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[Feature request] Option to show only running apps on the home screen

asked 2015-09-10 23:41:15 +0200

nodevel gravatar image

With the new behavior, when killed/closed apps stay on the home screen view, it stops being a multitasking view. For me, the killed apps get in the way - I want to see only the apps that are running and if some app stops running, I want to know it, not guess by its cover.

I want to be informed of why it was killed/crashed when it happens, but I do not want the app to stay in the multitasking view, as it is not running so it has no place there.

Please, bring this as an option, to restore the multitasking nature of the system.

On the home screen, I want a multitasking view, not 'recently opened' apps like on Android and other inferior systems.

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I am fully agree with your comment. I like the new interface, but not new logic how apps showing on the home screen. Also, info about killed apps in Events screen would be nice as for me.

Igorion ( 2015-09-10 23:54:54 +0200 )edit

How about an indicator for apps in multitasking view that were killed ? Like an overlay with a pause button or something like that (something that does not confuse the user with a media player pause play buttons) Or like BlackBerry 10. Just the Icon of the closed/killed app in the middle of the cover with a normal default cover background.

leszek ( 2015-09-11 00:11:49 +0200 )edit

I was in two minds about that. On one hand, I strongly agree with you that only running applications should be in the multitasking view. On the other hand though, if a killed application disappears from the view, it loses its place and when restarted, its position will change. I think that was one of the resons for this new behaviour, although I am pretty confident that the main reason was to try to hide the terrible memory management and frequent OOM problems.

The more I think about it though, the more I am inclined to support your idea. Killed apps should disappear from the view, with a big fat pop-up warning that the application was killed. Trying to sweep a problem under the rug is not going to help in the long run.

If Jolla still wants to keep killed apps in the list, then they should make the situation more obvious. A barely visible blurring may be easily missed, especially in strong ambient light such as outside. A big skull-and-crossbones icon slapped on top of the cover of a killed app or something like that.

pichlo ( 2015-09-11 13:47:07 +0200 )edit

4 Answers

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answered 2015-09-11 02:32:15 +0200

bilgy_no1 gravatar image

I'm very happy to see the new implementation. Until now, it was very frustrating to have apps being closed (often as a result of OOM behaviour). It actually made the multitasking experience a lot less effective. Instead of switching between apps on the home screen, you'd have to go back to the app list to reopen a killed app.

Of course it's not 'real multitasking', because the app has to be reopened, but it's still faster and more convenient than going back to the app list before even being able to relaunch the app.

The OOM behaviour is a lot better, but it still happens. Moreover, there's no longer a 9 app limit, so it's good to be able to see apps that the user has opened on the home screen.

Of course, an option in Settings would be fine. In my opinion, however, this is not a priority.

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Actually, the reasoning behind my idea is that having apps being killed is very frustrating and it should be fixed - but this new change hides this problem and provides excuses for not fixing it. I have even seen such replies on TJC - someone complained about apps being closed by the OOM and the reply was "hey that's no longer a problem, because you can just tap on the cover and it will be restarted".

Sure, it might be easier to launch the apps this way, but I think it is just an excuse for not fixing the real problem - the insufficient optimization that causes OOM to kick in. Therefore I would rather have the problem exposed, than trying to hide it.

See how many people on Android complain about apps being killed? Close to none and that's because Google hid the problem well. Yet I won't use Android because of that - and I wouldn't want SailfishOS going the same way.

I could create a patch that does exactly what I want in a moment, but that's not the point - I want Jolla to officially stand by the idea of SailfishOS being a multitasking OS (even though they might be pushed by Intex or investors in the other direction).

nodevel ( 2015-09-11 09:11:55 +0200 )edit

I think the OOM killing is partly related to sub-optimized apps/processes. There's a reason why the Jolla browser often kills itself and/or other apps, but other browsers don't. So you're definitely right about that.

There's also a limit to how much multitasking we can do with just 1 GB of RAM. Of course a new phone could have more RAM, but in an OS-licensing model Jolla should leave some design freedom to manufacturers. If the minimum requirement stipulates 4GB of RAM, it would become very hard to develop cheap phones for the emerging markets on which Jolla wants to focus. And even 4 GB will be a limitation to some users.

So, I guess the OS should have some solution for this, and the current implementation seems to be pretty decent.

Like I said, it would be nice to have an option like you describe, but in my opinion there are still more pressing issues that need to be addressed with the limited resources that Jolla has available.

bilgy_no1 ( 2015-09-11 11:32:07 +0200 )edit

@nodevel: I'm interested in such patch. I just realized that Whatsapp was closed, don't know for how long, without me noticing due to the fact that it stayed in the multitask view and that the difference between active and killed is so small. I rather have it removed from the view altogether.

But I'd prefer if Jolla could address it officially, of course.

Mohjive ( 2015-09-14 14:39:14 +0200 )edit

answered 2016-02-08 12:51:23 +0200

femtopeta gravatar image

updated 2016-02-10 11:14:23 +0200

Sorry for the necro, but I put my Jolla aside after 1.1.9 and only recently had some time to try again, now with 2.0.0. I second nodevel, but I would like to extend the request, as there are two more things that are really bad.

1) When an app OOM-dies, the app cover will stay on the homescreen somehow pallid but almost indistinguishable from the still-running apps (this is bad). The Cover of a dead app should be clearly marked - it is now just an app icon in a different location. Even worse, the cover of a dead app will still show the last state. So i.e. when my battery app dies, the cover will show the wrong figures. This is IMHO totally useless.

2) When an app restarts after dying, nothing is restored. The browser forgets the last pages and tabs, the file manager starts at home not the last path it has been used with. The same goes for other apps. Not having a restored app state is a big step back. This is done better even in android. And why are apps so easily OOMing anyway?

This and some other things heavy-heartedly render the Jolla unusable for me right now. 2.0.1 doesn't say anything on the app-cover issue, but there may be a 2.X in the future that will solve things.. Hope dies last.

[edit notice: hthn is right, dead app covers are greyed out - kinda. It depends on the app and the colors, there are cases where you will not be able to tell but by - in case - missing cover action buttons. ]

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The cover is, in fact, grayed out. Maybe less noticeable on some ambiences than others.

nthn ( 2016-02-08 14:47:29 +0200 )edit

You are right. I edited my answer accordingly. Thanks!

femtopeta ( 2016-02-10 11:13:50 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-09-11 00:35:21 +0200

simo gravatar image

A colored line/corner/dot on the Home screen covers would be nice, showing:

  • Green: live updating covers
  • Yellow: suspended apps / snapshot covers
  • Red: killed apps requiring relaunch
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I am not a fan of this idea. SailfishOS is a multitasking OS, therefore:

  1. There should be no suspended apps.
  2. Killed apps have no place in the multitasking view, but some info should be shown why they were killed. Maybe in the Events view - good idea, @Igorion.
  3. Why would I want to see a green line/corner/dot on a running app? Apps should be running, that's what they are for. If they are not running, their icon is in the launcher, and their cover is not in the multitasking view. If they are running, they are in the multitasking view. What clearer indication can there be?

Plus it is not really an answer to my question, because I am asking for an option to show only running apps, therefore no notification would be needed.

nodevel ( 2015-09-11 01:16:03 +0200 )edit

Well in principle, I don't like the fact that apps getting suspended/closed. But due to the limited RAM I think it is the only way, to keep the device running on an acceptable performance.

The only other way thinkable for me is, not just closing an app, but give a warning: "You are running out of memory, please close some apps otherwise the following app/apps will get suspended..." That would at least give me the choice which app is important and should stay alive.

Fellfrosch ( 2015-09-11 13:05:58 +0200 )edit

@Fellfrosch Well, I remember the N900 with 256MB of RAM, where I could run more apps at the same time than Jolla and it featured the X Server, which is supposed to be much more resource hungry. Of course, one cannot compare 1:1, but 1GB is quite a big portion of RAM if you take that as a standard.

But I absolutely agree about the warning - webOS would warn me before launching an app: it'd say "there's not enough memory, please close some apps first". That way no apps were ever sluggish (what you suggest would cause brief sluggishness, before you'd decide which app you want to close) and the OOM behavior was much more reasonable.

nodevel ( 2015-09-11 18:30:06 +0200 )edit

@Fellfrosch@nodevel Warning would be just awesome, but wouldn't that require an app to report its expected RAM usage already before loading into that RAM? Sounds like _higher_level_knowledge_ or something hardcoded into the app launcher itself.

simo ( 2015-09-11 18:38:15 +0200 )edit

@simo Definitely. Either that, or the system would approximate it (apps already go through Q&A testing that rejects the app if it is unnecessarily resource-hungry, so this should be doable) - that's probably how it was done on webOS (years ago).

On the other hand, the OOM doesn't kick in in the very last moment - it also needs to have some additional free memory in order to keep the system responsive.

I am suggesting this not as a OOM replacement, but as an additional step/option to have it less annoying for users by reducing the number of situations when the OOM must act.

nodevel ( 2015-09-11 19:21:01 +0200 )edit

answered 2015-09-11 12:38:21 +0200

dorrontxiki gravatar image

This new home screen functionality is not working fine for me (I've got the 'Quick app closing' option selected in Settings/Gestures)

  • Sailfish native apps don't stay on the home screen when I close them.
  • Android apps keep on home screen only when I press the Android backpress arrow to close the app, but not when I close them in Sailfish wait (top edge swipe).

I think the idea of keeping on the home screen the last used apps, even if they have been closed and not running anymore, could be a good idea, so that the access to most used apps could be faster. But I would also add this option in Settings, so that we can try it and later comment whether the community likes it or not.

Another change on OS2.0 about the running apps on home screen that I don't like at all, is that the order of the apps on the home screen (first on top left, last on bottom right) is based on when we have opened the app for the first time, and not on which are the apps that we have used for the last time. I think in the previous OS version was much better, having on top left of the home screen the app that we have used the last.

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You don't have to close them. If you close them they are obviously closed ;) Instead minimize them: Use a side swipe.

Fellfrosch ( 2015-09-11 12:59:55 +0200 )edit

@Fellfrosch That's not necessarily true. Try causing some app to get stuck and then close it with the swipe from the top gesture. The cover will disappear, but after a few seconds, you get a warning that an app is unresponsive and if you want to close it. Click on 'No' and the same situation will repeat in few seconds. That app was supposed to be closed, but it continues running even without cover.

So that's another weird change in - you cannot be sure whether some apps are in fact running even if you closed them.

nodevel ( 2015-09-11 18:34:26 +0200 )edit

@dorrontxiki The Android "back" button now behaves the same way it does on Android: It leaves the cover open and takes you back to the home screen. Back =/= close.

ossi1967 ( 2015-09-15 11:24:41 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2015-09-10 23:41:15 +0200

Seen: 856 times

Last updated: Feb 10 '16