Ubuntu Touch is the privacy and freedom respecting mobile operating system by UBports. Today we are happy to announce the release of Ubuntu Touch OTA-9! OTA-9 is appearing as a staged rollout for all supported Ubuntu Touch devices over the next five days, completing on Sunday, May 12. You can skip to How to get OTA-9 to get it right away if you're impatient, or read on to learn more about this release.
Like OTA-8, OTA-9 is mainly a stability improvement release. We are continuing our progress towards incorporation of upstream technologies into Ubuntu Touch, such as Canonical's Mir 1.x and Jolla's qtcontacts-sqlite. This work will multiply our effectiveness, allowing us to focus less on fundamentals and more on innovation. That doesn't mean you won't be seeing some needed changes, though!
You can find a full changelog for this release in the changelog section below.
A refreshed look
Michele Castellazzi merged the work that was done by the Ubuntu Artwork Team between the last release of Ubuntu for Devices and the project being dropped by Canonical. This offers us a trove of new and updated symbols and folder icons, giving a better feeling of cohesion throughout the system.
Nexus 5 camera fixes
Rúben Carneiro has fixed one of the most complained-about issues affecting the Nexus 5: the viewfinder freezing after taking a picture. The ability to record video was also fixed by the same commit, but switching between still image and video modes is a bit unreliable and may require switching away from the camera app.
Quiet improvements: the QQC2 Suru Style
The QQC2 Suru Style is an important project that doesn't get very much publicity. It is a Qt Quick Controls 2 style that follows the Ubuntu Touch design guidelines. This allows developers to use the freely available controls in their QML applications and easily port between different Qt platforms with automatic style changes to suit each.
This release includes fixes for the style, including using the system scaling settings, better detection of the system dark theme, and a new "Busy" indicator. A non-exhaustive comparison of some of the available QQC2 styles can be found in this image gallery.
We'd like to thank everyone who has helped make this release of Ubuntu Touch better than the last. An important thing to note is how little direct contribution was made by the core team this cycle. It is amazing to watch the community continue to strengthen and grow. We are truly putting the 'Community' in 'Community Maintained'.
The core team has been working on transitioning Ubuntu Touch to Mir 1.x and the latest upstream release of Unity8, causing the relative absence. The transition should be stable enough to push for OTA-10, but software development is unpredictable and we aren't able to make a guarantee.
How can I help with the creation of Ubuntu Touch?
Ubuntu Touch is a community project driven mainly by volunteers. You and all others in the community will benefit from your contribution. Everyone is able to do something to help! If you're not sure where to start, here are a few examples:
We mark issues which probably have simple fixes with a
good first issue tag. We also try to add hints which will help you fix the issue. These reports are kept waiting for a contributor so newcomers have a great place to learn the ropes. You may search on GitHub for issues with this tag using this search query.
If you're interested in developing Ubuntu Touch apps, both the Notes and Music applications do not have an official maintainer. These apps are a great place to start If you're new to QML. You can test and submit improvements very easily with the help of Clickable. To get help and support when getting started with Ubuntu Touch development, you can join our Matrix room
#ut_bootcamp:matrix.org. Developers gather there specifically to help newcomers get started with our development workflows. It is a friendly space, with the motto "There is no such thing as a stupid question!"
Great posts like this don't come out of nowhere. It takes many hours to write, edit and publish the excellent content our community has come to expect. The Writers' Team is responsible for this process. If you're interested in writing user tutorials, op-eds, or other long-form content, you can join us at
#ubports_writers:matrix.org on Matrix.
Design and Graphics
Our designers and graphic artists are responsible for the images in this post. Particular kudos for the 9-fold owl origami banner created by Joan (AKA Cibersheep). Every aspect of the Ubuntu Touch user experience is evaluated and coordinated by the Design and Graphics team. They coordinate at @UBports_UX on Telegram.
How to get OTA-9
What you should know first
There are a few issues which we expect many users to run into.
- On larger screens (such as the BQ M10 and Nexus 7), the browser will close after opening a selection box while in landscape mode.
- Workaround: Either move the browser to a side stage (press with three fingers and drag to the right) or hold the device in portrait mode.
- When switching between text boxes in the browser, the input type of the keyboard is not updated (for example, when going from a numbers-only text field to a URL field).
- Workaround: Dismiss the keyboard before changing text fields. This can be done by swiping the keyboard downward or tapping on the page in an area that is not a text field.
- In the browser, selection boxes open in a new window. This will continue until a newer version of Mir is used, which will allow for drawing tooltips within the surface that created them.
- On the Nexus 5, hardware video playback is not functional. Playing video using the web browser or another software-based decoder works properly. Unfortunately this means you cannot directly watch the videos you record using the camera.
Existing Ubuntu Touch users
Existing users of Ubuntu Touch in the
stable channel (which is selected by default in the UBports Installer) will receive the OTA-9 upgrade through the Updates screen of System Settings. Devices will randomly receive the update starting today through May 12. This spread is to give us time to interrupt a bad update in the future (should that ever become necessary), not to accommodate any bandwidth restrictions.
If you would like to receive the update immediately, turn on ADB access and issue the following command over
sudo system-image-cli -v -p 0 --progress dots
Your device should then download the update and install it. This process may take a while, depending on your download speed. Remember to turn developer mode off again once you've finished!
New Ubuntu Touch users
You will find instructions for installing Ubuntu Touch on your device at devices.ubuntu-touch.io.
"I found an issue!"
Have you found a bug? We want to know!
You can follow our Bug Reporting document to learn how to present the information we'll need to confirm and fix your issue. Every bit helps. The best way to improve Ubuntu Touch is to use it and then tell us about the experience.
You should always check to see whether your bug has already been reported on ubports/ubuntu-touch on Github. Browsing open bugs is worth doing, even if you have nothing to report. This ensures that you can watch for any of the open issues and help fix them by providing more information.
As mentioned in the "Thank you" section, we are working hard to bring Mir 1.1 and the latest version of Unity8 to OTA-10. However, we are painfully aware of the dangers of merging things early and breaking the release cycle. We learned our lesson from the long release lull between OTA-3 and OTA-4.
Until Mir 1.1 is merged into the
devel channel, you can check it out by following the instructions in Living on the edge on our forum.
The planned, in progress, and completed work for OTA-10 can be tracked using the OTA-10 project on GitHub. This is always the most up-to-date reference on the release's status.
Organizationally, we're newly buried in paperwork that lets us go from "approved Stiftung" to "acting Stiftung". We will continue to update you on this as news becomes available. You can learn more about the UBports Foundation's approval in It's official: the UBports Foundation is Ready for Launch.
As always, you can watch right here on the UBports blog for the most important information about the next releases of Ubuntu Touch. You can also find us on our forum, @ubports on Telegram, or
#ubports:matrix.org on Matrix if you want to chat with us.
A full changelog for this release follows. This does not include fixes and improvements gained from upstream Ubuntu, only the changes made by Ubuntu Touch contributors during this cycle.
- Change "edge-barrier-sensitivity" gsettings type to "u" from "y", allowing QML to set the value correctly: ubports/unity8#83
- Show up to two lines of the last message in an SMS/MMS thread, fixes ubports/messaging-app#46: ubports/messaging-app#78
- Fix margins of the "To:" field, fixes ubports/messaging-app#47: ubports/messaging-app#79
- Respect the system's grid unit: ubports/qqc2-suru-style#14
- Detect dark theme setting: ubports/qqc2-suru-style#13
- Always rebuild the messaging-app translation template file, fixes ubports/messaging-app#52: ubports/messaging-app#81
- Simplified transitions for StackView: ubports/qqc2-suru-style#16
- Added scalable busy indicator: ubports/qqc2-suru-style#17
[Alessandro Vinciguerra] (First-time contributor!)
- Automatically advance setup wizard on WiFi connection, fixes ubports/ubuntu-touch#845: ubports/unity8#92
- Add "Paste and Go" to the context menu when pressing and holding on the unselected address bar: ubports/morph-browser#153
- Pass the current view when showing a popup, use system icons for page menu, and use proper colors for "save as HTML/PDF" dialog, fixes ubports/morph-browser#156, ubports/morph-browser#158, and ubports/morph-browser#167: ubports/morph-browser#173
- Use theme colors for error pages, fixes ubports/morph-browser#164: ubports/morph-browser#174
- Extend apparmor support for Treble-like '/odm' partitions: ubports/apparmor-easyprof-ubuntu#4
[sy-per] (Another first-time contributor!)
- Add "Search with lilo" to browser: ubports/morph-browser#168
- Remove "Add account" button from messaging app, fixes ubports/messaging-app#51: ubports/messaging-app#80
- Fix some QML warnings and binding loops in messaging app: ubports/messaging-app#86
- Fix the character/message counter: ubports/messaging-app#88
- Use the system icon for sending messages: ubports/messaging-app#91
- Remove htop from the image: ubports/ubuntu-touch-meta#40
- Hide the desktop entry for sync-monitor: ubports/sync-monitor#10
- Provide translated strings for apps using the ui-extras photo editor: ubports/ubuntu-ui-extras#28
- Add exposure editing for apps using the ui-extras photo editor (like the gallery): ubports/ubuntu-ui-extras#29 (further refinement in ubports/ubuntu-ui-extras#33)
- Save an image using the same compression it used before, fixes ubports/ubuntu-ui-extras#31: ubports/ubuntu-ui-extras#31
- Fix libertine tests: ubports/libertine#35
- Set iconSource in list item action icons, fixes ubports/ubuntu-ui-toolkit#34: ubports/ubuntu-ui-toolkit#36
- Fix camera freeze and video recording on the Nexus 5, ubports/ubuntu-touch#23 AND ubports/ubuntu-touch#611: ubports/android_device_lge_hammerhead#18
[Michele Castellazzi & Johannes Renkl]
- Expose more Suru colors ubports/qqc2-suru-style#24
- Merge in the last Suru icons that were created or updated before the project was dropped by Canonical: ubports/ubuntu-themes#4