User-Interfaces

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At the moment Weston is the default UI for postmarketOS. It is simple and helps us to keep researching and developing the base of pmOS but in the future we will also support other more sophisticated and fancy User Interfaces.

Here is a list showing examples and the on-going work on this topic.

This index page could use some help, see wiki#23.

User Interfaces

Weston

Weston is the default, minimal, interface based on XWayland. It allows developers to do "simple" things like running firefox and opening a terminal, plus testing the touchscreen and other peripherals. Alone, it isn't really usable for touchscreen-only devices.

Project page: https://github.com/wayland-project/weston

Plasma Mobile

Plasma Mobile is a mobile variant of the KDE Plasma user interface, optimized for touchscreen. It only has decent performance on a kernel that features DRM, and is disabled by default on devices that don't have it.

Work in Progress.

For more information, see issues #161, and #378.

Project page: https://plasma-mobile.org/

Hildon

Hildon is an application framework originally developed for mobile devices (PDAs, mobile phones, etc.) running the Linux operating system as well as the Symbian operating system. It was developed by Nokia for the Maemo operating system and is now a part of GNOME. It focuses on providing a finger-friendly interface. It is primarily a set of GTK+ extensions that provide mobile-device–oriented functionality, but also provides a desktop environment that includes a task navigator for opening and switching between programs, a control panel for user settings, and status bar, task bar and home applets. It is standard on the Maemo platform used by the Nokia Internet Tablets and the Nokia N900 smartphone.

Hildon is based on GTK2 and there is a work in progress port to GTK3.

For more information, see PR #461.

Phosh

Phosh, the phone shell, is a graphical interface for mobile phones created by Purism for the Librem5. It is one of the most polished mobile interface interface and works best with GNOME 3 applications. Phosh, like Sway, require DRM and simply won't work if it is not supported by the kernel.

MATE

MATE is a full GTK-based desktop environment forked from the code base of GNOME 2. It works well even on devices that only have a framebuffer for display, which makes it a good choice for devices that do not have DRM support.

Xfce4

Xfce4 is another full GTK-based desktop environment, aiming to be fast and lightweight. It also works well on framebuffer-only devices.

Sway

Sway is a tiling Wayland compositor that is intended to work with a keyboard, even if it features some touch controls. It is based on wlroots, and will need DRM to start.

i3

i3 is a tiling window manager, and Sway's ancestor. It can only be recommended on devices featuring a keyboard. Being older, it does not require DRM, which makes it able to run on older devices.


Others

See issue #62 for more information on other UIs that could be ported to postmarketOS. Some of these are:

How to choose an UI

With pmbootstrap

You have to configure pmbootstrap before generating the system image either by pmbootstrap init or pmbootstrap config:

$ ./pmbootstrap init
[09:22:39] Target device (either an existing one, or a new one for porting).
[09:22:39] Available (49): amazon-thor, asus-flo, asus-grouper, asus-tf101, fairphone-fp2, google-glass, htc-ace, htc-bravo, huawei-angler, huawei-y530, leeco-s2, lenovo-karate, lg-d285, lg-d855, lg-dory, lg-h815, lg-hammerhead, lg-lenok, lg-mako, motorola-osprey, motorola-shamu, motorola-titan, nokia-rx51, oneplus-bacon, oneplus-onyx, qemu-aarch64, qemu-amd64, qemu-vexpress, samsung-espresso10, samsung-i747m, samsung-i9003, samsung-i9070, samsung-i9100, samsung-i9195, samsung-i9305, samsung-i9505, samsung-maguro, samsung-n7100, samsung-s6500d, semc-anzu, sony-amami, sony-aries, sony-castor-windy, sony-honami, sony-yuga, t2m-flame, teclast-x80pro, wiko-lenny3, xiaomi-ido
[09:22:39] Device [qemu-amd64]:
[09:22:56] Available user interfaces (6): 
[09:22:56] * none: No graphical environment
[09:22:56] * hildon: (X11) Lightweight GTK+2 UI (optimized for single-touch touchscreens)
[09:22:56] * luna: (Wayland) webOS UI, ported from the LuneOS project (Not working yet)
[09:22:56] * mate: (X11) MATE Desktop Environment, fork of GNOME2 (stylus recommended)
[09:22:56] * plasma-mobile: (Wayland) Mobile variant of KDE Plasma, optimized for touchscreen
[09:22:56] * weston: (Wayland) Reference compositor (demo, not a phone interface)
[09:22:56] * xfce4: (X11) Lightweight GTK+2 desktop (stylus recommended)
$ ./pmbootstrap config ui weston

Once installed

Once you have postmarketOS on your phone or tablet, you can still change user interface without reflashing so long you have an internet connection: you need to remove your current UI and install another one. Example:

# apk del postmarketos-ui-mate
# apk add postmarketos-ui-plasma-mobile

See also