Ubuntu Touch Q&A 130
Bug triage session, New Components and Libraries, Snap support



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News and Update

Ubports Q&A 130 held on 16 December 2023

Marius and Alfred presented.

Lot of contributions this last two weeks

The recent bug triage session on Jitsi went really well and a lot has been happening.

Outside contributors such as Luca from postmarketOS have added a lot of changes to components which we use. New compilers, new libraries. In particular that makes us more ready for the future. We use some non-standard apparmor calls and Oliver from Canonical has updated those, to our benefit, they will work now across all the systems that use apparmor, not only Ubuntu!

Ratchanan has been very busy. One of the most notable ones are is that ADB prompt is now working again and it was pulled out of the indicator onto its own components. It now asks for permission before an ADB (Android Debug Bridge) connection. You can use ADB to initiate SSH sessions and similar.

Alfred has integrated Lomiri PullKitEngine. As a result of the work around Snaps we now have a mechanism so that privileged operations such as setting the hostname or things that systemD or Snap does can be done via a simple password authorisation. In the process, the old mechanism for changing password has been removed. On desktop, it will allow installation of Snaps via Software Centre. It will be in the next Devel.

Oren also implemented for PineTab2 sensors and PineTab1, 2 Morph scaling. Luigi111 has forward ported some Morph browser patches. That added Reader mode, for an eBook type experience. Predictive text is now also implemented in browser search.

The PRs include a huge number of porting fixes. For example the Oneplus 6 has gained Snap support. LionelD made double tech 2 sustain persistent across boots. He also added support for custom ringtones :) Also, he has refined the message app, in particular giving more detail about MMS failures to the user.

In an important breakthrough, LionelD tweaked the MediaPlayer so that it can play audio files. So we now have a core app that handles sound.

Rachanan has modified the truststore interface to allow localised icons. That will be very useful where an app icon contains text, as an icon in the local language can be shown as an option.

Mohammad has worked on the greeter (what we call the lockscreen) it will now say “Time to fully charge”. LionelD is working on a change so that notifications will appear on the lockscreen but they will be blurred, for privacy.

The amount of work being done on UT has increased enormously over the past 1-2 months. Big thanks to all who contributed!


Alfred spoke about Booster, which impacts re-powered, our power management system. It boosts available power when apps need it but it also conserves power when the device is sleeping. Android Halium devices generally have Powerhouse, which has vendor specific builds. In future, that link should also allow us to implement user specified power settings. 


For a long while, a little corner of our community has been aiming to get SIP calls working. That facility is an essential for users in North America who no longer have 2g/3g access. It only requires a data connection but has a ‘normal’ phone number. The solution is not 100% yet but basic functionality is there. We need people with the right expertise to help with refining it.


Marius spoke a bit about VoLTE, which is one of his priorities. He got together with Ivan, Miguel and others. The way forward isn’t absolutely clear, so three approaches are being tried in parallel. One is pure FOSS, running on top of the system. The second approach is to reverse engineer the binary blobs. That seems a bit easier. The third approach is the one being taken by Marius. It is less purist and involves trying to entangle the proprietary blobs with our system, in a way that is a bit like Halium. We don’t replace it or get to understand how it works but we create a language to talk to it. 

A problem is that in Android they changed the calls from C and C++ into a protocol using Java. So somehow we have to interface with Java! All three are in research phase and each method provides insights to the others. Each vendor has a different flavour of VoLTE, so it really is a mess. Soon though we should have something basic and functional that we can show off. 

Fairphone and 5g

Sailfish has some modifications to make 5g work and Marius has been working to port those to UT. It already works on his Fairphone 4.

Marius has got Fairphone 5 to boot and some components work but there is a major roadblock. More people with an FP5 are needed in the effort to crack this.

Sponsors were thanked. We are truly grateful for every donation and making a donation is very easy to do. Select one of our options.


The News section of our Forum is the best place to post questions for the Q&A. YouTube live chat,Telegram and Matrix are other places to post a question.

If you didn't know, the Forum questions get priority.

24.04 update device impact

Kristatos says that since UT will update from 20.04 to 24.04 in April, will some devices get left behind? Thinking especially of Volla? Where we had to drop devices that was because of vendor specific blocks affecting systemD etc. 24.04 is just an upgrade to what is now an expansible system so we wouldn’t expect major issues. There may be some kernel issues but if those are limited we should be able to patch devices, as we have done in the past. The Volla phone is assured. No need to worry about that.

SIP: incoming notifications and servers

Fuseteam asked in live-chat about incoming notifications for SIP calling. There are two issues. One is just making sure that your SIP connection is properly configured. The other is that there are some unresolved issues with the telephony module. UDP/TCP and TLS have to be properly set up and that is not done automatically at the moment. You can use stack trace to debug.

Luigi asks whether we have to use Google servers for SIP. There are ways to configure servers so technically the answer is no but it is a multi-server effort so the easiest use probably would not avoid that. See what the provider does. Many take the lazy approach and just tag onto big servers.

Browser easier updates

Cutirconvention5.15.15 asked about whether we could ease the burden of updating the browser, to save ourselves some work. Unfortunately, browsers evolve very fast so yes, we have to keep up otherwise functionality will break. When sites say that your browser is out of date it doesn’t mean it won’t work but they want to keep adding clever tricks and they get irritated if you don’t keep up.

Alfred has done a bit of work to see if webkit is compatible with UT. It is and it even brings Qt bindings with it. Safari is based on webkit so in principle we have an alternative option. Qt apps can be compiled incorporating webkit functionality. Chromium is more slick and what we use right now.

The current block on qtwebengine is that we need to make the jump to Qt 6. As we have said before, that is not the easiest thing to do. Being imaginative though, our solving of the Snap problem means that we could host a browser in a Snap, with the Qt 6 resources. A bit bloated but easier and quicker. Qtwebengine does not require that we update for every single version of Qt but it does insist on the major milestones.  

BlueC updates

Mario.CH said he got an update for the BlueC stack on 20.04. Is it just a security update or would it benefit UT? It is about security and yes we should get it.

LTS updates from now?

Arubislander has heard that UT will be launched on Narwhal soon. Is there a release date? Are we actually planning to go with LTS schedules from now on? Yes, absolutely. That is our intention. Each will involve some disruption so we will only upgrade with the LTS schedule.

So much of our OS is custom that the base has very little impact on the user end of things.

Will we be renaming Stable? Yes. After OTA 4 we will adopt a new naming scheme. We will shift to a date based convention.

Other Linux based phone OS and cooperation

GT asked whether aside from UT are there any other Linux based phone operating systems? Yes there are a few. Could they work more closely together and could there be shared apps? The systems have evolved independently because that is what their developers and users preferred. Each approach is quite different so although there are some things that we can and do share, our architectures are quite different and incompatible in many ways. That doesn’t mean that significant apps could not be developed with shared features but then be adapted into different platform versions.  

Plasma Mobile also uses Qt, so there are some challenges which we share and we do work together to find solutions. Not a big scale but there is cooperation between us.

Plasma Mobile uses Qt 6 so we could take the same approach of using Snap packages to run some Plasma apps on UT. Bear in mind that we have a different UI philosophy so things might work but look quite strange. Integration with ContentHub and MediaHub is another area of incompatibility.

Installer status

Domubpkm asked about the installer and the fact that it has had no updates and is still called beta. Marius has noticed that as he was moving it across from GitHub. Yes, we do need a new release and that will be done.

We are always told to use the installer for UT. Could we not have a detailed tutorial for installing the correct Android ROM? The problem is that this is not generic. The versions of Android needed are very specific to the device, so instructions would have to be device specific. The best place to give the details and sources is the Devices page. For an example of how to do that well, look at the notes for the Pixel 3a.

The final part of that question is whether we can have a bigger warning when a device will be difficult to change back to Android. Well sometimes it is easy, sometimes very hard. Porters should be up front about that and it is really up to them to make that clear.

Although we have simplified installation as much as possible, it is still a massive obstacle to people who are not tech nerds. We really do need UT pre-installed to overcome that barrier.

As far as returning goes, some vendors don’t even publish images. You have to go hunting around in dark places. It is not our fault. We didn’t want it that way. Our installer checks signatures so it downloads official files only. Our process is much less wild than using de-Googled Android.


Luigi311 asked another question in live-chat. He wanted to know if Alfred has booted his PineTab2 yet? The lower resolution means that is plays smoother than the Jingpad. PineTab2 will have a wired monitor connection, so that is a bonus. Tablets are so rare that it is great to have one. In principle, it could also work wirelessly but that would need a lot of work to gstreamer and others.

See you next time :-)

UBports Newsletter Nov 27th