Don’t Hold Your Breath On UBports’ Ubuntu Touch For Purism’s Librem 5 Smartphone

While Ubuntu Touch that continues to be worked on by the UBports community remains one of the most viable and furthest along Linux open-source smartphone operating systems, it doesn’t look like there will be any solid support in time for launch-day of the upcoming Purism Librem 5 smartphone. 

Adding to the growing list of concerns over the Librem 5 smartphone is now finding out there isn’t Ubuntu Touch progress being made… Last year Purism announced Ubuntu Touch would be supported on the Librem 5 and that the company would “officially collaborate” with UBports. That was back when they planned to ship the Librem 5 smartphone in January 2019 and offer their own GNOME-based PureOS, PureOS with KDE Plasma Mobile, and Ubuntu Touch as options. 

Fast forward just over one year and it turns out Ubuntu Touch isn’t being worked on. In fact, Purism reportedly hasn’t even supplied developer kits to the UBports developers. Buried in the Ubuntu Touch Q&A 49 I found some interesting Librem comments. Over being asked whether the recent “Librem One” apps would come to Ubuntu Touch, UBports developers commented: “Purism announced this week that there will be Librem branded already existing apps for their notebook and phone. Not much is happening between us to be honest. There have been no devkits for us. Ubuntu Touch of course already has apps for email, Matrix, Mastodon etc anyway.” 

It’s unfortunate to hear that Purism hasn’t even seeded developer kits to the UBports Ubuntu Touch developers after talking up their relationship last year. The latest indications publicly from Purism is they plan to ship the Librem 5 smartphone in Q3, which still seems to be an ambitious stretch, but given there hasn’t been any Ubuntu Touch porting it would be difficult to imagine that happening still in time for launch day. Ubuntu Touch currently isn’t supporting any other iMX8 devices so it’s not something we would expect to see happen overnight especially given their limited resources. 

Those wanting to find the supported devices today for Ubuntu Touch can do so at Ubports.com’s promoted devices.

Written by Michael Larabel

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