Ubuntu Touch Q&A 32
OTA4 developments


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Show Notes


A lot more work has been done. Oxide has been a pain. Libertine has been installed by default now. Quite hacky, so it needs some effort to make it work. X11 apps can be used in it. Libreoffice, GIMP etc. will run on it and it is for convergence. Not scaled for phone use. It has been included to up its profile and get developers involved with it. Written in Python, so easy to do.

  • The terminal operates Libertine much better, if you are able to do that. There is also the Libertine scope. This is a preview feature, not properly functioning yet.

  • Devel added scripts for Quality Assurance. You can open terminal apps from UBorts-QA and from there run scripts from GitHub

  • No need to root your drive, manually install the ppa etc. It will do the work for you.The app will also do removes for you. It is also Python.

  • Bug fixes. Wifi hotspot on Nexus 5 or OPO should now work fine if your are on devel channel. Please test and report.

  • Wifi would look to be on but Nexus 5 would not actually find anything. This happened if you rebooted. Wifi would be reported as on but was actually off. We think we have fixed that too. Please test, especially by rebooting. try flight mode etc.

  • Calendar events and alarms appeared in UTC rather in local time. We think we have fixed that too, so again, check and let us know.

When we release OTA4, the 15.04 Stable channel will stay open. So you can stay on 15.04 for now. There are still some issues in OTA4 such as Oxide browser. It also allows app developers to catch up. OTA5 will be a month later. It will be a bug fix release, especially for the Oxide browser and for webapps. OTA3 will not automatically update. So in that gap the only options will be the installer or doing system cli on the phone. You can do that with your data in place but the experience will not be as good as when OTA5 comes out.

  • A transfer system is being prepared, which will update your apps etc. Until now we had a mix of Click and Deb apps but now we have switched everything to Click. There will now be no duplicates and they will be in sync with system updates.

  • The clock and calendar no longer crash because they encountered a date format not used in the latest version of Qt.

  • There is a new firmware flasher app, initially for Fairphone but it will be extended to other Qualcomm devices. It adds modem software, logos etc to the phone live. Also in a safe manner, checking MD5. It will reduce reboots on FP2 if you use the updater!

  • The Oxide browser is the biggest problem overall. That is why we are going to OTA5 later. Average users will probably be best waiting for OTA5.

Actually, if you switch to RC channel with the release of OTA4 and then you switch to Stable channel on your phone, what you will get is 16.04 Stable !!!! Some websites that use malformed You ccanPNG images are especially bad with Oxide browser and will probably crash. You can use NewBrowser of course.

16.04 Cultural Showcase

It is not too late to participate in the Showcase that we announced last time. Submissions for wallpapers, ringtones and other customisations will be included in future releases. It isn't a contest!. It is a celebration of UBports and very much open to non-developers. Artists, show us what you can do! July 30 is last day for submission.

Thanks to everyone on LiberaPay, Patreon and via Bitcoin. A special shoutout to Morgan Macmillan, who is one of our most generaous donors. LiberaPay is being kicked out by Mango. Check for updates on their blog. You do need to take action by 26 July.

Q & A

Q: When will shirts be shipped to patrons?
A: It will be a few days only.

Q: Will NewBrowser fix the PNG crash issue for Web Telegram ?
A: Yes it will. You can use that browser for Telegram, rather than the WebappNewBrowser will get much more attention after OTA5.

Q: If we are already on Xenial can we switch to Stable 16.04 (OTA4) in system updates?
A: Yes, you can.

Q: I am not a developer. How can I help?
A: If you are multilingual, you can translate core apps and documentation. Dekko and OpenStore are treated as core apps, for translation purposes, so you can do those too. There is also a need for technical writers for documentation, if you have those skills. Documentation is written in Sphinx. If you are a blogger or writer, we have a writing team and you are welcome to join them. Anyone who owns a Ubuntu Touch device can contribute feedback to the BugTracker.

  • The QA team tests things out in a more structured way and also tests out bug fixes pre-release, to make sure they actually work. Ask Jan about joining that team.

  • If you are an experienced user of Ubuntu Touch, you can help newcomers in Matrix channels, Telegram groups and in the forums.

  • If your are a graphic designer or UI specialist, there is a group for that as well. Message Dalton to volunteer.

  • Finally, learn to be a developer. LOL

  • QML is used for graphical apps. Javascript is used with websites etc. So fairly low level programming stuff. There is a book by community contributors, from which people with no experience can learn about programming.

  • Tidying up repositories, filing, correcting spelling is a management job that also needs to be done. Lots of things there don't even have a Readme and should have. The lack of documentation inhibits new developers, so this is very important.

  • Don't message Marius. He has around 1000 unread messages in PMs!

Q: There are lots of enhancements now listed for OTA5. Too many?
A: Basically yes, that has got overblown and instead of enhancements, OTA5 will be mainly about bug fixes.

Q: Will we be moving to 18.04 as soon as possible?
A: No. For one thing, 18.04 needs systemd and we have UT running on upstart at the moment. We have older versions of Mir, Unity 8 and libhybris, none of which would work well with 18.04. In other words, there would be a very long wait and what we want to do is get into a more regular and structured system of updates, rather than vaguely timed project movement.

Q: Would it be best to ignore 18.04 entirely and instead skip to 20.04 when that becomes available?
A: The dates are November 2019 or March 2020. To be honest, that is quite far into the future. There are a huge number of unknowns and development is moving very fast. We have no idea what will even be in 20.04.

We will have to move base at some point but we don't want a repeat of the compulsory shift from Vivid to Xenial, which was very pressured and difficult. With an LTS, we can afford to take our time more, improving all the components and then updating at a time of our own choosing. We don't know if the new desktop systems will run on a phone or scale on a phone. Very early days yet. btw there is also Anbox to fix...

LTS runs until 2021, so let us see what happens. We don't want to take it to the limit but we could if necessary. 18.04 does not offer any obvious advantages for us anyway. All this discussion is about what we use as Stable. We can of course play with experimental builds as much as we like. We can launch new channels at any time we want too. Ivan has been porting to ArchLinux, which involves updates to practically everything so that could be the source of a quantum leap into 18.04 experimentation. Marius was amazed at seeing Unity8 in Arch, as it is vast. Just huge. Masses of packages, new dependencies.

There is a Unity 8 build working in Fedora too !

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