UBports releases stable version of Ubuntu Touch 20.04 Focal

Developers have released a stable port of Ubuntu Touch based on 20.04. The software works on a handful of phones, including the Fairphone. Besides some major updates and bug fixes, it is one of the largest stable releases of the mobile operating system.

The OS was created by UBports. That developer collective has taken over the development of Ubuntu Touch from Canonical. That stopped in 2017. UBports makes ports of Ubuntu for certain phones.

Ubuntu Touch OTA-1 Focal is based on Ubuntu 20.04, Focal Fossa. The previous Ubuntu Touch port from UBports was still based on Ubuntu 16.04 and is now several years old. ‘Focal’ will be released for various phones that already supported the earlier versions of Ubuntu Touch. The makers specifically mention the Vollaphone and the X and 22, the Fairphone 4 and the Google Pixel 3a. The device could also be used on PinePhones, but they cannot be updated over-the-air. The other devices with Ubuntu Touch 16.04 are, but it is an opt-in update and not a mandatory one.

According to the makers, the operating system contains some major changes. For example, the system manager has been replaced from Upstart to the more conventional systemd. The indicators have been changed from the default Ubuntu indicators to Ayatana and a new method to port the OS to new devices has been added. The makers also say that support has been added for devices based on Android 9 and above, which can stimulate further development. The development platform has been further moved from GitHub to GitLab.

There are also several major bug fixes in the port, including the microphone and browser. The latter, Morph, has a new engine, among other things.

The makers warn that there are still some bugs in the OS. These are mainly when using Waydroid, a container for running Android apps on Linux. They do not make Waydroid unusable anywhere. Furthermore, it is not yet possible to synchronize contacts in Google due to limitations in the api.