Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 Release

26 augustus 2018

After eight months of work, the UBports Foundation is proud to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-4.

This release features Ubuntu 16.04 as its base (previously 15.04), bringing security fixes and greater stability to unseen corners of the operating system. We've also upgraded from Qt 5.4 to 5.9, bringing a number of improvements. Check out the "What's New" section below for more information on what's been changed or updated in this release!

Users who have Ubuntu Touch OTA-3 will not be receiving this update automatically. See "How do I get it?" below for more information.

Why does OTA-4 matter?

We believe that this is the "official" starting point of the UBports project. From the point when Canonical dropped the project until today, the community has been playing 'catch up' in development, infrastructure, and community building. This release shows that the community is soundly based and capable of delivering.

What's new?

128 issues were closed in preparation for this release. Many were defects associated with the transition to 16.04 but some involved new features that will make for a better experience for users and app developers alike.

For users

Users of Ubuntu Touch will notice a number of enhancements:

  • New keyboard layouts for Turkish, Bulgarian, and Swiss-French
  • Performance improvements gained by switching from Qt 5.4 to 5.9
  • An experimental Libertine Container Manager has been added to Settings. Its accompanying scope is also preinstalled.
  • New power saving features
  • A new upgrade wizard which will help you set up your device for 16.04
  • Many security fixes thanks to moving to a supported release of Ubuntu
  • Added consistent release numbering for all devices on the devel or rc channels (Settings -> About -> OS -> OS Build Number)

For app developers

  • All apps which include compiled components (embedded libraries, C++ plugins) must be recompiled for Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 and above. See Updating apps to 16.04 to learn more about this process.
  • Added QtWebEngine to the image. App developers should consider transitioning from Ubuntu.Web.* to the equivalent QML types in QtWebEngine. A wrapper will be provided for users of Ubuntu.Web, but using the QtWebEngine API natively is our new recommendation.
  • Added PyOtherSide (Python QML bindings) to the image
  • Added QtQuickControls 2 to the image

Anything else I should know about?

We have a few known issues for this release:

  • The pre-installed web browser is unstable. To work around any problems you're experiencing, you can download the new experimental "WebBrowser Next" from the OpenStore. We're planning on replacing the default browser in OTA-5.
  • The camera app viewfinder freezes after taking a picture on the Nexus 5. Taking a video is not possible on the Nexus 5.
  • Some apps that you require may not be rebuilt for 16.04-based Ubuntu Touch yet. If you would like to check the availability of your apps, search the OpenStore for them, expand the "More Filters" list, and select Xenial as the channel.

How do I get it?

Devices not already running Ubuntu Touch

If you don't already have a device with Ubuntu Touch, you can check whether your device is supported and get install instructions from devices.ubuntu-touch.io. Choose 16.04/stable as your channel in the installer.

Devices already running Ubuntu Touch

If you're running Ubuntu Touch OTA-3, your device will not automatically upgrade to OTA-4. The upgrade has been postponed until OTA-5 is released due to the issues listed in "Anything else I should know about?" above. If you'd like to upgrade manually, you can use the UBports Installer. Choose 16.04/stable as your channel and ensure that "Wipe" is unchecked, then start the installation process. For more information, see How to manually upgrade from OTA-3 to OTA-4 on our forum.

If you are running Ubuntu Touch from the 15.04/devel or 15.04/RC channel, you will get an update to a 16.04-based image when you select 'updates' on your device at any time from the 3rd of September onward. If you are on devel, you will get 16.04 devel. If you are on 15.04 rc, you will get 16.04 rc. If you're on the 16.04/devel or 16.04/rc channel already, then the latest update is OTA-4 now!

I think I found a bug!

You can follow our Bug Reporting document to learn about how to get the information that we'll need to confirm and fix the issue you've found.

Thank you!

We would like to take this opportunity to express our deep gratitude towards all those who made this release possible. In no particular order, our thanks to:

  • Our sponsors for providing us with the infrastructure and funding needed to move the project forward
  • Our QA team for dealing swiftly and patiently with our constant pestering for feedback on closed bugs and new features
  • The OpenStore team for completely redesigning their service to allow the distribution of software to two different versions of the the OS.
  • The community of Ubuntu Touch app developers for reacting quickly to this essential ABI change by rebuilding their apps
  • Everyone who tried Ubuntu Touch 16.04 and reported bugs
  • You -- all of you -- for using and contributing to Ubuntu Touch

How do I get involved?

If you'd like to contribute to the future of Ubuntu Touch but you're not sure how, we'd love to help. You can find us at @ubports on Telegram, #ubports:matrix.org on Matrix, or #ubports on freenode IRC. You can also e-mail us at "contribute [at] ubports [dot] com" to let us know what you're good at. We will find a team that you can work with to make the best improvement to Ubuntu Touch.