Ubuntu Touch Q&A 142
Contacts synchronization and management, apps news




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News and Update

Ubports Q&A 142 on 8 June 2024

Marius, Applee, LionelD and Alfred presented.

Contact management and other tweaks

There has been some more movement on contacts management and some experiments with Wireguard on a Xiaomi device. There have been some upstream changes for audio system pass through.

We presented last weekend in the Netherlands at a community hackers group. That led to a podcast with AngryNerds. A Fairphone 5 was there and that has seen some work on Snaps and camera permissions. There have been some tweaks to ofono. Ayatana indicators are now at 25.4.0.

Lionel started in 2017 with a BQ 4.5 and started to develop for UT after that. He worked on messaging, dialer and address book.

Currently he is looking at contacts synchronisation, which is a big challenge. Alberto Mardegan worked on the back-end previously. First he had a look at calendar synchronisation then decided to try to implement some of the things learned to contacts. The previous attempts were in Xenial, so it was necessary to bring everything over to focal before anything could be done. Sailfish OS provided a lot of the source material. The challenge was not to bring in too much but at the same time not to bring in too little and end up with regressions.

Contact synchronisation has always been a major topic of conversation in the community, so this work will be greatly appreciated. With large numbers of contacts – 500 or even in some cases 2000 – the address book becomes so slow that it is unusable.

Lionel has a system with 3000 contacts loaded. He demonstrated scrolling through those and it was very fast. Marius commented on how difficult that area is and what an amazing job Lionel has done.

At this point the progress is local and the next phase will be the synchronisation part. The emphasis is on Caldav only, to synch with Nextcloud. Lionel showed another video, this time loading contacts from a directory on a local Caldav server.

The system is being uploaded to Debian first and then will be brought back but the expectation is to have it up and running in 24.04.

FileManager works

LionelD has also been working on FileManager and tweaking its relationship with URLdespatcher and terminal.

He is using Qtcreator for working on UI elements for Messenger. Of course that is a system app so it has a lot of different connections to the backend.

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.

We have a lot of updates to apps in the OpenStore.

HexExplorer app

HexExplorer by Daniel Frost does a simple task very well. It shows the hex code of a selected colour. There is a translation update, expanding access. He has also updated Activity Tracker, which can plot a walk, for example.


UT-sysbench-qt-gui is a benchmarking tool which will rate the performance of your device. Thanks to Adam Schrey for making and maintaining this app.

Big Moving Text fork

The Big Moving Text app lost its original maintainer so Wilfridd has taken over to ensure that is keeps going. The name explains exactly what it does!


From previous Q&As you will know what Snapz0r is about. Alfred has made it so that you can run Snaps on your phone. Early days so be aware that there are some security issues. Password protection in terminal and FileManager have not been implemented yet so tread carefully while you try it out. He updated the links with libhybris and enabled reinstall, in case it is flushed from your system by an update. Another modification has the effect of triggering a CUPS install, to give you printing support with Snap apps. Docker support is also implemented, which means that you can download the Snap version of Docker. Among other things, you can set up an additional group called Docker.

Alfred showcased the Jingpad running four different Snaps, including Docker, Tide and Git. In summary, you can build a Clickable app on the device, for the device.


PureMaps is one of the best apps on UT. Jonatan has continued work on it. The app is available in two versions, one with a high quality English voice and another space saving one without.

hide.me VPN

hide.me VPN is a great step forward. For the first time there is a simple GUI interface to configure connection to a VPN. It only works with one (free) service but allows access to servers in a wide variety of countries. It is provided by eVenture Ltd. There is some unrestricted write access, so a degree of trust in the developer is required.


DeltaTouch is a messenger managed by Lothar Ketterer, which operates via email protocols, using your account. Although it is email based, it makes use of end to end encryption, so quite an interesting concept.

Syncthinq app

Terence maintains Syncthing which does a great job of synchronising files on your phone and on your computer. You can choose which folders you want to mirror. The devices just have to be on the same network.

Annotate app

Annotate is a brand new app which allows you to manipulate PDF files. You can write on them, highlight text, draw diagrams, erase things or create new PDF documents! As it is new and beta, expect some bugs and please report them. Semphriss is the author.

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.

Elections results

Marius reported the results of the Board of Directors for the foundation. Applee and Marius are appointed, along with Nigel Wood, Ricardo Mendoza and Allan Nordhøy. That means two Norwegians on the board!

The membership committee is Daniel Frost, Diogo Constantino and Ratchanan.

Big thanks to the membership committee for organising the election.


Kuailexs asked about VoLTE and the Qualcomm plugin – is that open source? The Qualcomm data is not open source and cannot be used. Any similar solution needs to be quite distinct in its source code. Marius hope that reverse engineering may yield a result in a couple of weeks or so.

Block calls

Thedeafenguy asked whether there are any plans to add a feature which would allow users to block calls and texts from certain numbers. LionelD has some recollection of the ofono team trying to implement that but not really getting anywhere. That would be a good place to start though.

New browser

Tonton_ asked about Alfred’s new browser. Is there any intention to add functionality so that bookmarks and passwords can be synced? It seems that Epiphany browser can do this and that is also based on webkit, so in principle it seems a possibility. Will it be possible to run media via widevine? The plan is to use gstreamer and let that take up the decoding burden. Again, no specific promises but it is hoped to have media enhancement for the browser.

Disk encryption

MatthiasB asked about the continuing lack of disk encryption in UT and the fact that this is a obstacle for adoption. Any solution that we go for must be compatible with our UI approach in general. An alien ‘bubble’ with complicated interface is  not something we favour. What we want is file based encryption using X4 or F2FS. That would involve an intermediate boot, at which point a password is entered and full boot takes place, including the decryption of the Home directory on the fly. There are no concrete plans but there have been experiments and we have learned a lot from those.

24.04 has more of the elements which we need for a full implementation and we are optimistic that it will remove some of the roadblocks on this.

On a final note, UT achieving the same level of development of Android and iOS is a totally unrealistic expectation. That would take a vast increase in resources, many orders of magnitude beyond what we have now.

See you next time :-)

Ubuntu Touch Q&A 141
Newer APis coming, new and updated apps