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SFOS on Gemini PDA, possibly?

asked 2017-03-01 12:40:20 +0200

pakman gravatar image

updated 2017-12-01 13:52:17 +0200

jiit gravatar image

On Monday, a new project was announced on Indiegogo for a PDA with a physical keyboard, that will be dual-boot Android and linux: see . On Monday, I asked on the comments page about porting SFOS to it, and got this response from Davide Guidi (a campaigner):

Thanks for the comment, very interesting! We are at 4YFN, stand P4, at Mobile World Congress and we will go and visit the Jolla stand tomorrow. We have not considered it so far, but you never know!

Maybe, just maybe! It would be interesting to hear if they did talk to someone from Jolla and if anything came of it.

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A integrated physical keyboard would be a pleasure, I miss the old Nokia/HTC/Samsung/Motorolas/Sonys with a keyboard. It will be rather big for a smartphone with 5.7 inches, but manageable. Sadly it looks like they are using this awkward british QWERTY with vertical enter-key, US-Layout would be far better.

hoschi ( 2017-03-01 14:23:41 +0200 )edit

I'd buy this device if Sailfish were ported to it. I'm old enough to remember the original Psion Series 5, which was a truly terrific piece of kit. I still have a Nokia E7, which was excellent but not as nice to use. My original Jolla phone isn't getting any younger, and I definitely don't want to use anything that doesn't run Sailfish. This Gemini would be a perfect PDA phone, and if it runs Linux, there's chance it'll run Sailfish! I'd get involved in the porting effort myself, but I'm only a hardware engineer and have no time left after applying the flamethrowers and hammers to new electronic designs.

NXM ( 2017-03-01 17:27:29 +0200 )edit

Nice device, I never used a psion organizer, but I have used a few alphabetic keyboard phones (Siemens SK65, Nokie E75, N900), and I miss that, especially the N900 was a very nice, feature-rich and powerful device for its age. What I don't understand is how they comfortably implement voice call in the Gemini.

Do you need to use Bluetooth or a wired headset for phone calls? How are you notified of an incoming call? - I didn't see vibrating alert in the specifications.

Personally, I believe it is important that this device is able to fully replace a cell phone to get wide market adoption. Siemens once had a small organizer (IC 35) in the age of the communicator and "regular" cell phones, It didn't gain much market acceptance, most people probably didn't want to carry their phone and the organizer.

If this device supports sailfish os, I might take another look into it, right now I don't feel like getting a compact linux computer with a touchscreen but no trackpoint (and I'm not interested in android).

How easy it is to port sailfish os on this device probably depends on the support for the MediaTek MT6797X and the other hardware. This CPU uses a 2+4+4 configuration and may suffer from the same problem as the Xperia X in terms of CPU core allocation (Always uses the slowes [or in this case maybe fastest, most power-hungry] cores first)

Cmdr_Zod ( 2017-12-01 11:47:48 +0200 )edit

6 Answers

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answered 2018-02-19 19:55:14 +0200

pakman gravatar image

updated 2018-02-19 19:58:15 +0200

And it is happening, see today's update at along with other goodies like an open bootloader (drool)!

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Very interesting device, I'm the former owner of Psion :)

orol ( 2018-02-20 09:55:18 +0200 )edit

answered 2017-03-03 01:21:37 +0200

pakman gravatar image

In the comments on the Gemini Indiegogo campaign page, there are several answers from Planet Computers along the lines of:

We talked to Jolla about Sailfish at MWC and will continue discussions

I'll be watching with interest to see if anything comes of this......

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Nice, Jolla could be a great Linux vertion for the Gemini PDA. I will hopefully get one when the release !!

Mr.Thumb ( 2017-03-06 16:19:31 +0200 )edit

Hoping for the best I ordered a Gemini...

meneer ( 2017-04-16 14:16:40 +0200 )edit

answered 2017-11-30 19:28:54 +0200

netvandal gravatar image

as an update, an interesting reading.

No news on sailfish side?

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I've been following this, and it looks like they have been concentrating on Android and Linux. They are in the process of moving from the prototype stage into production, so the feature set for production is pretty much fixed. I think that they are only likely to move with SFOS if/when the device is out and a success, and if users and potential buyers start asking for it. SFOS on this machine could happen in the future I guess, but not for a while. Still a cool device though.....

pakman ( 2017-11-30 20:22:00 +0200 )edit

I would be interested in hearing more from Jolla on this. It seems a worthwhile pursuit to see if there is any traction in reviving this form factor. I presume that the dual-boot is simply multiple partitions on a solid state? If so, it would be ideal for Jolla to focus on wiping out the existing partitions and focusing on one partition for SFOS.

jimjamz ( 2018-01-01 18:04:55 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-06-24 18:35:48 +0200

jolladiho gravatar image

level 1 is reached, read about the 1st community port downloadable at Planet Computers support Page.

wiki on tjc

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answered 2018-05-05 00:29:59 +0200

ExPLIT gravatar image

As i know, Jolla WANT, that Developer port Sailfish on NEW Devices like Gemini PDA. For such case, Jolla created HADK. This SailfishOS Versions are fully legal, but does not contain commercial parts like AlienDalvik, MS Excahnge and XT9

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answered 2018-02-20 23:17:35 +0200

jsommer gravatar image

I would appreciate another SailfishOS device, but I'm not sure, whether the mentioned SailfishOS support of this device is official and legal, because SailfishOS is a propretiary software (although it includes FOSS) and requires a license agreement with Jolla. I doubt, that Planet Computers is able to pay this fee.

It would be great to have a really open source branch of SailfishOS for innovative startups like Planet Computers or Youyota, because the business model of Jolla targets only established device brands. Exchanging the upper UI level may already fullfil legal requirements.

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It is not yet generally known whether Planet Computers have a community-style build for the Gemini or a commercial one with MS Exchange, Alien Dalvik etc. However, they will be showing it in the linux corner of their stand at MWC next week, and they are quite explicit about it in their IGG update. I seriously doubt that there is anything illegal about what they are doing.

pakman ( 2018-02-21 00:10:03 +0200 )edit

Thanks for your post. I’m afraid, it is illegal, because SailfishOS is intellectual property of Jolla even without MS Exchange, Alien Dalvik and other components, which are licensed by Jolla itself.

Another community member has referenced a list of licenses in this forum. Here are the relevant quotes:

jolla-calculator-all-translations;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-email-all-translations-pack;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-email;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-mediaplayer;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary sailfish-weather;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-calendar-all-translations;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-mediaplayer-all-translations;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-notes-all-translations;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-calendar-all-translations-pack;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary sailfish-components-calendar-qt5;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary libjollamediaplayer;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-notes-settings;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary sailfish-office-all-translations;pj:apps:release / latest_armv7hl;Proprietary jolla-calculator;pj:apps:release / 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SailfishOS is not open source in a legal sense, it is based on open source. The homepage of Sailfish describes the proprietary layer for Sailfish UI and Sailfish apps. I think, that Sailfish Silica is IP of Jolla and only can be used for the purpose of developing and distributing own apps, but not distributing the OS itself.

SailfishOS is not like the AOSP, that is used by LineageOS and other vendors. It’s more like iOS or macOS, that is build upon BSD respectively the Darwin.

If someone knows a way to use SailfishOS or a similar community port, I would be very happy. Jolla is a commercial company, that needs to survive. Unfortunately their target customers seem to be established device brands. I still hope to close an agreement successfully, but I’m afraid, that I need to choose another bases operation system for my business objectives. I think, there are not technical reasons, why Fairphone still doesn't offer a pre-intalled SailfishOS and Shiftphones removed the announcement of a product with SailfishOS.

jsommer ( 2018-02-21 09:30:55 +0200 )edit

There are already many Sailfish OS community ports not done by Jolla - how is this situation different ?

MartinK ( 2018-02-21 13:33:44 +0200 )edit

Where can I find these ports?

A legal review would be very interesting for me. I assume, that these ports doesn't have the SailfishOS UI and SailfishOS standard apps, because the source code is not published under any open source license as you can see in the quoted listing of a community member.

Technically, a community build is possible, but it’s not allowed to sell a smartphone with SailfishOS without a license agreement with Jolla.

Licensing is the business model of Jolla, that has invested millions in the development. Therefore the license requires a significant payment.

Customers of devices with a not licensed SailfishOS carry the risk that the custom has to destroy imported products. Manufacturers carry the risk of damages for the infringement of intellectual property as a criminal offence.

jsommer ( 2018-02-21 14:59:43 +0200 )edit

@jsommer It is disappointing to hear that you have found dealing with Jolla frustrating, and I hope that you manage to resolve the situation. Interestingly, your comments are the second hint that I have read in the last couple of weeks about this kind of thing, see also this post on TMO.

Nevertheless, it is a big step to assume that Planet Computers have also failed to make a deal with Jolla but are pressing ahead with a Sailfish port without any regard for the legality of it. I'll give them a nudge to clarify the situation at MWC next week.

As for community ports, I haven't been following that side of things in detail because my interest has always been in the commercial version, but I always had the impression that various people were building and distributing SFOS for a whole range of devices. A quick search has found one here:

pakman ( 2018-02-22 00:41:28 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2017-03-01 12:40:20 +0200

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Last updated: Jun 24 '18