October 2019 Status of Ubuntu Touch on Librem 5 Smartphone

20 October 2019

After some questions from our community about the status of Ubuntu Touch on the Librem 5 smartphone, we put together a summary of where the project is and contacted Purism to fill in the missing pieces.

We've been able to bring up a very basic Ubuntu Touch image on the Librem 5 devkit: tweet, video, video mirror. Note that this content conspicuously does not show many features of Ubuntu Touch... Now that the basics are up, the hard work begins. This is where we should work on finding and fixing issues that weren't brought up during the "easy part," most of which will take a lot of time. For example, missing features include a working telephony (voice, messaging, and data) stack and other big-ticket items.

Luckily, some of these are problems that we need to solve for the Librem 5, Pinephone, Raspberry Pi, and all other manner of devices, so they're going to get done and have many eyes on them. This includes problems like supporting the Unity System Compositor on Wayland-speaking Mir, allowing for instant suspend and resume of devices without Android drivers.

Unfortunately, hardware changes between the Librem 5 devkit and the final phone mean that we can't be certain that any of the fixes we make on the devkit will carry over to the final product.

Purism informed us that we will be receiving Librem 5 devices sometime in 2020. Purism says they want to ship to backers who paid for the Librem 5 device first, prior to sending us devices for development.

For those reasons, we can not commit to more development on the platform until we have a final device.

We know that many ordered the Librem 5 with plans to install Ubuntu Touch on it on or soon after release day, or maybe to select it from the Purism store as a preinstalled option. Unfortunately, at this time it seems that this will not be possible. We would like to assure all Librem 5 backers that our intention remains the same as always which is to deliver the best Ubuntu Touch experience possible, once we have the final devices in hand. We will update you further about any progress on this topic as updates become available to us.

If you have any questions, please make a post in our forum at forums.ubports.com in the Porting section, or at forums.puri.sm if you would like to contact them. We'll try to answer any questions on our forum and bring them up on the next Q&A or in updates to this post if necessary.