Ubuntu Touch RC OTA-4 is Here
Regular viewers of the Ubuntu Touch Q&A might have already heard: After six months of full-steam-ahead development, the UBports Community is excited to announce the first 'over-the-air (OTA)' release candidate for Ubuntu Touch OTA-4.
Members of the community have poured an incredible amount of work into this update. The main reason why the arrival of OTA-4 seemed to take so long is because Ubuntu Touch switched its base to Ubuntu 16.04 LTS Xenial Xerus. This is a mammoth milestone for the project, because it allowed us to transition from the unsupported Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet to a Long Term Support (LTS) base.
Being able to build on a supported Ubuntu version is very important, because we are now receiving core package updates directly from upstream - from the larger Ubuntu community. Plus, in the spirit of free and open source software, it is now a lot easier to make our software available to the Ubuntu community at large.
What else is new?
Because of the new Ubuntu base, virtually every cogwheel of the operating system engine had to be tweaked. You could say Ubuntu Touch is like a rebuilt car under the hood: It may look similar aesthetically as it always has, but now it's ready for the race track. There are also some new bug-fixes and features specific to Ubuntu Touch, which can be found on the 16.04 OTA-4 milestone.
Help with testing!
This update will be released for all previously supported devices. We need your help to test it and make sure no critical regressions were unknowingly introduced during the transition.
You can find the already-reported issues on their own 16.04 Backlog milestone. You can use the UBports Installer to install the 16.04/rc channel on your device. If you want to keep your data, make sure that you do not select the wipe option.
This release candidate is not perfect, but it should be stable enough for daily use as long as you are "able to endure a little suffering". Before installing it on your device, ensure that you can live with the regressions currently reported and listed in the 16.04 Backlog milestone. Should you run into an issue, please check if it is already reported. If not, please file a bug. In your bug report please make sure to clearly state that you are running the Xenial RC, and specify what version you have installed. All information you might need can be found in the system Settings > About > OS.
To get a quick overview and test all of the core functionality, you might want to use our smoke testing plan.
The pre-installed web browser has many issues that will not be targeted in OTA-4 and do not need to be reported right now. In the next release, we will be replacing the browser completely. Since this new browser (which we are currently calling "browser-ng"), will not come pre-installed on OTA-4, you can install it manually via the 16.04 RC installation process mentioned above or get the developers images from the OpenStore.
Ubuntu Touch applications (apps) built with compiled parts from 15.04 will have to be re-compiled for 16.04 by the developer. Those apps will remain hidden from direct view in the OpenStore app until they are compatible. Webapps and apps that only use QML with no back end will just work. The 15.04/devel and 15.04/rc channels will stay online for now, but will be redirected to their 16.04 counterparts some time within the next two weeks.
There are still some open tasks - get involved with development!
Last but not least, I want to take this opportunity to thank everyone in the community for their dedication and hard work! I also want to take this opportunity to thank our amazing sponsors and donors. We could not have done it without you.
Thank you to everyone who is making the dream of Ubuntu on mobile devices a reality. We're not at our goal yet, but it's constantly getting closer!
All the best,
Jan Sprinz, Head of QA @ UBports
PS: Did you know that you can get exclusive UBports T-Shirts, Hoodies and Stickers as a reward on Patreon?