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Is it possible to manually update alien-dalvik

asked 2017-09-27 16:06:29 +0300

T1mb3 gravatar image

I was wondering if it'd be possible to update the dalvik manually and get better support for android apps. What are the downsides or technical problems with this idea?

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answered 2017-09-27 18:26:34 +0300

DrYak gravatar image

Technical problem :


  • AlienDalvik is 'only' an implementation of Dalvik, the "I-can't-believe-it's-not-Java(tm)" JVM-like used by android, (together with tons of necessary API middle ware - e.g.: Making Jolla contacts visible to Android apps, etc.)
  • That's unlike other solution which rely on full blown emulator (like Shashlik) or Linux containers (like Andbox)
  • As such Alien-Dalvik runs on the same kernel, and bits of the same user space (among other - the adpatation layer) as the rest of the OS. (so even more bits than Andbox)
  • As detailed in other comments and in other questions the current Linux kernel (and the rest of the user space bits in the "adaptation layer") on Jolla 1 comes from an older Android 4.1.2 'JellyBean' version.
  • To get a more recent alien-dalvik would require that you first get all the underlying bits running on Jolla 1 to be adapted to Android 4.4 KitKat (more recent kernel, more recent userspace drivers and libs, etc.)
  • Still as mentionned in the driver question other phones running similar or exactly the same chipset as Jolla 1 (random example : HTC One Mini) DO HAVE Kitkat ports, so it means that somewhere Qualcom has the necessary Android 4.4 bits.
  • Other comments seem to point out that the exact kernel API level is a bit more complicated.

But still, getting an upgraded Alien-Dalvik would still require lots of dev work to upgrades lots of bits of the base system.


Alien-dalvik is commercial (paid-for, binary-only) software.

That means that even if you got all the kernel and driver and lib bits mentioned above upgraded and running, you cannot legally simply 'copy over' a more recent alien-dalvik.

You would need to obtain a license to be allowed to run it, and you would need a build that is compatible with the Jolla 1 phone as you can't build it from source yourself.

(e.g.: the Jolla/Aigo/Youyota Tablet has a more recent Alien-Dalvik, but runs on an Intel Atom - i.e.: a 486 compatible. You can't execute it on Jolla1)

(Another example: Sony Xperia X has a 64-bits Qualcomm 650 - i.e.: a AArch64 - some bits of Sailfish X are 64 bits and can't be run on Jolla 1 neither).


So to expand upon Xray2000's answer :

No, it can't be done easily.

First, you need to get your hand on Android 4.4 Kitkat for this chipset (though it does exist, you need to negociate it from Qualcom) and probably need help from folks at LineageOS (formely CynogenMod) to get the necessary bits working.

Then need to modernise a bunch of low-level things (kernel, drivers) - basically the whole adaptation layer - on the system running on your Jolla1 (need help from either Jolla or Community Sailfish devs, abd maybe more help from LineageOS guys).

Then you need to get in contact from Myriad to get the latest Alien-Dalvik version, most adapted to Jolla1.

Given that Jolla is still running low on cash (they haven't enough 'financial breathing room' to afford finishing the reimbursement of Jolla Tablets) they probably can't afford to pour more resources in supporting an old discontinued phone. (On the other hand, we're still lucky, Jolla devs try to push as mush updates as can make it to the Jolla1).

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the kernel cannot be updated: sbj kernel will stay at 3.4
the other way round will work: adaptation of aliendalvik-1.0.63 for kernel-3.4 instead 3.10 but one would need help from myriad (licenses / sources ...)

you do not need help from qualcomm for that!

lpr ( 2017-09-27 18:44:28 +0300 )edit

answered 2017-09-27 17:06:39 +0300

Xray2000 gravatar image

updated 2017-09-27 17:07:35 +0300

No only Jolla can update it...

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..and Qualcomm and Myriad.

i.e.: requires lots of work from lots of people.

DrYak ( 2017-09-27 18:48:57 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2017-09-27 16:06:29 +0300

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Last updated: Sep 27 '17