Ubuntu Touch Q&A 31
16.04 RC


Looking for the Audio-only version of the Q&A?

You're just one big orange button away -->

Show Notes

General Updates

RC 16.04 is out!

Our second Release Candidate update has launched. Now is a great time to download it and kick the tires if you have a spare phone.

How can people help with testing? The upgrade path needs the most love. We'd love if you would set up your phone with any 15.04 release (devel, RC, or stable) and then use the UBports Installer to install any 16.04 release (devel or RC) over it. After that, check to see if anything breaks.

Unified the release numbers between devices so it's easier to report bugs and such. We're tagging every devel release with the date and time it's released. RC releases just get the week number & year.

When reporting bugs, make sure your issue hasn't already been reported. Don't just check the titles but the description of the bug as well so there aren't duplicates (even Dalton filed a duplicate). Use the tags for easier/faster searching

10 backlog issues and 6 on OTA4. Does not show how complex these are. Some are very small. We feel that we are getting close.

Channels that are on devel and 15.04 RC will be moved over automatically. Even if users on 15.04 don't do anything to their phone, their update channel will be changed to the 16.04 stable path so they'll upgrade along with everyone else.

What about app compatibility? Core apps? OpenStore is now fully supporting Vivid & Xenial apps. Still calling for developers' help in converting Vivid apps to Xenial.

Most core apps are now in Click, which is easier to update. Debs can only be updated as part of OTA. Dialler and Messaging and System Settings and Mediaplayer are still on debs

One of the core apps (the doc viewer) was left behind and it still isn't compatible with 16.04 yet. It's a core utility that needs to be updated before OTA 4.

16.04 Cultural Showcase 

A event centered around creating new artwork and soundwork (ringtones/notifications/backgrounds). The idea is to show off our community's talent in photography, abstract art, and sound design. Check out the blog post linked above, there's an email address to send submissions to, and rules are on that page as well. We're looking forward to getting a lot of submissions from everyone in the community. This is an opportunity for non-developers (as well as developers) to contribute to the project and get their work featured in Ubuntu Touch.

Infrastructure changes

On technical infrastructure, we plan to create a more structured and easily replicated infrastructure using Docker Swarm and Kubernetes. This will be on Github so can be used by others. It will be scaled, so will automatically use an appropriate amount of bandwidth, for more economy. This is a long term, slow moving project that we do when we have a moment to spare. Most of the essential infrastructure is running using Swarm so it's been put on the back burner again.

Thanks to our sponsors

Thanks to Patreon and other sponsors. 1900€ per month coming in. 170€ increase on last. 300€ a week on Liberapay. We also get hosting etc from some commercial sponsors (thank you!).

Go to ubports.com/donate to contribute to UBports financially!


Mikel Larrea Q: I'm very curious about the graphics? convergence from mobile to desktop. Where are we on this? (I don't know exactly what he said
A: This is one of the key features/selling-points of UT but we are not where we want to be with it quite yet. Any Linux that works with armhf can be supported potentially. There are a lot of improvements that need to be made before it can fully replace a desktop/laptop. As the team is getting bigger and the something more something, convergence is getting more and more polished. Purism is working on getting gTK applications to be more responsive so they are more functional on smaller displays. We're hoping that their improvements are going to be pushed upstream so we can benefit from it. Fairphone does not have HDMI -> USB so you have to use a wireless display for convergence.

Q: Would like to know more about FP2. still reboot problems and camera problems such as flash and rotation.
A: Marius says it is a bit stuck. It's a bit stuck because one of the things that makes it hard to work on it is the kernel. The kernel isn't the best; it has some random lockups, crashing, nullpointers, whatnot and many of the issues were solved with newer firmware and they made the FP more stable on the radio side. I (Marius) tried it on my FP and ti was a lot more stable. When you are taxing it, (watching a YT video for example) it seems like there are some problems with the RAM usage and this is a very hard issue to resolve. The biggest issue with the FP is that the kernel isn'isn't the best. 16.04 is a lot better on it but it's still not the best. We don't do any work on the kernel; we get it form the manufacturer. We will try to make it as stable as we can but the priority right now is 16.04 on all devices. Florian: we are aware the camera module is still rotated and the flash messes up sometime. These issues will probably not be resolved in OTA 4 but we will do our best.

If there's someone that's good with kernels, we'd love some help! Please ping us and we'll be glad to welcome you to the team!

Fairphone has a new bootsplash! It doesn't help the reboots but it looks very nice ;)

Q: From the YouTube chat, ArchLinuxCat. Why even develop UT?
A: Marius: Many people wonder this. Why make UT when there is Android? This goes back to the Linux philosophy. We want to build something that's completely open and isn't dependent on anyone. Android depends on Google, LOS depends on Android (Google), iOS on Apple, etc. We also want to build a real GNU/Linux mobile OS that is copyleft and completely open. You can't close the code and you can't modify it without releasing the modifications somewhere. With Android, you can modify it and close source it so no one else benefits from those improvements. Just because we have something that works already doesn't mean we shouldn't improve or develop something different. Asking why we use UT when we have iOS and Android (including ROMs) is like asking why use Linux when we have macOS and Windows? The building of a community is also fundamental to us and that depends on being open and solely 'for the community'

Development is slow because we have limited resources but community people go further and do better. This is 'ours'

Q: Barnowl: Can we change ringtones easily? You can add a custom ringtone at the moment but not for notifications and not particular to each contact
A: Make a feature request! :) Go to GitHub, open a new issues in the UT tracker, the Message tracker, or the Dialer tracker and we will take a look at it! After OTA 4, everything is possible!

Q:.Could a UBports official chat server could be used to support a Matrix channel.
A: In principle yes. Discuss with us. We've purchased ubports.chat to be ready for a possible server.

Q: Barnowl: touchpad is not working when N5 is in convergence
A: Marius: I'm on it!

Q: Matthew Taylor: can I write apps with QT Quick Controller? I don't want to be locked into using the UT UI Toolkit?
A: This will be possible in OTA 4, along with UT styling. It is usable now in Xenial (not in Vivid). We are using QT 5.9. There is a bug with scrolling right now but, other than that, you can really feel the "power" of it.

Q: What is the status of the Foundation application?
A: Sorry, no big update. Progress is small but continuous. Rough timeline is at maximum three months but not absolutely certain timing. The issues are with legal technicalities.

Q: How can we get more xenial apps in the openstore? There have been only 5 apps since June and we are getting more developers every day.
A: Maybe a hackathon could help. Some app developers are not that active, some people were talking about writing a bot that trolls through the openstore looking for email addresses in the manifest files of apps and generating an email asking the developer to recompile the app for Xenial. Will be better when OTA4 is actually out. That will get things moving. Marius has one app not done. Jan has two uncompiled !!!

Q: Any update on calendar and clock apps?
A: Yes! They were fixed three hours before the call. Once Marius fixed one thing another one appeared. He was working on the clock and it also seemed to fix the calendar. QT PIM (Private Information Manager) seems to have been the culprit.

Q: Donald Pikem asks about Uadblock in 16.04
A: Marius: uAdBlock is the one I was talking about! I will update it to Xenial tonight!

Q: About browser crashing on websites?
A: The Oxide browser will go so we are not going to repair it probably. Browser improvements are planned for the next update. Browser Next is a click so it can be updated from the System Settings? as well.

Q: Bringing a native email client to UT? Having a native, default, and official email client will make UT a more viable alternative to iOS and Android
A: We want to get back to the situation we had, where Dekko1 was core in Canonical version. The first version of Dekko doesn't work on UBports and Dekko 2 is still very much under development and hasn't been ported to Xenial yet. We'll try our best to see what we can do and we're going to try to get Dekko 2 stable for OTA 4. It would be nice to have it as default but that's unlikely. Dan has done amazing work on Qt implementation across UT, not just in Dekko, so don't criticize his progress :)

Q: GizmoChicken; what about Unity8 on 18.04?
A: Marius is the only one that has tested Unity 8 on 18.04. It's amazing. All we're waiting for now is X11 support, which is coming. As soon as Xenial is done, Marius will be able to continue work on Unity 8. You can use any DM manager now, not just LightDM. Its only recommended for people who know what they're doing for now. On GitHub, we do have install tools that you can run, log out, and log back into Unity 8. Everything in Unity8 is going to be ported to Arch by Ivan and Abhishek. → https://t.me/unity8_port_notes / http://github.com/vanyasem/Unity8-Arc

Amazing Q&A 31! We'll be back in two weeks!

Last question:

Q: Why is Marius' internet so good today? A: It's an interesting story . . .'

I'm having something called AirFibre that you might know. i'm the guy that runs it. The guys that own the company live far away so I'm running it now. After I took over, I fixed a lot of stuff. It's because I live in the middle of nowhere that I have to use AirFibre. In about a half-year, I'll be able to have proper fibre internet, though!


What matters for the next chapter?