Ubuntu Touch Q&A 39


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Show Notes

News and Updates

Hackathon Vienna

Florian spoke about the recent Hackathon in Vienna. It was a day and a half of working together. Most of those attending were from Germany and Austria but also Marcin from Slovakia and Nikita from Budapest. The idea was to speed the development of the new Telegram. It was becoming impossible to maintain the old build and Telegram themselves have made a lot of documentation available about their new version.

There was a proof of concept already put together by Dan Chapman, which was a very good starting point.

It was an inspiring session and a great exercise in team building.

In it's present state TelegramPlus is not better than we have now, but it is working to a substantial extent and that is amazing for a first draft of a big app put together over a weekend. The message window looks pretty bad but messages send okay. Photos do not send yet but you can register an account and there is a settings page in progress. Everything is already much faster though and it reconnects when used on wifi.

Big thanks to the participants. There will be more of this sort of thing. It is a great formula, very productive and much enjoyed.

Next step is a stable new app! Watch out for beta clicks to test.

Anyone is welcome to organize an event like this. Use all of our UBports marketing skills, and use the forum to organize. Three or four people are enough for an event. It doesn't have to be as large as the Vienna meet.

There are various people who are interested in messengers particularly. Signal and Matrix too, not just Telegram.

Fluffychat Stable Release

The first stable release of Fluffychat is now out and alongside that we now have our own push gateway, which is providing faster and more reliable Matrix notifications.

There is now a lot of good stuff in Fluffychat. You can send url links, there are stickers and animations. Lots of bug fixes. You can also now register on the UBports chat server. Dalton said that Fluffychat is now one of the best Matrix clients overall. It particularly excels for small groups and small chats. It is currently featured on the OpenStore banner.

Sony Xperia X Port

Beidl has announced that his port for the Sony Xperia X is ready for testing by the UBports community. It is a candidate for a new community device. It is particularly worth noting that it is the first so far that has kernel 4.4.!

Apparmor works in it, SMS works. Pulse audio does not yet and nor does the camera. This is not at all a click and install option yet. You would need to follow his guide carefully to get it onto your phone. Anyone who has Halium experience and who has that phone or can get one is especially welcome to help out.

Lots of work is going on in Halium, with many devices. Behind the scenes, lots of progress is being made.

There is cross working in Halium across different phone systems, to the benefit of all.

Thanks to the sponsors and supporters on Patreon.


Was the building of Halium was always as difficult as it is now?

Florian says maybe easier now. Depends on the phone and whether device trees are available for it. etc. It is not for impatient people. It is very frustrating.

Different phones are really very different. That presents a big challenge. On the other hand, Halium documentation is hugely better now. In that way, it is easier.

There are two versions of OnePlusOne, for example. Almost identical but not exactly. So those variations sometimes have distinct bugs, the same for all those with a sub-version.

What we want is a range of open source phone options, to replace Android.

Canonical had at least two people at all times working just on porting. They had the same problems as us but they had money and time.

We have our strengths too though. Everyone here is a volunteer who really believes in the platform.

Gauge comments that UBports installer and the Clickable apps builder are things which make it much easier for Ubuntu Touch developers. What else could we do to remove barriers? Dalton said that solving crossbuilder difficulties - automating it, writing instructions for troubleshooting crossbuilder - all of that would help a lot.

Second, the 'how do things work' stuff needs a lot more documentation. Some people have knowledge but do not share it. The best approach always is to write down how you did something the first time you did it. That helps the next person who comes along.

Third, having more devices that people can use. That in turn means more users, which means more developers.

How is Anbox coming along?

What we did recently was intended as a developer preview. The point of that was to involve more developers.

We cannot do everything and have to choose. Right now, sorting out issues with Morph browser is our top priority and we have to limit what we do with Anbox.

Are there plans to support Pinephone?

Well, Pine are very open. Devkits are being made available on November 1. They have approached us already and asked if UBports wants to try them out. We will do that of course and carry out lots of experimentation. We are giving no commitments about progress though. Rest assured that if there is something to announce, we will definitely let you know. Continually asking about it will not help though, so please do not keep asking for comments about any progress.

Raspi and other platforms would stand to benefit indirectly If we were able to move further along with Pine. We would still need something like a thin version of Halium to make these work, even without all the complications caused by the presence of Android. Of course, we cannot divert all of our developer time to Pine. We still have plenty of Ubuntu Touch stuff that we must do.

There are six or eight months before even any clarification of Pine designs. We depend on hybris a lot on Android bases. We would have to somehow substitute for that. None of this is going to happen quickly.

What is status of the Librem image?

We are still waiting for developer kits.

How can someone with mediocre developer skills spend two or three hours a week helping UBports?

Triaging bugs is very useful. It is easier now because finding duplicates is much more likely, with the greater number of devices out there. Quality Assurance is a good area. Confirm bugs for us. Github is quite formal, so you need to ping one of the mods, to change a record.

How to start app development?

The section of the docs site on that is coming along. You could go there. There are some groups set up to help with this. Ask and you will be pointed to them

How high a priority are cameras, microphones, lights etc. for the Q&A ?

We are not that professional in our presentation but our microphones are good already and that is the important thing. We don't want to waste donation money on presentation. We want to improve the show in various ways of course but presentation is not really a concern.

Latency is something we are stuck with anyway. It would be very expensive to fix that and simply is not worth it.

To end with, as we have mentioned before, Marius is having to deal with illness in his family. That is why he is not with us tonight. This is a good time to remind everyone in the community that tħeir 'real life' comes first, always. That is part of the ethos of the OpenSource community. So to all of you, be sure to take care of yourself. The project will always be here. Florian commented that the Hackathon took some of the pressure off him personally, now that he has a new baby to look after. We can organize differently and delegate, to ease the load on individuals.

Ubuntu Touch Q&A 40