Ubuntu Touch Q&A 52
Needs a Mulligan


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Show Notes

News and Updates

Dalton, Florian, Marius and Jan were present this week.

First, Dalton suggested that people check out binarytimes.net. They have an audiocast which is very cool. It is honest and treats UBports critically but as a serious contender.


Some new and updated apps in the store are – Instagraph, which is an unofficial Instagram app. It works quite nicely. Sfxr Sound generator produces sound effects for games etc. uMPD player allows networked connection across music output devices. Game of the Amazons is a type of Go and Chess etc combined. Conway's Game of Life is there, as well as Harbour Aircraft War.


With students now on vacation, Florian suggests that now is a good time for them to do some work on the list of bugs which are either still unconfirmed or have not been fixed yet. A shout out to Ratchanan Srirattanamet who fixed the camera rotation bug on the Fairphone. That turned out not to be a bug in UT at all but a failure in how Android reports the camera state. We need to make the bug list shorter. Look on Github under unconfirmed in particular and see if you can reproduce them. If not, they can be removed.


Mailing lists – we had some at the beginning but they died out. Some people still think they are useful though. It is true that they allow for forming threads and can be sustained. Florian restated his personal view that the forum already does that well but some in the community have pressed for them, so the option has now been provided. Go to https://lists.ubports.com. We are not going to abandon any of the other forms of communication though. With some providers, we are classed as spam so there could be problems in using the lists.


Florian said that a nice new feature intended for the next OTA will be incorporation of the new splash artworks by Ruben. Many in the community have expressed a preference for a dark background for that. As a result, a decision has been made to make that the default.

Sponsors were thanked.

Sponsors pay for developers and infrastructure.


How are decisions made about UBports?

This follows on from a discussion about a possible new roundel for Yumi and the project, replacing the Canonical ‘holding hands’ roundel. That was one example of a policy discussion but not a typical one. Section 2 of the statutes sets out the aims of the Foundation. You can find out more by reading that. It is important to understand though that the board deals with high level stuff. Everyday stuff such as pull requests etc. do not need their involvement or consent. Only big policy decisions about funding, trademarks etc are taken by them. Normally that is conducted very openly but there are situations where it could harm our interests and then there will be a delay. Logos and names can be trolled by lawyers and opportunists if they are in the public domain. For example, someone could register every name on a list being considered by us, then try to sell it back to us. So some decisions will be made behind closed doors initially.

On the logo point, if no commercial aim is involved, Canonical will usually happily license what we currently use. If we sold a UT phone and used the UT name and Ubuntu logo, then there might be a problem.

Ubuntu is a very well respected name so it would be rash to go to something completely new if we don’t need to. At the level of Telegram stickers for use in our groups, we are hardly likely to be sued.

If we ever go to new names or logos, there would have to be a good reason and a long discussion. For certain, some people would be upset either way.

We may have a future Q&A on the topic of the Foundation and decision making.

On Morph browser there are lots of problems. Comments?

Dalton disagreed with that assertion, believing that in general it works well now. It is certainly missing some things, of course. It doesn't have ad blocking or web extensions etc. but unless people in the community do something about it, that will not change. Kris maintains the browser single-handed at the moment and he could certainly do with some help. One particular issue which is causing some people problems is the absence of hardware acceleration. That is causing some devices to overheat when decoding video. Upstream Qt doesn’t have support for hardware acceleration. The new QtWebEngine should help. Factoring in new Mir should also improve the situation but all of this is complicated and will take time. Chromium has been fudged a lot to make it work in UT.

Is a future Dekko hackathon is planned?

Jan replied that a place and time are being discussed by developers in Germany. It may be in Munich. There can be other hackathons of course. We are not limited to one. Those held up until now have been self-organized from within the community. That will continue. Funding from the Foundation for events is also possible, within sensible limits.

Would a game like Quake run in UT?

Dalton replied that QuakeSpasm is available for 16.04 so maybe it might work in Libertine. Though with no hardware acceleration.

Marius then said that as far as he understood, QuakeSpasm should run natively in UT, if a developer wants to try.

What if a company had thoughts about funding a closed source commercial app, with Foundation approval?

Jan said he could see how an essential app (banking app or local tax payments) might decide whether a user was able to rely on UT as daily driver at all. If a commercial app was the deciding factor, it might be within our aims to allow it, even if proprietary. Florian said If we were asked to develop such an app for them, that would mean diverting resources away from our core activities and that is something we could not allow. What we can do is advise on what is necessary to build an app for UT but they would have to take care of the actual development work. Of course we could also throw the proposal out to freelance developers in our network, who may wish to work on that project in a paid capacity.

#49: Engineering Excursions
Community Interview with Kevin Thomas