News and Update
OTA 11 and MIR
This week, Dalton, Marius, Jan and Florian hosted the Q&A.
The OTA-11 release will not include new Mir or the removal of scopes. It will have the new advanced text manipulation tools. Moving the cursor, moving to the beginning or end of a line, using select all etc all become possible by pressing and holding the space key.
You can also double tap in there to select text. A new Dvorak keyboard will be shipped and the need for a Ubuntu One account in order to receive notifications will finally go.
A new qml interpretation module has been added. Audio playback fixes and switching of audio output have also been realized. Apart from those improvements you will see a fix for some battery percentage computations.
The window prior to OTA-11 will stay open for another two weeks. That should give us enough time to complete position memory as well as blacklisting and whitelisting, for Morph browser.
Just a reminder that only 13 months ago we were on OTA-4 and had serious problems with Oxide browser. Look how far we have come...
Six of the people who have contributed to this OTA are new to developing for UT and UBports. New contributors are now appearing regularly.
A new version of Teleports has been released. Now that we have effectively caught up, we hope to start updating in small regular increments. Location sharing works. Secret chat changes have been made. A message tells you if you entered the wrong password. Content Hub is now fully available and you can even send multiple files at once.
Telegram updates are now also coming from the upstream. For example animated stickers may well come from that direction soon. Admin management features are sadly still not available.
A new promotional video for Ubports is now out, created by Joe together with a sponsor team. A new Get Involved page will be up soon, to augment that. The video can be found in the YouTube Ubports feed. It uses Wayne’s voice and has English subtitles.
Dekko2 is advancing too. A new version was made available after the hackathon. Oxide has at last been removed from that too, so you will find that rendering is now much nicer. A lot of issues have been fixed but if you find anything that still needs doing, please post it up on Gitlab. More hackathons are planned by the same group and at least some of their time will go towards further Dekko2 improvements.
Questions are usually taken first from the forum, in the News section. YouTube live chat, Telegram and Matrix are other places to post a question.
Will UT appear on more devices?
Some of the changes seen in this OTA will help porting. Alfred and Ratchanan in particular are doing lots on this. We really do think new ports are coming soon. (And this time we mean soon…)
Marius congratulated all of the porters. He knows from experience just how difficult it is.
Jan reported that the installer has improved dramatically. The animation now works beautifully. We are currently adapting it to serve the new Halium devices and PinePhone etc. Javascipt and Electron languages are used for the installer so anyone with those in their portfolio is very welcome to help out.
At Ubucon in Sintra, some of our attendees will do a live hackathon on the installer build.
The installer is not much used by people who are already ‘in’ but is a vital bridge to our community. It needs to be as simple as possible.
Sponsors were thanked.
Marius and the socks?
There was general disappointment at the fact that we would not after all see the spectacle of Marius eating a sock on air, after his rash bet at the last Q&A. As he said he would, he showed a rpi 3 attached to a screen and running UT!
It was desperately slow but it was there. Some power tweaks will be needed and most probably it will be more usable on the model 4. An image for it was posted directly after the show. The link is in our rpi group. Open source MESA was the basis of the port and practically all of it came from the work done with the PinePhone webkit.
People who have a rpi 4 (maybe 3) will soon be able to play around with UT and start developing for the platform. That means an awful lot of people! That makes this new port especially exciting.
Will the PineTime watch work with UT?
Well, it will have a Nordic chip so a real time operating system will run it, not Linux. That also rules out Asteroid OS. It is a side project for Pine, as a companion to the PinePhone. The initial issue of those will be just 100 units, targeted at developers. The dispatches immediately after that will go out without an OS installed.
Any progress been made on Network Manager?
Florian said that key to that is finding some more people with specialist knowledge. We use the Ubuntu package so there is a lot of crossover. We have a heavily patched version. We would much prefer to have our patches accepted into the upstream but that is not so easy when we are the only ones using them.
Modem Manager is a smaller sibling of Network Manager. That may be more the thing for the future, so we may have to decide at some point whether to switch to that or simply press on with more and more patches to Network Manager. At this stage, we need more input from experts on which way to head.
If we break Network Manager, the phone breaks. So apart from being difficult, this is also crucial.
How to fork pdf viewer?
Dalton explained that there is really no need, as Document Manager app already does that very well.
Adding a new libcompat will aid ports to 7.1. There is a Sailfish project which is being forked, to provide another approach. Droid Media is receiving attention from Alfred, on his Xperia X. Meanwhile, gstreamer is being worked on by Ratchanan, using his FP2.
For those who did not know, Alfred and Florian are now doing occasional podcasts about porting. You can find those at www.soundcloud.com/ubports