Using Ubuntu Touch Apps in Saucy / Trusty

Nathan Osman's Gravatar

Nathan Osman
published March 19, 2014, 10:38 p.m.

This article is for those of you running Saucy or for those of you brave enough to run Trusty. Did you know that you can run some of the Ubuntu Touch system apps right on your desktop? That's right. Continue reading to find out how. (And see some screenshots!)

Grabbing the Packages

The first step is to grab the packages that contain the apps. Luckily, they are all in the main archives - so there is no need to use a PPA. Let's take a look at three of the applications. Begin by installing them with the command below:

sudo apt-get install gallery-app notes-app webbrowser-app


The first of the four apps we will look at is the Ubuntu Web Browser. Launching the application is relatively straightforward:


A window will open that should look something like the following:

Ubuntu Touch Web Browser

If you can't see the URL bar along the bottom, hold down the left mouse button just above the bottom of the window and drag upward. (This can be a bit tricky at first, but after a few tries, you'll get the hang of it.) The URL bar is also home to the back button and Activity button. Clicking on the activity button will display recently visited pages as well as the current "tabs" that are open. (The "+" button will open a new tab.)

All in all, the browser is extremely simple and lightweight. If you want something that isn't cluttered, and you don't mind the heavily touch-oriented gestures, then this might be the browser for you. The browser is WebKit-based for the curious folks out there.

Running the gallery app is relatively similar to running the browser:


If you have pictures in your ~/Pictures directory, they will appear in the application:

Ubuntu Touch Gallery

Clicking on a picture will enlarge it and you can "swipe" from right-to-left or left-to-right to jump to the next or previous picture respectively. There really isn't too much to say about this app. Pretty much everything works the way you would expect it to.


If you are using Trusty and try to run:

notes-app will immediately receive an error. That's because there is no such executable file in $PATH. However, you can still run the app with the following command:

qmlscene /usr/share/notes-app/NotesApp.qml

This is a bit inconvenient and hopefully it is something that the maintainers are planning to fix soon. Anyway, if you manage to get the application up and running, it looks something like this:

Ubuntu Touch Notes App

Show Me More!

There are many more apps than I had time to cover in this short article. You can find the full list under "Projects" on this page: