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I Wanted to Try Ubuntu Touch
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Old 02/26/2013, 01:15 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Preamble (or PreRamble more accurately)


I saw the previews... Looks intriguing. I like the idea that eventually the code, Apps, UI will all be seamless across phone/tablet/computer/TV.

It's not webOS, but it looks good and Canonical gets a lot of community support. They have traction and are using it to go places.

I'm a dabbler. I've tried a few iterations of Android on phone and tablet. I've tried a few iterations of Linux for desktop. I tried an iPhone. I've tried Symbian series 60. I made the leap to Windows 8 on desktop despite all the lackluster reviews. I've got a Roku set-top box. I currently use a Pre 2 or Veer and a TouchPad daily as my main devices. All this in the past year... There's lots of other tech stuff I have/would/will try. Depends on how inviting it looks to me balanced against time and money...

So this Ubuntu Touch thing has my interest piqued. This will be a sort of BLOG thread on how that's going. I'm sure others will chime in if they want. The more the merrier. I feel like there is enough interest about Ubuntu Touch within this community for this kind of a thread. It probably will be way less technical and way more personal. Maybe I'll learn something... there is even a slim chance a reader might learn something. Don't count on it.

Like I said, it will be very BLOGish.
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Old 02/26/2013, 01:44 PM   #2 (permalink)
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A Little Late, But Still Early


So on 02-20-2013, the day before the release of Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview, I finally decided I wanted in and I wanted in now....

I decided I'd go with the Galaxy Nexus out of the range of 4 devices marked for initial ports. Why the GNex? I still have hopes that webOS Ports will get some Open Source webOS goodness ready for that device and it seems silly not to hedge my bets.

The Nexus 7 tablet and the Nexus 4 phone both look pretty damn attractive on Google Play. Good prices for what you get hardware-wise. But I really don't want them for Android's sake. The Nexus 7 might get an Open webOS port, but to me an updated phone is more important than an updated tablet and I'm very, very happy with TouchPad running LunaCE over the 3.0.5 legacy webOS.

So the GNex lets me try Ubuntu Touch, holds out the hope of Open Source webOS and offers the unskinned Android experience. The hardware is not bleeding edge, but it makes webOS legacy phone hardware sigh with wistful longing and murmur, "There, but for the Apothcolypse, go I..."

I bravely strapped on my search bar and tackled Amazon, eBay and Craig's List. I spotted quarry and tracked it down. Craig's list showed me a couple of things, but alas they were no longer available. Very nice of my neighbors to leave their listings up after the devices have sold. Promotes good conversation with those near to you, that does.

Me: "Is the GNex still for sale?"
Them: "Heck naw!!! Why you bothering me, boy?"
Me: "Um... Thanks?"

Amazon truly is a jungle. I hacked and slashed my way through over priced thickets. Restless native resellers jumped out at me screaming their battle cries of top dollar amounts for used refurbs. They threw screen protectors and bumper cases at me as bait to try and lure me into their tiger pits. Thankfully, I navigated my way clear once more without seriously injuring my wallet.

Wary now, I sidled into the taverns that have sprung up around the eBay. Some shady characters hang out there to be sure. Gripping my search bar more firmly I used it bludgeon out some criteria and narrow things down. And there, over in a corner, nursing a Labatt Blue, was a mild mannered soft spoken sort of gent. He rounded out his O's in an odd way. A very clean and polite sort. I asked around about him and the references looked good. He had lots of pics for what he was offering. A very professional display. I made him a Best Offer and, low and behold, it was accepted within minutes.

The GNex would be mine!!!!!

Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview released on 02-212013. The full consumer release isn't planned to hit until Q4 of 2013. Plenty of time for me try it out and see what the real deal is going to be.

Very soon I'll be able to wave my phone in front of people's faces and show them that I, humble dabbler that I am, have Ubuntu on my phone!!!

I'm sure it will generate many a blank eyed stare and careful backings away from the wild-eyed ***** trying to interest them in something different from a fruit phone or a dessert flavored tablet....
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Old 02/26/2013, 01:47 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Ubuntu Touch is very promising however I'd recommend staying away from the currently available developer build for anything other than curiosity. Loaded the image on my Nexus 7 for an evening and it's very boggy, things only half-work, lots of fake icons that don't do anything (or don't seem to do anything).

Of course, that's what a developer preview suggests but as it is now - not very impressive. Would love to see it run smoothly and with full functionality though. The day I can simply dock my phone to a monitor w/ keyboard and mouse to use it as my daily driver computer is going to be a good day. Especially if by Q4 this year we can be looking at 4-8 GB of RAM and quad-core devices - very promising indeed.
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Old 02/26/2013, 01:57 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Cv09 View Post
Ubuntu Touch is very promising however I'd recommend staying away from the currently available developer build for anything other than curiosity. Loaded the image on my Nexus 7 for an evening and it's very boggy, things only half-work, lots of fake icons that don't do anything (or don't seem to do anything).

Of course, that's what a developer preview suggests but as it is now - not very impressive. Would love to see it run smoothly and with full functionality though. The day I can simply dock my phone to a monitor w/ keyboard and mouse to use it as my daily driver computer is going to be a good day. Especially if by Q4 this year we can be looking at 4-8 GB of RAM and quad-core devices - very promising indeed.
I'm expecting experimentation, not functionality. I'm in no way deluded into thinking this is a daily driver ATM.

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Old 02/26/2013, 02:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Developers are having "fun" times just getting the SDK installed on their PCs as per: forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?p=38479367 Something I'd expect to get worked out eventually, but not a good start when you're trying to attract developers to your platform to write apps and they're having issues before they can even start.
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Old 02/26/2013, 05:04 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Out of The Great White North*


So the day before the Developer Preview hit, I payed an eBayer for a gently used GNex. It was a Best Offer kind of thing... I gave him a price and said no shipping money. I'm not the fool I might usually appear to be. I know what that means... Wait for your package to arrive... and wait.. and wait some more...

The seller is in Regina (if you don't know, it rhymes with a certain lady part and the Cannucks take great pleasure in making sure others know this) which lies in the south of Saskatchewan. Regina is near Saskatoon as if that clears anything up!

On 02-21-2013 (the day Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview... previewed) the seller crawled out of his igloo and whistled for a Canada Post parcel pickup. Sure enough those sled dogs came a runnin'. Those brave doggies mushed and mushed. I'm sure they had a few cabins to stop at.. Fueled only by maple syrup, the intrepid dogs of the Canadian Royal Arctic Post (C.R.A.P.) pulled that sled all across the north country only stopping a few times a day to mark some trees.

I'm sure there was probably a time out for some curling as well when they went past the frozen north shores of Lake Superior. A broom and some ice, what more could a north-lander want???

Eventually, by 02-24-2013 the sled ran out of snow in Mississagua, a suburb of western Toronto. Now as we all know, Toronto is the Capital of Canada; so it only makes sense the sled dogs would haul my parcel all that way east rather than straight south to the US border where it could have entered into North Dakota and straight south from there to Springfield Missouri... Those dogs had to check in at the Capitol and watch the Maple Leafs play as the hockey strike is over and the short season is well underway.

Now some beavers took charge of my parcel. The Canadian Royal Arctic Postal beaver is a fine worker. They chewed down some trees and built a raft PDQ. Loading the birch tree raft up with parcels, a team of Postal beavers climbed on board and propelled the raft across Lake Ontario. They departed 02-25-2013 and swished their tails in the frigid waters of Ontario quite tirelessly. They made the trip in one day and a night!!! Bless you, industrious beavers!!!!!

Today, 02-26-2013, I am happy to see that according to Canada Post tracking my parcel has entered a foreign country... A foreign country... a foreign country???

Which foreign country? I hope it's the right foreign country.

Yo Canadians!!! Are we that foreign to you that you can't even spell out our initials?

I'm sure it's quite clear from this post that you aren't that foreign to us. I mean, it looks like I have a great understanding of Canadian culture, right? Right???








* My apologies to the Canadians, I like you and all, but I'm American so am obligated by national law to make jokes at your expense.
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Old 02/28/2013, 01:20 PM   #7 (permalink)
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It's Here


It just fell into my hands.

I'll run it as a bare bones GNex for a couple of days, just to try it out. Meanwhile I'll be getting my Ubuntu ducks in a row...
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Old 02/28/2013, 04:33 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Regina is as close to Saskatoon, as Calgary is to Edmonton.....about three hours driving.

Not many Canadians point out the rhyming scheme you mentioned.... its actually an armpit of a city....similar to Edmonton in that respect....(no offence, but you can't argue with the facts!)

While Toronto is the capital of Ontario........as WE all know, Ottawa is the capital of Canada....but feel free to believe whatever you want.

The only thing Canada Post seems to deliver on time is my bills....so I'm not really a fan.


While I understand this was all tongue-in-cheek, I've met my fair share of Americans that actually believe these "stories"

(Slow day at work, I couldn't help but bite )
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Old 03/01/2013, 11:47 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Regina is as close to Saskatoon, as Calgary is to Edmonton.....about three hours driving.

Not many Canadians point out the rhyming scheme you mentioned.... its actually an armpit of a city....similar to Edmonton in that respect....(no offence, but you can't argue with the facts!)

While Toronto is the capital of Ontario........as WE all know, Ottawa is the capital of Canada....but feel free to believe whatever you want.

The only thing Canada Post seems to deliver on time is my bills....so I'm not really a fan.


While I understand this was all tongue-in-cheek, I've met my fair share of Americans that actually believe these "stories"

(Slow day at work, I couldn't help but bite )
You were my target audience.
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Old 03/03/2013, 02:45 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Patiently Stalking


There have been driver issues with Windows 8 [Solved].

On the Ubuntu side I get some stuff done, but lack the final stage... Keep getting a blank when querying adb devices so the flash command won't take.

Might be time to ditch the Virtual Box and move over to dual boot. Straight Ubuntu might succeed better.
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Old 03/06/2013, 05:08 PM   #11 (permalink)
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It's Right In Front of You

So firstly, I had issues getting Windows 8 to see the Gnex. Nothing new there, really. Windows 8 does present some challenges. LOL

Part of the problem was the USB cable. I have a USB -> micro B cable from a Kodak camera I leave attached to my computer. I use it for everything and have done for a long time now. I just think of it as "The Cable" and plug everything into it that fits. Well it don't work for Gnex and I didn't get an OEM cable with the used phone. TouchPad to the rescue!!! The USB -> micro B cable from my TouchPad did the trick. Might have to do with cable gauge and associated impedance values?

Next up, after getting the computer to see there is a device is Drivers. Read around a bit. You have to disable device driver signing check. And you need the Nexus Root Toolkit by WugFresh. Plus, run the Samsung Drivers in compatibility mode for Windows 7...

So I had all that done days ago, but could not get VirtualBox Ubuntu to see the device. I went back to Google and looked around a lot more. I tried the mount_gnex script by nyteryder79. I installed that and fiddled around with no luck. Then today it came to me via more Google foot work. The USB icon at the bottom of the Virtual Machine window!!!! You gotta turn that on. Oooops. (I told you I'm a dabbler - my LinuxFu is weak and my VirtualBoxing is amateur at best.)

So now when I open terminal I can indeed see my Gnex when I query adb devices. YAY!!!

Ran the initial install and the phone flashed Ubuntu Touch and rebooted into it.

I played with it just a bit, tested the four edges and cycled through some stuff. Tested that Voice calls and WiFi connections do indeed work (they do work!!!)...

Now I'm updating to phablet-flash -l for the latest build as of 03-06-2013 @ 23:00 GMT...

At the very least I get to play with the OS and see what I think. As anyone following it knows, there is still a long way to go and only some functionality so far...

Next stop some quality time testing the OS and maybe running it daily for a couple days. Then some reviews??? If anyone is interested in how it handles, that is...
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Old 03/06/2013, 08:48 PM   #12 (permalink)
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Of course I'm interested!!! Keep the blogging on.

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Old 03/07/2013, 01:43 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Core PIM services: Contacts (grouping, which fields are missing/more compared to webOS/google) , Calendar (agenda), Tasks (sync?), Memos(sync?)

PIM Accounts (google, EAS, Facebook...?)
How is "synergy" merging of different sources.
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Old 03/07/2013, 11:40 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Of course I'm interested!!! Keep the blogging on.

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OK, I can tell from your sig that you are a candidate for future transplant once things get smoothed out.


Quote:
Originally Posted by gizmo21 View Post
Core PIM services: Contacts (grouping, which fields are missing/more compared to webOS/google) , Calendar (agenda), Tasks (sync?), Memos(sync?)

PIM Accounts (google, EAS, Facebook...?)
How is "synergy" merging of different sources.
Ain't happening yet. There is no Accounts App, no cellular data and even a lot of the core Apps are dummies made up just to fill things out.

It's mostly about testing the UI at this point and generating interest within mobile communities.


There's good and bad to report there and I'll come back to it in a couple days as I experiment more and poke at it.

Early synopsis: Love swiping from each edge of the bezel to accomplish different interactions. (Which in itself offers hope for porting Open webOS and retaining swipes we've come to know and love.) Hate the lack of general settings and settings within Apps - something they better fix.

More soon as I play with Ubuntu Touch and get my impressions and thoughts in order...
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Old 03/07/2013, 12:18 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Hi RumoredNow, nice posts! I have ported Ubuntu for phones to my Gnex as soon as the early dev port came available, because i was very very impressed with what i had seen and read about it before.
I loved the swiping and the different layout of Ubuntu to the big 2, actually i even had a similar feeling when seeing webOS showed for the first time. Something fresh and new!

The use of the first port of Ubuntu was so not-useful that i switched back to Android on the Gnex (it is my 2nd phone, but still..). Have you noticed any improvements in the later builds already?

Keep your impressions and any news coming, it is a nice read!
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Old 03/07/2013, 04:28 PM   #16 (permalink)
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good stuff, i wish i could play around w/ it too...just last month upgraded ubuntu desktop to this new flavor, kinda hard to get use too in locating things, feels like im using a mac again after being away for a long time
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Old 03/08/2013, 05:54 AM   #17 (permalink)
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For everyone who wnats to take a look, it's now possible to install it on our HP Touchpad!:

HP Touchpad running Ubuntu Touch - xda-developers

It runs fine here although there are obviously bugs.
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Old 03/09/2013, 08:40 AM   #18 (permalink)
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From the developer (jshafer817) himself in that thread:
Quote:
Ubuntu still has a long way to go to produce something usable.. It's more just to say we did... And to check it out. That is about it. I think it's going to be a nice product.
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Old 03/10/2013, 01:37 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by RumoredNow View Post

Me: "Is the GNex still for sale?"
Them: "Heck naw!!! Why you
bothering me, boy?"
Me: "Um... Thanks?"
Next time you run into this, ask them if they want to buy a Snappin Turtle.
Craigs List Prank Call...Snappin Turtle - YouTube
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Old 03/10/2013, 12:05 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Hi RumoredNow, nice posts! I have ported Ubuntu for phones to my Gnex as soon as the early dev port came available, because i was very very impressed with what i had seen and read about it before.
I loved the swiping and the different layout of Ubuntu to the big 2, actually i even had a similar feeling when seeing webOS showed for the first time. Something fresh and new!

The use of the first port of Ubuntu was so not-useful that i switched back to Android on the Gnex (it is my 2nd phone, but still..). Have you noticed any improvements in the later builds already?

Keep your impressions and any news coming, it is a nice read!
LOL if it is your 2nd phone, why not try some dailies?

Honestly, I only kept the first install for a very short while. I didn't notice any difference, but I also didn't use the first release version that long. On my next days off I'll probably update again. And so on for a few cycles to see what changes if it is noticeable.


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good stuff, i wish i could play around w/ it too...just last month upgraded ubuntu desktop to this new flavor, kinda hard to get use too in locating things, feels like im using a mac again after being away for a long time
I fire up Ubuntu in VirtualBox from time to time, but it is mostly goal oriented. Getting some task done. I might consider spending more time there and setting up dual boot soon. I need the practice on Linux desktop. I'm pretty rusty.
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