Ubuntu’s convergent goal is to have one OS running across multiple devices. No separate forks; no custom remixes, just one Ubuntu, with different faces depending on the screen it’s being viewed on.
As evidence of that goal the daily builds of Ubuntu 13.10 have welcomed some new applications into the Ubuntu Software Store: Ubuntu Touch Core Apps.
Gallery, Media Player, Notes & the webkit Web Browser are available to install and run on the Ubuntu 13.10 desktop.
All of the applications are in various stages of development (work on Ubuntu Touch and its core apps is ongoing) so don’t expect too much too soon.
That said, let’s take a look at what’s being offered.Web Browser
The webkit-based web-browser for Ubuntu Touch is fairly basic thus far, but also fairly stable.
The address field, and back/forwards buttons are part of the toolbar (swipe up to show) placed at the bottom.
Tabbed browsing is already supported, and tabs can be launched and closed from a toolbar item. Clicking on a tab and dragging it to the left closes it.
Running on the desktop the browser is fully resizable, and responsive websites – e.g. like ours – adapt seamlessly during this.
If you’re already using Ubuntu 13.10 you can install the web-browser app by clicking the button below.
If you’ve tried out one of the developer preview builds of Ubuntu Touch then you may have already played with the Notes app.
It’s nothing special; it lets you add and remove notes.
The Gallery application is the app I am most impressed by already.
Again, if you’ve played with the developer builds on the phone or tablet then nothing you see here will be unfamiliar: you can view your Photo library by event, album or alone.
Individual images can be opened and edited. At the time of writing both Rotate and Crop work fine, but Auto-Enhance does not.
Are they usable as desktop apps? Kind of.
As you’d expect, the interfaces of applications designed around digit input are not particularly mouse and keyboard friendly. Useable? Yes. Ideal? No.
For example, accessing the toolbar (drag up from the bottom) is hard to do with something as precise as a mouse pointer. Overshooting by a pixel or two and you accidentally end up resizing the window.
That and a lack of keyboard navigation are the only real user experience hurdles one comes up against when trialling these touch apps on the desktop.
In fact, if the toolbars were to remain visible when an app was in desktop mode then I’d probably find myself reaching for something like the Gallery app more often than Shotwell.
The important thing to remember is that its early days for these apps, and for touch apps on the desktop.
You’ll be able to go hands on with more than just touch apps in 13.10 – developers are hoping to include a separate Unity 8 session powered by the new display compositor Mir for willing testers to play with.
Having trouble trying to mount the Google Nexus 4 on Ubuntu 12.04 or 12.10? Judging by our post-bag over the last few months you wouldn’t be alone.
Like all Nexus models, the Nexus 4 doesn’t come with any form of inbuilt expandable storage. everything saves directly to the flash memory inside.
This might make things quicker to access on your phone, but makes it a little troublesome to access them from within Ubuntu!
Linux being Linux there are, of course, a stack of solutions addressing this, letting you access and transfer files between your computer and your Nexus handset with relative ease.
We’re going to look at two them below.Sukria’s Steps
We’ll start with the method suggested by perl-hacker and blogger Sukria. Simply because of the two it is arguably the easiest to follow.
It’s aimed specifically at Ubuntu 12.04 LTS and 12.10, and requires the installation of a backported version of the GVFS – the GNOME Virtual File System – that supports the newer MTP protocol used on Nexus devices.
Using Ubuntu 13.04? The good news is that required packages are already available, so you don’t need to follow this step.
Open a terminal and issue the following two commands:sudo add-apt-repository ppa:langdalepl/gvfs-mtp sudo apt-get update && sudo apt-get dist-upgrade
After installing I’d recommend giving your system a reboot just to make sure everything takes effect. If all has gone well the next time you connect your Nexus you should be able to access it directly in Nautilus.Manish’s Method
If the steps above don’t work then all is not lost – reader Manish A. S. mailed us with a comprehensive guide to his preferred solution, telling us:
“I have tried many different methods to mount my Nexus 4 on Ubuntu and none have ever truly worked. Finally after much surfing I found the following to work (thanks to XDA Developers).”
He’s prepped a 9-step guide, available to download by hitting the button below:
And a video* tutorial detailing the process from start to finish:*Our publishing of this video should not be taken as endorsement of his wallpaper