Back in the UBports play garden

Trying Ubuntu Touch again on a smart phone

Written by ajz January 2, 2019

I have been wanting to play with Ubuntu again on a smart phone. The design is beautiful, but the amount of interesting apps was not great last time I tried. However, UBports is an active community based project, and I am interested in non Android phones with open source software. So I gave it a go again on a OnePlus One phone. Once again I had some troubles with the install just like last time but after flashing TWRP again, and wiping a few things like cache, and trying again, the install worked fine. I had noticed that UBports app store has uAdBlock which is a system wide ad-blocker. Very cool ! Installed uAdBlock and enabled it. Nice.

Installed Mastodon client uMastonauts and tried it, works good!

Installed Fluffychat for Matrix and another Matrix client called uMatriks. Fluffychat seems to want Ubuntu one account for push notifications, and I need to look up my Matrix login so I'll test that later. Looks nice though.

Copied some mp4 music from my computer onto the phone Music folder. Had some trouble finding an app which can play it but the Media player can. Simplistic and sparse app but it plays the music fine!

The PeerTube app gave a blank screen with at the bottom a button of which I didn't know how to proceed. After some searching it looks like the developer stopped updating their four apps since April 2018, so it probably simple incompatible with newer PeerTube API or servers. Pity.

Nextcloud app worked fine. Great to have it, even though it has no auto-upload option.

The podcast app Podbird looks nice and works fine.

Most of those apps are small downloads. I'm surprised. For example the Wallpapers app in the app store is only a 17 Kb download. The Vulgry video download app is also far less than 1 Mb.

After much fiddling I managed to install Firefox (64.x !) and Epiphany browser via the Libertine container option, but then it becomes clear that these desktop apps are unusable on a phone. I guess it will be fine when the UBports phone can be connected to a bigger screen, which should be possible.

All in all I'm pleased about the progress compared to the testing some months ago. Looking forward to new developments for Ubuntu Touch.

Pros : Beautiful design. UBports does real multi-tasking. When an app is in the background, for example an installation of software will continue and not be frozen.

Cons : Making screenshots means pressing Volume Up and Volume Down at the same time, which is cumbersome. The auto adjusting for display brightness is way too dark to be usable at night. Only when I put a very bright light on in the room, it is usable. There's still not many interesting apps in my opinion (And there's no stable email app yet, only experimental new version), and some apps don't have active development, but I am sure the future is bright.

https://ubports.com

This article is under the CC-BY-SA license.

ajz

Linux sysadmin for work and hobby. https://mastodon.host/@Ajz

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