How to install the Twinkle soft phone on (K)Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr 5

In (K)Ubuntu 14.04 LTS Trus­ty Tahr, the Twink­le soft­phone appli­ca­ti­on is somehow packa­ged wron­gly so that due to miss­ing depen­den­ci­es, Twink­le can­not start up in gra­phi­cal mode. Until a cor­rec­ted packa­ge is released, you can resur­rect Twink­le by using the ver­si­on from Ubun­tu 12.04 LTS. To do that, per­form the fol­lo­wing steps:

1) Add the Ubun­tu 12.04 packa­ge sources to the sys­tem. For this, add the fol­lo­wing lines to /etc/apt/sources.list:

## Ubuntu 12.04 for packages to be installed from older release due to bugs
deb precise restricted main multiverse universe

2) Exclude the­se packa­ges from the default update mecha­nism – packa­ges from here should only be instal­led on spe­cial request. Do this by adding the fol­lo­wing lines to /etc/apt/preferences (crea­te the file if it does not exist so far):

Package: *
Pin: release a=precise
Pin-Priority: 400

3) Install twink­le from Ubun­tu 12.04 LTS Pre­cise Pan­go­lin by issuing the fol­lo­wing commands:

apt-get update
apt-get install twinkle/precise

This forces to install the twink­le packa­ge from the just-added „pre­cise” packa­ge source which actual­ly is Ubun­tu 12.04. If you had instal­led twink­le befo­re from Ubun­tu 14.04, apt-get will warn you that you are going to down­gra­de the packa­ge. It might also install some fur­ther libra­ri­es from Ubun­tu 12.04. Not that the com­mand will out­put the ver­si­on num­ber of the twink­le packa­ge which is actual­ly cho­sen by sel­ec­ting the „pre­cise” packa­ge source (note that below Ger­man loca­li­sa­ti­on is given):

Version »1:1.4.2-2.1« (Ubuntu:12.04/precise [amd64]) für »twinkle« gewählt.

After that, twink­le should be starta­ble again. It is now the older ver­si­on which works wit­hout pro­blems – and has the cor­rect depen­den­ci­es so that the gra­phi­cal inter­face comes up.

4) After having instal­led the old ver­si­on, you have to fix it so that sub­se­quent „apt-get upgrade” com­mands do not over­wri­te it with the (bro­ken) ver­si­on from 14.04 again. For this, add ano­ther ent­ry to /etc/apt/preferences:

Package: twinkle
Pin: version 1:1.4.2-2.1
Pin-Priority: 500

Note that we pin the packa­ge to the ver­si­on which has been out­put by the „apt-get install” com­mand above.

By using the /etc/apt/preferences file, we have the gre­at advan­ta­ge that all packa­ge manage­ment frontends obey the pin­ning. Locking a packa­ge e.g. in syn­ap­tic will not influence the apt com­mand line tools.

5) Final­ly, apt-get might com­plain about some auto-instal­led packa­ges which are not nee­ded any more. The­se are libra­ri­es nee­ded by 14.04’s twink­le which are not nee­ded by any other packa­ge. Remo­ve the­se with

apt-get autoremove

After all the­se steps, you have a working twink­le again and you had not to tweek the packa­ge manage­ment out of its limits.

Three months later…

After instal­ling twink­le this way, I used it for about six weeks. Unfort­u­na­te­ly, it beca­me more and more unsta­ble, pro­ba­b­ly due to updated libra­ri­es or other stuff, which moved my sys­tem more and more away from precise’s envi­ron­ment. When my twink­le cra­s­hed in three of four attempts to ans­wer an inco­ming call, I final­ly moved away from it. Now, I am using sfl­pho­ne, which beca­me usable after some updates of Trus­ty Thar. Unfort­u­na­te­ly, it mas­si­ve­ly lacks docu­men­ta­ti­on, I can­not find the com­mand-line cli­ent and the desk­top inte­gra­ti­on is far away from the sta­te I had with twinkle.

All the other VoIP soft pho­nes of Ubun­tu and even bey­ond are unu­suable – eit­her due to tech­ni­cal inca­pa­bi­li­ties or due to even worse inte­gra­ti­on into my desk­top – bear with me, but I’d like to ans­wer a call purely by key­board and not pushing the mou­se all over the desktop.

Over all, the sta­te and qua­li­ty of VoIP soft­phone cli­ents on Linux is rather uncon­vin­cing, even in 2014…

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5 Gedanken zu “How to install the Twinkle soft phone on (K)Ubuntu 14.04 Trusty Tahr

  • Xulian


    All your pro­ce­du­re work­ed for me with an updated Ubun­tu 14.04.02 from Ubun­tu 12.04.
    The only dif­fe­rence was I must use /etc/apt/preferences.d/twinkle file to per­form your indications.

    Today is working fine, but I will start loo­king for a sub­sti­tu­te to be rea­dy as soon it starts to degra­de performance.

        • Franco Calagreti

          i add Package: *
          Pin: release a=precise
          Pin-Prio­ri­ty: 400
          apt-get install twinkle/precise
          Let­tu­ra elen­co dei pac­chet­ti… Fatto

          E: Cam­po non vali­do nel file del­le pre­fe­ren­ze /etc/apt/preferences, man­ca l’in­tes­ta­zio­ne „Packa­ge”