This update is the ninth in a series of regular updates on the state of the project.
Only changes that have been accepted and merged in Mobile NixOS are chronicled here. There’s always more work currently in-progress.
As with last month, a big part of the 10 pull requests merged were bug fixes or minor changes. Though some valuable work was also finished.
Asus Zenfone Max Plus (M1)
The port for asus-x018d is mainly notable for being the only alternative system to the OEM-provided Android system, with the exception to a TWRP that is using the OEM-built kernel.
This means that, for the first time, Mobile NixOS this is the only alternative system for a device, including other Android-based systems.
Finishing with a last note, this device has an older Mediatek SoC, compared to the other ported Mediatek device. There is not much to say, except that it was found that older Mediatek devices may exhibit a similar quirk to Qualcomm devices, where the framebuffer has to be refreshed explicitly for the display to be updated.
External device definitions
I hesitate to openly discuss about this pull request, as it might make contributors think they should not contribute their devices back. #162 adds a mechanism to maintain and build external device definitions.
These external definitions should only be used for devices that are not welcome to the main project. The main reason a device would not be welcome is if it is not a “Mobile device”. An example of such a device is the Pinebook Pro, which is a laptop. Another example would be porting to SBCs like a Raspberry Pi.
Updates for the boot GUI
This change, #189, is where most if this month’s development time was spent. The toolkit used for the boot GUI has been forked and adapted to serve the goal of providing a GUI for mobile devices better.
As part of the changes, some minor UX (User eXperience) changes have been made, but more importantly, major changes like properly supporting mouse and touch screens in an independent manner, and providing keyboard-driven input. This also adds support to navigate the GUI with the volume keys and the power button, which is a common scheme used to provide a fall-back navigation when touchscreen support is possible.
Except for the new way added to interact with the GUI, there are no major changes to how the GUI is used. Though the work is a first step to provide more in-depth options during the boot process, like tracking progress, and required user input for actions during boot like passphrase input.