The first smartphones to run Ubuntu software could ship later this year, and they’re expected to sell for between $200 and $400.

Development of the open source operating system for smartphones and tablets has been taking place in public view, and there are tools that let anyone try a pre-release build of Ubuntu on existing phones, tablets, or emulators.

But now the Ubuntu team has announced that they have a stable build of the operating system that’s ready to release to manufacturers. In other words, Ubuntu for smartphones is ready to run on actual smartphones.

ubuntu touch

Ubuntu for smartphones and tablets shares some DNA with the popular Linux operating system for desktop and notebook computers. But it’s been designed from the ground up for touchscreen devices and it features notifications, home screens, and mobile-specific apps.

The RTM image features a number of bug fixes and improvements including support for Facebook chat notifications, MTP server fixes, and a new Ubuntu user interface toolkit, among other things.

There are still some bugs including occasional video freezes… so there may still be some work to do before Ubuntu is really ready to ship on smartphones such as  the Meizu MX3 and bq Aquaris.

You can download and test the RTM release from the Ubuntu-RTM/14.09 channel. You can also try other proposed images which haven’t been approved yet.

via Phoronix

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28 replies on “Ubuntu for smartphones hits RTM (release to manufacturing) stage”

  1. and how does this have any chance in the market whatsoever. I’m all for open source and use ubuntu on PCs myself though.

    1. Exactly! None of that so-called “emacs” devilry. 😉

      I’m interested in Ubuntu on mobile specifically because it is open and based on tech with which I’m already very familiar. I’m fond of my Android phone and Chromebook, but neither are Gnu Linux. And that’s not intended as a compliment. My Ubuntu workstation is where I’m most productive.

      1. Same here. I’m probably encouraing the notion of “only the few Linux enthusiasts” will actually buy an Ubuntu phone but I’m eyeing Ubuntu and Sailfish/Jolla specifically because I want to do Linuxy things with it out of the box (for those “you can do that on Android but you have to …” people).

        I’d like to make my own scripts to automate things. Use cron jobs for time based actions and init scripts for contextual actions. The app available on Android and iOS are just too limited and/or cumbersome (I’d rather just straight right the script than use some awkward GUI based editor).

    2. vi is surprisingly easy to use on the phone, actually. The Terminal app uses swiping gestures for arrow keys so you can move the cursor around with your finger. I’ve actually used it to edit code for installed apps to try out different hacks on the go. You still have to know vi commands though, so there is that.

    1. I’d like to know this too. I want an Ubuntu Phone with an SDXC card slot.

  2. Been waiting for this. I’m getting tired of Android, I already tried iOS and BlackBerry and Windows are out. If I can’t buy a device in the US directly then what smartphones are supported for flashing?

    Also, anyone here tried Sailfish OS? I want to try that one too.

    1. It’s trivial to install Ubuntu on a Nexus 5 using the multiboot app. It seems to mostly work. The biggest issue I see is the lack of real apps. There are a few terrible web apps however.

      1. Sounds like this version of Ubuntu is like early Android, i.e. not intended for tablets and quite unsuitable for desktop use with mouse & keyboard attached. Or is it just the marketing thrust that is aiming squarely at phones?

        1. I guess they have to start somewhere… Programmers will probably get the most use out of the early versions…

          But considering they won’t be blocked at every corner by proprietary and undocumented crap, things might progress rather nicely for Ubunty in both the OS and apps departments.

          1. We’ll see – good luck. I predict exactly the opposite – if the OS expects to be competitive in the current smartphone world, it cannot succeed by being pure open source at all layers. Again, I am completely pro open source, but just a realist.

    2. I’m not even nearly as tired of Android as I am of Google and its shenanigans, like doing everything they can to remove user’s ability to use micro SD cards in order to force them into the cloud and have ALL the data available for their exploitations. But local storage is just more practical than cloud storage which might become unavailable for any number of reasons.

      1. There is still support for micro sd through wireless adapters. There are even wireless hdds.

      2. not sure what you mean by exploitations. Get over yourself – are you a celebrity? Good, then no one cares. However, many android based phones support SD cards just fine. But I know in the past my SD cards have become become “unavailable” (permanently) a couple times. The cloud – not really. It always comes back. I’m not trusting irreplaceable family photos and videos to SD cards anymore, sorry.

  3. The single mobile news event I’ve been waiting months and months for! Cant wait for the actual devices to ship.

    1. Buy ’em fast. These devices will make Amazon Fire phones look like hot sellers. Manufacturers won’t be able to dump them quickly enough.

      Actually, I’d be surprised if any of the major manufacturers even try this out. You’ll probably have to go with one of the smaller Chinese builders like Geekbuying stocks.

      1. That was the plan that was announced a while ago. Canonical says “major” OEMs (ie. Samsung, HTC, Sony, etc.) aren’t likely to release an Ubuntu phone until at least 2015-2016. The first 2 OEMs announced are bq Aquaris and Meizu MX2/MX3.

        Meizu is supposedly going to release their phone this December (likely in limited markets).

        1. Part of the problem is going to be, that neither Telco’s nor fat cat Mobe makers are keen on giving customers the kind of freedom an open source OS bestows.

          The first thing I see coming is a big fear campaign against Ubuntu phones after the first little hack or virus shows up.

          1. Android is an open-source OS. There’s no reason to think Ubuntu wouldn’t be similarly bastardized by the telecoms and manufacturers.

            Ubuntu phones won’t happen because interest is limited to a handful of Linux enthusiasts. They simply won’t sell to major-market or business customers.

          2. That wasn’t the point of Jon’s comment. Canonical stated they’re not even targeting major markets right now. Hence them saying no major OEMs will have Ubuntu Touch. They’re doing something like what Mozilla is doing with Firefox OS.

          3. I don’t live in the US but, here, we mostly buy phones separately from the telco. They don’t have much say in what phone we use. I’d buy a phone from Meizu and Bq.

          4. I think the interface on an ubuntu phone would turn most people off. I’ve personally ran it a few times and while I think I could make it work for me (uncomfortably), I can’t imagine trying to explain to most people how to use that interface.

          5. Telcos and OEMs care about customer’s money, not freedom. If we give them a way to make money without hurting user freedom, which we do, then they won’t need to lock things down or overload you with bloatware.

        2. Exactly. Success isn’t defined by being the major phone OS on the market. Especially for a newcomer.

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