Ubuntu Touch Q&A 57
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News and Updates


Ubuntu Touch OTA-10 is out. The tenth stable release of UT. Lots of hardware fixes were applied, including camera audio and video synch for Nexus 5.

Audio channels were reversed on FP2 until now. Messaging and Libertine support have been improved. In Messages you can leave a draft now until you get round to sending.

Live Events

Just prior to the Q&A there was an ofono hackathon. It tried to fix the absence of audio during calls. A big shout out to all of those who took part. Other communities than UBports were involved too. Headphone and speakerphone switches are now the biggest problem. It was found that some of the issues were not with ofono itself but with a switcher helper module that it uses.

Ubucon Europe is in Sintra, Portugal this year. There will be some UBports speakers, including Jan. Marius is hoping to attend. The event covers the whole spectrum of Ubuntu.

The Dekko2 hackathon is coming up soon. It will take place at Brainlab in Munich on August 31 and 1 September. Work will cover the phone and desktop versions.

Sponsors were thanked.


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.

Is there a strategic roadmap for beyond the new mir and new Unity 8 work?

Dalton suggested that the reality of software projects is that three months is the realistic limit for firm forward planning. You can look at our project pages to get some idea of where we are headed. As items complete, new tasks will be added. The Foundation has strategic goals but they do not have any agenda about the day to day or technical progress.

On that note, communicating how these things work could always do with improvement and we welcome feedback about that.

Which Android device is likely to get the next UT port?

Well, HTC10 is certainly one possibility. It has received attention because it has an HDMI output. There are others such as BQ Uplus and Sony Xperia X which could come soon. Please don’t gamble on possible outcomes by getting one of those devices just yet though. There are no guarantees in porting. The fact that there have been questions about how to add devices to the Community channel nevertheless shows that some of those working on phones are feeling quite positive.

A ‘Fairphone 3’ release has been leaked. Quite honestly we know nothing about it. Our contacts there have lapsed as people have taken up new jobs. We will reach out to them again. If there is a new device and if it is Android 9 for example, that would be a huge task for us.

In principle, we would like to support any FP3, of course. We like their project.

How about Halium and why have we not broken out of our current crop of devices?

So, what state is Halium in now? Graphics, sound(except calls), as well as most hardware are now working on an Android 7.1 base. Working phones certainly seem to be on their way. On a second question of whether we will see a move to Halium for newer Android versions, the answer is probably no. What we can say is that we expect the FP2 specifically to upgrade to a new 7.1 base. A scoping document for Halium is being drawn up – what it can do and what it will not do.

Can we have a videochat app for UT?

That is mostly down to the community. Building it in natively would be quite complex. Qtwebengine has issues with video. Qtmultimedia is what we use instead. Unfortunately there is no support in qtwebengine for qtmultimedia. There are projects under way to patch to solve that problem. There are also lots of good things in the upstream pipeline for qtwebengine. Improvements might also come from there.

What do you think about Postmarket OS?

A ten year lifespan is their strategic aim. They mainline drivers for Qualcomm, Mediatek etc. It is a cool project. They port a lot of things to Alpine. It is a really interesting idea to use mainlining instead of libhybris. Where they differ from us in a major way is that they are not trying at the moment to provide a daily driver device. It is more experimental and that means they can take their time and build from scratch more, rather than having to adapt.

Ubuntu Touch is a Linux phone based on the Ubuntu Linux distribution

With their way of working, instead of having mir on top of mir we could have wayland sandwiched between. That would open up new avenues. Our projects could intersect at some point.

Their app packaging is done in a very different way to ours but there could be linkages.

Devkits and New Devices

You may have seen that Pinephone has a case now. Lima is the open source equivalent of Mali. Notkit and Marius have been trying to get the stack working with Lima, for the Pinephone. It is not at all usable yet but there has been some progress. With Mali blobs the hardware works fairly well. There are two possible ways forward, involving either Mesa or Wayland.

Marius is also working a bit on the Librem hardware. At the moment, the issues run parallel with getting UT to work on the Pinephone.

Marius is doing that in his ‘spare time’ though. Moving the work done in Edge channel into Development channel is still our highest priority.

Any feedback on the new screen layout for the Q&A is very welcome. Hangouts is obviously no longer used!

#51: Interview: Brian Douglass | Child-Friendly Devices and Mentorship
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