One of the advantages (and sometimes confusing) aspects of Free Software and open source software is the choice of user experiences (UX). Desktop choices include Gnome (and derivatives including Mate, Cinnamon & Unity), KDE, LXDE and XFCE. Google’s Android UX and derivatives are perhaps even more popular now. The fragmentation of end user communities is specifically allowed by the licenses these groups choose for their software and the licenses of the underlying software.
Coming up April 17th Canonical and the community are scheduled to release 14.04 LTS Trusty Tahr. 14.04′s Gnome derived Unity experience is designed to transcend the phone, tablet, desktop and television form factors. 14.04 LTS is also enabled for phones and tablets which is called the Touch UI. You can try the Touch UI by installing 14.04 on at least the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7 and Nexus 10 devices. California 14.04 release parties in San Francisco and Fullerton are developing as mentioned on the BerkeleyLUG email list and many others throughout the world organized by local communities. Please consider yourself invited.
In five years every TV may have an Internet experience built in. The need for a separate device like the newly announced Amazon set top box Fire TV, Linux powered Roku, AppleTV or other device may go away. Not content with just millions of Chromecast dongle sales, last week The Verge broke a story on the heels of the Fire TV announcement that Google plans an Android TV. I hope user freedoms are preserved on these and future devices.
Other recent news also supports the move of the computing industry as it focuses on convergence and UX. Facebook recently purchased (wired, marketplace) Oculus VR. In recent weeks Microsoft announced it will be focusing on UIs that do not require keyboards and mice, they have released Office365 for the iPad and their Build 2014 annual developer conference (mobile, desktop and other platforms) in SF has just concluded. What user experiences and on what form factors do you compute?
We meet on the second and fourth Sundays of each month from noon to three in Berkeley near the Downtown Berkeley BART station near the corner of University & Shattuck. We hope you join us at Bobby G’s Pizzeria and/or join the discussion on our email list.