Is Ubuntu trying to act like Google?

I do, begrudgingly, admit that the Ubuntu Linux distribution should probably have a place in the wide world (just not in my house or datacenter). I’m all for competition and innovation.

But Ubuntu the brand, and Canonical as a company, is seriously confusing to me. What exactly is it there for, outside of being the backing for the Ubuntu distro? Apparently they provide some sort of “enterprise consulting” and training. Apparently you can also buy support from Canonical as a regular consumer (just found this out on their website) for just over $100 (American). And of course there’s the deal with Dell (and others?) to act as an OEM for a few computer models. So they do have a business, but I don’t see how they have a profitable one.

And now Canonical is touting their latest “product”. “Ubuntu TV” (, which will apparently run actual televisions. So they want to be a TV middleware company now? Don’t get me wrong, the video looks pretty enough, and the sountrack is enjoyable, but what is the value proposition? Their tagline is “make tv simple again”.  Aside from my father-in-law’s occassional tirade, I really didn’t know that it was that difficult these days. Their video marketing on the site says that they want to do away with the remotes and wires and boxes and have it all on the tv itself. The only problem with that is so does every tv maker out there. The back wall of Target is slam-full of tv’s that offer all sorts of enriched experiences, from Netflix and Hulu to web access, twitter, facebook, and probably a massage at some level. So why are tv makers (or tv buyers) going to pay a premium to have an Ubuntu-branded television? It just doens’t make sense to me.

I’m attaching the video below. You be the judge. Is this another flail in the dark by Canonical to find a marketable product? Or are they somehow geniuses and playing  a long game that my poor mind can’t comprehend?

4 thoughts on “Is Ubuntu trying to act like Google?

  1. I love how all the Ubuntu Fan-boys have comments all over the Youtube video like “OMG! AWESOME! AMAZING! I WANT IT! BOW DOWN TO SHUTTLEWORTH!”

    1 – Google vs. Ubuntu -> Google will win (for better or worse)
    2 – Ubuntu won’t make any money. Margins on TVs are too small.
    3 – This isn’t innovative. We can already do this with an extra box (AppleTV, GoogleTV, BoxeeBox, Roku). It’s only a matter of time before the TVs are powerful enough that we don’t need the extra box.
    4 – I do this right now with Fedora + XBMC… and XBMC is prettier.

  2. I seriously don’t understand why Canonical is trying so hard to compete with Google; I don’t like it at all.

    Google already uses Ubuntu as it’s main operating system in-house. They should be working together, not against each other.

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