I've been doing a little testing of the Ubuntu Touch preview on my Nexus 10 tablet. It's very pretty, but I'm curious what support is planned for "legacy" Linux/X11 apps that aren't based on Qt/QML?

Will traditional desktop applications like LibreOffice and Gimp be runnable on the tablet view? Or will they run in a dedicated X11 desktop app? Or only when docked? Or will they be supported at all?


Ubuntu Touch, and desktop Unity starting in 14.04, will run on top of the new Mir display server. Part of the Mir offering will be XMir, an X server running as a Mir client. This will allow legacy/X11 apps to run on top of Mir without any effort.

However, even if this does allow them to run on Ubuntu Touch, most legacy/X11 applications are not designed for touch-input and small screens, so most of them would not be very usable on phones and tablets.


The thin client will use mir as the display server. From what I've read porting apps from x11 to mir will be fairly painless so don't worry about your desktop apps not working.


According to "Ubuntu Touch: Next Generation OS or Just Another Skin?" (XDA Developers), neither X11 nor Wayland are supported at this time.

  • I know nothing works in the current developer preview, but what's intended to be supported? It says "The phone becomes a full PC and thin client when docked." at ubuntu.com/devices/phone ... – Brion Feb 27 '13 at 19:48

I purchased the Ubuntu Phone (bq Aqaris E4.5) and if you download a terminal app for the ubuntu Phone and type in service --list-all a service named x11-common is listed as well.

But typing in Xorg just returns that the command was not found.

If you search for "ubuntu touch x11-common" you'll find this:

X Window System (X.Org) infrastructure

x11-common contains the filesystem infrastructure required for further installation of the X Window System in any configuration; it does not provide a full installation of clients, servers, libraries, and utilities required to run the X Window System.

A number of terms are used to refer to the X Window System, including "X", "X Version 11", "X11", "X11R6", and "X11R7". The version of X used in Debian is derived from the version released by the X.Org Foundation, and is thus often also referred to as "X.Org". All of the preceding quoted terms are functionally interchangeable in an Debian system.

This means that you will NOT be able to run windows from your 'normal' OS.

"The phone becomes a full PC and thin client when docked."

This is only true for the Ubuntu Edge, which did not succeed to be funded. It might be realised in the future though. At the current state (early 2015), the bq Aqaris E4.5 does not even support OTG HDMI, while basic OTG USB Keyboard and Mouse support already works.

  • I used a YubiKey in plain password mode, which should be recognized as keyboard but it would not work. This is not a representative test though. – 3244611user Mar 30 '15 at 7:27

I have recently bought the Aquaris M10 Ubuntu tablet. It has a few X11 programs built-in (Firefox, Libre Office, gedit), but the filesystem is read only. I have managed to install GNU Octave, but the X11 GUI is not working. Touch isn't suitable for users to install X11 software yet (May 2016)

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.