Ubuntu Touch Update: Formalizing the UBports Foundation

The final steps to become an official foundation
13 July 2018

April 2017, the UBports Community took full responsibility for the development and maintenance of the Ubuntu Touch mobile operating system. This has led to huge growth of the community. In order to fulfill the growing needs of the community, and support the ambition of sustaining healthy development of Ubuntu Touch and its ecosystem, a formal and legal entity with proper leadership would be necessary. And so, efforts to create a Foundation began. As we stand today, approximately one year later, we’re still moving ahead, and are already on the final steps of the long legal/bureaucratic process for the setup of the UBports Foundation. All the paperwork has been submitted, and we patiently await the decision of the authorities.

Ubuntu Touch is built by the community for everybody who values freedom of choice. Forming an official Foundation has been a long-time goal for UBports. We are getting very close to this goal; we expect to have the formal UBports Foundation established in August/September 2018.


A bit of history

The idea to create a foundation evolved over time. We’d like to shine some light on the history of the project and involvement of the UBports structure.

  • The Beginnig
    In 2015, Marius Gripsgård got an itch; he felt that the Ubuntu Touch project (at that time maintained and developed by Canonical) should be available to everybody. So he forced himself to start porting the OS to a “secret device”. During this period he had first contact with some interested sponsors. Not much later UBports was born.

  • Joint Forces
    In November 2016, at Ubucon – Essen, the project became more serious. Marius presented his plans to a bigger audience and managed to persuade a sponsor to make financial resources available with the aim of establishing a Foundation. However, the time was not right to take that step. Ubuntu Touch was still supported and developed by Canonical.

    A couple of months later a team, including Marius, was invited to join Canonical at Mobile World Congress 2017. From this moment the dream was ignited! We were ready to join forces and figure out how to move forward with porting Ubuntu to the mobile devices.


  • A Bomb Drop and a New Starting Point
    Not much later Canonical dropped some shocking news. In April 2017, they announced that they would no longer be developing Ubuntu Touch or Unity 8 -its "phone and convergence shell". Unity 8 was central to Canonical's efforts to have one user interface across all devices. At that time a small group of contributors started to explore the opportunity of restarting the development of Ubuntu on the mobile devices. UBports made its first steps and prepared to “fork” Ubuntu Touch. As you all know now, the brand Ubuntu Touch has seen the light and as of today it is still called Ubuntu Touch.


Odoo CMS - a big picture

Operating as the UBports Community

Since the UBports community took over the full development of Ubuntu Touch, new steps needed to follow. In order for UBports to reach its full potential, there was (and still is) the belief that the establishment of an official legal Foundation would be required to maintain the interests of the community.

Jan Sprinz and Ewald Pierre took upon themselves the task of preparing the required documents and Foundation structure. To do this correctly, a first visit to an accountant took place on June 28th, 2017. On the side, lawyers took care of the legal documentation, including laying out the correct usage of the brand (logo, name, distinctive marks, etc...) and finalizing the Foundation documents. When requested, an experienced partner (LibreOffice) helped us out.

Meanwhile the community behind Ubuntu Touch grew fast. New sponsors committed themselves to the project and UBports transformed into a well structured group with a current member count of well over 1600 people.


Formalizing the UBports Foundation

The UBports Board of Directors (BoD) is excited to announce that UBports has officially sent (June 19th, 2018) her formal request for approval to the local government in Berlin. We are proud that the final steps to become an official Foundation are now completed and we expect to have the formal UBports Foundation established by August/September. A Foundation provides the project benefits such as more structure and new funding and merchandising opportunities.


We need your help to be successful: join the project, and be part of the excitement

Ubuntu Touch is moving forward. The operating system developments are getting closer and closer to the very important big release (16.04) as well. The first release candidate was launched a couple of weeks ago. If you’re interested in the development of Ubuntu Touch, learn more about it, and about the UBports Community at www.ubports.com.

Built on respect, enthusiasm and diversity UBports is a community in which all members are highly appreciated and welcome to contribute. There is always a place to contribute in one of the foundations' Steering Committees (SC) or Focus Groups. Besides challenging technical issues, there are many non-technical opportunities for your contribution as well. We can use all the support we can get to help make the new Foundation more efficient and successful. Whatever set of skills you have, you are very welcome to become part of our community!

Explore the opportunities at https://ubports.com/join-us