Talking Ubuntu Touch and UBports with Dalton Durst
Does the world need another mobile operating system? Canonical, the company that develops and markets Ubuntu, thought so. In 2015, Canonical released Ubuntu Touch, the mobile version of its popular desktop Linux distribution.
The idea was to create an alternative to iOS and Android. An alternative that was completely free and open source, and which was not only secure but also respected the privacy of its users.
That experiment lasted for about two years. Ubuntu Touch was available for a few smartphones and a tablet, but the market wasn't growing in the way Canonical had hoped. In April, 2017 Canonical announced it was pulling the plug on its creation.
Ubuntu Touch looked like it was going the way of Palm's version of webOS. However, during its short life a small yet dedicated and passionate community grew around the operating system. And, in true open source fashion, that community came together to rescue Ubuntu Touch.
Via EtherPad, I chatted with Dalton Durst, one of the two full-time developers with the project. He walked me through the origins of the UBports project, took me down the often bumpy road it travelled to get where it is, and discussed where the project is going.