Status update 2020-11-15

Saying that the past few weeks have been a bit chaotic would be an understatement, but this is finally coming to an end! So, what happened?

First of all, we transitioned the kernel from 5.8 to 5.9. While this should normally be a minor upgrade, it turned into a nasty transition period, as we took the opportunity to get rid of some technical debt and make the whole system more future-proof:
  • We replaced our home-cooked boot process and kernel upgrade system with 'u-boot-menu': this widely used, well-tested debian package generates a boot menu file (in extlinux format) that can be used directly by u-boot, and makes sure to do so everytime a kernel image is (un)installed. This will avoid future issues with kernel upgrades (as we encountered during the 5.7 -> 5.8 upgrade, where the new kernel would be installed, but still boot on the old one) and allows persistent command-line customization
  • Our metapackages and tweaks were almost completely refactored in order to build upon a few new debian packages (meta-phosh & mobile-tweaks), and make future evolutions easier and more stable, and prepare for inclusion in Debian
  • The build recipes were also fully reworked to get rid of code duplications, and ease adding support for other devices and, over time, desktop environments
To be honest, I was surprised to see how many people were using Mobian, as we got a number of bug reports from people not reading this forum nor following the Matrix channel, which made this whole transition much more painful to many than I had anticipated. I apologize for that, and rest assured this shouldn't happen again. Nevertheless, I deemed this transition a "necessary evil", as it allowed us to make sure Mobian was now built on much more solid foundations, which will hopefully make such transitions in the future unnecessary.

The latest kernel brings some major improvements:
  • Improved audio quality during calls
  • Fixed the display clocks, making USB-C video output more reliable
  • Fixed the internal display refresh rate
  • And obviously, a number of upstream kernel fixes and improvements
On top of that, we also initiated and released, in close cooperation with Purism, a new audio routing daemon, which is device-agnostic and only relies on proper ALSA UCM profiles being available. As upstream 'calls' switched to using 'callaudiod' since version 0.1.9, we no longer need to patch 'wys' or 'calls' itself (actually, we don't need 'wys' at all on PinePhone).
This is a contribution we're very proud of, as it was a missing piece in the telephony stack, allowing different devices (PinePhone and Librem 5) to run the same exact software, automatically dealing with hardware differences.

The PineTab obviously benefitted from most of these improvements, with a few extra ones:
  • Automatic recognition of "docked" mode with the optional keybard attached
  • Better sizing of squeekboard, the on-screen keyboard, in both portrait and landscape mode
  • Default phosh orientation is now landscape mode
For the next few weeks, we'll switch our focus to more groundwork, and might use some help for the following:
  • Upload mobian metapackages and tweaks into Debian; this requires also packaging a few extra dependencies for Debian, but once this is all done, this will further reduce the number of packages maintained in a separate repo, and allow us to benefit from the automatic unstable->testing transitions (with the ability to block the transition if a bug is detected)
  • Implement a userspace power management daemon, based on megi's modem power driver
  • Work on the on-device installer and full disk encryption
Finally, we promoted the Friday 13th build as our new reference release, based on encouraging feedback from users.

We highly recommend that you reflash this release (or a more recent nightly build) instead of trying to upgrade. Upgrading from a build older than 20201113 will bring you into "unsupported and likely to break things" territory, and you'll be on your own here.

Hope you enjoy this new release anyway Smile

Messages In This Thread
Status update 2020-11-15 - by a-wai - 11-15-2020, 10:23 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by marcih - 11-15-2020, 10:54 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by as400 - 11-15-2020, 12:38 PM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by dukla2000 - 11-15-2020, 06:06 PM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by tomoqv - 11-16-2020, 06:56 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by vandys - 11-16-2020, 10:21 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by Kawayuppie - 11-16-2020, 01:45 PM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by marcih - 11-17-2020, 03:26 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by Luke - 11-16-2020, 01:48 PM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by deedend - 11-16-2020, 11:02 PM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by ken92 - 11-17-2020, 01:56 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by dukla2000 - 11-17-2020, 03:51 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by LinAdmin2 - 11-17-2020, 07:06 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by HLing - 11-17-2020, 01:57 PM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by a-wai - 11-18-2020, 02:40 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by bcnaz - 11-22-2020, 12:14 AM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by HLing - 12-04-2020, 01:39 PM
RE: Status update 2020-11-15 - by bcnaz - 12-05-2020, 05:58 PM

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