Warning /!\ Ubuntu Touch is no longer maintained as a core product by Canonical. However, the Ubports community are continuing development.


What is Ubuntu Touch?

Ubuntu Touch is in general a new Ubuntu distribution with a different UI that is adapted specifically to mobile devices with a touchscreen like phones and tablets.

Modern mobile devices are already very powerful and therefore Linux which exists for nearly all modern hardware architectures and can easily run on these devices. However, an existing user interface was not yet available to run Linux on these devices. Ubuntu Touch will be able to fill this gap.

Who is developing Ubuntu Touch?

Like Ubuntu itself Ubuntu Touch is developed under the hood of Canonical. Canonical is a privately owned company trying to set up a profitable business model where the company earns money with their services set up on top of a complete open source software environment. As in other open source projects a company is able to set several development directions. They provide their own staff for development, design, service, and promotion. But nevertheless the project itself will remain open source with all the benefit and all the further implication.

When will Ubuntu Touch be available?

Like with all other open source projects it is not very easy to give a reliable prediction of time to market. First Devices with preinstalled Ubuntu Touch are expected to be available in October 2014.

Where can I see Ubuntu Touch already?

The first announcement of Ubuntu for phones was recorded on January 2nd, 2013 by Mark Shuttleworth.

There is a preview available here. An easy set of instructions is also given how to set up the Developers Preview on the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, Nexus 7, and Nexus 10.

On which devices does this Developer Preview run?

The initial development at Canonical happened to be on the mobile phones Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4 and the tablets Nexus 7 and Nexus 10

Short after the release of Installation scripts for these four devices, the community had taken over the porting and had started on many other mobile phones and tablets that were shipped originally with Android. A list of these devices which are being ported can be found here.

Can you make it run on my device xyz as well?

In order to understand the answer to this question you should get acquainted to open source development in general. Even though the whole idea of Ubuntu Touch is organized and driven by canonical it remains an open source project and is characterized and limited by the same constraints. The main work is done by volunteers and in case there is nobody yet working on the device that you would like to have ported then good luck. You can only wait (and hope) or start porting yourself. You can also look if you device have already someone "working" on it. List of Devices

How is Ubuntu Touch connected to Android?

Initially the independent open source project CyanogenMod which is based on Android and tries to improve and extend the existing Android Basis has been taken by the developers as a kind of underlaying basis for Ubuntu Touch. The kernel and a few low level drivers for network, video, audio and some other hardware features were taken, all the higher level parts have been taken out. On top of this the whole Ubuntu was started in an chroot environment.

Over time this model was changed in a way that Ubuntu now is the underlying Operating System and the few remaining Android bits are started inside an lxc container during boot. A more detailed techinical description can be found on the ContainerArchitecture page.

Does that mean that only Android Devices are able to run Ubuntu Touch?

No. For the Ubuntu Touch developer preview, Canonical developers have obviously focused on only very few well supported models. In order to enable easy support of all existing closed source drivers the decision has been taken to use lower level parts of Android. This does not mean that only Android devices will be able to run Ubuntu Touch in the future. It might be equally possible to replace the Android low level part and boot directly with the kernel into the Ubuntu environment.

Which applications do run on Ubuntu Touch?

Ubuntu Touch is primarily designed to support web apps, and native apps programmed in qml and javascript or C++. As it is a real Linux, of course all non graphical applications run equally as on any other Linux system. You can ssh to Ubuntu Touch and run any console based application.

X11 is not supported (so far) so all GUI standard applications will not run.

Can I develop programs directly on Ubuntu Touch?

Ubuntu Touch is a real linux, of course you can install a c compiler and all the rest of the essential-build system and can develop on the mobile devices like on any other linux.

How can I access the 3G network on the device?

It should just work, if for some reason it doesn't verify that your mobile broadband provider is part of /usr/share/mobile-broadband-provider-info/serviceproviders.xml

Is dual booting Ubuntu and Android supported?

There are currently no plans by Canonical or Ubuntu to officially support dual booting Ubuntu and Android, but there are two working solutions available:

1. Dual-boot installer made by Canonical's developers - this solution supports only one Android system and one Ubuntu Touch installation at once. It is pretty easy to use, supports Nexus 4 (although other Nexus devices should work). For more information head to its wiki.

2. MultiROM - this modification supports unlimited amount of Android ROMs, Ubuntu Touch installations and other systems installed at once, but it is a bit more complex. You should use it only if you have at least some knowledge about ROMs and other products of XDA forums community - if that is your case however, MultiROM will likely prove to be very useful for you. Links to XDA threads for supported devices: Nexus 7 (2012, grouper), Nexus 7 (2013, flo), Nexus 4 (mako), Nexus 5 (hammerhead).

Further Questions

See also this thread on XDA Developers http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2239338 which contains many more common questions and answers.

Touch/FAQ (last edited 2015-09-03 14:37:16 by 173-110-187-142)