The first part of this series focused on testing Plasma Mobile on virtual machine and/or on a PC/laptop. In this second part we will focus on testing Plasma Mobile on actual mobile devices.
Currently there are two possible ways of testing Plasma Mobile on an actual mobile device,
- Using postmarketOS
- Installing Halium and a KDE neon-based rootfs
I will explain both methods briefly in this blog post. Note that some of these steps may involve getting device-specific sources and building them manually, This may require a intermediate knowledge of how to unlock the bootloader, flashing and restoring devices and basic knowledge about various UNIX/Linux commands.Using postmarketOS
postmarketOS is touch-optimized, pre-configured Alpine Linux-based distribution which offers Plasma Mobile as one choice of several available user interfaces.
When you follow the instructions to install postmarketOS, remember to select “plasma-mobile” as the user interface when asked:Available user interfaces (5): * none: No graphical environment * hildon: (X11) Lightweight GTK+2 UI (optimized for single-touch touchscreens) * luna: (Wayland) webOS UI, ported from the LuneOS project (Not working yet) * plasma-mobile: (Wayland) Mobile variant of KDE Plasma, optimized for touchscreen * weston: (Wayland) Reference compositor (demo, not a phone interface) * xfce4: (X11) Lightweight GTK+2 desktop (stylus recommended) User interface [weston]: plasma-mobile
An important thing to note about postmarketOS is that it also offers Plasma Mobile on devices running mainline kernel, for example on the Sony Xperia Z2 tablet, Google Nexus 7 (2013), and LG Nexus 5 (partially). More information about Plasma Mobile on postmarketOS project can be found at the Plasma Mobile wiki entry.
Video below shows Plasma Mobile running on the Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet, which is running on mainline kernel instead of the pre-installed older kernel version.
However note that the postmarketOS project is still at very early stages of development and is not suitable for most end users yet.Installing Halium and a KDE neon-based rootfs
Halium provides the minimal android layer that allows a non-Android graphical environment to interact with the underlying Android kernel and access the hardware. The Plasma Mobile team provides a Neon-based rootfs which can be used along with the Halium builds. Currently Halium has been ported to multiple devices, however, binary builds are not provided because most of them include binary blobs which we cannot redistribute them legally. Instead we provide a link to the source manifest and you can use that to build your own images. Documentation on how to build and install Halium is available at the Halium website.
Plasma Mobile on Nexus 5 and Nexus 5X is using the Halium based images, binary images for those are distributed at Plasma Mobile image server as a reference for other porters and developers for easy testing. You can install on those devices using the flashtool available on Github.
Last week we asked the Free Software community what they wanted to do to help us move forward with Plasma Mobile. These were the results from the poll on Twitter:
And this was what the poll on Google+ looked like:
As you can see, the results were similar with least 44% poll participants wanting to test Plasma Mobile on their device, and/or as a virtual machine, or on real machine. Testing this on virtual machine was quite a hack earlier as explained in a previous blog post. We had no dedicated ISO image for Plasma Mobile, to test the Plasma Mobile one had to install KDE Neon developer edition and then run a few commands to convert it to a Plasma Mobile installation.
But, this week, by popular demand, we are providing an x86_64 based ISO images you can download from Plasma Mobile images server.How to test
You can download the latest ISO and boot in either Virtual Machine or boot it on real machine.QEMU/KVM
On actual device
Things to try
- Add a widget to the desktop
- Download and install an app from Discover Software Center
- Read comics in Peruse
- Test Kaidan, the XMPP client
This software is Alpha! Use it at your own risk. This software is not recommended for use in production and many core functionalities will probably not work. This version is intended for testing some features and for preview only. Plasma Mobile is not yet at a level where it can substitute the operating system currently running on your mobile phone, but with your help, we will get there.How to send us feedback
Thank you for helping us test Plasma Mobile.
2nd part of this series will focus on testing Plasma Mobile on actual mobile devices instead of virtual machine or PC/laptop
If you want to develop for Plasma Mobile, but you don’t have a Mobile device, it is useful to emulate a Plasma Mobile on your desktop or laptop. Earlier this was not documented and has been asked multiple times on how to achieve this.
This blog post is intended to help install a Plasma Mobile on the qemu-x86.
- First of all create a qemu-image of 10GB size.
- Download the KDE Neon Dev edition (git unstable) ISO. Link
- Start the qemu system with the downloaded the KDE Neon ISO.
- This will boot the KDE Neon system with Plasma Desktop. You will need to use Calameras to install the Plasma on the virtual machine.
- Once installed, shutdown the virtual machine and restart the machine without ISO attached.
- In the virtual machine, open konsole and add the repository for Plasma Mobile.
- Install the updates
- Install the Plasma Phone shell and configuration for Plasma Phone.
- Logout from the Desktop Session and select the Plasma Mobile (Wayland) session.
- This steps will start Plasma Mobile session.
Please note that this steps are experimental at the moment, I am working on providing pre-built ISO images which will not require the KDE Neon developer edition ISO.