After the Android  port for the HD2, developers are working on the port of Ubuntu, a Linux operating system for desktop computers and laptops. Beside the computer version, Ubuntu is also being offered for machines with an ARM architecture for some time now. However, Ubuntu had also to be adapted to the special hardware of the smartphone.

The HTC Linux community now offers their second built of Ubuntu for the HD2. At the moment, there are drivers for the touchscreen, the Wi-Fi and the phone including 3G communication. There is, however, no audio driver and therefore no sound, even not in calls. It also includes USB host drivers, which support mass storage, audio and networking devices.

On my phone, the boot process lasts 86 seconds until the desktop and its icons appear. The build uses its own Wi-Fi software (Wicd). You can switch between portait and landscape mode and access the Micro SD card. There is also an onscreen keyboard for text inputs.

As Ubuntu has its own software center, you can install virtually any program being offered. You can, of course, also install software which comes in a .deb archive and is compatible with the ARM processor. The build comes with Firefox, Evolution, GIMP and Below, you see the loading / reaction times of several programs / actions and some pictures:

Ubuntu 9.10 Karmic Koala, GNOME 2.28.1 loading of the entire system 86 seconds
Mozilla Firefox 3.5.3 web browser 10 seconds (without loading a page)
Mozilla Fennec leight-weight web browser 8 seconds (without loading a page)
Midori 0.1.9 leight-weight web browser 7 seconds (without loading a page)
GIMP image editor 26 seconds
Scribus desktop publishing 20 seconds
Evolution 2.28.1 personal information manager 15 seconds
AbiWord 2.6.8 word processor 7 seconds Writer 3.1 word processor 36 seconds
Audacity 1.3.9 sound editor 9 seconds
Ubuntu Software Center software directory 12 seconds
Switching from portrait to landscape mode and vice versa (graphical user interface must be reloaded) 40 seconds

Ubuntu on a HTC HD2 with dynamic CPU clock rate and a Class 2 16 GB Micro SD card

IMG 0001 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 9999 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 9998 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 9997 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 0003 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2 IMG 0002 150x150 Ubuntu on the HTC HD2

The speed of Ubuntu can be compared with an eight year old laptop. The further development might bring some speed increase due to better hardware support, but also by disabling unimportant services or choosing other software. Beside Ubuntu, a look at a leight-weight operating system, for example Xubuntu, might also be worth it.

But you should not expect wonders. Another big problem is the usability: Ubuntu was designed to be handled by a mouse. A smartphone with a resistive touchscreen and a stylus would also be possible. But as capacitive displays can only be handled by a finger, it is extremly difficult to hit small icons, menus  or keys on the onscreen keyboard.

Nevertheless, I am already looking forward to test the next HD2 Ubuntu build, which is going to be based on Ubuntu 10.10 (Maverick Meerkat).

Related posts:

  1. HTC HD2 – Android, Ubuntu builds “for mass consumption”
  2. Ubuntu for tablets unveiled
  3. News from Opera 9.7
  4. Opera Mobile review – Part 1: Looking at the browser
  5. Google Maps: StreetView for Windows Mobile

2 Responses to “Ubuntu on the HTC HD2”

  1. Dear

    You done a GREAT job but i have some questions

    1. First from where we can call from Ubuntu ?
    2. And after Ubuntu & Android installation can we go back to old software ?
    3. And staying in Ubuntu screen can we make calls

  2. Hi Wajahat,
    thank you so much for talking back!

    Unfortunately, we do not manage these apps. Please ask at xda-developers to find out more!

    All the best
    Tam Hanna

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