UBports Announces First Ubuntu Touch OTA-4 Release Candidate

Marius Gripsgård, lead developer of the UBports project, announced today that the first release candidate for the upcoming OTA-4 Ubuntu Touch update is now available. The announcement was made through Softpedia as well as Gripsgård’s own Twitter account.

While some individuals have already decreed the end of the so-called Ubuntu Phone, the UBports team has been working hard to ensure that this new OTA-4 release brings with it all the benefits as well as the security updates of Ubuntu 16.04. Even if it’s built for a different architecture, the underlying operating system is still the same.

Many users have been deploying 16.04, also known as Xenial Xerus, since it got released for regular desktop and laptop machines on April 21, 2016. Xenial is one of Canonical’s LTS releases, which means it will continue to receive updates for some time. It’s also proven to be extremely popular with server operators.

This level of popularity has, in turn, ensured that it’s comparatively free of bugs. UBports previously used Ubuntu 15.04 Vivid Ververt, which stopped receiving updates from Linux security and performance experts on February 4, 2016.

On top of the fact that Ubuntu Touch has been completely rebuilt using Xenial’s code, OTA-4 also brings a number of performance updates with it. Early benchmarks seem to indicate that it runs nearly twice as fast as previous Ubuntu-based mobile phone operating systems.

It features a greatly simplified method of installing apps out of the box as well as support for the 2013 Nexus 7 GSM tablet. This should help to ensure some degree of popularity with those who are looking to run an alternative operating system on Samsung hardware.

Security-minded users will appreciate the ability to limit release channels in System Settings so they’re only getting the most best packages at any given time. UBport’s official blog compared the new Ubuntu Touch to a car that looks the same as it always has but is now ready for a spin on the racetrack.

Since the project’s GitHub page reads that other bug corrections are due by June 30, it seems like users will have even more to look forward from the hardworking UBports team.

John Rendace
John is a GNU/Linux expert with a hobbyist's background in C/C++, Web development, storage and file system technologies. In his free time, he maintains custom and vintage PC hardware. He's been compiling his own software from source since the DOS days and still prefers using the command line all these years later.