Stable OTA-1. Halium is Heating up, Convergence Works!
June 14th 2017
It’s been another great couple of weeks, and we had a lot of news to tell you all about during our latest Community Update! Read on to discover all of the juicy details!

Thank you to Patreons and Sponsors!

We want to take a bit of time to thank all of our Patrons and sponsors. You are all proving to us that what we do is important and useful to the wider community. Thanks for sharing the ride with us. If it wasn’t for you, we wouldn’t be here.

The News

Stable OTA-1 is shipping! (except the Nexus 4)

The UBports project is proud to announce Stable OTA-1 for all of our officially supported devices, minus the Nexus 5 (hammerhead) and Nexus 4 (mako).

This was the most exciting news for us. OTA-1 is the culmination of our efforts over the past two months. It brings many bug fixes and enhancements to the platform, including:

  • Experimental AGPS support
  • The UBports Welcome app
  • The amazing OpenStore
  • Terminal and File Browser are preinstalled (It’s the little things!)

As well as bug fixes for the UBports ported devices. You can see a list of bugs targeted and closed for this release here.

The Nexus 4 is being brought up separately from the rest of the devices and its OTA-1 release will be announced when it is ready.

Update (June 18): The update for the Nexus 5 has beeen released! Now all of you Nexus 5 owners can flash Stable images as well! Please see Our Devices website or download The UBports installer beta to flash your device.

OS/App Developer Meeting

On June 1st, we invited about 20 Ubuntu Touch App and Platform developers to a meeting where we discussed how we can do things better in the future. A lot came out of this meeting and we’d love to discuss all of it here, but there’s a much better write-up in our forum.

These were some of the big discussion points:

  • Snaps may be a good addition to the platform, but we’ll need to make modifications to snapd before we can use them
  • To service notifications in the future while improving user privacy, we will implement “headless apps”. The OS will call these every few minutes and allow them to do some work in the background such as check for messages. This will be done with battery savings and user control in mind.
  • We would really like to have the newest features in Qt 5.9 available to us, such as QtQuick 2. This will require Yunit to be built with Qt 5.9, which was not officially packaged in 16.04 at the time of the meeting. More discussions are happening on this.

Halium is Moving Quickly

Halium, as you may know, is a project aiming to standardize the Android hardware compatibility layer between many Linux distributions. This layer is required because Android drivers can’t be used natively in a regular Linux distribution. This week the project had a lot to show off - it can boot both Ubuntu Touch and Plasma Mobile.

As you can see in this tweet, Halium can boot both OS’s on the Nexus 5. The third image, though, is the most interesting. It shows Plasma Mobile booting on the Fai phone 2, a phone that the OS hasn’t been explicitly ported to. It’s easy to see the opportunities that Halium opens up and we’re proud to be a part of the project.

We have a Public Roadmap!

Okay, it’s still a work in progress, but you can see the goals that we’re setting for every release on our ubports-touch milestone tracker. This lets the community see what we’re targeting to cut a release. The 16.04 milestones are still filling up with enhancements, so stay tuned!

Marius showed off Convergence

At this point in the update, Marius took out his trusty Nexus 5 and Slimport cable to show off convergence. It’s a little difficult to see his screen, but you can find this at 38:00 in the video.

Questions and Answers

With all of our news out of the way, we began taking questions from the community.

Is the branding staying the same? Will we keep the Ubuntu Touch and UBports name?

We’re carefully weighing our options on changing the name. We have nothing more to say on this topic right now.

What will happen to the Nexus 7 2013 WiFi (flo)?

This was a device that Canonical provided an image for, but we don’t yet have one available. We do not have a test device available. Also, our developers have a lot of projects going on right now. If you’d like to try porting Ubuntu Touch to this device yourself (and don’t want to wait for Halium and 16.04-based images), please check out our forum to collaborate with others.

Can you make a guide that makes it easier for people to choose a channel to flash?

Sure we can!

What’s happening in our collaboration with Yunit?

Yunit is working on backporting its stack to 16.04 since it’s only running on Debian Unstable and Ubuntu right now. That’ll be really helpful.

What’s the status of the switch to UBports script?

It’s just a proof-of-concept for now, but if you want to try it, knock yourself out. It might be integrated into the UBports installer in the future.

What does Google’s Project Treble do for UBports and Halium?

Google recently announced “a modular base for Android” to solve the problem of having to backport Android updates to every device seperately. While Treble does sound similar to Haliums approach, it doesn’t eliminate the need for Libhybris, the translation library for Android’s bionic drivers. It remains to be seen if this project will change our life for the better, but since it’s just been announced, we can just continue what we’re doing at the moment for now.

What’s happening with Anbox?

We definitely want Android App compatibility, but it is not our highest priority for the moment. Since there’s so much to be done, it will also probably not land for 15.04, but we’re looking forward to pl

UBports Supergroup - 0 to 500 in 3.5
A Little Group Just Became a Big Community