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Ubuntu tablet threat to iPad? Nah

Apple mops sweat from brow, puts down smelling salts

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The founder of Linux Ubuntu has laid to rest stories of a tablet version, no doubt causing widespread relief in Cupertino.

Rumours of an Ubuntu tablet circulated over the weekend, based on an interview with Canonical's VP of Alliances and OEM Services. But those rumours have now been scotched by the man in charge, Mark Shuttleworth, who told Golem.de that Ubuntu remains about desktops, netbooks and servers.

Canonical is the company that funds and manages Ubuntu. Canonical's VP reportedly said that a touch screen version of the distribution was in the offing, and mentioned all sorts of places where the distribution might turn up including tablets. At the time we commented that this would seem in contradiction to previous statements, and sure enough Shuttleworth - the man behind Canonical and sometime amateur astronaut - has clarified the matter.

In the interview with Golem.de Shuttleworth makes it very clear that while Ubuntu will be working on a lightweight version for netbooks there is no tablet-specific version planned. The original interview, it seems, was referring to the habit of Ubuntu developers to run the platform on all sorts of hardware, as Linux hackers are wont, including tablets.

Competing with Android and Meego, not to mention iOS, would seem optimistic to the point of self-delusion. Any company, open source or otherwise, who decides to take on Nokia, Microsoft, Apple and Google for ownership of a market that might not even exist is surely fanciful at the very least. ®

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