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Creato da: taichung il 12/01/2011
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Pinephone review: Ubuntu Touch

Post n°69 pubblicato il 16 Marzo 2023 da taichung
 
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UbuntuThe release of Ubuntu for the Pinephone is quite old, 2020. There is still Xenial (16.04)...

You can quickly give a lokk at what should work and what isn't working yet on this page: https://devices.ubuntu-touch.io/device/pinephone/#deviceOverview

Anyway it looks to have a high potential, but... Canonical decided not to develop it anymore, and therefore now everything is in the hands of the community. Unfortunately, the Pinephone doesn't look to be the primary target.

Flashed the image on my 8GB microSD card, booted and finished the initial setup. The screen flickers even during the boot, but after opening the settings menu, it stops... mmm... Well I wait a moment. The system goes on suspend, the screen becomes black. I click the power button and... Damn, the screen doesn't exit from suspend mode(issue #273...#274...) !! Hard reset needed. Ok *Buntu, since now don't suspend anything.

When I login, it always complains that the ext storage can't be mounted (issue #154 ). Of course *Buntu, you ARE on the ext storage!

The wifi works, but it randomly stops and asks again for the password (issue #16)

FS isn't encrypted.

I look for systems's update through the settings menu. "Looking for updates...", but it isn't doing anything! Let's try with the old good apt in the terminal. I only get ignored, not found, read only... In other words, the system can't be (easily) updated. Well, Ubuntu Touch makes use of a new way to update/upgrade iself. Forget about apt & C. This is the way to install and remove programs on Ubuntu Touch.

Open the App Store (Yes, Ubutuntu Touch has a store. Like Apple . I can update it. I install a random app. It works . I can also update the apps from the store, although it failed for some apps. Those in that store are basically webapps, don't expect to find the usual *Buntu stuff. Unfortunately many among those web apps don't work (many bugs); you can download them but when you try to open them, nothing happens. By the way, there's a web app for Mastodon.

Generally speaking, the dev team is porting *Buntu 20.04 to the supported devices, but for the Pinephone things are slower (I won't explain you here the reason ). In few words, for the moment you have to deal with what you have. Forget the updates (with all the security risks). And keep in mind that devs will eventually focus on PinePhonePro because, as explained on their website, the last one offers higher performances. Not all is lost however; on the forum I red (March 2023) that updates for *Buntu 20.04 should arrive (this year? :P) I trust the upgrade will bring heavy improvements

 

The camera app works. I just took a picture, didn't try with videos.

I open the Morph Browser and surf to my website: it works!

Now the best: Ubuntu Touch provides a gret support for languages (something which really lacks for other distros on the Pinephone). Under settings I configured language and keybord for Chinese and... OMG!!! It works!!! I can write in Chinese pinyin and bopomofo!! That's really amazing! I deeply rely on typing in Chinese on the smartphone, therefore for me it's very important, for others no.

Howeveer, there is no terminal keyboard, and this personalyy sucks. When you have to edit files in the terminal you really need it, the default Ubuntu Touch keyboard is too complicate to use with special keys.

Phone: I can get calls, but I can't call, unless i force 2G instead of 4G (no 3G here): issue #172.

You can find all the open issues here: https://gitlab.com/ubports/porting/community-ports/pinephone/-/issues/?sort=updated_desc&state=opened&first_page_size=20&page_after=eyJ1cGRhdGVkX2F0IjoiMjAyMS0wNy0xNiAxNjozNDozNC4zOTYyMDEwMDAgKzAwMDAiLCJpZCI6IjY5ODQxMTY5In0

As long as I use it, I find it more and more complicate underground; at the opposite, under the pov of a common smartphone user, it seems easy to use, similar to Android in some aspects; except when things don't work as expected. Well, Ubuntu Touch isn't the classic Linux distro, is not easy to solve the problems by yourself.

At the actual state, it is too riscky to use it as daily phone. Calls and SMS probably work id you use only the 2G network, but all the other things (ah, the GPS doesn't work too) which you expect on the smartphone aren't stable enough or don't work at all.

The strong point of Ubuntu Touch is the GUI: stable and responsive (except when trying to find updates), excellent concept, amazing support for languages and keyboard (but no terminal keyboard), good customization possible (colors, sounds...)

Considering all this, it's really a pity that it isn't supported enough (btw, you can donate to support the project). If you are a Linux Taliban, I think you won't like it.

 
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