Saturday, February 14, 2015


Ubuntu Insider's Event in London
Ubuntu Insider's Event London

After so much waiting the bq Ubuntu Phone has finally been released, I have been so lucky to be an Ubuntu Insider and I was wondering what to write about it as so many have already written reviews on it describing how it works and it's hardware specs.
I have passed several days thinking about what and how to write, but today, after reading one of the many reviews and it's comments I have decided to write what I think about it as a Linux enthusiast and part of the Ubuntu Community, oh, and as an "Ubuntu Insider" :-D.

Ubuntu Insider's Event in London

There is so much talking around the bq Ubuntu Phone release and there are so many different points of view and mostly there are a lot of merely hardware reviews, but what I think a lot of people are missing, is that this is the first smartphone with a Linux distribution on it, with Ubuntu on it! (the most famous and world wide spread Linux distribution).

Riccardo Padovani, Carla Sella and Dario Cavedon (all part of the Italian Ubuntu Community)

This is the first release of a Linux smartphone, of a Ubuntu Touch smartphone, and it has been released on a hardware most persons can afford. Yes, it would have been great to have a smartphone like the Ubuntu Edge, but that hardware is not affordable by everyone. With bq's smartphone just released a lot of people can have a chance to take a look at what Ubuntu Touch is like.
How many smartphones are there out there with Linux on them ? How many smartphones have an OS you can hack on, write apps for in a easy way ? 
What I think is that we are lucky to have an occasion like this. We have finally someone who has been able to release an open source smartphone, a Linux smartphone,  a smartphone we can contribute to and make as we would like it to be. To me this is like a dream come true :-D. No porting problems, no hardware that has compatibility problems, we have a smartphone working out of the box and that does not cost too much so that you are unable to buy it.
How many times have we been complaining about notebooks and desktops that are not sold with Linux on them ? How many times have we installed Linux on a notebook or desktop we bought with another OS on it and we have had hardware issues ? compatibility problems?
Now we have this peace of hardware that comes with Ubuntu on it and we are still not happy about this ? I think this is weird!!!!
The only thing left to say is that I am really happy Canonical/Ubuntu - bq have finally released this smartphone, it is affordable by anyone and mainly it comes with Ubuntu Touch on it.
Now it's up to us to take the chance, we need to show we appreciate this, we need to tell our point of view, we need to contribute to make this smartphone as we would like it!
So come on! don't lose this occasion! jump in and help us make the best smartphone ever!

Dario Cavedon, Carla Sella and David Planella 

Me and Rick Spencer

Me and Oliver Grawert

Dario Cavedon and Me

Carla Sella and Jane Silber


  1. "This is the first release of a Linux smartphone" -- Er, ever heard of Android?

  2. I meant a real Linux distribution lke Ubuntu, I know that Android is Linux, but it's not the same. On Ubuntu Phone you can install whatever you want as if it was Ubuntu Dekstop.
    So it's not the same!

    1. So, I could download Viber for Linux and install it on Ubuntu Phone? Please, stop treating the users as ignorant sheep! We've being around. We know why Intel basicly give you a finger for Mir support, we know about CLA...
      Just don't lie to people! There's enough stuff to be excited about new geeky phone, you don't need to present it like Fedora or Debian for phones, it's clearly *NOT*! Btw, I could install Ubuntu Touch on my Nexus phone, could I install Jolla on the Bq Ubuntu Phone?

    2. Yes and no: you can't install Viber right now because GTK+ port to Mir isn't ready yet, but as soon as it is, you can install whatever you want on phone, with apt or dpkg. Of course, the UI will not be automagically ready for a small screen, so maybe will not the best UX you have, but theorically it works.

      Meanwhile, you can download .deb of every CLI package (of course, recompiled for armhf) and install it. You can install a LAMP stack on your phone, or use mutt, or gcc, or whatever you want.

      There is no 'Ubuntu Touch', it's only Ubuntu ported on armhf.

    3. I said a Linux distribution like Ubuntu, I did not mention other Linux distro's.
      That said, I did not try installing Viber on Ubuntu Phone, but technically you can install anything that is installable via apt-get on the phone, it's Ubuntu so... I am not lying you are writing things I did not even mention.
      You see, I talk about what I know about and that is Ubuntu Touch, I say nothing about Jolla as I have not tried it, have you tried Ubuntu Touch ?

    4. That's the avalanche of misinformation I'm talking about. FYI, one could not install Viber on x86 Linux(there's only x86_64 version) and one could not just recompile it(license). So unless the company making it make it available for Ubuntu Phone, there won't be. Btw, I think Viber uses Qt not GTK+. Similar goes for Steam, and the whole ecosystem with it, and most non OSS programs available for desktop Linux.

      Now, for every real FOSS project recompile probably will work and even better people may start doing PPAs(if we have it on the phone), and that's *GREAT*!

      Currently there's a big difference between Ubuntu Touch and Ubuntu Desktop, I know its supposed to go almost the same way as KDE Plasma, but still not there yet.

    5. Sorry for Viber, I don't use it and don't know anything about it, but since it's available for Android, I thought there was an armhf version, my bad.

      But Steam has an armhf build
      $ dpkg --info steam_latest.deb
      Architecture: all

      I tried to install it on a Nexus 4 but I wasn't able to start it. Anyway, I see your point, but I agree only partially: yes, it's not usable as Ubuntu for desktop yet, but the core it's the same, and the convergence is already here for all CLI programs in the repo, and will be here soon for GTK+ programs too.

      But yes, for third parts apps we have to wait third parts company.

      So yes, not still there, you're right on this

    6. If I could make friends and family move to Telegram, I also wouldn't use Viber :)

      @Carla Sella
      Disclaimer, I make proprietary software for living, so generally have no problem with closed source stuff.
      "How many smartphones are there out there with Linux on them ? How many smartphones have an OS you can hack on, write apps for in a easy way ?
      What I think is that we are lucky to have an occasion like this. We have finally someone who has been able to release an open source smartphone, a Linux smartphone, a smartphone we can contribute to and make as we would like it to be"
      "Now it's up to us to take the chance, we need to show we appreciate this, we need to tell our point of view, we need to contribute to make this smartphone as we would like it!"
      That's where the ugly things got too much.
      Ubuntu is not true FOSS project! It's not really everyone could contribute, one have to give Canonical the right to use one's contribution however Canonical pleases, no GPL enforcement really(that's CLA). And people already pointed out that there are phone OS before Ubuntu Phone that are Linux and OSS(in pretty much the same way Ubuntu Touch is, some even more). You may not know what Jolla is, you may not know what FirefoxOS is...then just don't claim who is the first Linux phone OS. *But you should definitely know what CLA is*! Just be honest and learn a bit about Debian Code of Conduct and Fedora project, so you could talk about FOSS development and similar! Nothing more, nothing less. Ubuntu may loose some of its momentum but I'm sure there's still a lot of people wanting Ubuntu Touch to take off and be at least as successful as Ubuntu on desktop. I still consider it for my secondary device(instead of my Nexus 3) if it get somewhat decent hardware(Meizu one sounds promising) and if I don't get Jolla till then.
      Hope to see more real talks about Ubuntu Touch advantages in the "news" instead of the typical PR stunts.

  3. Replies
    1. Yeah, and when I read

      "this is the first smartphone with a Linux distribution on it"

      I immediately though "hmm, my N900 (running Maemo, a distribution based on Debian) would like a word." And the funny thing is, both are actually far more akin to an actual Linux distro than Ubuntu Touch is, since both manage all installed software via the normal package management (apt on Maemo, rpm/pkcon on SailfishOS) unlike Ubuntu Touch which has a read-only system image and apps are installed as separate entities instead of normal packages.

      I mean, I find Ubuntu Touch interesting and I hope they succeed, but it's far from the first real Linux distro on a commerically sold phone no matter how you really try and define that.

    2. I think you are missing a lot of information on Ubuntu Touch, you should read more about it, oh! maybe give it a try before saying things on it!

    3. @Tattoo: Yes I have heard of Jolla, but you should try Ubuntu Touch, I see no problem with having another phone OS with Linux on it, we are in a free world and what is nice about it is that you can have more than one Linux OS, the point is people talk about Ubuntu Touch without having tried it first. Believe me it you try it, and especially try Scopes, you will change idea!!

  4. I don't quiet think that being a pure Linux phone is the biggest thing here. Because in general people won't care that. They don't know what the OS is or does. The general public wants a phone that works and that's compatible with apps. Bringing another phone option is great, but in order to make big noise, they need the backing of great marketing. That means television ads. Big time cell phone providers to be willing to sell the product. Developers to get to work on apps right away. Right now, it doesn't offer something that would stand out from the others.

  5. That's the point, this is not a phone for "the general" public at the moment. It may become so in the future, but at the moment this is s phone for developers people who understand what this phone can become. You can personalize it but without Android's fragmentation as the OS is updated OTA by Canonical without touching the personalizations on it. I think a lot of people should get informed before speaking.

  6. I use Ubuntu Phone as my everyday phone and it's a charm. Ok you do not have WhatsUpp but you have Telegram. I am sure more apps will be written and it will be surley better than what you are used to now, have you ever tried Ubuntu Touch's Scopes ?

  7. Sadly, some ot these guys have an Attitude or a Chip on their shoulder. Ubuntu is offering something Different and fresh and has the heart of Total open source. I will end before I start Shredding! Open Source is the Future!

  8. "Open Source is the Future", i agree, but Android cannot fall and the giant will not let the users go.