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April 26, 2024

Exploring Ubuntu Lomiri: Arrival of Ubuntu Touch’s Mobile Desktop on PC – A First Look

Ubuntu Unity maintainer Rudra Saraswat informs 9to5Linux today about the availability for public testing of the first ISO images of what looks like a new Ubuntu flavor, Ubuntu Lomiri.

For those not in the know, Lomiri is the continuation of the Unity 8 desktop environment that Canonical, the maker of the Ubuntu distribution, abandoned a few years ago along with their Ubuntu Touch mobile OS. The UBports Foundation took over the development of Ubuntu Touch and turned Unity 8 into Lomiri.

Lomiri is successfully used on Ubuntu Touch and features convergence, which means that it lets you turn your mobile device into a desktop when connected to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse. But, for some time, the UBports Foundation was working hard to bring Lomiri to the desktop, and Rudra Saraswat took the opportunity to build a live/installable ISO image and create Ubuntu Lomiri.

“Over the past few years, the UBports team have been hard at work, improving desktop compatibility and getting every single one of the Lomiri packages into the Debian repositories, and subsequently, they made their way into the Ubuntu repositories too. Following which, we decided it would be a good idea to build an installable, daily-driveable ISO, for your testing pleasure,” said Rudra Saraswat.

Long story short, with the unveiling of Ubuntu 24.04 LTS (Noble Numbat) today, the Ubuntu Lomiri 24.04 distribution featuring the Lomiri (Unity 8) desktop is now available for download and trial. It is worth bearing in mind that while adapted to function on desktop computers, fundamentally, Lomiri is still a mobile desktop.

The Ubuntu Lomiri provides essentially the same components and features as the Ubuntu 24.04 LTS. The sole deviation from Ubuntu 24.04 LTS is the utilization of Lomiri instead of the GNOME desktop. If you have previously used Ubuntu Touch on a mobile device or tablet, this interface should feel familiar.

Despite appearing complex on mobile platforms, Lomiri simplifies the user experience on the desktop. It includes an application dash accessible via the Super key on the left and an Ayatana indicators-aided notifications center also on the left, which allows you to modify various facets of your desktop.

Since this is a mobile desktop, you can imagine that not all the options in the notifications center will work. Probably only the volume and brightness levels and the calendar are the only features you’ll be using.

According to Rudra Saraswat, Ubuntu Lomiri is quite stable and can be installed on real hardware. However, please try to keep in mind that this is a pre-release version, which means that you may encounter occasional crashes, which will probably depend on your hardware.

I’ve tested it on a virtual machine (to make the screenshots), but also on bare metal. Unfortunately, the distro didn’t work on my Lenovo IdeaPad 3 laptop, but Rudra Saraswat told me that it works pretty well on his HP Stream laptop except for brightness. If you do test it, do report in the comments below if it worked for you.

Test Link

Last updated 3 hours ago

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