Ubuntu Touch Q&A 135
Become a trustee, Lomiri desktop, New apps



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News and Update

Ubports Q&A 135 held on 2 March 2024.

Alfred and AppLee presented.

Become a trustee

As mentioned before, Ubports is managed by the Ubports Foundation, registered in Germany. Anyone who has been actively involved in some practical way and who intends to continue that involvement is welcome to become a trustee. There are limitations based on age and on the country where you live. You can apply to become a trustee by sending an email to membership (at) ubports.com

The email should contain your full legal name, consent of parent if underage, confirmation that your government allows you to become a trustee in the German jurisdiction, what you have done practically for Ubports and an undertaking that you will be active for at least another six months.

Trustees can vote for the Board of Directors and also the Membership Committee.

Previous Q&As have given details of the working groups and the contacts for each of them.

Lomiri on desktop

Alfred showed Lomiri running with 24.04 on desktop. There is still a double title bar issue which needs some work to resolve. Multitask view works. GIMP was displayed and does not show an X11 icon even though it is an X11 app because of some structural updates. Mir 2.x allows this. It is already very fast and smooth, even on the ARM based Jingpad. Just to be clear, touch operation is working fine. Three finger tap can be used to move windows around.


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.

Rockwork app

Rockwork app for Pebble watch by Muhammad has been updated. You can receive notifications on your watch and there are even alerts on it if a Snap is being installed on your UT device.

Stremio and Kiwix app

Stremio is a new app from jhay06 which allows you to stream video content from a variety of services. It is beta and a webapp but the plan is to make it a native app. Some settings don’t work yet so for now you may have to make adjustments in the Android version of the app. Those changes will then be seen in Stremio. Kiwix is an offline Wikipedia browser by the Kiwix Team.

Activity tracker and Timer app

Activity Tracker by Daniel Frost records walks or cycle routes taken. In accordance with UT privacy limitations the app needs to be in focus and the screen on for recording to work. Using GPS and screen does of course eat battery.

Daniel has also updated Timer, which is an app with a beautiful UI.

Focal move and flavours

Ari88 asked about the move to Focal. The idea was to save a lot of time and effort by tying directly to the upstream, instead of backporting. Can you estimate how much effort has been saved? Most indicators are now Ayatana, so our maintenance on them has dropped sharply. If you remember, the move from 16.04 took something like two years to do. Our move to 24.04 is already in good shape and is nearer two months of work, so the saving in time is enormous. The release management and schedule has also been simplified a lot and we shouldn’t underestimate how much more efficient that is. Our move into Snaps is another area where we have gained a lot with very little work. We can adapt apps which others have made rather than having to build from scratch every time.

In response to a question in live chat – we do work closely with postmarketOS and some developers work on both platforms.

UT doesn’t offer a variety of flavours. Our focus is to have just one thing, that just works.

Droidian installer

Enrico asked about Ubports and Droidian and why they don’t use one installer? Well they are very different in construction. They could maybe be serviced by one big giant combined installer but it isn’t clear what benefit there would be in that.On a side issue, can UT be based on a higher Android version? The first point about that is that each device needs drivers which are derived from a very specific version. So some devices are based on higher versions than others. Apart from that, each new Android version needs a lot of adaptation to run UT and that takes a lot of work. The result is that we always lag quite a long way behind.

With Android 9 for example we now have aethercast properly encoded and feature complete. Getting that with a new Android version means building from nothing all over again. It is not about ‘upgrading’ with a few tweaks.If you have a quite modern phone like an FP4 it works more or less completely with UT. Doing almost all that work again to shift the base on that same phone would not bring benefits that go anywhere near justifying the amount of work needed to do it. Simply, if it is not broken, don’t mend it. We are not a slave to ‘the latest’.

If we absolutely must introduce kernel patches, we should focus those on essential security fixes, not features.

VoLTE and 5G  

KenKennedy has been using UT a long time.They asked about the latest situation on VoLTE and 5G. On VoLTE we are still at the stage of competing theories and some experiments but there is no real tangible progress yet. Since we don’t have a clear, agreed solution in principle it is impossible to guess any kind of timescale. It will take as long as it takes. It varies with provider, it varies with device also. It is a nightmare.

Cooperations with hardware producers  

GT asked about the cooperation between UT and Volla, Fairphone, Pine64. How does that work? Those relationships are good. With things like VoLTE for those devices joint working could have very worthwhile results. For miracast we would not expect much to come out of those relationships. F(x)tec The Second Project can help you bring your vision to life with their dedication to exceptional craftsmanship and customer serviceech is another one that can be put on the list. Of course shared values are an important part of those relationships.

SIP calling  

A question was asked in live chat about progress on SIP calling. That is a mechanism which could provide a limited workaround for the lack of VoLTE.It seemed to be relatively simple but actually it requires a stack of different components and protocols and each has to work with the other perfectly. It turns out to be relatively complex. Alfred has done some work on it and has some learning points but he already has more than he can handle on his plate and it really needs someone to step up and take over that project.

Bluetooth on Focal  

XFone Labs says there have been some improvements to Bluetooth in Focal and can those be embedded in the next OTA? Charly asked about a 4.1 update they just got. What was in it? The presenters don’t really know much about it. The unusual naming suggests that it was a minor tweak. Maybe device specific.

In general, you can head to the Gitlab repository of Ubports and look through the accepted merge requests. Of course not all of those will have a clear plain language explanation.

OpenColletive, pre-installed devices, more devices

PublicLewdeness asked three questions. Are there plans to offer a transparent donation option such as OpenCollective? We have a lot of different options. The presenters had not heard about that one but maybe? Are there plans to allow people to buy devices with UT already installed? Volla is already an option. As is SX. At some point Pine64 will no doubt do so again. Are there plans to add more devices to the list of those which run Focal, from those that only run Xenial? No. Those have been left behind and it is time to move on.It may be technically possible in some cases but it would need someone to do it and it is hard to see where their motivation would come from. That effort would be much better spent on newer devices.

The porting group on telegram is very active.

Diogo reports that the onboarding sessions for new joiners will start again soon.

Snap and Flatpak support  

Alfred has been looking at Snap support for Halium/libhybris devices.The idea is that OpenGL drivers will work. Flatpaks are not ruled out but it needs someone to put in the work and at the moment nobody is available to look at that.

Ubuntu Touch and Umea Linux meeting  

Kristoffer asked about a UT representative coming to a Linux meeting in Umea. The forum is probably the best place to ask whether anyone is available.

Ubports and Canonical  

Foghor commented that Canaonical doesn’t seem to care at all. That is rather unfair. They have been very friendly and helpful. We rely a great deal on their output. They generously allow us to use their trademark terms Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch. UT devices often appear on Ubuntu stands as examples of reach. Fundamentally though it is no longer their project.

See you next time :-)

Ubuntu Touch Q&A 134
Elections, Clickable, Development "buckets"