News and Update
New UBports installer out
Google Pixel 3a
Halium 7.1 base for FP2, N5, OnePlus 1
The Future is Focal!
HFD service (which controls LEDs) is now in Debian, along with ForceFeedback. Lomiri UItoolkit is also being reworked prior to packaging.
Sponsors were thanked.
We are immensely grateful to those who donate money but we also very much appreciate all those who contribute in kind, through app development, translation and helping other members of the community.
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.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 7
Transition to 20.04
Webapps which are just a shortcut to a webapp container should be fine because they function as they would in a browser. Apps based on QML should work fine as long as we have done all the necessary work with compatibility layers. In the case of compiled applications there are going to be issues with changed libraries so they will have to be updated. This wouldn’t be an issue if we used something like snaps, where all the dependencies are bundled with the app but as we have said before, going down that route would lead to bloat. Android controls the whole system unilaterally, which is their solution. We don’t plan to follow either of those approaches.
Ubuntu Touch Home screen
It is an app and it just presents an interface which is more familiar to Android and iOS users. As long as it sits lightly on top of the system, it will be fine and some users will prefer it. As we don’t really have a ‘desktop’ there is nothing really to replace. What would be possible in theory would to enable the launch of that app or similar by default (if chosen by the user) to show the different UI. We wouldn’t want to embed anything like that deeply. One thing we don’t want to mess up is our tests.
Assisted GPS on Nexus 5
There are various ways to speed up fixes. For example you can scan for access point names on WiFi or use cell tower information. Android uses multiple methods, which is why it is so fast. UT being UT, we don’t sniff for all that data constantly. Location is on only when an app using it is in the foreground. There are licensing issues with using assisted services. Mozilla’s system might be more open to use. Some supported devices have location stuff going on in the modem. Florian found that his Nexus 6P got a GPS fix in 20 seconds on the first run. That shows that there is a function baked into the modem. OnePlus 5 does the same. Older devices don’t have that facility in the modems and will take four or five minutes often to get a fix. There is nothing about UT which prevents the implementation of layered GPS assistance from multiple sources but someone would have to write the necessary software.
There is an experimental Mozilla service called Ichnaea . It is on the PinePhone, so it should be in the Wayland Edge branch. Unfortunately there are patent agencies going around attempting to sue any organization which implements any form of assisted GPS. Mozilla can license to non-commercial projects, which we are for the most part, however there are times when we stand in a grey area of ‘commercial’.
Canvas identification blocker
Alexey Woronov asked if we couldn’t have Firefox, as it works very nicely in Android? That wouldn’t be entirely impossible but it would be a huge task and it certainly isn’t something the core team could tackle.
Crowd-fundingCliff commented that it is clear from recent Q&A sessions that UBports is under-resourced and the many request for help from developers have not been met with an overwhelming response. Crowd-funding seems to be a very successful approach so have you thought about that?
Elementary is a very good example of what can be achieved using crowd-sourcing methods. They invite payment for apps in their store. Events are often crowd-funded. By their nature, crowd funding techniques are first and foremost about marketing and then also raise money. Making an appeal means specifying an amount of money which is judged to be appropriate and there is an implication that it will then be sufficient to complete the task. Real world tasks which we implement are an exploration and they may fail. It would be very unfair on a developer to tie them to a contract to deliver something specific at a set cost because they cannot know exactly in advance what the difficulties might be. Management of micro projects is a complicated activity and also very time-consuming. That in itself would absorb effort rather than add to it.
A much better formula for us is to build up an overall budget from donations and then manage that parcel of money in a way that works for us. That would need to be done on an annual basis. We are also not limited to professional involvement. We can achieve a lot with small inputs from many volunteers. The best contractual approach is anyway to have a long term relationship with particular developers, contributing to a sequence of projects, rather a series of short term hires. Setting up crowdfunding is a job in itself, quite apart from the intended project.
Mark asked about the PinePhone and the four update channels. There is one with the kernel upgrades, which sounds interesting. In particular there is the promise of a more stable modem connection. How can we try those changes out, as there doesn’t seem to be much activity on Gitlab?
Kernel upgrade is updated daily, just like devel. It is also mostly based on devel. The difference between them is in the boot partition, the recovery and the bootloader. The WIP branch is used for kernel upgrade. The kernel used is based on 5.10 and is from Megi. There are a few changes to ofono configurations but all the packages are the same. For more, join to utonpine group in Telegram.
See you next time :-)