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29 October 2012, 11:20

Ubuntu installer for Nexus 7 launched for developers

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Zoom The Ubuntu Nexus 7 Installer makes it easy for developers to install the Linux distribution to the 7-inch tablet
Ubuntu-sponsor Canonical has released an application to make it relatively easy for users to install its Linux distribution onto Google's 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet. Aimed exclusively at developers and testers, the Ubuntu Nexus 7 Installer completely removes the default Android mobile operating system and all user data on the ASUS-made tablet, and installs the desktop version of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu founder Mark Shuttleworth has already said that the focus of 13.04 development will be looking at the core of Ubuntu from a mobile point of view, with special attention being paid to improving mobile metrics: battery life, the number of running processes and the operating system's memory footprint. The Nexus 7 installer can be seen as an economical way of providing developers with a test bed for measuring those metrics. The Nexus 7 port of Ubuntu has no enhancements for mobile or touch use and is not being developed as a product.

The Nexus 7 install tool, which requires Ubuntu 12.04 LTS or later to run, provides a simple graphical user interface to download the latest unstable development release of Ubuntu and flash it onto the Nexus 7 tablet. To install Ubuntu onto the Nexus 7 using the application, users will first need to unlock the tablet's boot loader in order to flash the image of Ubuntu to it. Once unlocked, the Nexus 7 needs to be started in fastboot mode and connected to the system running the tool. According to the Installation wiki page, flashing Ubuntu to the Nexus 7 should take approximately two minutes to complete, after which the device will be restarted to complete the installation.

The installer was released ahead of the Ubuntu Developer Summit (UDS), which began today (29 October) and is currently taking place in Copenhagen, Denmark. At the four-day event, the developers will be outlining their plans for the next major release of Ubuntu, 13.04, code-named "Raring Ringtail", and decide what features they want to include. Further information about installing Ubuntu onto the Nexus 7, including a list of known problems, can be found on the Ubuntu wiki. Instructions for re-installing Android 4.1.x "Jelly Bean" back onto the device are also provided; factory images for the Nexus 7 are available from Google's Android Developer portal.

The H reminds users that, as with all development software, inexperienced users are advised not to flash their devices as they could unintentionally "brick" them, resulting in a complete loss of functionality.

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