It’s been a few years since Canonical stopped developing a version of Ubuntu Linux for smartphones, but the folks at UBports picked up where Canonical left off… and they’ve been busy bringing new features and bug fixes to the Ubuntu Touch platform ever since.

The latest example? Ubuntu Touch is finally getting 64-bit support.

While most smartphones supported by Ubuntu Touch have 64-bit processors, up until now the operating system has only run in 32-bit mode. But the UBports team says switching to 64-bit brings a number of benefits including:

  • More than 4GB of RAM is supported.
  • Apps launch more quickly.
  • More CPU features can be used.

The new 64-bit version of Ubuntu Touch is still a work in progress. Only a handful of phones are supported so far, and you’ll need to install the operating system manually (the UBports installer won’t do it).

But if you have a Sony Xperia X, OnePlus 3, or OnePlus 3T, you can give it a try — just keep in mind that some apps may not work, since the 64-bit version of Ubuntu Touch doesn’t support 32-bit apps… you’ll need apps that are compiled to run on 64-bit operating systems.

via Phoronix and UBports blog

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6 replies on “Ubuntu Touch enters the 64-bit era”

  1. Why announce 64bit like that’s a big deal when most modern mobile devices run on the ARM architecture?

    1. Uh, the amount of bits in a CPU vs the CPU architecture are different. You’d be shocked to know ARM processors have been a thing since the late 80s, and the first 64-bit CPUs in general came about in the mid 90s.
      Almost all phones on the market use an ARM architecture processor, with rare exceptions of Intel’s x86 architecture processors in use on ASUS phones. But 32-bit processors and 64-bit processors exist on basically all architectures. The bits control the data flow and iops those CPUs can handle. And 32-bit processors hard-cap at, say, 4 gigabytes of addressable random access memory. RAM.
      This news is impactful because most phones are on 64-bit ARM nowadays, and Ubuntu Touch has had a compatibility problem for a while, largely due to this lack of 64-bit support.

  2. Linux really dropped the opportunity ball on this one.

    I’m still disappointed about the state of the mobile market. When it comes to ecosystems, there is only two options, with no third-runner to keep competition healthy and alive. Android suffers in privacy, security, and fragmentation. iOS has its issues with features, software freedom, and anti-competitive practises. I guess what makes an ecosystem isn’t just great software, you also need decent hardware, strong partnerships, and incoming finances.

    We came from an era where the ecosystems used to be Symbian (N95), BlackberryOS (Torch), PalmOS (Trio 680), and Windows Mobile (TyTN II). They all had successors and all the successors and predecessors died. Apple and Google were too innovative and quick (2010) to craft new ecosystems: iOS 3 and Android 2.1

    They improved things massively with Android 4.0.3 and iOS 7.1, something that none of the other ecosystems could match. Well, except for Windows10 Mobile, but that was 5-7 years too late to the market. And now we’ve got a new gold-standard with Android 5.1 and iOS 11, and we will see them evolve into a proper new-standard before 2022 with Android 11/12 and iOS 14/15. So there’s a huge rift to surpass for any potential challenger to even start.

    The best third-runner we have at the moment is Sailfish OS, and that’s a very distant third-place.
    And that’s an open-source ecosystem is literally stitched together from scraps. From Linux Distros/ /Ubuntu Mobile/openSUSE-ARM/Tizen/Aurora/Mer/Nemo/MeeGo/­Maemo/Moblin/KaiOS/FirefoxOS/ /webOS/etc etc. It’s probably got some elements of QNX/BBX somewhere in there as well (inspiration? shared developers?).

    The way to fix this, I reckon, is if one of the lead developers in SailOS won the Super Lottery. Then they used the entire funds to improve each core principal, then bridge them together with a fresh coat of paint.
    Software: increased the quality of SailOS 3.2 by removing all major bugs, and annoying minor bugs.
    Hardware: have something compelling like the ASUS RoG Phone 2
    Finance: start a model which generates proper revenue streams
    Partnerships: combine services, needs to come from private, secure, and open-source origins, and be physically located in a neutral nation (like Switzerland, unlike North Korea).

    For instance;
    DuckDuckGo Search, Firefox Browser, OpenMaps navigation, VLC player, LibreOffice suite, Proton emails, Singal messages, Diaspora network, OwnCloud storage, Vimeo videos, Lutris games, etc etc.

    And you can sell the new device, and cheap/free licenses to third-parties;
    The 2020 Colt Phone Zero, running the new ZerOS, and opening Apps like Zero Browser “Powered by Firefox”.
    Then 2021 Colt Phone One, Then 2022 Colt Phone 2, Then 2023 Colt Phone 3, etc etc.

    1. How about these alternatives: LineageOS, /e/ ROM, and PostmarketOS?

      The business model of Jolla as far as I understand is to sell Sailfish OS tot he Russian government. Their handful of end users if there are any left are more like a nuisance to them.

      Something along the lines you suggest at the end have been tried with more or less success. GrapheneOS and Blackphone.

      1. All those you listed are based on Android (Lineage, eROM, Graphene, Blackphone).
        While PostmarketOS is more of a platform or toolkit. I was talking about a completely new ecosystem. Something like PureOS on the Librem 5, by Purism is more of what I was going after. Although I’m a fan, I prefer the SailOS purely based on the (more advanced imho) software.

        Here’s how I’d compare them (hypothetically):
        Apple ———— Microsoft ————- Google —————— Linux
        iPhone ———– Lumia —————– Pixel ——————— Colt
        iOS ————— Windows Mobile — Android OS ———— ZerOS
        AppStore ——– Windows Store —- Play Store ————– Zero Market
        Safari ————- Edge —————– Chrome —————– Firefox
        Yahoo ———— Bing ——————- Google Search ——- DuckDuckGo
        Siri —————– Cortana ————- Google Assistant —- Hound assistant
        iTunes ———— Groove ————— Play Music ————- VLC Player
        Apple Maps —– Bing Maps ———- Google Maps ———- OpenMaps
        Apple Pages —- Microsoft Office —- Google Docs ———- LibreOffice
        iMessages ——- Skype —————- Google Duo ———– Signal messenger
        Apple Mail ——- Outlook ————– Gmail ——————- Proton email
        iCloud ————- OneDrive ———— Drive ——————– OwnCloud storage
        Apple Pay ——– Microsoft Pay —— Google Pay ———– PayPal NFC
        Game Center — Xbox Live ———— Play Games ———– Lutris games
        Instagram ——– Veoh —————— YouTube —————- Vimeo
        Facebook ——– LinkedIn ————– Google+ Shoelace — Diaspora social

        1. Okay. In some respect, Linux is modeled after then closed source AT&T Unix, though it’s not a direct fork. But many other important software come to existence as a fork of something long forgotten. I’m just not that good with software history to point to a relevant example of Android and its derivatives. But let’s say in the future Android derivatives become as important or perhaps even more important than Android itself. Or similarly, Chrome-derivatives to Google Chrome. Maybe it’s an alternative future.

          Then the long list of 4-somethings in a row at the end of your post and referring to it as ecosystems. and the need or desire for a new ecosystems. The 4-somethings in a row do not represent 4 distinct ecosystems, they feature a bunch of services most users interchange at their will. Let’s say you are a small business. Then you must use Facebook to interact with customers, unless you want to go out of business of course. Google Duo? I haven’t heard of a living person ever used it. Most people in European countries use WhatsApp. Etc.

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