The developers of the Ubuntu Linux operating system for desktop, notebook, and server computers are working on a touch-friendly version for smartphones and tablets, with the first Ubuntu phones expected to go on sale this year.

While Ubuntu for phones and tablets shares a lot of code with the version you would run on a laptop, apps designed for Ubuntu phones typically run in full-screen mode, much like Android or iOS apps.

But developer Michael Zanetti has written a blog post explaining how to run apps in resizeable windows that can be re-positioned.

ubuntu touch windowed_02

You can find instructions for installing Ubuntu on phones and tablets at the Ubuntu Wiki. There’s currently official support for the Google Nexus 4, the Nexus 7 2013 WiFi, and the Nexus 10, but there’s also unofficial support for a large number of other devices.

In order to try windowed mode, you’ll need to install a devel-proposed channel build of the newest version of Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Vervet with the Unity8 desktop. Then you’ll need to follow Zenetti’s instructions for enabling support for windowed usage mode.

Once that’s done you’ll be able to drag windows around, shrink, maximize, or minimize apps, and generally treat mobile apps as if they were desktop apps… for the most part.

Zanetti says this works better on tablets than phones, since the panels for windows is hidden by the panel. He suggests starting the gallery app as a workaround.

ubuntu touch windowed

Windowed mode is still a work in progress and it may be disabled for devices with phone-sized screens in the future.

via Softpedia

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16 replies on “Ubuntu Touch apps can run in windowed mode”

  1. Ugg close and minimize buttons on the left? Blegh, hopefully that’s adjustable, every other OS on the planet has them on the right, and for good reason – get a clue ubuntu.

    1. Because everything you read, you read it from right to left. It comes naturally to you. All the obvious choices should be on the right. Where your focus of attention already is. This is also why the file menu, which comes first because it’s the most used, is also all the way to the right of the window. Always.

      1. Lol, no silly, most (western) people read left-to-right. Which is why the natural termination point is on the right, it’s the horizontal “end”. With exception to maximizing, minimizing and closing (x) are forms of termination. That is why Ubuntu’s defaults are wrong, and literally every other platform is right. **The more you know

        1. “literally every other platform is right”
          Apparently you’ve never used a Mac.

          It actually makes a lot of sense to have the window controls on the left. Menu controls are on the left, so it makes good design sense to keep the window controls on the left to reduce unnecessary mouse movement. It seems unintuitive to you because you’re used to the window controls being on the right. Once you get to used to window controls being on the left, you realize how much sense it makes.
          It really boils down to personal preference. If you like the window controls on the right (like Microsoft Windows), then fine. But Ubuntu’s designers aren’t “wrong” for putting them on the left (like Mac OS X).

    2. Yes it can be done, the buttons can be adjusted to the right on Ubuntu classic for desktop tweaking the config, it’s more a matter of tradition and historical values but I believe it can be adjusted too on any Ubuntu flavor if the user (for some silly reason) wants to change it probably.

      1. If it adjustable then kudos. I know in 14 they basically hardcoded it and you couldnt change it.

        Its just strange that it seems like they want to expand their user base, but are willing to frustrate new users over such a strange and minimal design decision, all in the name of “tradition” (only Ubuntu, and only in Unity).

    3. >every other OS on the planet

      MacOS is not an OS ?

      And like Humans said below, it is not an OS setting, but a “skin” setting: it can be changed in ubuntu.

  2. I’m waiting for some great hardware ubuntu!

    I really think they need an Android and/or iOS runtime, but we will see.

    1. Yeah.. Apple would never allow iOS running on an OS better than their own.

      1. I wonder if they could really stop someone from making an iOS runtime especially since iOS is built on BSD.

        1. If it were that easy, if you could just whip up a runtime for iOS and have it work even remotely well, it would have happened already.

          1. Didn’t say it was easy.

            A small startup had developed an iOS runtime that worked on BlackBerry 10 devices, but they shut it down for some reason…it was hinted that “someone” was very unhappy with them producing an iOS runtime = Apple.

            So, I know it’s possible.

            But that wasn’t what my comment was about.

    2. the sad thing is that noone build that for android yet

      i mean… android is opensource, has a (or better two) VM that runs on linux already (ok, with bsd-userspace, but that shouldn’t be that hard to adapt) and should be pretty easy to compile on linux

      but still. noone does it. Why? mostly because its absurdly over-complex and all build-instructions are for the whole android-system (i.e. including kernel, boot-stuff and more)

      all we have are some commercial things like myriad alien-vu but we’d need would be someone to build a debian-pakage from the original stuff. 🙁

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