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Install Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 4 : single or dual boot with Android

Ubuntu’s benevolent dictator for life Mark Shuttleworth says, Ubuntu’s convergence of the desktop and the mobile device will happen soon.Seems to be a good idea if we do get an unified open source convergence on the computer and the phone. Ubuntu touch is a good modern OS, which is based heavily on gesture based approach rather than the typical capacitive button based. Examples of such would include, Sailfish OS (Jolla – redefined Meego) and Blackberry 10 (based on QNX platform – UNIX like but proprietary). Jolla is the company made by ex-Nokia employees who were involved in Meego development in Finland.

Install Ubuntu Touch on Nexus 4

Steps to install Ubuntu touch (remember this is still a developer preview) on the Nexus 4

First and foremost, root your Nexus 4 and enable USB Debugging and Android developer mode (Settings->About Phone->Tapping build number 7 times).

These will be necessary as standard Android adb and fastboot commands will be required for some cases. Hope you are well acquainted with the basics. You can go through some excellent rooting tutorials out there before you try this.

Rooting Nexus devices are the easiest of the lot.So do a quick search on Android Nexus 4 rooting guides if not done already.

There is a way through which you can install both Android and Ubuntu together in Nexus 4, MultiROM MANAGER.

Also you can replace Android entirely with Ubuntu touch as well.

Replace Android with Ubuntu touch

For this you would need Ubuntu based distro. If you are running Ubuntu, previous to version 14.04, you need to add certain PPA’s for them to function.

Add the following repositories:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:phablet-team/tools Phablet tools PPA

On Ubuntu 12.04 add this as well:
sudo add-apt-repository ppa:ubuntu-sdk-team/ppa
Then update: sudo apt-get update
The Ubuntu-device-flash is the main tool for installing Ubuntu: sudo apt-get install ubuntu-device-flash

Ubuntu 14.04 has all the necessary stuff included (just enable Ubuntu universe archive). From Ubuntu terminal, use the command: adb devices

Your phone will be shown in the list of devices attached, means it is connected.

Before starting you should backup your device using any proper backup applications available in play store.

There are several channels in Ubuntu touch development. The latest build will be channel=devel (utopic unicorn based image). Utopic unicorn is the Ubuntu 14.10 (now in development). If you want a stable one, choose a stable channel. Do have the Nexus 4 image (occam for mako) or any custom ROMs handy if this fails.

Let us begin the flash now:
Fire this command: ubuntu-device-flash --channel=devel –bootstrap

Now wait for a long time, this is going to take time as the size of the image is big enough. In most cases no input is required. An appropriate image is downloaded to ~/.cache/ubuntuimages.

First boot will take time, so wait again as well. You can change your channels as well: ubuntu-device-flash --channel=trusty-proposed or ubuntu-device-flash --channel=trusty --revision=299 (for a specific version)

Using MultiROM Manager:

Download the app from play store. The GUI will show you if you have any recovery (e.g. TWRP or Clockwork MOD installed or not). If nothing is there it aids in downloading one as well.

There is a specific card for Ubuntu Touch which has customizable channels as explained earlier. Decide on being an adventurous one or being the no-risk-taker.

Click on install Ubuntu touch, it will start downloading the Ubuntu touch image from the appropriate channel and will automate your job.

Beware that the Android kernel needs a certain patch for Multiboot to work in this procedure (kexec-harboot patch).

If you are using a custom rom, the kernel (stock or cyanogenmod based) does not work. Either get the patch and merge it with your stock kernel or flash a kernel that has this patch merged from before (Franco’s kernel might work).

Well I have tried and tested the Ubuntu touch utopic version (devel) in my Nexus 4 and its a great improvement from the old trusty Ubuntu touch (it was then the developer channel).

One problem that you will face is that all your file system structure and root access will get changed and all data in your phone will get destroyed. So do remember to backup your phone previously.

After installing Ubuntu Touch on your Nexus 4 you may experience your phone is a bit slower and gesture based OS may look little tougher to handle but still MIR display based Ubuntu touch OS on this phone looks promising.

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