Canonical has embraced the Qt framework, which has multi-touch capabilities. But Shuttleworth did not provide any timeline for an Ubuntu tablet.
Open source vs. proprietary software, and Microsoft
Clearly, Shuttleworth the iPad buyer is an open source guy who doesn't mind using some products from proprietary companies.
"It's good to know what everybody else is doing, when the state of the art is elsewhere," he said. "And also because I think if we want free software to become the de facto standard, we have to get a whole bunch of different things right. We have to be really good at working in heterogeneous environment because the road to a free software world has proprietary software all the way along it."
"Banging an ideological drum" isn't the way to convince the majority of developers to write for free software environments and release software under the GPL, he said. "Those aren't ideological problems. Those are practical and economic problems."
The elephant in the room for open source advocates has long been Microsoft. But Shuttleworth takes a measured tone toward Redmond, even complementing what he called "really exciting ideas" in Windows 8.
"Very simplistic characterizations of any large group are almost certainly going to turn out to be false," he said. "The company has been caught abusing a monopoly position. I think that's terrible. They're not the first to do it. They're not the last to do it, either. The question really is, can one engage and work with them and compete with them on an evenhanded basis?"
Shuttleworth called Microsoft's patent lawsuits related to Android "acts of desperation," but said the company's attitude toward open source is maturing on the whole. (See also: "Microsoft: 'We love open source'")
"We have constructive conversations with them about people running Ubuntu on their virtualization service, and vice versa," he said.