Ubuntu Touch OTA-18 Call for Testing
Hello again, everyone!

I'm happy to announce that it is time to ask for your help in testing Ubuntu Touch OTA-18! This is slated for release on Wednesday, July 14, 2021. Before then, we need to make sure it's ready to go!

What's new?

As explained in our last few release milestone posts, we're entering a period where change to Ubuntu Touch will slow down for a while. This shift in priorities is allowing us to get Ubuntu Touch based on Ubuntu 20.04 built and on par with the stability of Ubuntu Touch based on Ubuntu 16.04. Even so, there are some great improvements in this release!

Stickers have been added to the Messages app, so you can send images from your own pack of personal prints to your friends. There have also been many fixes in history-service, the service that stores your text messages, to allow for checking the time a message was sent and prevent future migration problems.

Lomiri, the Ubuntu Touch system UI, became much leaner in this release. We've taught it how to scale down and display wallpapers without negatively impacting performance. If you've got a BQ E4.5 and you're using the default wallpaper, you can expect about 60MB of RAM savings compared to OTA-17. You'll also find the entire system is more snappy on all devices, thanks to having to render a smaller image as the wallpaper. RAM savings will vary depending on your device's screen resolution and wallpaper resolution.

Media-hub, the system service which handles playing audio and video content even when your device's screen is off, has been rewritten in this release. The rewrite makes it much easier to work on and extend, but it was a huge change. We'd appreciate if you tested all of your applications which play native audio or video content (not the browser or webapps) and let us know if you find any strange behavior in them.

Morph-browser just got more convenient to use, as when you open a new link from an existing one, the new tab pops up directly beside the original tab. A blank new tab now opens automatically with a keyboard view, avoiding the need for a second tap. There is now also a local navigation history, scrolled by pressing and holding the Back and Forward buttons.

Timers and alarms became much more useful. When an alarm is missed, it will now be snoozed instead of dismissed. The snooze timer for snoozed alarms now begins when snoozed rather than being flipped back to when ringing started (this is true even with auto snooze).

By the way, if you'd like to help us out with Ubuntu Touch based on Ubuntu 20.04, you can learn more on the GItLab Epic we created for the project. This epic lists milestones and tasks that need to be completed for the project to be finished. We're developing a tool called the UBports Platform Development Kit, an integrated vm-in-a-box with handy developer tools that make it a cinch to work on our 20.04 images. It works on many Linux distributions and Intel and ARM64 MacOS. We're also working on Windows support. We'd appreciate you trying it out and giving us a hand with documenting it and developing with it.

How can I test?

We want to ensure that every release we ship is better than the previous one, so we're looking to our entire community to help us with the QA (Quality Assurance) of OTA-18.

We've prepared a GitHub Project for OTA-18 QA which lists the issues we'd like your feedback on. The QA column lists issues which do not have complete test results. The Done column lists issues which, thanks to our efforts here, are confirmed as fixed. The In Progress column lists issues which are either not fixed or where the fix has a severe negative side effect. The goal at the end of this is to have every issue in the Done column.

We're interested in hearing your feedback on everything in the QA column. We want to know:

* Which device are you using?
* Does the issue appear fixed in your testing?
* Did you notice any side effects of the change as it is listed in the issue or Pull Request?

Testing any issue should be easy. On your device:

1. Update all of your apps using "System Settings -> Updates" or "My Apps" in the OpenStore app
2. Head to System Settings -> Updates -> Update Settings -> Release Channel
3. Select `rc`
4. Go back to the Updates screen to install the downloaded update

After your phone reboots, you'll be on the OTA-18 release candidate! Of course, **only** step 4 is required if you are already on the `rc` channel and this update will come through as usual.

The image which loads will be named `(2021-W27)` or newer. You can find your image version in System Settings -> About -> OS.

Now you can pick any issue in the QA column in the OTA-18 project, and ensure that you are not able to reproduce it. If you can't reproduce the issue, the fix worked! If you can reproduce the issue (or you notice something else that isn't right), we want to know about that too. Leave a comment with your device and image version, then let us know the results of your test.

We also have an OTA-18 Call for Testing forum post where we can discuss any questions you may have about anything that comes up during your testing.
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