Sunday, 27 September 2015

Ubuntu Q&A 22.09.2015

Hello everyone.
I have decided to start a new miniseries on this blog. This miniseries will be overviewing the regular weekly Q & A's held by the Canonical community team. I don't promise to do this miniseries regularly because of my own time constrictions. I also will not write about every question that was asked, I will only write about questions and answers which I consider interesting. And I will only indirectly report what was asked and how it was answered. You can find those details in the video of the sessions themselves. I will however put a link to the videos(if I forgot the link, please tell me so in the comments). So let's start with the first question.

Note:If you have any questions yourself, after reading this, please don't ask me, instead join the Q&A sessions which happen every Tuesday on 15:00(UTC) on

13:17 What is the release date for OnePlus2 with Ubuntu?
It is a community project, There is an announcement on the OnePlus forum. It is great to see such ports.

14:40 When developing for Ubuntu phone, can I test it on my desktop always?If I test my phone app on the desktop assuming that the phone app does not use any desktop specific hardware, and it does not work because the compenents are not in willy or are in older versions then are in older versions, instead of buckling the SDK because it should work, because testing on the desktop is not a target and if it works it is just lucky.
Their approach is to make the emulator a great tool, however you can always test it on the desktop. With convergence and unity8 on desktop this will become even better. The SDK guys are thinking about more advanced virtualization. The problem is that the desktop and target frameworks are not matching up. With convergence it should help. It remains an issue. Sensors however will just not be supported if you don't have the hardware. The API is there but there is no device to talk to.

16:35 Are there any updates on the convergent BQ phone?
Nothing official he can say yet, they do want to have it next year.

17:40 We have heard a lot about upcoming messaging frameworks and syncing frameworks, can you tell us what is to be expected, and when will they become available for developers?
That is a long term effort over the next year, they are building it on top of empathy and other existing building blocks. They are adding api's on that.

19:40 What is your daily driver phone?
The Meizu MX4, he prefers the nexus 4 though. He has also tried the BQ.

20:26 In the demos you see a small representation of the big screen on the small screen. Will that change by giving us a keyboard on the phone?
The question is what you do with the phones screen. It would be nice to have such a keyboard, there will be some kind of keyboard application.

21:31 Is there any possible hint of standard applications like whatsapp on Ubuntu?
It is a chicken and egg problem. Once they will be able to work with larger providers they will come. Textsecure is getting ready to launch on Ubuntu.

23:00 Is there any plans for in app payments?
They are working on it at this moment. They are using an interesting API that is almost ready to be released. It is a question of back-ends as well. QT has opensourced its purchasing stuff.

25:00 What is the biggest surprise and dissapointment in the years of phone development?
He is surprised at how fast it was until they made their first working prototypes. It was dissapointing how they did not release more mobile or tablet products last year.

28:40 There was something called Ubuntu brainstorm, but it was discontinued, anything as an alternative?
The best thing would probably be the mailing list. Ubuntu brainstomr was too much to maintain. Or the IRC would be good as well.

31:10 Are there any plans to upgrade the Android base?
There are. The devices will also have to switch. The only bits of Android they still use is the kernel version and device drivers.

33:10 Will you be able to use the phones in big picture mode?
They don't know yet. It will depend on what people will want.

34:00 How long is Ubuntu supported on Phones and how often is it updated,phone makers usually have bad software support?
The intention is to be supported for several years, certainly much better than Android, they are updating every 6 weeks for every device. Probably not as long as 5 years though.

35:26 What is your idea of a pure Ubuntu phone,without the Android bits?
The barrier is that the vendors have to implemnent drivers for native Linux. The vendors do not want to implement twice.

39:00 Any idea on the number of people purchasing the phones and how many developers are there?
There was almost a thousand developers only on the store. There are more outside the store. The number of users is somewhere in thethousands or more.

40:28 Will the convergence phone be able to run Inkscape?
Yes it will but probably not in the first generation.
Those applications will not have to be reworked, just properly installed and packaged.

41:37 What is the minimum limit for paid applications in the store, why is it not 99 cents?
The limit is 1.99. The limit is there because it is reasonable for processing ad making sure that everyone gets some money.

42:47 Is now the right time to crowdfound a Ubuntu tablet?
It is pretty soon, but they would like to see one. You may want to wait until they first get one commercial partner.

43:40 What are the plants to solve the chicken and egg problem?
To get a bigger market share and work with bigger partners. The approach so far was to purposefully target enthusiasts. It will happen with time.

45:25 I am using Ubuntu since march, will we be able to change the background on a phone?
Initially they wanted it but now they disabled it for UI consitency. Scopes might be able to help in here.

46:32 Androidhow, Why did they move from cyanogenmod to AOSP?(I am not sure I have heard that question correctly)
It probably had to do with the devices that they wanted to support back then. All the images come from AOSP now.

47:35 when using a TV as a display, will it always switch to desktop mode or can you choose the phone UI on the TV screen?
Right now not, but if the use case will be popular enough, why not.

48:20 was there work on running Android applications on Ubuntu?
It is pretty difficult to do well. They have a very different UI and lifecycle model. They do not want peopl to write Applications on Android and then making them run on Ubuntu trough a bad compatibility layer as a second rate platform. They wnat Ubuntu to be a primary platform with good native applications.
Also,see here:

54:07 Microsoft is working on convergence as well, any hope of being able to port ubuntu on their phones as well so the hardware convergence is already built in?
They are currently relying on hardware dupport from the Android implementations, so they don't know how that would work. It would be a lot of work. On WP boot loaders are locked.

55:00 Are we going to win the convergence race?
They have been talking about it for a long time and they are ready to realise it. Because of the design patterns it will hopefully work well.

56:00 Will the scopes be rotateable and will the nexus 5 be officially supported?
Scopes will be improved a lot soon. There is no plan to officially support the nexus 5. Now they have their own device partners.

57:21 Any new applications in the works that other phones can not do, other than scopes?Any killer app?
They don't think so. Good convergence is the killer app they are working on right now.

57:50 How is the intense work on the software side going with the efficient use of the hardware, battery drain is the point where other phones struggle right now?
They had battery issues in the past but now on the BQ phones they have better battery life now than the Android BQ phones have.

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