It’s no secret that Canonical wants its Ubuntu Linux operating system to replace Window, but to do so it needs to expand beyond its current mostly desktop, and some server, presence. While it’s mobile efforts are still en route, aside form a lone bq Aquaris, the company is already planning on integrating deeper into your home through the so-called Internet of Things or IoT. And this time, it isn’t doing it by itself but is enlisting the help of some big names like GE, Acer, and, ironically, Microsoft.
The Internet of Things tries to make our houses smarter by connecting anything and everything to each other and to the Internet, from bulbs, to thermostats, to appliances, and even to doorbells. Normally, when it comes to the end user experience, iOS and Android are the top choices. But considering the constrained hardware of the devices themselves, Linux has a distinct advantage in this particular area. This is where Ubuntu’s “Snappy Core” comes in, poised to be the smallest form of Ubuntu that makes it perfect for IoT.
As proof of that, Canonical and GE jointly announced Chillhub, the first ever smart refrigerator to be powered by Ubuntu. This 18 cubic foot top freezer refrigerator is more than just an appliance. It’s also branded as an open platform that will not only let users customize it to their preference but also let developers and tinkerers in on the fun. Chillhub will retail for $999, available only from GE’s FirstBuild website, though there is an early bird offer of $799 as well.
Canonical is also teaming up with Acer as well as Microsoft and DataArt to bring Ubuntu to the Big Data market. Acer’s aBeing One cross-platform smart center will leverage Ubuntu Snappy Core and Acer’s Open C&C Platform (AOP) to provide a sort of central brain for IoT devices.
For now, LInux, and by extension Ubuntu Snappy Core, has an advantage in terms of size and resource efficiency, but they might find themselves with tough competition soon. Microsoft has been increasingly aggressive about its own IoT push, going as far as making WIndows 10 free for the Raspberry Pi 2 and other development boards in the hopes of fine tuning Windows 10 to even smaller devices and computers.