The Fairphone 3 is a smartphone manufactured using ethically-sourced materials when possible and designed to be repairable – the phone’s maker sells replacement parts and even a camera upgrade module that essentially turns the phone into a Fairphone 3+.
While the Fairphone 3 ships with Android software, the bootloader is unlockable and you can install alternate operating systems including the Android-based LineageOS or /e/OS as well as GNU-Linux distributions like Ubuntu Touch.
A few months ago a version of Ubuntu Touch for the Fairphone 3 and 3+ was released. It was designed for installation on phones running Android 9. Now there’s a new build that’s compatible with Fairphone 3 series smartphones running Android 10.
Developer Luksus says the new experimental port of Ubuntu Touch for the Fairphone 3 with Android 10/Halium 10 is not as mature as the earlier version, and there are some features that are not working yet. The biggest problems? System sounds aren’t working yet, so you won’t hear phone calls or message notifications. And mobile data isn’t working yet.
Still, phone calls, text messages, WiFi, and camera feature are all functional, so Ubuntu Touch is ready for testing and may even be usable for some folks, depending on their needs.
You can find instructions for installing Ubuntu Touch on the Fairphone 3 and Fairphone 3+ at the UBPorts forum.
The reason developers need to create a new version of Ubuntu Touch for phones running newer versions of Android is that when you install Ubuntu Touch on the Fairphone 3 (and most other phones that originally shipped with Android), it uses something called Halium. That’s is a hardware abstraction layer that uses the Linux kernel provided by a device maker and allows a Linux distro to communicate with a phone’s hardware by relying on Android services.
There are some exceptions – the PinePhone, for example, is designed to use a mainline Linux kernel, so Halium isn’t required and there’s no reliance on a specific Android version. But other phones with official or unofficial Ubuntu Touch support, like the Volla Phone and the Fairphone 3, need to be updated depending on the version of Android running on the phone.