Welcome to the world of open source domotics

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Canonical pulled off something of a coup at the recent Consumer Electronics Show (CES) when it announced its Ubuntu TV – inevitably dubbed "TV for human beings."

This was an interesting move for a number of reasons. First, it showed that Canonical was thinking well beyond its traditional – and frankly rather limited – market of GNU/Linux on the desktop. It indicated that it wasn't content to be pigeonholed as an outfit serving the geekier parts of the population, but wanted to apply open source in mass markets. It was interesting, too, because it demonstrated to people that Ubuntu is, of course, hugely adaptable, and can be applied in other domains. Finally, it was a well-timed move because it turned out to capture perfectly the most important trend at CES: the rise of intelligent home appliances.

The big player in the world of intelligent TVs (an oxymoron, surely?) is Google, and in a pre-CES post it mentioned half a dozen manufacturers that were supporting Google TV. Although the reality turned out to be somewhat less exciting, there were a couple of noteworthy announcements: widescreen TVs from Samsung and LG.

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