Where Mozilla Ubiquity Failed, Ubuntu HUD will Succeed

ubuntuFrom the ‘Mozilla Labs is Ok; Real implementation is Better’ files:

I’m not easily impressed by ‘new’ ideas in the Linux desktop space, which is why the Ubuntu HUD is even more interesting to me.

The HUD is based on a concept that I really believe in and supported (though my own usage and newb attempt at script) when Mozilla tried the same idea a few years ago with Ubiquity. Mozilla however has this obnoxious habit of killing projects that I like (or in there parlance – putting them on the backburner – ubiquity, prism, skywriter just to name a few). Ubiquity was supposed to become something called Taskfox in Firefox 3.6 but that never happened.

When I spoke with Canonical last week about why they think they will succeed where Mozilla failed – I got a fantastic answer from John Lea, Ubuntu Desktop User Experience Lead at Canonical. Ubuntu, unlike Mozilla, isn’t just a single application.

“We’re not limited to one or two applications or to a small scope and we can take this and have a standard systemwide approach for providing the interface,” Lea said.

That comment really gave me pause. I spend the vast majority of my day inside the browser (almost always Firefox), but there is a world of apps that live outside of that space, even today in the modern ‘cloud’ world. Personally, I had never thought of Mozilla being limited, but in the context of having system level controls and visibility, of course it is.

What this means is that with the HUD, Firefox users will get a Ubiquity-like dialogue control – so long as they’re on Ubuntu. A hundred million Firefox users on Windows will miss out of course and that’s a darn shame. For me, I’m looking forward to seeing the HUD completed, so I can use it on Ubuntu – or even better see it grow and thrive as it’s own standalone project. HUD is fully open source it relies on dbus and hey if someone wanted too (i.e me), i suspect I could get it to work on Fedora (typically my main desktop distro these days) too.


Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

News Around the Web