Ubuntu Touch Q&A 144
Noble news and provisional build, webkit browser and new apps

 

 

 
 
 

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News and Update

Ubports Q&A 144 on 6 July 2024

Alfred and AppLee presented.


Components ported


Two new components have been ported from Focal to Noble. One is QtUbuntu, working with mirclient. Also MirAndroid2 platform. As a result, Ratchanan has made a provisional build of Noble on a Vollaphone 22. Logging into the system with a PIN works. Of course this is not a functional phone yet. Noble requires a different path management to allow NetworkManager to work properly. Telephony and Contacts work is underway. DNSmask is used instead of ResolveD. Camera access has been fixed. Wifi calling has been enabled for Poco X3.

New first setup app announced

Alfred has been doing some work to create an app for first time setup. The idea is that it will migrate your data into a UT phone, whether the source is another UT phone or an Android device or iPhone. This would operate via USB and that prompt some refinement of USB management on UT, especially with permissions. The source will be released on Github when its is ready for assessment.

Webkit browser news

Alfred’s webkit browser will be released in a somewhat working form with 24.04. Getting graphics to work on libhybris devices is one major step that needs to be taken. Fixing video playback via gstreamer is another big part of the work needed. The build only operates for now on Arm64 so the number of people who can build it themselves and test is limited.



We have updates to apps in the OpenStore.

Mick has updated the Mileage app.

Lock Message app

LockMessage by Faisal has the ability to add a message to the lock screen – such as an emergency contact. It has been forked from Circle Message, which did not come to Focal.

Snapz0r and Ghostcloud apps

Alfred has continued his work on Snapz0r, building on support for Snaps in UT. Some tweaks have been implemented to help with the shortcomings of GTK apps running on mirclient. With everything running on Wayland things will be much simpler.

He has also been busy with Ghostcloud, the UT client for Nextcloud. With two settings you can back up all your photos to your Nextcloud account.

System apps update

The system Clock app has been updated to fix lomiri-url-dispatcher support.

The system Music app has seen some translations added and also had the lomiri-url-dispatcher fix.

QTH locator

QTH locator is a new app from Jozef. It is an aid to amateur radio enthusiasts, using GPS.

FartPlan

FartPlan is a Swiss public transport planner by notfatnotfunny.

UTCpuFreq

UTCpuFreq by Malte is a CPU frequency monitor. Obviously.

Annotate app

Annotate by Semphriss is continuing to see a lot of progress. It allows you to view and edit PDF files.

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

Questions


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.

A reminder that it is okay also to donate to specific projects within Ubports.

Ubuntu Touch "screen" flavours

Plard asked whether there are any plans to offer different flavours of UT, such as Gnome? If someone offered to do the work. Might it be an option for the far future? We build on the original base of Ubuntu Touch with its telephony and phone specific architecture. There is nothing preventing anyone from forking it but extending it in that way is not something we would want to do or have the resources for. We will continue with lomiri as the core.

Our basic approach is that we are developing for phones, so the software needs to be very stable and useable by the average person in the street with no special training. We are not building for enthusiasts or developers. With multiple flavours, upgrading would be a nightmare. Everything is done by volunteers.

Ubuntu Touch only LTS upgrades?

Sap asked whether we will upgrade with every new Ubuntu version or only with LTS. We will follow the LTS releases which are the most stable and long-lived. The resources we have will be used to provide new features rather than to follow fashion. VoLTE and 5G support are the key things which we have to deliver.

Noble, what will come next?

Kristatos followed on from that question by asking what will happen to Focal after we switch to Noble? If all devices supported by Focal will be supported by Noble there is no need to keep it? We completed the switch to systemD when we moved from Xenial so it is true that we now have a more easily updated system. There may be a need for some configuration changes but we won’t really know until we get there. Of course the device maintainers will have to do some work on their builds so if a maintainer is absent, a device might get stuck. That is one reason why when you choose a device it is best to be sure that the maintainer is reliable and long term.

APT

There was a question in live chat about apt. No, we do not use it because it would create a huge security vulnerability. Our rootfs is read only. With the availability of snaps now on UT, the issue is no longer even relevant. If you are still desperate to do so, you can install using apt inside a sandboxed container known as libertine.

Noble development evolution

Uxes asked how Noble is going? As the news at the top shows, there is always something new every two weeks, which is satisfactory progress. It is a big project with a lot of tasks. Our approach is to keep it easy to use for normal users so that is bound to take longer than a package for advanced tech geeks. We expect to finish in a reasonable time-frame but meanwhile we have Focal which works just fine.

Tide IDE?

Christopher asked what Tide is? It is a development mainly for touch enabled computing devices environment for writing C++ web applications, UT applications and snapcraft packages. It is built on Qt6 and is also convergent so it will work on a phone, using a monitor.

note: Tide IDE is Free and Open Source Software, but support is necessary to keep the project afloat. Instead of jumping through hoops of building the software yourself you can also purchase for your IPadOS Tide IDE from the App Store. and support Alfred. Thank you :-)

Ubuntu Touch Telegram group

HNSbroker asked whether we have a Telegram group. Actually we have lots but a good place to start is @ubports. That group is not for detailed technical discussion. It is a place for ordinary users so we want the discussions there to make sense to them.

IPhone 7 running UT?

In live chat there was a question about iPhone 7 running Ubuntu Touch. ‘Running’ is probably an exaggeration. Loading in some way was probably possible but there is then a mountain of hardware compatibility issues to solve. It would be slow and partial. Not something we would ever bother with. When you find old articles online please check the date. People are still quoting stuff from 2015 at us. Look at devices.ubuntu-touch.io which we regularly update. If your device is not there it needs a custom build, which is a lot of work.

Ubuntu Touch kernel

Christopher asked which kernel UT uses? For Halium devices, vendor kernels are used, which are then patched. Mainline devices still use customised kernel builds.

Mastodon server

Have we considered opening a Mastodon instance? No, we have an account on Mastodon but not our own server. Having our own would be a lot of work and just not a good use of our time or money.

See you next time :-)



Ubuntu Touch Q&A 143
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