Ubuntu goes the way of Internet Explorer

Canonical has developed a tool which can make web apps and sites behave more like ordinary software in Ubuntu.

Dubbed Ubuntu WebApps, the feature will allow applications that normally run in the web browser to have some functionality within the Ubuntu desktop.

Product manager Pete Goddall told PC Pro  that it means that apps that were normally confined to the web browser now work much better in the workflow of how people actually use their computers.

In something which sounds like Microsoft would come up with in describing Windows 8, Goddall said that there is a line bluring between what is a web app and what is a local app.

Under the cunning plan, Ubuntu users visit a website and a click a link to add the service. An icon is added in the left-hand launcher which, when clicked will either take you to a tab where the site is already running, or open a new browser.

Goddall admits it is close to something similar being used in IE 9 but claims there are more features in WebApps.

One major difference is how the WebApps will interact with the OS so that Gmail will display notifications in the message centre. If you are listening to music on Last.FM you can use the built-in sound menu.

WebApps uses the Head Up Display (HUD) which allows users to speak or type a command, rather than dig through menus.

So far there are 40 such apps created to use the system, including Facebook, Twitter, Last.FM and Gmail.

The feature will arrive in Ubuntu 12.10 in October, and will also be released soon as an add-on for 12.04, the long-term support version of the OS.