back to article Ubuntu Touch OTA-23 is coming: Do you have one of the older model phones that can test it?

The UBPorts community is in the final stages of preparing its next release and it's calling for testers. OTA-23 is getting close – the project's Github kanban looks quite good to us – and if you're lucky enough to have one of the project's supported devices lying around, then you can help. Many of them are a few years old now …

  1. PhilipN

    Old phones!

    Toss them to the back of the cupboard and they're gone. But keep coming back again and again - like Covid!

    Now I shall spend hours trying to find the charger for the LG Google Phone then descend into frustration trying to load this latest OS iteration on to it and waste a good part of the weekend. Can't wait :-)

  2. KSM-AZ

    Not worth it. -- Not that great

    I've got a pinephone. Thrown pretty much all of them on it. Ubuntu touch has the dis-advantage of not working all that well in general. Postmarket and Arch and Debian and the other projects are so much farther along,I think I'd put the effort in Plasma Mobile, or phosh which seem to be mostly working. What we really need are phone apps. Not effort trying to weld ancient desktop things on a phone display. Further the drivers for the cellular modems are still rather 'alpha' quality. We really need to figure out modemmanager and ofono and all the low level driver cruft is targeted at the latest kernels which need Linux 5.x. It's miles better than it was 2 years ago, but still pretty awful.

    1. 3arn0wl

      Great, and with so much potential

      I don't think that's a completely fair analysis, and I'm at odds with your conclusions.

      First of all, the Pinephone Ubuntu Touch experience is very different from Ubuntu Touch elsewhere. Ubuntu Touch on the devices mentioned in the article works really well. I worked a Nexus5 into the grave : It's the best UI I've ever used. There was a sufficiency of apps, especially with the web-app-building app, Webber, which was very easy to use.

      And people who bought the Pinephone were well aware that it was alpha software. Something happened between Pine64 and UBPorts - I'm not privy to the details - such that Ubuntu Touch seemed to get sidelined on the phone, and development of Lomiri - the Linux version of Ubuntu Touch - seemed to be somewhat downgraded. This, to my mind, was a huge pity, because I think Linux has great potential on the smartphone... though I do concede that there is still a long way to go with it.

      But, nearly a decade later, I still covet Mark Shuttleworth's dream of Convergence : smartphones are getting ever more powerful, such that we are at a point where it's possible to do desktop processing on them.

      1. 2+2=5 Silver badge

        Re: Great, and with so much potential

        > But, nearly a decade later, I still covet Mark Shuttleworth's dream of Convergence : smartphones are getting ever more powerful, such that we are at a point where it's possible to do desktop processing on them.

        Me too. It would be great to just carry a phone to a client instead of a laptop. The failure, as I see it now, was that there was far too much focus on fancy docks that phone manufacturers thought people would queue-up to pay large sums for.

        Maybe if they now accept that convergence is a feature that needs to work with nothing more than some sort of USB hub (for the external screen and keyboard) then the idea might take off.

        Of course, you'd need to disable JavaScript and Facebook to regain enough CPU power...

        1. 3arn0wl

          Re: Great, and with so much potential

          Anecdotal evidence at the time seemed to suggest that UT didn't take off because of the inability to access WhatsApp in particular, or a specific secure banking app. I don't know how much truth there was in that : I've never used Facebook or WhatsApp, but it's amazing the power that social media software has, if that's true.

          It's also interesting to me that a decade after Shuttleworth outlined his vision, big tech companies like Micro$oft and Google are still trying to persuade us on DASS / SAAS / the cloud etc.. My N5 UT & a Nextcloud server, was ideal for me.

        2. DJO Silver badge

          Re: Great, and with so much potential

          ...with nothing more than some sort of USB hub (for the external screen and keyboard)...

          Not needed, just a USB to HDMI lead or skip that and use casting if the phone and monitor/TV support it, Bluetooth for the mouse and keyboard and away you go. Could even skip the mouse and use the phone screen as a touchpad.

      2. Tom 7 Silver badge

        Re: Great, and with so much potential

        I had a nexus 5 for 7 years till the battery went. A few quid on a new one and it was as good as new - then one of the brats broke their phone just before exam results were due and borrowed mine. And put it in the back pocket and sat on it! I may see if I can find it and get a screen replacement.

  3. nichomach

    I've got a OnePlus 3 kicking around somewhere - might well give it a try; a few bits don't work, sure, but early days....

  4. nautica Bronze badge
    Linux

    Be very careful in believing what you'd LIKE to be true...

    @KZM-AZ---

    Not worth it. -- Not that great

    I've got a pinephone. Thrown pretty much all of them on it. Ubuntu touch has the disadvantage of not working all that well in general..."

    Absolutely nothing works all that well in general---and in most cases, and in particular---on the Pinephone.

    This is due in very large part to Pine's explicitly-stated business model (?) of being a great source of product for hackers only---of building product (all kinds of product) which, on the surface, look very appealing from a hardware standpoint, but which lack that one major ingredient to make it (all their product) work: the software!

    Want a good example?---the Pinephone's keyboard option. It's a great-LOOKING keyboard; it's just that it's had all sorts of problems which require software (and hardware) fixes to remediate. Oh...and the keyboard has to be supported by the distro you choose to use. Does UBPort's OTA-23 support the Pinephone keyboard?

    Pine Micro is so convinced that "the community" will be so enamored of their products that it will jump right in and write the necessary software (and keep writing software updates), that it (Pine) will not admit that software development---and, most importantly, on-going software development, at that---is THE major portion of any processor-based product. The result? Well-known Linux distro developers, and even Pine's own internal "work-for-free" types, becoming tired, disheartened, and ultimately abandoning their efforts.

    Caveat emptor.

  5. sten2012

    Been wanting to try Ubuntu touch. Anyone here with experience of these volla phones and Ubuntu?

  6. nautica Bronze badge
    Boffin

    From "3arn0wl", above...

    "...Something happened between Pine64 and UBPorts - I'm not privy to the details - such that Ubuntu Touch seemed to get sidelined on the phone, and development of Lomiri - the Linux version of Ubuntu Touch - seemed to be somewhat downgraded...”

    Perhaps this, from the UBPorts' website will go very far towards explaining what that "something" was, which happened between Pine 64 and UBPorts:

    “Features & Usability"

    "Automated Usability (beta)"

    "The device is not able to perform as a phone. If you need complete calling and cellular data functionalities, consider choosing a different device.”

    https://devices.ubuntu-touch.io/device/pinephone/?pk_vid=095f76c5c238223f165616178477dbfc

    Remember that UBPorts has a very deep, vested, and un biased interest in the evaluation of phones on which to run its software. At the moment, at least seventy phones have been evaluated, with all phones being given an objective evaluation---not only as regards to being a candidate for the use of UBPorts, but simply a very good evaluation of each phone, in general; a good summary of general suitability-to-purpose.

    https://www.ubports.com

    ---a very good read.

    1. 3arn0wl

      Re: From "3arn0wl", above...

      When Pine64 first announced that they were planning to make a smartphone, they wooed the UBPorts community quite heavily : large parts of the UBPorts community strongly desired a 'proper' Linux phone... as promised by Pine64.

      And so... the expectation seemed to be that UT would be matched with the PinePhone - UT was already quite mature as an OS (albeit built atop an Android foundation). But - and actually quite rightly - Pine64 wanted all Linux OSs to be there to contribute to developing a Linux phone. Some while later, they announced that their preferred OS was KDE iirc. :/

      Move along several years, and it seems that other Linux distributions are making better headway with Linux on the phone than Lomiri (UT for Linux) : hence the suggestion I made about UBPorts putting their efforts elsewhere. As you say, Ubuntu Touch is available on a fairly long list of devices, and UBPorts are very honest and up front about how well UT works on all of them.

      I realise that the UBPorts foundation has finite resources, but I would like to see some love for Lomiri. Ideally I'd like to see an image for RISC-V. Well... a person can dream, can't he!

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