In Ubuntu Touch on a tablet, can I use apt-get to access Ubuntu repositories with native apps -- and will native Linux apps run in Ubuntu Touch?

3 Answers 3


there is a couple of things to say about that:

1) apt-get in itself does and will still work. That isnt going away. To the best of my knowledge, you can even still do apt-get update/upgrade to update your packages on touch. However for easier deployment, we now use click packages to deploy apps to touch.

2) will native apps run on touch? Well that depends. When you mean apps with a GUI then no, most likely not. When they haven’t been built using the Qt/QML sdk for Ubuntu, they wont be environmentally aware enough to function on touch. (Though theoretically you could build an app in (say) C++ without the sdk that would work on touch. It would just be an enormously complicated task)

So no: GUI-apps for Desktop Ubuntu in reality just will not run on Touch. The basic difference between Touch and Desktop Ubuntu (at the moment) is that Desktop uses the X display server. All Desktop GUI programs rely on X to render them to screen. Touch does not now and will not have X. A new display server called Mir has been designed for Touch. That brings great advantages compared to X but that means that applications that need X, just will not run on Touch. (Again, this is only for the GUI part of an app). Note also that in the near future, Ubuntu Desktop will also get MIR, but with a fallback to X for apps that don´t do MIR.

Most Commandline interface programs (like corkscrew for instance) will have no inherent problem with Touch. (Touch is however still under heavy development so it may not work right now.)

Sorry for the lenghty reply. This is however pretty complicated stuff :)

  • Thanks for your reply. When you say environmentally aware, do you mean resizing etc? I am using a tablet with a keyboard, so resizing etc is not a concern. I sound to me like your answer is yes, but I should not expect a great user experience? And that definitely already now I can install tings like openjdk and corkscrew.... Need it for my VPN.....thanks Feb 8, 2014 at 21:36
  • No its not just about user experience. I will explain a bit more. I have edited my answer so see above :)
    – matv1
    Feb 9, 2014 at 10:48
  • Thanks again for your reply. I was however of the believe that the full convergence would mean that you could use your tablet as a desktop when with a keyboard etc. , but maybe it is in the future? Feb 9, 2014 at 22:26
  • 1
    Not exactly. What is meant by full convergence is that when writing new gui-apps for Ubuntu with the new sdk (with qt/qml) or using standard HTM5, then, that app will run on any of the form factors without a problem. (This is already miles ahead of any other platform). But as far as I can see, full convergence will not be possible for all the 'old' Desktop gui-apps. I guess that for these apps, the gui-part would have to be re-writen in qt/qml
    – matv1
    Feb 10, 2014 at 9:47
  • great....thanks for your answer. I somehow imagined That there would be fallback to x on all devices(phone and tablet). I guess there are still a bit of work ahead to port office applications before the phone can become the full workstation replacement. Feb 11, 2014 at 9:56

I've used "aptitude" to update / upgrade 15.04 and ran into some problems.

  • the cache used a lot of space resulting in errors "ran out of space"
  • some of the main Ubuntu touch components had been removed in the process - leaving the phone useful only in terminal mode but without the touchscreen applications 3) apt-get6 update seemed to run nicely but after the update the 3G / 2G carrier was not detected anymore . This could be easily solved by changing the carrier mode from 3G to 2G and back again => resulting in a rescan of available carriers - resulting in a working phone again :)

so Just a warning ... use apt-get carefully ... the whole system is still in beta and this seems to result in some of these behaviours.


Perhaps this is a more relevant askubuntu answer? At least on how to enable apt-get on Ubuntu touch.

Basically it says to use phablet-tools and configure it

sudo ap-get install phablet-tools
phablet-config writable-image

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