News and Update
Presenting this time were Marius, Dalton, Florian and Alfred.
Francesco has made a really nice speedtest app. It has a cute cat which walks through the rain. That gives you your download speed.
There is a new maths app from Piotr Lange to add to their series, each of which does a simple task.
Dalton has been moonlighting again on Late Night Linux Extra. Check him out on episodes 28 and 29. The M1X from Apple may be interesting as it is not locked down like most of their hardware.
UBports Board of Trustees
Dalton gave a reminder about eligible members of the community joining the board of trustees of the Foundation.
20.04 development progress
There has been some more work on building the root file system for the new images. Of course we have to move away from root so we are using a tool called debos. It runs a virtual machine, inside which the root file system is built. Getting it to run with Docker is not simple. Dalton found that the answer was to use Podman. It is a root list container manager/ daemon list container manager. So no need to run root on the box and it takes care of the Docker problem. The version of Podman shipped with 20.04 is too old for our purposes but borrowing the higher version from 21.04 does the job.
Pixel 3a with 4G support for North American users now!
On the detail of this, you will have to check your APN settings carefully. You may have to edit the GPRS file which is in bar-list-ofono. If you are are invited to receive an MMS and it fails, try turning off WiFi and see if it arrives then.
Dalton has two of the Pixel 3a and loves that device. He now just has to figure out how to transfer his user data from the Xperia X. UT is not great at that…
PinePhone new release candidate
Luca has been very busy borrowing packages from postmarketOS, where they have features that we lack. In addition, there has been traffic the other way, with some of our keyboard tricks making their way to that platform.
There is a new camera sound. It sounds like a real shutter, not the old Android sound. Some other sound effects changes are on the way and we are also looking to make the camera sounds switchable so that you can use the functions in silent mode if you prefer. As it is a switch from the Android implementation, the change is not yet available in the PinePhone architecture. PinePhone does not use Qtubuntucamera, which is part of the difficulty we need to unravel.
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.
Mature web device list
Explaining that a particular apps or modules will work well in some places but not in others is quite a difficult thing to set out. It is easy to say “this is running on mainline” but most people will have no clue what consequences stem from that. Community suggestions on how we might approach this in a relatively user-friendly way would be very welcome. It is just very complex and the details are highly technical.
Alfred commented on the PDK (UBports Platform Development Kit) which he has developed. It started as a means of modelling Android based builds but he wants it to serve equally for modelling mainline builds. The full implementation of mirclient on the PinePhone should lead to the feel of UT being pretty much the same, whether a former Android device or a PinePhone is being used. Trust prompts need to be fixed on the PinePhone and that should do it.
Focal contacts and calendar synchronization
Halium 10 documentation release
Biggest of the problems are that there has to be a way to install the builds and we don’t have any user-friendly way of doing that yet. Second, there is as yet no mechanism for importing channel updates, on the device.
Halium 10 no longer has to grapple with the strange partition arrangements in their Android 9 version. That will make things easier for us but it also means that the tricks we used to run our own recovery will no longer work and all of that has to be redesigned. At the moment our recovery doesn’t play nicely with apparmor on all devices. The Android super-partition is actually what the Linux tool LVM is capable of managing. Of course instead of using that ready made tool, Google went down their own proprietary path so instead of just applying a plugin, we have a complicated process of building matching functionality. If anyone reading or listening has some specialist knowledge and would like to take a shot at hacking this puzzle, please message Florian and offer to help. [note: in the live chat, there was a suggestion that Google have backed off from the super-partition idea].
As far as Halium 11 and Halium 12 are concerned, it really doesn’t make any sense for us to get into those until Halium 10 is quite solid. One thing at a time. What is clear though is that we cannot spread ourselves over too many distinct builds at once and therefore getting up to date more will necessitate waving goodbye to older devices. At some point we will have to stop supporting devices which cannot progress beyond the Android 5 and 7 levels. A timely reminder again that users should at least be making plans for the retirement of those old devices and a switch to something newer. Not immediately perhaps but not too far in future.
New porting - Focal cannot support 5.1 base!
The switch to Focal will probably mark the point where you have to move on. If you want a BQ it will probably have to be the Uplus...
See you next time :-)