Ubuntu Touch Q&A 37
Community Focus


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Show Notes



Ivan (@vanyasem) has been invited to the show this week.

Telegram Hackathon

There is a Hackathon in Vienna on 20-21 October. The intent is to work on Telegram Plus, using the new Telegram API


Unity8 never ran before on non-debian-based distros, but now finally it runs on Arch!. The build is alpha at the moment but it is functional and you can download and run it.

Most default packages work but not all yet. Screenshots are available. It may be that it will be adopted as a UBports official distribution when complete.

Unity8 is quite old. The APIs are mostly private, so links go down. Arch though is fully up to date, so it was difficult to match them together.

Arch User Repository hosts part of the project. Halium supports Ubuntu Touch. Maybe Arch Touch is coming!

Also noted that Mir 1.0 is patched now.

Arch is the most 'up-to-date' Linux project, so adapting to more dated distros should be possible.

Ivan has a Patreon account. Please donate to help the work!

Abishek suggested the project. Rodney helped greatly. He also has a Patreon.

Big shout out to Canonical because it would have been impossible to do this without them.

Ivan says there is an open issue on this. Maybe rethink and build SDK for Arch etc. Discussions related to this idea have already taken place outside of UBports.

Marius says just a partial SDK would do for some development work and we already achieved a lot of what would be necessary, if we wanted to do that. A single SDK could serve UT and Arch, with slight adjustments. So maybe a joint project?

Florian says that many things we never considered in the past now seem possible.

Unity8 for Arch is on github

Community News

This week is about things which have been done by members of the community, other than those who appear regularly on the show.

The recent Showcase brought lots of amazing submissions. [Dalton shows some of the wallpapers, on screen]. All are available on the blog.

We will include some of these in the distributed image. Doing that is being worked on now. New sounds are also now being incorporated.

More wallpapers can still be added to those we have already, even though the Showcase has ended.

Dekko2 group is doing great work. Clicks are coming out. It isn't yet possible to include it on OpenStore though as the lead developer is not available at present.

Hummlbach and Doniks are working a lot on Dekko2.

Linphone will be out soon, for SIP phones. Cibersheep led on that.

Mardy has been working on QtPIM fixes. It provides the backend for e.g. calendar, contacts and alarm. Sorry if some people overslept when alarms failed in devel channel recently!

Thank you to all our sponsors. details of how to donate etc.

Packet.Net is our great build environment, where everything that is visible on the UT phones has been built.

What is happening with the Foundation?

Progress is being made but it is slow. All the legal stuff is done and going back and forth with government. Business plans have had to be updated with details of new sponsors and other things. The financial strategy document has to be exactly right.

Everything has to be written in German, so only a few people are able to contribute and check.


What is happening with Halium?

A lot is going on and there are many different aspects but there a mass of new devices on the list of targets. Some of those projects are directed towards UT but there are many which are general Halium projects. Marius read out more than 20 devices from the list.

Components and architecture need work and the build process itself needs to be automatic. Sensor software needs to be updated to Qt. Same story with Qt Location. We want to use a lot more upstream code because that is maintained (kept up-to-date). We want to make it quicker to port. Porting is always going to be hard but speeding it up is possible. The Treble project from Google may perhaps help by introducing more common ground but we don't yet know whether this will actually be the case.

What are the security implication of using an old kernel?

There are issues with Android kernels of course but those are very expensive and difficult to fix. Also we have no kernel engineers. The amount of effort involved would only make sense for a very long term device.

It would take so long for one of our existing devices that by the time it was finished the device would have basically fallen apart!

We patch from upstream as best we can. Manufacturers generally abandon the kernel after delivering the phone, unfortunately.

Librem5 is a different matter. We can do more on the kernel with that, potentially. As it is not Android.

Qualcomm is doing a lot so maybe we will in future have devices that run on kernel master. That would be great. But not something that will happen for a long time to come.

Can we add wifi calling to UT?

There is no clear standard for wifi calling. The implementation varies a lot. It looks like a hack where it has been achieved. Lineage does support it though, so maybe there is a way. If someone wants to explore it they are very welcome to try. Voice over LTE is a similar issue that we get asked about a lot and the same applies.

Z3ntu is working on Unity8 for Postmarket. That project is doing work on a kernel adapted from upstream. It runs on Alpine Linux . There are some links between Postmarket and Arch so there are some aspects of Ivan's Unity8 build which may be useful to them.

Hybris is good for performance but it is also a hack.

Libhybris (which we use) uses existing Android binary blobs. Postmarket does it "the Linux way" with an upstream kernel. Things like GPS may not work for them because they are closed. For a phone, we must have all those things working.

Closing Remarks

Any member of the community who is working on a project is welcome to come on the Q&A, as Ivan has done. It will be good to have some fresh faces, so volunteer! Even if it is a small thing you have done, come on the show and present it. Just ping us for an invitation.

Pioneering Technology