News and Update
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It is a community driven initiative, not directly from the UBports Foundation itself but it is a very welcome move. More funding is still needed towards the target. The good news is that they already have a developer lined up to work on the project. The core team does not have the resources to do everything the community would like to be done, so this is a way to get some activity around one of the items which gets left off the list. Florian’s view is that reaching the target would just be the first stage, enabling enough progress to be made that the Anbox sub-project could attract further funding over a period of years. This campaign is about getting it into a reasonable state. After that it will need to be maintained and improved. Like any software project, success cannot be guaranteed and the rate of progress cannot be predicted in advance. We do however have an outline of what needs to be done and we will see what happens when the project starts. Thanks to Rudi and Steve for organizing the appeal.
The PinePhone modem is nice because it will handle things like IMS, which are an important part of delivering LTE. That modem does a lot of the handling that UT and ofono do on other devices. There has not been as much research done into the PinePhone modem interface with ofono as there has been with the modem-manager package, which Postmarket and Mobian use. The modem is not a full solution for LTE but it gets us a good part of the way.
Well it is technically possible to dual boot on some devices. There would almost certainly be a problem every time you updated and you would go back to single boot. Of course, you could just re-flash and dual boot again. A crucial issue with dual boot is that you have a shared user data partition. You can utilise the A and B slot for the operating systems but the data will be common to both. We use apparmor for security, whereas Android uses SElinux, so it is fair to assume that security would be substantially undermined by that setup.
Files belonging to one partition could also be unintentionally wiped by the other partition. Lineage is in any case designed to encrypt the partition by default and there is no easy setting to disable that. It could be forked to remove that limitation but you can see that it all starts getting complicated. It is important to understand that the A and B partitions are only there to simplify the process of updating. Updates are queued in the second partition, ready to be applied. It was never intended that they should be used for dual boot, so a lot of adaptation is needed. It is a hack, an exploit, and it will be messy and short term if you do get it partially working.
As with many things, this is not something the core team have time to explore but others are welcome to do so and there is already an app in OpenStore which enables you to do boot switching.
Partial support for Hotspot
Well, if something is not fully working, there should be an open bug for that device, describing the aspect that doesn’t work. If you don’t find that, you can file a bug for the absence of an explanation. There is an issue with hotspot for all devices. While it is working it is fine but sometimes it just refuses to activate. That is what is meant by ‘partial’.
Nextcloud and Carddav syncing
There is work being done on this but it is done by volunteers who have to juggle that effort with a lot of other things. Marty has been doing quite a lot of work on it. He is a great person to be doing it but like everyone he is busy. His approach is to use the Carddav plugin from Sailfish OS as a basis for improving implementation in UT. Of course more progress could be made if a team of volunteers was working together on it. If you have the right skills, please step forward! You can contact Dalton in the first instance. A workaround for the time being is to export your contacts as a .vcf file and then import that to Contacts, then manually add them back to Nextcloud. That is slow and tedious but gets the job done. Various people have also made script files which will do something similar for you, using syncEvolution.
Canonical and UBports UT property rights
We are authorized to use the name ‘Ubuntu Touch’ and the symbol of the circle of friends. We can sub-licence those to e.g. hardware vendors offering UT pre-installed. The source code itself is open, so there is no possibility of licensing having any impact on the continuation of our operating system. Nothing stops us from renaming but we want to acknowledge all the hard work done by Canonical, which got us where we are. We have though renamed Unity 8 to Lomiri because that better suits its future. We keep the Ubuntu name in the OS but all the references to Ubuntu in components are being removed, so their forks can take their place in other distros.
On the US presidency, if the imagined scenario did arise, our collective problems would be hugely bigger than any impact on our little operating system :)
Smaller format phone
Daniel Kulka asked the opposite question – what is the biggest phone supported? The answer is the Nexus 6P, easily.
How to help UBports project
Another way that users can help is by guiding people with their installs, in our Telegram Welcome group. Many installs go simply but some newer devices can throw up challenges and if you have succeeded with an install recently you may have some tips that you can share. The installer issue tracker is another venue to seek out, to find problems which you may be able to solve for new users. It is a very easy way to get started with giving back to the community and there is a real buzz when a new user manages their first install of UT.
Sponsors were thanked.
New Bluetooth documentation
A better Sphinx scheme is being introduced, to improve the design of our documentation. It looks beautiful.
NFC project news
What he is hoping is that app developers will produce some more adventurous apps using the functionality. One proposal put forward by a community member was to implement a scanner for the blood sugar monitors which are attached to the skin of people with diabetes. The framework version has also been built so you can target your application for 16.04.6. Clickable will reject NFC elements for now because it has not yet been updated to recognize them. That will be fixed very soon though. The NFC capability will not go into Stable until we have had some practical input from developers, so if you are a developer and you want to see it in OTA-17 you know what to do. Testing is key
PinePhone Teleports app fixed
PinePhone modem resetting
Bhushan of Plasma Mobile fame has been working to stop the PinePhone modem resetting constantly. That leads to phone calls and SMS not working after the phone has come out of sleep mode. He spent more than a week this time trying to get to the bottom of it. In the implementation guide there was a brief note that a code put into the kernel would act as a fix. Actually it didn’t but that did provide the hint as to what was necessary. He has now written kernel patches which do work. There is still an outstanding issue we have where ofono doesn’t handle the network properly but we are nevertheless the closest we have ever been to a proper fix, thanks to his work.
There have been some more updates based on 20.04 making their way into UT. SystemSettings is one of them, together with SystemsComponents. Indicators, biometrics and a host of other stuff had to go in too, to give this its functionality. There is a component (qmenumodel) which helps create menu models over dbus, across processes and then there is qmenuharness, which is a test suite for that. Or something :) Lomiri thumbnailer was also added. What that does isn’t so mysterious. Meanwhile, Rodney has been working on LomiriPush.
Florian explained that a new scheme has been rolled out for the Recovery. The nice UBports logo is back. This work was done by Luksus42. Marius has also tweaked the blinking pattern of Yumi on the load screen so that the blinks are random rather than regular. Much more lifelike! The original blinks were implemented by Marius and Jan for fun but we never got their rainbows and unicorns “for performance reasons”. Florian is trying to fork this new Recovery for use with Halium 7.1.
The Halium 7.1 port for the OnePlusOne is now ready for testing by all those who have the device but have no need of it as a daily driver. It is easily done. In your existing update area in Settings you will find a new channel called Halium Devel and you can switch directly to that. Having tested, you can also easily switch back the same way, without re-flashing. Two more PRs are needed but those should be in place by the time you read this.
See you next time :-)