How do I test Plasma Mobile? (part 2)

02-02 18:06

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.

There is a list of the devices that can run postmarketOS , and you can find instructions on installing postmarketOS on your device at their wiki page .

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 .

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