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21 January 2009, 09:14

Ubuntu Mobile may, or may not, use Qt

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At the conference, Canonical's David Mandala has said that future versions of Ubuntu Mobile may use the Qt GUI toolkit as the basis for the mobile applications running on the platform. According to ComputerWorld Australia, the presentation discussed the Ubuntu port to ARM devices, which will be arriving alongside Ubuntu 9.04 Jaunty Jackalope as a Canonical supported member of the Ubuntu family.

The current versions of Ubuntu Mobile uses GNOME Mobile, rather than a full GNOME desktop. The problem is that while the Gnome desktop works with a standard 800x600 resolution screen, many applications don't respect this limitation. This in turn means the Ubuntu Mobile developers have to spend time resizing applications to fit. Since the announcement that Qt 4.5 will be available under the LGPL licence, it is now possible, according to Mandala, for the Ubuntu Mobile project to consider using the alternative library. He did not commit the project to a change though, saying "So watch this space as it is changing dramatically. We will chose the best tool".

Ubuntu Mobile is progressing, with the port for ARM processors already having most of the "Universe" of Ubuntu packages working on it, bar about five hundred of the ten thousand packages. Mandala pointed out that ARM v7 netbooks are still under development, most boards don't have 2D or 3D Linux drivers available yet. He also talked about the challenges of working in a different market place, which is dominated by proprietary hardware and extensions and how Canonical are still working "out here for the community".

Currently developers can get their hands on a QT 4.5 beta from Qt Software, for Windows, Mac, Linux, Embedded Linux and Windows CE, under the GPL or a "special Beta licence". An LGPL licensed final QT 4.5 is due in March.


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