We’re thrilled to announce yet another significant milestone in the history of the Ubuntu project. After having recently unveiled the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview, today we’re publishing the full source code and images for supported devices.
For developers and enthusiasts only
While a huge amount of Engineering and Design work has been put into ensuring that the foundations for our user experience vision are in place, we want to stress that the Ubuntu Touch Developer Preview is currently work in progress. We are releasing the full code at this point to align to our philosophy of transparency and open source development.
We recommend to install the Touch Developer Preview only if you are a developer or enthusiast who wants to test or contribute to the platform. It is not intended to replace production devices or the tablet or handset you use every day.
Flash your device
All that said, let’s get on to how to install Touch Developer Preview from a public image on your device.
What to expect after flashing
Not all functionality from a production device is yet available on the Touch Preview. The list of functions you can expect after installing the preview on your handset or tablet are as follows. For detailed information check the release notes.
- Shell and core applications
- Connection to the GSM network (on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4)
- Phone calls and SMS (on Galaxy Nexus and Nexus 4)
- Networking via Wifi
- Functional camera (front and back)
- Device connectivity through the Android Developer Bridge tool (adb)
The images we are making available today support the following devices:
- Galaxy Nexus
- Nexus 4
- Nexus 7
- Nexus 10
I’m all set, show me how to flash!
You will find the detailed instructions to flash on the Ubuntu wiki.
Contributing and the road ahead
These are exciting times for Ubuntu. We’re building the technology of the future, this time aiming at a whole new level of massive adoption. The Touch Developer Preview means the first fully open source mobile OS developed also in the open. True to our principles this milestone also enables our community of developers to contribute and be a key part of this exciting journey.
In terms of the next steps, today we’re making the preview images available for the Ubuntu 12.10 stable release. In the next few days we’re going to switch to Raring Ringtail, our development release, which is where development will happen on the road to our convergence story.
You’ll find the full details of how the infrastructure and the code are being published and used on the Ubuntu wiki.
Presenting the Ubuntu SDK Alpha
But there’s more! To further celebrate the Touch Preview, we’re very proud to bring some exciting news that app developers will surely enjoy: the Ubuntu SDK Alpha release.
In fact, development of the SDK still keeps happening in the open and on a rolling release basis. But coinciding with the Touch Developer Preview, we thought that the latest release came with so much goodness, that we decided to label it in celebration.
Feature highlight: remote app deployment
Perhaps the coolest feature ever since the SDK was released: you can now deploy and execute the apps you create straight from the IDE.
Applications developed with Qt Creator can now be seamlessly and securely transferred and executed to a device just moving two fingers. Remember this shortcut: Ctrl+F12.
Inline with how easy and lightweight the process of creating a phone app is, a lot of work has been put into ensuring all complexity is hidden from the developer, yet it works solidly. Behind the scenes, SSH key pairing with the remote device works on-the-fly.
Here’s the lowdown:
- Plug in your mobile device running Ubuntu on the USB port of your computer
- Make sure your device is also connected to a wireless network (SSH key pairing happens over the air)
- Start Qt Creator from the Dash, and select the new Devices tab
- Press the Enable button to activate Developer Mode
- Once the device is connected, you can develop your QML projects as usual (check out the new project wizard as well) and press Ctrl+F12 to install and execute your app on the remote device
With Qt Creator at its heart, the set of tools app developers use on an everyday basis to author their software, have seen major improvements:
- Qt Creator has been updated to the bleeding edge version: 2.7. We expect this version to continue maturing together with the platform and the SDK.
- Ubuntu application templates and wizard are now available to easily start creating apps that run on the phone and tablets.
- The visual user interface designer in Qt Creator now works with QtQuick 2, the framework upon the Ubuntu SDK is based.
User Interface Toolkit updates
The UI Toolkit is the part of the SDK that provides the graphical components (such as buttons, text entries, and others) as building blocks that enable the basic user interaction with the underlying system. A new component, polishing and bug fixing have set the theme for this release:
- The MainView component has been added, with closer integration to the HUD and the shell. Learn how to use MainView.
- PopOver component polishing, general bug fixes and improvements
Install the Ubuntu SDK Alpha
By now we’re pretty certain you’re looking forward to installing and putting all of that development goodness to the test.
That’s an easy one, if you haven’t yet install the Ubuntu SDK.
If you already installed the SDK, just run Update Manager from the Dash and update the Ubuntu SDK package as prompted. Or alternatively, if you prefer the command line, just fire up a terminal and run ‘sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get install ubuntu-sdk’.
And that’s pretty much it! Be sure to check out the release notes for any additional technical details too.
Let us know what you think
Time to start developing beautiful apps now!