Canonical Voices

Posts tagged with 'nexus7'

Daniel Holbach

Going mobile

Many asked me in the last time what became of the Ubuntu on Nexus7 project. I’m happy to say that it’s going really well. Some weeks ago it was already very easy to install Ubuntu on a Nexus7, since then things got better and better. Many bugs were ironed out, but the piece most folks have been concentrating on recently was the desktop-r-reduced-power-ram blueprint.

The spec says:

In the past few cycles, we saw that our desktop took more and more RAM to run the full session. Also, more daemons mean more interruptions on the CPU, and less battery file. We will get services to not run when not needed and work on improving the code of those components to consume less resources

Why is this so relevant in a mobile setting? Simple. Most mobile devices are less well-equipped than the common Desktop or Laptop, and every interruption, every bit of CPU usage, every disk access costs precious battery life. Fixing this kind of bugs will have a great and positive impact for all devices running Ubuntu.

Here’s a quick summary of the work which has been done:

  • Robert Ancell: look at why lightdm is using 30MB (it’s due to the memory locking – without locking it drops to 3.7M)
  • Michael Terry: Make lightdm selectively lock memory instead of using mlockall
  • Sébastien Bacher: look if gnome-keyring needs to be running all the time (needs to, restarting would mean having to unlock it again, e.g ask user for password every time)
  • Sébastien Bacher: look at what is making goa run for some users (it’s e-d-s)
  • Sébastien Bacher: set up follow-up meetings about the topics we didn’t cover during the session
  • Ken vanDine: check with online team if signond needs to be running all the time
  • Ken vanDine: investigate long running telepathy-indicator/mission-control
  • Iain Lane: drop g-c-c recommends on goa so it’s not installed by default
  • Oliver Grawert: seed zram-conf
  • Brian Murray: look at what update-notifier is used for nowadays, identify if those functionalities could be replaced/moved to upstart jobs []
  • Colin Watson: fix upower memory leaks
  • Colin Watson: reduce update-notifier memory use

Update: Sébastien also mailed the ubuntu-devel@ list with a nice summary of the work.

We need your help

If you have a look at the desktop-r-reduced-power-ram blueprint you can see that there is still quite a bit of work which need to be done. There are assignees for some of the work items, but all of them will be happy to hear you offer help. The effort is coordinated on #ubuntu-desktop, so you best head there and start chatting with the team.

More information – live hangout

Tomorrow, 7 Feb 2013, at 9 UTC I am going to talk with my friend Sébastien Bacher on about this initiative, so if you want to find out more, be sure to tune in or watch the recording in the ubuntuonair youtube channel afterwards.

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Daniel Holbach


Many have asked me what’s been going on with the work on Ubuntu on the Nexus 7 recently. A lot of people put work into getting the raring images ready for public consumption. 12.10 worked great on the Nexus, but there were a few blockers on getting 13.04 to work as well. On this road among other things these issues were fixed:

  • A new onboard pre-release made it into 13.04 which fixes many bugs already and makes our on-screen keyboard a lot easier to use. Thanks a lot to the onboard team.
  • The new Unity stack got into raring, which is now automatically tested after commits and auto-released into 13.04. This is a huge milestone from the Unity team. Among the issues fixed was a nux problem, which constituted a blocker.
  • The new raring images use oem-config to present us with an installer window, where you can specify a user name, the wireless network you want to use and other bits.
  • Many many other issues were fixed as well.
Ubuntu on the Nexus 7

Ubuntu on the Nexus 7

So what does this mean for you now? You can now very easily put Ubuntu 13.04 on your Nexus 7. It won’t need any additional PPA, it’s stock raring, you won’t have to reflash, but can just do your regular updates and enjoy the latest and greatest improvements day by day.

This is a huge achievement and will allow us to do better and more immediate testing and hacking on the device.



One thing we want to improve on the Nexus 7 (and in Ubuntu in general) is memory consumption. Alex Chiang has put together some great blog posts on how to help with finding memory issues and debugging them. They are absolutely worth a read and an effort worth getting involved with. Here are the links:

If you want to make Ubuntu better and have a bit of a development background, be sure to check them out.


Meeting the team

Everybody who has been working on Ubuntu on the Nexus 7 has documented things on the wiki pages, so if you are excited about this, be sure head there first. Also does the team hang out in 24/7 in #ubuntu-arm on, so feel free to drop by, say Hi and get to know the others.

These are exciting times for Ubuntu and you can be part of it. :-)

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Daniel Holbach

Ubuntu Core on the Nexus 7

There was lots of buzz around Ubuntu on the Nexus 7 and I was lucky enough to get my hands on a Nexus 7 myself, so I had to try out getting Ubuntu on it. The instructions were incredibly clear and everything worked just perfectly. I couldn’t believe how quickly the the Nexus 7 booted into a standard Ubuntu Desktop.

Ubuntu on the Nexus7

When I started to play around with it, I noticed how much of the vision which shaped Ubuntu in the last years works really well on such a small device. Unity is great, the Ubuntu font looks very crisp, the touch gestures, etc. It was a pleasure to see this and play around with it. Naturally I ran into a couple of issues, which was totally expected. We want to know what these issues are and want to work on them to make Ubuntu ready for ranges of hardware. It was great to see that almost every issue I noticed was filed as a bug report already and the most pressing ones have assignees already.

When I decided to dive into it some more, I was glad I had a a Micro USB Host Cable (OTG Cable) and the small USB hub, Intel gave to UDS participants. I was all set to use the tablet as a small computer. Awesome. (To everyone who has hacked on small devices before, this might be boring – I found it quite exciting to be honest. ;-) )

The current image uses 12.10 plus some patches, but it will soon move over to the 13.04 development release, where we can see bug fixes in a more immediate fashion and benefit from all the new goodness which goes into Ubuntu. Expect an announcement of the move to ‘raring’ very very soon.

This effort is a fantastic opportunity for Ubuntu, as we can all look at one reference device and fix whatever needs fixing and let Ubuntu benefit as a whole. If you think this is a worthwhile project, you can help out. What is most needed right now is people who help test the device, report bugs, triage the list of bugs, forward them to the upstream projects if necessary. If you know how to debug memory consumption and how to improve it, you’d be a great fit for the team as well. Please join #ubuntu-arm on and talk to the folks in there.

Our documentation is up at and there soon will be more meetings, more announces and more chances to get involved. These are exciting times.

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Daniel Holbach

For the 13.04 cycle a team of people got together to make sure that the standard Ubuntu Desktop works great on the Nexus 7 device. This is a great opportunity for Ubuntu as we can all refer to one device and one chipset and make sure that Ubuntu is capable of dealing with the device. This will lay the foundations for making Ubuntu ready on many other devices.

The team meets on the 16th November 2012, 16:00 UTC in #ubuntu-meeting.

On the agenda are:

  • general Q&A – the team will answer all your questions,
  • an overview of the current work

We are actively looking for help, we need you to make Ubuntu even better. If you like to test, work with bug reports, measure, debug or fix doesn’t matter, we need you and want you on board.

We put together documentation which should provide pointers to installing Ubuntu on the Nexus 7, how to use it, how to debug and measure certain things like power consumption or memory usage and which bugs we want to fix.

If you have a Nexus 7, plan to get one or are generally excited about the initiative, or just want to find out more, make sure you’re there. Please also let your friends now.

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