Is UT efficient for a daily drive ?



  • Hello,
    I am a Ubuntu user for my computer, and I am considering switching to Ubuntu on my smartphone as well. UT looks much more polished and complete than any other Linux phone OS. I would like to know if it is usable on a daily basis, without having an Android phone. Ι know it depend on the use I make of it. I am not a big smartphone user and I do not use many apps, but I only need :

    • Whatsapp and Signal
    • An efficient mailing app with multi-accounts support
    • A GPS
    • A nextcloud or Owncloud syncing app
    • A calendar with good caldav support
    • A good web browser will do for all the rest, if possible with an adblock on it

    I have seen that there are some solutions for all this on the store, but are they efficient and stable enough ? Is all the rest (phone, sms, camera, weather, calc) working without trouble ?
    Also, does the FP2 multi-SIM work with UT ?
    Thank you (and sorry if it ain't the right place for such questions)



  • What we have:

    • Signal
      Theres a beta app called axolotl, which allows conversations over the signal protocal
      https://open-store.io/app/textsecure.nanuc

    • Dekko
      Dekko does have multi-account support
      https://open-store.io/app/dekko2.dekkoproject

    • GPS
      we have the feature, IDK how well it works, depends on device I guess, but wont be as accurate as Google.

    • Nextcloud
      We have multiple apps for Nextcloud, we have a news app, notes app, calendar, and some others, however we have no full sync option, you cant for example sync your music folder to your nextcloud account.

    • adblock
      We have a separate app for ad blocking, this means every ad in every app will be blocked however, it doesn't allow you to pick and choose which apps or websites get a free pass.
      https://open-store.io/app/uadblock.mariogrip

    What doesnt work.

    • Whatsapp
      There are only 3 ways to message people using whatsapp on Ubuntu Touch, but both require having whatsapp on a android or ios device. One way is by using a whatsapp webapp, which wont give you notifications, or you could set up a matrix bridge, which would give you notifications via fluffychat, but it'd cost you, and you'd have to set it up,

    Theres also the option of anbox, but thats more of a future plan for android apps on Ubuntu Touch.
    https://forums.ubports.com/topic/1676/development-testers-for-anbox

    • Syncing
      we have no app that syncs/backups, this is partially due to background services and confinement not being flexible enough to allow for a syncing app in the OpenStore.

    For device specifics, I couldn't tell you how well any of them work, I only have a OPO and OP3 running Ubuntu Touch.



  • Thanks for the answer. All this sounds great. So, no full sync but is it possible to sync at least the calendar and the contacts ?

    Maybe I should try to find a low-price device that supports UT and give it a try before taking any decision.



  • @Pookie Sync works for the calendar, only google sync works for contacts unfortunately, hopefully there will be more work on contact sync via nextcloud, because thats important, but it doesnt work atm.

    If you want to support the Open Source community the most, I would recommend purchasing a PinePhone when they're available, they're about $150, if thats to much then you can find OnePlus's and the sorts for cheaper on ebay, but its a recommendation because it shows real financial support for the future of Linux on the Phone.

    It means the Pine folks are more likely to make new versions of the PinePhone, and it means more phone manufacturers or linux venders, might have another look at that Linux Phone market.

    However, if you already have a capable phone, or thats not in your price range, then putting ubuntu touch on your device is more than enough support for the Ubports team's 🙂



  • @PhoenixLandPirat covered most of it.
    He said in Is UT efficient for a daily drive ?:

    GPS
    we have the feature, IDK how well it works, depends on device I guess, but wont be as accurate as Google.

    According to me Google is less accurate than uNav or PureMaps (the main available GPS apps on UT).
    They are both based on OSM and the maps data are frequently updated, missing roads or recent changes are updated by the community when it took a long time to be fixed on Google.

    And I'll add that if the browser is enough for your usage then you'll love how easy it is to create WebApps.
    A webapp is a browser restricted to one or few domains which allows to contain data (cookies, ...) to a single usage.
    I hate when session cookies are used by other tabs to display ad or when they want to be smart based on my history.

    @Pookie, I hope you'll enjoy UT as a daily drive. I switched 2 years ago and never had any regret.
    And now I have a good excuse when people ask me to install WhatsApp explaining that it is simpler with it.
    How it is simpler to force someone to use a proprietary app to do what SMS, emails and phone can do ???



  • No, my device is for he moment under LineageOS, and not eligible for UBports. but it will die sooner or later. I'm looking to other Android projects like /e/, but I grow more and more unsatisfied with Android, and also tweaking a custom ROM takes much time and is a bit addictive.
    I was considering the PinePhone option, as the other phones are getting hard to find (N5 and OPO) or still expensive (FP2). My only concern about the PinePhone is that it looks like it has very low specs, even compared to a 5 years old Nexus. Will it work smoothly ? is the qualitiy of the product OK ? Anyway, maybe I should just buy one, if it works it's good, and if I'm not satisfied with it at least it gives money to a FOSS project, which is good as well...



  • @Pookie here you have a video from Mariogrip porting UT to the PinePhone:
    https://twitter.com/Mariogrip/status/1180276682655178757

    If you want more information you can read this thread :
    https://forums.ubports.com/topic/2403/pinephone



  • @PhoenixLandPirat said in Is UT efficient for a daily drive ?:

    @Pookie Sync works for the calendar, only google sync works for contacts unfortunately, hopefully there will be more work on contact sync via nextcloud, because thats important, but it doesnt work atm.

    you can sync contacts to nearly everywhere with syncevolution - you'll 'just' have to configure and sync via terminal works with providers and should work with nextcloud



  • Many thanks for all these kind answers, 'tis my first post here but it looks like a very welcoming community.



  • I've been using UT since 2015 as my main phone 🙂
    I think the biggest issue you might encounter with your list if with GPS if you it's really necessary to you.
    It works but could be sometime inaccurate and sometimes takes too long to get a fix so we can that it is not reliable as an android/iOS phone.

    By the way, we have UBsync for syncing your files to nextcloud. It's not the best and there's also a known security issue with it but it does work.



  • @AppLee said in Is UT efficient for a daily drive ?:

    According to me Google is less accurate than uNav or PureMaps (the main available GPS apps on UT).
    They are both based on OSM and the maps data are frequently updated, missing roads or recent changes are updated by the community when it took a long time to be fixed on Google.

    This is somewhat dependent on region. In my experience Europe is much better mapped by OSM than the USA is. Not sure about Canada; will test when I'm next there. Relying on OSM maps in the US can be a frustrating experience.

    Curiously, address lookup in uNav is generally more reliable for me than in OSM's Android app. Not sure why that would be, since I assumed they would use the same address data in addition to the same maps.



  • @trainailleur
    We're a bit off topic here, but OSM is a vector database, those informations are mapped with geographic coordinates.
    There is also Nominatim which is a database matching coordinates with addresses.

    But developers rarely use OSM or Nominatim directly, you can use mapbox or other services which include a tile server and routing services, ...
    The main interest is that they render the tiles regularly based on OSM information so the developer has "just" to ask for a level of zoom and a bounding box.

    That explains how there are so many apps using OSM and so many different user experience.
    Some services update their tiles more frequently but it's more expensive, some provide traffic information, there are different styles, etc.

    I didn't know that US is poorly covered by OSM ; where I went I didn't notice any problem.



  • Just a little OT yes. As for daily driver I use a Oneplus one and still use google to sync contacts and cal (work reasons) but working on that. So yes UT is good for a daily use phone. this is the current list of devices https://devices.ubuntu-touch.io/ and the PinePhone should ship in March if all goes to plan ( the link has already been posted above). Also camers zoom doesn't work on OPO if your looking at one of those. This also shows the way things are moving device wise https://forums.ubports.com/category/46/devices and our newest stable update was released yesterday https://ubports.com/blog/1/post/252



  • I have whatsapp through anbox. No calls, just messages.



  • @PhoenixLandPirat said in Is UT efficient for a daily drive ?:

    • Syncing
      we have no app that syncs/backups, this is partially due to background services and confinement not being flexible enough to allow for a syncing app in the OpenStore.

    This is not true! The ubsync app in the OpenStore - https://open-store.io/app/ubsync - allows for easy automatic backups to any NextCloud server - and allows you to choose what folders are synced. I use ubsync with an inexpensive account with OwnCube.com (primarily to backup any photos and videos I take, but also to backup some documents that I place in a specific "shared" folder) so that I didn't have to bother with setting up my own NextCloud server - but if you have your own already it will work easily with that too.

    Best regards,
    Steve Berson



  • I've been using UT on a OnePlus One or Meizu Pro 5 as a daily driver for over the past year now, and have zero desire to ever switch back to Android.

    Best regards,
    Steve Berson



  • @TotalSonic Is Meizu 5 as good as oneplus 1?



  • Hi. I've been using UT RC on a Nexus 5 on and off for several months now. Been "forced" to use Android some since
    the dimise of Maemo/Meego... I really enjoy using UT and it's ALMoST able to be used as a daily driver except for a few things that I personally want in a phone.

    1. Bluetooth on the N5 with UT is basically unusable. I have a newer VW auto and prefer to connect over BT. The N5 won't connect over USB in the car. Also not working properly for BT speakers and earbuds.

    2. I listen to ALOT of audiobooks. There is no dedicated audiobook player that I've been able to find and work properly on UT. I can listen through the music app, but my place is never saved.

    3. I use SMS and MMS to communicate with my family alot. SMS works fine (Google Fi SIM) but MMS does not. I've fooled around with the APNs, but nothing works.

    These are all personal gripes with UT and may not be important to you. It really is a great product, all the people working on it in their spare time deserve ALOT credit for the hard work the continually put into UT.



  • It may seem strange to some, but for me, after alternating use of nexus 5, OPO and BQ phones, I still have to say that the latter are the most stable and have the least material and other disadvantages (for me), even if they are the first and not the most powerful : they only heat up very shortly after a long enough use, not too many untimely disconnections from the network, no video playback problems, no big annoying bugs...

    I am not hyper-connected so I don't need a lot of apps. It is especially important for me to have a powerful internet browser (morph-browser is improving but still many points to improve) : I manage with morph to cover about my needs and internet operations but I am like others limited or blocked, as for example, for the use of the Github (recently) and Gitlab (older, downloading screenshots) sites, which is a relief, these sites being linked to Ubports and UT !

    It is also important for me to have a good MUA : dekko is very much in progress recently thanks to very competent and involved community developers ! I am confident that improvements will continue.

    I also think that the Pinephone (March 2020 normally for the finished product and mass production) will provide the stable and efficient device that will boost UT's development and allow Ubports to increase its notoriety and grow !

    And thanks again to Kugiigi for making things so much easier with his great OSK !!



  • Well thanks for all those answers. Troubles with Bluetooth are not a problem for me, as I don't use it very often (and only for speakers). MMS is much more a trouble.

    Any experiences with dual-SIM devices (FP2 or BQ) ? This would help me a lot. Does it work ?

    My feeling is that UT is improving very quickly since the adoption of 16.04. I think that, for the moment, I should keep my device since it is working. It is the more environment-friendly, and I'm not that concerned for my privacy (LineageOS without Gapps). In a few months, it may be that some existing bugs will be corrected on current devices, or that another device will be supported with less troubles (Pinephone, for instance).


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