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Windows 10 just beat Ubuntu to the smartphone-PC convergence punch

Chris Hoffman | May 4, 2015
With Windows 10's universal apps and Continuum for phones, Microsoft is turning Ubuntu's dream of convergence into cold, hard reality.

Microsoft could still drop the ball, and Canonical could pick it up
So convergence is somewhere on Canonical's roadmap, and we could see it within a few years. But Microsoft will be launching its own version of this when Windows 10 launches--which could be in late July, if AMD's CEO has her dates right.

There are still ways Microsoft could drop the ball. Windows 10 for phones is based on the same software as Windows 10 for desktop PCs, and some of those Windows phones will use Intel CPUs. It's theoretically possible that traditional Win32 desktop applications could be installed on Windows phones and run in Continuum mode. But there's no indication Microsoft will allow this, and every indication suggest compatibility will likely be restricted only to Windows 10's new "universal apps." Even if Microsoft does allow desktop apps, only the sandboxed applications coming from the Windows Store are likely to be allowed--not any old desktop app you might want to run.

Ubuntu for phones puts no such limitations on its vision for convergence.

Imagine getting a powerful Ubuntu phone with an Intel chip and using it to run the Linux version of Steam, for example, or the existing ecosystem of powerful Linux desktop applications and command-line tools. That's the strength of open-source software. Whatever limits Microsoft places on this feature in Windows, we'll be able to bypass them and do whatever we want on Linux.

Either way, convergence is the future--and bringing an open-source version of that convergence for Linux users will be a win. But Canonical won't be the company to plant its flag here first. Microsoft just beat them to it.

 

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