COMMUNITY UPDATE 10

August 19th 2017

 
 

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Shownotes

Welcome to the UBports Community Update blog post for August 19, 2017. We covered a lot of ground in just 49 minutes this time around, so there's no better time to start writing!

You can watch the video version of this event here. We hold it every two weeks, so watch our events page for the next one!

News

We like to begin our updates by, well, updating people on the latest UBports news. This time was no exception.

In-person foundation meeting

This week, the founding members of the UBports Foundation met in Norway to finalize the details of the foundation and bring the team together.

For a quick recap, the UBports Foundation is a legal entitiy that allows the project to take money, pay developers, and hold IP (think trademarks and logos).

At this meeting, the Board of Directors (BoD) went over some important details of how the foundation will operate:

  • How the BoD relates to:
    • The membership committee (People who are granted membership)
    • Steering committees (Members who are appointed to research and advise the BoD / community for decisions
  • The UBports "Brand"
  • The foundation's relationship with Canonical Ltd. and the Ubuntu community

A more in-depth explanation will be available as a blog post when it has been compiled.

If you have contributed to the UBports (or Ubuntu Touch, depending on the contribution) project for more than 3 months, you can apply to be a foundation member by clicking "Apply Now" on our contribute page.

Ubucon Europe

As we mentioned in our last Update, we're going to Ubucon Europe in Paris! We'll have a booth and a talk while we're there, so be sure to come out, say hi, and have some knowledge drilled into you! (Marius' words, not mine)

We'll also have the foundation membership form and mailing list sign-ups available (on Ubuntu Touch devices, of course) at the event if you'd like a one-stop shop for all your UBports needs.

Questions

At this point, we rolled right into the questions asked by our community in the Youtube live chat and on our forum.

How is 16.04 going?

Actually, there haven't been any changes to 16.04 in the past few weeks. By popular demand, we switched our focus to pushing 15.04 OTA-2. After that is out, we can begin working on 16.04 again.

To avoid having to switch targets and leave one stale while the other gets work, we need help from developers (like you!). Please see our contribute page to get started.

15.04 OTA-2

15.04, on the other hand, is a much more pleasing story. We have a lot of bug fixes and small features that have been heavily requested by the community. They have landed (or will be landing soon) in the devel channel:

  • The Nexus 5 now reports the correct battery information when it has dropped below 50% charge
  • There is a menu to switch channels between stable, rc, and devel, depending on how edgy you feel today
  • We've updated the Recovery image with new art and a few backend changes to make updating smoother.

The release date for OTA-2 is still not set. Keep an eye on the milestone on GitHub to stay tuned.

Why are you moving to ReadTheDocs?

Recently we've started a push to move our documentation to ReadTheDocs. If you'd like to learn more, the best place to start is the forum thread or the issue tracker.

This question asked us to defend this decision for two reasons:

  1. It's unclear why we're motivated to move from our wiki
  2. ReadTheDocs presents an editing challenge when compared to the current wiki.
  3. ReStructuredText is a more difficult markup language than Markdown
  4. Using Git is more difficult than clicking "Edit" followed by "Save"

Dalton answered both.

  1. We want to move away from our current wiki because we've simply outgrown it. Almost all of Jingo's known limitations are affecting us. The "flat" repository model means we have a mess of files. Not being able to create "administrators" versus "limited editors" means anyone can edit any page, even those that hold information that (if incorrect) could cause hardware damage to users' devices. We've already faced vandalism from a disgruntled user. It took us longer to catch than we'd like to admit.
  2. It is harder to edit ReadTheDocs than our current wiki. However, we see the gains from switching to RTD (better layouts, more rich text editing, better access control) outweighing the negatives.
  3. ReStructuredText is more difficult to write but provides more features when compared to Markdown, such as annotations, a very nice table of contents, and references.
  4. The Git workflow is what we use for most of our tasks as a primarily developer-run project. Getting people used to it with a relatively simple repository can prove useful when they wish to contribute to more of our projects later.

Is the Halium reference rootfs publicly accessible?

This is a question that's interesting to any developer that wishes to work on or test Halium. The reference rootfs is a small bundle of software that can be deployed to a phone running Halium to test its functionality.

The rootfs is publicly accessible, though it is currently on one developer's personal server. For that reason, we won't link it here. If you'd like to obtain a copy, please join the Halium chatroom. It can be found at @halium on Telegram, #halium:disroot.org on Matrix, or #halium on Freenode for IRC.

We will work with the rest of the projects that contribute to Halium on fixing this issue.

Will the M10 tablets get 16.04?

We've been sending mixed messages about these poor tablets. Here's our latest answer, subject to change if something catastrophic happens during development:

Yes, the M10 HD and FHD will receive Ubuntu 16.04, because:

  1. They already ran 16.04 from Canonical so the porting work seems to be finished
  2. They are the only tablet devices that were originally sold with the OS

Which devices are supported by Halium?

Officially, the Nexus 5, Nexus 5X, and Fairphone 2. However, developers have been working on devices like the Oneplus Two, Oneplus X, Oneplus 3, Oneplus 5, Moto G4, Moto G3, and many more.

Any recent thoughts on notifications?

In a meeting between OS and app developers a few months ago, we decided that we will handle notifications with "background apps". That is, apps will be started up while the phone is idle and asked if they have any notifications. The app can use the network and a small amount of CPU time to do this, then must say whether it has notifications.

It turns out that some of the infrastructure to do this has already shipped in Ubuntu Touch, though it must be extended to realize its goals. We're evaluating how we can do this and what apps it would be a good fit for.

Also, SailfishOS has theory and architecture behind an open-source notification service. We may look into using this as well.


That'll be all for this one! Be sure to catch us live next time or get your questions in via the forum early! You can also subscribe to our news mailing lists or check out one of our many social networks.