Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 is available for testing

Ubuntu Touch

Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 is available for testing. Ubuntu Touch is a mobile version of the Ubuntu operating system by UBports. This release polishes up this stage of Ubuntu Touch development and includes many small fixes that should please all users.

The Ubuntu Touch OTA-11 was originally a minor update that should have only some bug fixes and improvements, but it seems to bring a number of enhancements to Ubuntu Phones, such as an improved and smarter keyboard that introduces the Dvorak keyboard layout options, improved Japanese and Polish layouts, and a new way to edit text.

Ubuntu Touch

Changelog

Your keyboard, now smarter

Kugi has outdone himself this time. With this update you’ll find a new way to edit text via the Ubuntu Touch on-screen keyboard: the Advanced Text Functions. Using this feature, you can move around your typed text, undo and redo actions, move around a text selection rectangle, and use the cut/copy/paste commands, all from the same overlay. To get started, press and hold the space bar!

We are still unsure about the discoverability of this feature, so stay tuned for changes that will make it even easier to find and use!

This update also adds the option of a Dvorak keyboard layout for the refined OSK user. The PR included fixes to allow multiple keyboard layouts to share the same correction dictionary and word overrides. Huge thanks, zoenb!

Rounding off the updates to the keyboard are improvements to the Polish layout, removing some diacritics that are not used in the language (Thanks, Daniel20000522!); the same treatment for the French-Swiss layout (Thanks, wilfridd!); and a tweak to the Japanese layout so that it respects your settings better (Thanks, Fuseteam!). If you’d like to get in on the keyboard-improving action, Tallero added instructions for building and testing the keyboard to its Readme at https://github.com/ubports/keyboard-component.

It browses better

It wouldn’t be an Ubuntu Touch release without a section dedicated to our in-house Morph Browser. Morph is a project which embeds Qt’s integration of Chromium, QtWebEngine. This allows us to focus on making the browser itself rather than its engine.

Chris changed about 4,000 lines of code (not counting the gettext translation files) to bring us the Domain Permissions model. This adds some important features that were previously missing:

  • Page zoom level is now saved per-site rather than per-tab
  • Users may set “Always allow” or “Always deny” on location access per-site
  • Sites may launch other apps via custom URL handlers, such as tel:// to launch the dialer with a number pre-filled.
  • Users may blacklist access to certain sites or block access to all but their choice of whitelisted sites.

Push notifications for all

Ubuntu Touch has provided a battery-friendly push notification service since before we maintained it. However, some users did not know that the service required them to log in with an Ubuntu One account before their device would register. This made sense when users had to sign in to Ubuntu One in order to install apps, but it had become more than a little strange lately.

To fix this, Rodney removed the account requirement from the client and server. Now all devices will be able to receive notifications for apps which support the service.

And more

There are many more changes included in this release that can’t quite merit their own section, but deserve to be mentioned.

Ratchanan and Alfred made some huge changes that facilitate more hardware on devices that shipped with Android 7.1. We’ve merged many hooks for audio support, especially for calls. Nexus 5 users will be very happy to learn that we’ve narrowed down and fixed a problem that would cause the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth hardware to lock up from time to time, using a ton of CPU and battery.

Multiple contributors have been investigating issues related to MMS support on Ubuntu Touch. In particular, Raphaël and parksjr fixed issues with the display and management of MMS messages. Others have been looking into issues around receiving MMS messages.