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A collaborative effort to create a user-friendly installer for different mobile operating systems



Installing alternative mobile operating systems on third-party hardware is often too difficult for inexperienced users. This paper outlines a brief idea how the UBports Installer could be adapted to solve this problem for all mobile operating systems in a collaborative manner. Published in The Journal of Brief Ideas.
A collaborative eort to create a user-friendly installer
for dierent mobile operating systems
Johannah Sprinz
5. February 2022
Published in the Journal of Brief Ideas
doi: 10.5281/zenodo.6288520
license: CC BY
keywords: mobile operating systems, open-source software development
Various alternative mobile operating systems are available, but installing them on
third-party hardware is often too dicult for users unfamiliar with command-line tools
[1]. Since most community-based projects only have very few pre-installed devices com-
mercially available, they will remain inaccessible to users who are not technically literate
The UBports Installer addresses this problem for Ubuntu Touch by providing a cross-
platform graphical application that bundles the command-line utilities required for instal-
lation [2, p. 21]. Device-specic installation instructions can be dened using a exible
YAML syntax [3]. These les are editable through a public GitHub repository to enable
community contributions. To allow developers to troubleshoot issues with devices they do
not own themselves, users of the UBports Installer can automatically report installation
results to a logging server [2, p. 57].
Initial experiments with adding other operating systems to the UBports Installer
yielded promising results [3], but further work is required to research and implement more
installation procedures. Contributors from various open-source communities should be
invited to contribute installation instructions. It might also be possible to automatically
generate installation instructions from existing structured data, such as the LineageOS
wiki source les.
[1] J. Sprinz, ”Exciting developments around Linux on Phones: Ubuntu Touch,
Plasma Mobile, Halium, PinePhone, and VollaPhone” 36th Chaos Commu-
nication Congress (36c3), 2019, doi: RG.2.2.19633.86884.
[2] J. Sprinz, ”Leveraging Human Computation for Quality Assurance in Open
Source Communities,” Bachelor Thesis, LMU Munich, Open Access LMU,
2022, doi: 10.5282/ubm/epub.91046.
[3] J. Sprinz, ”UBports Installer congs v2”, GitHub, UBports Foundation,
Figure 1: UBports Installer version 0.9.1-beta
Full-text available
The presented thesis investigates facilitating software quality assurance in open source communities through a human computation platform. Inexperienced community members can contribute formalized user testing data, which is then aggregated and presented to the developers. The implemented prototype, named open crowdsourced user-testing suite (OPEN-CUTS), was evaluated in a usability study in the UBports Community. The viability of this approach has been demonstrated, and further goals for research and development are proposed.
Full-text available
Software developed under the open source development model (OSSD) has risen to significant importance over the recent decades. With more and more critical components being developed under the OSSD, the need for extensive quality assurance (QA) increases. This thesis investigates any potential for conducting formalized user testing through inexperienced volunteer community members under the OSSD. A human computation platform to aggregate such test results was designed and named open crowdsourced user-testing suite (OPEN-CUTS). A usability study of a prototype of OPEN-CUTS confirms the viability of this approach and points to potential future research questions.
Full-text available
There have been countless attempts to dethrone Android. Many tried, many failed. But 2020 might be the year we finally see this change!,5211
Exciting developments around Linux on Phones!" 36c3
  • J Sprinz
J. Sprinz, "Exciting developments around Linux on Phones!" 36c3, 2019.
UBports Installer configs v2
  • J Sprinz
J. Sprinz, "UBports Installer configs v2", GitHub, UBports Foundation, 2019,