Monday, 1 January 2018

Introduction to Ubuntu Touch

Ubuntu Touch - 

Bring life back into your old phone

A few months ago back at the end of April with the move from Canonical to withdraw support for both Unity and Ubuntu Touch it seemed as if the whole convergence thing was dead.

Headlines like these below certainly rained down and very wise people who had always predicted it would end in tears gloated and people assumed the whole project was dead.

But they had not counted on the community that sits behind Ubuntu and in particular Ubuntu Touch. They had not counted on dedication and hard work from volunteers from across the globe who formed Ubports and instead of holding the project on a little longer actually started to grow it from strength to strength picking to support 3 devices then all the previous devices. Funding via donations from sponsors and patreons grew and grew and UBports have started to make massive difference and rebuild this project from the bottom up. 
More information about them is here:

For me they have resurrected and given new life to a really exciting project.

These mini blogs will show you how to set up your phone/tablet after you have installed it; how to change some things around a little like font sizes and then how to make the most of it and enjoy using your phone again. 

Ubuntu Touch: Sorting the font size out

Making Ubuntu Touch readable

Ever since I first tried Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 4 and then Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 I found that I could not use it without glasses and there was no easy way to adjust it unlike with Ubuntu Desktop version and so it was one of the many reasons I would eventually hit back to Android until I had been given a tip which looks fiddly but is in fact not so fiddly and works for all the devices. Before this the text in many of the apps was just too small and I rarely wear glasses except for reading books etc.

if like me this frustrates you then you can easily change it. It involves using the Terminal app (dont worry if you have never used it as it is easier than you think) and you can use copy and paste to prevent mistakes if you do not want to type out the commands below)

It then makes fonts/icons and everything bigger so you may want to play around with it until it works right for you. 

First on your device start up the terminal which is preinstalled in all UBports builds now or if you have another build you can install it yourself from the software store.

Then paste this command in as it is exactly without the quotes by copying this here then pressing on the terminal screen and selecting paste when you see it

"sudo nano .config/upstart/gu.conf"

Using the keyboard then press return/enter using the virtual keyboard bottom right

This then makes a file in your phone/tablet called gu.conf and it is then displayed for you to edit using nano (a programme).

Then paste this in and note in two lines without the quotes

"start on starting dbus
exec initctl set-env --global GRID_UNIT_PX=28"

in the terminal then press the bottom left button to change the keyboard and select Nano then you press CTRL+O which then asks to save the file. 

Here hit the enter /return key to save it using the name it has given it.

Then press CTRL+X to exit nano
Then type sudo reboot

Phone shuts down

Phone boots back up..

Things look a lot bigger and better!

In that file you can play around with the numbers which I think are a little on the small side until you are happy. 

So this was before:

Mine works with it set at you can see everything is a little bigger (including the notification bar!) 

...set it much bigger and some of the buttons start disappearing which is a pain like the send button on the SMS app. 

Somewhere between 25-29 is usually fine though.

To change it again just go back to the terminal and scroll up to go through your last commands and you wont have to retype it.

However for me it meant I could actually read the writing...and use the phone.