ubuntu phone touch emulator

disappointed with android bloatware getting worse, incompatible releases, and an unstable roadmap, i am seriously considering a proper linux mobile device.

i was an early android adopter, actively contributing to firmware development. we wanted to make android slimmer, a minimalist system focussing on extracting more battery life and performance. but the bells & whistles lobby won! alas, over the years, i've seen android (particularly the google stacks) become more & more bloatware, only suitable for higher end devices. which means every year or so, you need to buy the yet another new/expensive device just to continue running with android.. unless you are a hacker, know your way around the internals, and not concerned with losing the warranty.

every android release seems to be incompatible with existing versions. if you can't update your phone, you end up with an expensive paperweight. so my recommendation is to purchase the cheapest android device you can live with this year.

windows10 promises updates for the life of your device, unlike android devices which get abandoned soon as you've purchased them. i've seen seemless upgrades from win8 to win10, increasing my confidence in the product. but for the notoriety and past tactics of microsoft!

looking at opensource linux alternatives for mobile devices

the only feasible alternatives i see currently on the horizon are linux devices. there seems to be a few running in the fringes. none yet anywhere near mainstream.

emdebian seems to have lost track somewhere, and become abandoned :-( despite showing great promise some years ago.

ubuntu phone emulator
ubuntu wiki: http://wiki.ubuntu.com/Touch/Emulator
image server: http://system-image.ubuntu.com
quickstart: http://davidplanella.org/ubuntu-emulator-quickstart-guide

an emulator is a wonderful starting point & showcase to demonstrate to the world, and allows a massive userbase to get comfortable with something new, without bothering to purchasing a device, and ending up with an expensive paperweight.

for most devs, an emulator allows them to hack without bricking any equipment. opensource allows most users and/or their peers to support themselves, reducing expensive support costs/infrastructure. bugs are quickly found & fixed by volunteers!

to ubuntu's credit, they have released emulators for stable (current release, necessary for supporting existing user base) and devel (future releases, necessary for supporting roadmaps) channels.

unfortunately, these emulators are restricted to ubuntu installations only. even worse, they don't work for most people who bothered to install ubuntu. it seems only the ubuntu devs who released these emulators use them successfully!?

try it! let me know, if you have better luck.. :-)

# apt-get --install-recommends install ubuntu-emulator
only in this instance. usually i never install recommends.

before you create an instance, understand the directories used, and ensure enough diskspace.

~/.cache/ubuntuimage contains images you downloaded
~/.local/share/ubuntu-emulator contains instances you created

the devel channel is unstable, and has too many problems unless we are bug testing/fixing. so we use the stable channel.

$ sudo ubuntu-emulator create {myinstance} --arch=i386 --channel=stable
downloaded >2G in .local/share/ubuntu-emulator. ensure target dir has enough diskspace.

$ ubuntu-emulator run {myinstance} --scale=0.7

first run only. wait till init complete.
$ adb shell sudo shutdown -h now
$ ubuntu-emulator snapshot --create=pristine {myinstance}

use as normal now.
$ ubuntu-emulator run {myinstance} --scale=0.7

devel channel build has too many errors. adb device always offline.
stable channel seems more.. er stable..er. adb connects as expected.
neither successfully came up with an interface. just a black window.

if canonical wants ubuntu phone to become more popular, and i would like it so, the least they can do is release a stable emulator/product, which works for most devs. unless the opensource community gets behind this, it is simply not going to take off.

to become more mainstream, the emulator should be made more widely available. debian would be a start.

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