroft says:

    Hot dang. Along with the Ubuntu 8.10 release today, Ubuntu-MID and Ubuntu-UMPC are out. Grabbing now. Thx @chippy! http://tinyurl.com/6o4tge

  2. Josh Bancroft says:

    @b I did! I linked to @chippy’s post on UMPCPortal, which has links to the Ubunutu-MID/UMPC distros: http://tinyurl.com/6o4tge

  3. Chad Smith says:

    What about Ubuntu-Netbook? Is that still being developed?

  4. Chippy says:

    Not as far as I know unless its a private project for a customer which is likely. Everyone is working on feckin netbooks these days. I knew it would be bad news for MIDs and UMPCs!

  5. turn.self.off says:

    well this should be interesting ;)

  6. Josh Bancroft says:

    Whee! Grabbing both images right now. Ubuntu-MID is going on my Compal MID, and Ubuntu-UMPC on my Asus R2H. Can’t wait to try both of them out! :-)

  7. jkkmobile says:

    Have fun Josh… Ubuntu-MID doesn’t support MIDs..

    ..no poulsbo support… no chipset, no graphics..no connectivity..

  8. jkkmobile says:

    .. ans remember to hook hub and mouse.. no touch either.

  9. Josh Bancroft says:

    @jkk – then what DOES it support? I won’t be surprised if it doesn’t work. I haven’t found ANY good options for a working OS on the Compal device yet… :-(

  10. Chippy says:

    Unbelievable considering Ubuntu and Intel have been working on Ubuntu-MID for 18 months.
    ARM is winning right now. I just heard reports that Ubuntu is working well on OPen Pandora (ARM-based UMPC)


  11. jkkmobile says:

    … should you ask drivers from Intel.

    just checking Shane Wall’s keynote from IDF.. his reality seems different than us:


  12. Chippy says:

    Just tested too.
    Its hopeless.
    Either Intel havent written the drivers for Ubuntu or Ubuntu havent built them into the ditro. Of course when the drivers are there, everything is going to spring into action.
    I suspect Intel havent delivered drivers to Canonical yet.
    Time to join the Moblin forums everyone….
    Oh suprise suprise, there isnt any. You have to be an IRC/Mailing list fan to get involved.


  13. tjs says:

    As far as I know the problem is that Intel has released drivers only for older xorg and kernel versions that were in Hardy. These are not compatible with the versions shipped with Intrepid anymore. Since the old drivers are only binary files they cannot be fixed by the developer community, regardless how minimal or hard the job might be. Staying with old xorg and kernel would lock Ubuntu out of the latest development in these areas so that makes no sense either.

    Compal has chosen hardware components from other manufacturers too that do not have open source drivers, like the touchscreen.

    Intel has great track record for linux-friendly hardware. They have released source code for many drivers and they employ developers that work with the community to support these drivers in true open source style. Only this makes it possible for open distributions to support the devices. For some reason this way of working has not expanded to the newest MID chipset yet.

    If vendors want to benefit from linux and the open source developer community, they need to work along the rules set by the developer community too. They need to sort out how to support their hardware in open source manner. Otherwise it will just end up in misery for the consumers.

  14. tjs says:


    regarding the lack of moblin forums…

    As you know, Intel has intended Moblin project for open source developers only. As Moblin is just bunch of source code to support MIDs there is nothing for users to benefit in taking part of that community. Developers prefer mailing lists and irc so at least here Intel works by the rules of developer community :)

    However I understand your point and I appreciate the attention you are bringing to this problem!

  15. admin says:

    Thanks TJS, for clearing the driver issue up.

    I never saw the point of binary drivers but I guess some people like to hide their tricks ;-)

    I assume the binary drivers for the touch on the Compal device can’t be taken from the Aigo MID as its running a different Kernel version right? In that case, not only Intel need to re-build drivers against new kernel, but the touchscreen manufacturer too. Then they need to deliver to Canonical so that team can deliver, finaly, a working version of Ubuntu-MID, for at least one of the MIDs!


  16. tjs says:

    Yes, as far as I know that is correct. I only hope this problem would get enough publicity to make it happen soon!

  17. Chippy says:

    P.S. I was testing Ubuntu-mid on Aigo.

  18. TDFS says:

    DRIVERS, DRIVERS, DRIVERS!!! Harware manufacturers keep in mind that you must develope drivers in order to sell you hardware! And drivers for old kernels or for old Xorg are USELESS!!! I really hope someone will read this!

  19. anon says:

    Exactly what I expected. I don’t see any reason for trying these on netbooks either unless you’re a linux dev yourself and ready to fix things yourself.

    I’d *really* like to see linux and new hardware support each other one of these days.

  20. jkkmobile says:

    uploading my test video now….

  21. Chippy says:

    SHould be interesting to see the comments….!

  22. icura says:

    Looks good. Anyone want to report on how it works with U810/U1010?

  23. Chippy says:

    Its not looking good at all unfortunately…

    At least for MIDs!

  24. jpmatrix says:

    i ve tried both under my Fujitsu u1010 and both was a great disapointment : i could never calibrate the touchscreen (although in touchpanel bios mode)…

    moreover ubuntu-mid have definitely not a sexy look…. ubuntu-umpc looks better but i totally disaggree with the design of the desktop which makes your umpc looks like a toy…

    for now, i ll keep my Mandriva 2008 which works great quite out of the box

  25. Mike says:

    The link to the server at download site seems to be off line. Are there any other sites where you can get a download of iso file to load?

  26. admin says:

    Which iso are you trying to get.
    I have already informed Canonical that the UMPC ISO has gone.


  27. Barry says:

    Another image of Ubuntu UMPC can be downloaded here: http://cdimage.ubuntu.com/releases/intrepid/release/

2 Trackbacks For This Post

  1. Ubuntu Linux 8.10: Intrepid Ibex disponibile per MID e UMPC - Notebook Italia « ReMa2007.net says:

    […] nuova versione Ubuntu Linux, 8.10, nome in codice Intrepid Ibex (Stambecco Intrepido), ma forse non tutti sanno che la distribuzione sarà indirizzata non solo a computer portatili e PC desktop, ma anche ai […]

  2. Good news for Linux/Menlow Netbooks, UMPCs and MIDs | UMPCPortal - Ultra Mobile Personal Computing says:

    […] work on Moblin 1 with the Ubuntu-MID distribution but that project is now static. Then there was Ubuntu-Mobile which turned into Ubuntu UMPC. Again, this project stopped. The Ubuntu Netbook Remix project also started and this is the one […]

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