If the Ubuntu Linux distribution is a mainstream operating system, will it become so popular that it will become the operating system of choice for home theatre appliances and smart televisions as shown in the picture to the left? We can only hope. http://mobile.theverge.com/2012/1/9/2693228/ubuntu-tv-has-unity-inspired-ui-will-ship-on-televisions-by-end-of. The Ubuntu distribution is planned as a smart television operating system using a Unity inspired desktop window manager creating a Linux powered smart television interface reminiscent of the Windows Media Centre application on Windows Vista and 7. This will work very well if there are films available for download as shown in the picture. It may not work like that, but a good Linux Media Centre application is a good idea if it is available in the repositories. I do not like MythTV and after using Windows Media Centre I have been hoping for a Linux alternative that is easier to set-up than the MythTV application is. I do not understand why the MythTV program uses MySQL. The Windows alternative, Media Centre does not use a database to store the files. I wonder what other devices Canonical are wishing to target with their Linux distribution.
A Linux powered mobile telephone would be awesome and a Linux powered television would be much better than anything running Windows 8, the Metro interface is obviously targeted towards mobile tablet devices and smart televisions, a market that Canonical are apparently leaping into with their Linux distribution and more power to them, sure the Unity desktop sucks on a desktop PC, but on a smart television with a Media Centre interface it might work. The Gnome Shell interface would work better than the Unity interface on the tablet computers, window switching is faster with Compiz, that makes navigation very fast. In the old days of Linux you had to edit the /etc/X11/Xfree86.conf and you had to put in the proper resolution settings for your video card and monitor. Not to mention the appropriate modelines and refresh rates for your CRT monitor to get just the right desktop resolution without damaging your monitor. Nowadays things are much easier. We have Kernel Mode Switching, this will set the proper resolution even before Xorg even starts up. If FreeBSD supported KMS I might be running that instead of Linux. If Ubuntu becomes too commercial and mainstream, then maybe some people will switch to that.
FreeBSD and OpenBSD are nice and stable operating systems, but they do not have the hardware support that Linux has. Anyway, I have just installed the Celestia application on Ubuntu 12.04 and went on a tour of the Universe. I found a star that is 185,000 times brighter than the Sun, that is quite incredible. It is also far larger than the Sun as well. If the Earth was as close to it as it is to the Sun it would be burning up in the atmosphere of the Star. The Universe has some amazing sights, such as the red hypergiant star VY Canis Majoris, this giant star is 3,000,000,000 Kilometres in diameter. So large that it would take up the solar system out to the orbit of Saturn. I can not find this star in Celestia, maybe it has not been added yet. It is amazing when you travel at the speed of light through space at the speed of light, how slow it is. Light takes 8 minutes to travel from the Sun to the Earth. And 4.5 years to travel to us from Alpha Centauri. The centre of the galaxy is 50,000 light years away from us, if we built an electromagnetic ramscoop spacecraft we could get there in 25 years ship time, but 50,000 years would have passed back on Earth. What would the Earth look like in 100,000 years when you came back?
This is a possibility, but we may not see something like this for a very long time indeed, the hard science fiction book Tau Zero dealt with the implications of such a spaceship that could not stop and travelled with such a low tau that it travelled trillions of years into the future, survived the big crunch and toured the new universe. This is a mind-blowing book, it is hard to imagine such a long time span, I am not sure if it is within the realms of possibility to travel this far into the future, in the classic book the time machine, the time traveller travelled to the year 30,000,000 and saw that the humans had evolved into small red crabs scrabbling around on the ground. He then travelled in small jumps and eventually reached the year 5,000,000,000. And there was a large planet blocking the Sun. Of course now we know that the Sun would have vaporised the Earth by then, but that novel was written a long time ago and HG Wells did not know that. I think in the movie re-make with Guy Pearce, he went to the year 1,000,000 and saw a devastated Earth as a result of the Morlocks coming to the surface and enslaving the Eloi.
That scene was rather like the scouring of the Shire you saw in the Fellowship of the Ring. If they made a Time Machine movie that was just like the book, it would be the best version yet. The original movie was far better than the newer version with Guy Pearce, the new version had some nice music, but the original is still the best in my humble opinion. The time machine in the original movie was also showcased in an episode of Big Bang Theory, they even had the original Morlocks from the 1960 movie. The original movie did not show the time traveller reaching the death of the planet, but he did save Weena, and the Eloi race. If only they could make a nice film like that now, all the films made in the 21st century have utterly sucked. But the Time Machine book is still around. When he went to the year 5,000,000,000 and saw the dying Earth, there was a large planetary body blocking the Sun and the Earth was dying and basically lifeless. There was no animal life other than a large black octopus laying on the beach.