Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 arrives with improvements for the on-screen keyboard and more


The UBports project, which took control of the development of the Ubuntu Touch mobile platform after Canonical parted ways with it, released the new version of Ubuntu Touch OTA-11. The update was generated for OnePlus One, Fairphone 2, Nexus 4, Nexus 5, Nexus 7 2013, Meizu MX4 / PRO 5, Bq Aquaris E5 / E4.5 / M10 phones. The project also develops an experimental Unity 8 desktop port, available in Ubuntu versions 16.04 and 18.04.

The release is based on Ubuntu 16.04 (The OTA-3 build was based on Ubuntu 15.04, and from OTA-4, the transition to Ubuntu 16.04 was made). As in the previous version, the preparation of OTA-11 focused on bug fixes and stability. In the next update, they promise to transfer the firmware to the new versions of Mir and Unity 8 shells.

What's new in Ubuntu Touch OTA-11

With the release of this new version of Ubuntu Touch, advanced text editing features have been added to the on-screen keyboard, what allows you navigate through entered text, undo changes, select text blocks and place or extract text from the clipboard. To activate advanced mode, you must hold down the space bar on the on-screen keyboard (it is planned to simplify the inclusion of advanced mode in the future).

The on-screen keyboard also added optional support for Dvorak layout and adjusted the use of an error correction dictionary with different layouts.

The Navigator Morph built-in (built on the basis of the Chromium engine and QtWebEngine) implements a model for configuring links to individual domains. Thanks to this improvement, it was possible to implement in the browser features such as save zoom level selected for sites, selectively control access to location data at the site level, launch external applications via URL controllers (for example, when you click the "tel: //" links you can call the interface to make a call), keeping a black or white list of prohibited or only allowed resources.

The push notification client and server cannot be linked to a user account in Ubuntu One. To receive push notifications, now only the support in the applications of this service is sufficient. As well support for Android 7.1 devices has been improved. Including additional sound processors, which are necessary when making calls.

In the case of Nexus 5, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth freezing issues have been resolved, resulting in an unnecessary load on the CPU and a rapid drain on the battery. Problems with the reception, display and processing of MMS messages were also fixed.

In addition, plans to port Ubuntu Touch to Librem 5. It has already been prepared in a simple way on the basis of the experimental prototype Librem 5 DevKit. At times the characteristics in the port are still very limited (for example, there is no support for telephony, data transfer over a mobile network and messages).

Some of the problems that stand out, for example, are the inability to enter sleep mode without the Android drivers until the Unity System Compositor has been adapted to support Wayland via Mir, they are not specific to Librem 5 and are also addressed by Pinephone and Raspberry Pi.

It is planned to resume work on the Librem 5 port after receiving the final device, that Purism promised to ship in early 2020.

Test builds with Mir 1.1, qtcontacts-sqlite (from Sailfish) and the new Unity 8 are carried out in an experimental branch «edge " separated. The transition to the new Unity 8 will lead to the end of support for smart areas (Scope) and the integration of the new launcher of the application launcher interface.

In the future, the appearance of a support is also expected full-featured for the environment to run Android applications, based on the achievements of the Anbox project.

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