Ubuntu Linux, Android could give HP's TouchPad new life

Those lucky enough to get their hands on a TouchPad could soon find themselves with more choices than they ever imagined

HP's ill-fated TouchPad may be a hot commodity now that it's being offered at fire-sale prices, but those lucky enough to get their hands on one could soon find themselves with more choices than they ever imagined.

WebOS is the operating system that comes preloaded on the device, of course, and I maintain hope that that Linux-based operating system will be picked up and continued] by another company, preferably in open source form.

For those concerned about WebOS's fate or even just its relative paucity of apps, however, two new possibilities have just emerged. First, it's already possible to get Ubuntu Linux up and running on the device, and second, a project is now in the works to port Android over as well.

The Ubuntu Option

On the Ubuntu side, instructions have already been posted on Liliputing for installing Ubuntu Linux on the TouchPad alongside its existing WebOS operating system. Basically, it sounds like you're creating a dual-boot scenario so that you can choose which to run.

PreWare, Palm Novacom, Xecutah and Ubuntu 11.04 CHroot are all part of the process, which is reportedly not for the faint of heart. Nevertheless, the end result is a command-line version of Ubuntu Linux that can be used with apt-get install to install various Ubuntu software packages.

While not all Ubuntu apps will work on the TouchPad because of its ARM-based processor, Firefox, Chromium and LibreOffice are among those that do, according to Liliputing's report.

An Android Alternative

Aiming to get Android up and running on HP's device, meanwhile, are several hacker efforts, including the nascent Touchdroid project on RootzWiki.

Developers involved in Touchdroid plan first to use Android 2.3 Gingerbread and be AOSP-based; once they're able to successfully boot Android, they plan to move to a CM7 base. Honeycomb and Ice Cream Sandwich versions will follow from there, the developers explained.

Still unclear on this end is whether Android will replace WebOS or be a dual-boot option as in the Ubuntu solution.

Meanwhile, at least one bounty has been separately offered up to the developer who gets Android working on the HP TouchPad.

Manufacturers, Take Note

However these two alternate platforms for the TouchPad play out, it's exciting to see three Linux-based operating systems vying to run on HP's discontinued hardware.

I really hope other tablet manufacturers are paying attention. If ever there was proof that there's plenty of demand for an inexpensive, Linux-based tablet option, this is it.

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags open sourcetabletsAndroidsoftwareHewlett-Packard (HP)hp touchpadUbuntu Linux

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Katherine Noyes

PC World (US online)
Show Comments

Father’s Day Gift Guide

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Luke Hill

MSI GT75 TITAN

I need power and lots of it. As a Front End Web developer anything less just won’t cut it which is why the MSI GT75 is an outstanding laptop for me. It’s a sleek and futuristic looking, high quality, beast that has a touch of sci-fi flare about it.

Emily Tyson

MSI GE63 Raider

If you’re looking to invest in your next work horse laptop for work or home use, you can’t go wrong with the MSI GE63.

Laura Johnston

MSI GS65 Stealth Thin

If you can afford the price tag, it is well worth the money. It out performs any other laptop I have tried for gaming, and the transportable design and incredible display also make it ideal for work.

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Featured Content

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?