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About the fall of Jolla empire

asked 2017-12-31 14:53:47 +0200

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updated 2018-01-03 11:27:55 +0200

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It's 31st dec 2017, time for balances. On this day, 406 CE, the yet-decadent roman empire, starts its very irreversible step towards the fall in occidental europe, unavoiding the crossing of the Rhine from those people that will take Rome few years later. Though, the roman society was unable to stop this threat because of an internal, deep, crisis that consumed the empire FROM INSIDE.

Take me as a fool for this creative, original comparison. I'm a young Jolla user since summer 2015, and Jolla follower from still before. I'm just observing the state of things, developements, ideas from a user&consumer side, but I think this reasonement will apply to the developers side too, for the little I know. Let us be honest: Jolla is late and lacking, at least, on many fronts and areas of development and -most importantly- is not expanding to the fullest possibility commercialy.

Just a little clarification, before I proceed: I'm an almost happy user of Jolla, I'm not disappointed by the overall state of Jolla's projects, just I cannot figure myself about some strange and harmful behaviours towards the completion of projects and the expansion on the tech market. Beside that, I love Jolla and Sailfish, and it's because of this, that I'll be straight and won't save complaints... I'm seriously worried for the future.

Let's start then. We all know the mess started with Jolla tablet, and btw the same mess is repeating with Youyota Tablet (why?), which I know well is an independent project that Jolla didn't want to support (why??) and does not want to talk much about, because (rightly) still overcoming the refund program. But the most unbearable thing, to my POV, of all this story, is that we are in 2018, I'd REALLY like to buy a tablet with SFOS onboard, and that tablet doesn't want to appear. Or a smartwatch, with SFOS onboard, as previously shown this year as proof of concept in a video, that doesn't want to appear, too!! Being present on many other devices, not just phones, will help GREATLY Jolla to overcome the problems, and will expand its market share and will naturally let know the OS to strangers, which will led to others devices in a virtuous cycle. I'm happy of the current alliance with Jalasoft and the Accione phone, but this phone is just for Bolivia right now. And it's a phone still, not another device.

What about the Xperia X, then? OMG. A phone that costs around 200€ at least PLUS 50€ of OS... fine for having to install it by yourself, is just reducing the use to the tech-savy consumers, which is not really fine, but still passable. Many features are still lacking, as I know, with respect to a Jolla 1. I heard Maps App is not working for license issues. Let us assume it's just a moment, that will take SFX to a greater fate on 2018.

I quoted an app, this takes me to the next, distressing, topic. I'm not a developer, I'm a user, I'd so much access to a Jolla store site, where I can review apps from pc, link an app to others, etc. Not only this feature is missing, but on Harbour the most elementry features for a developer, like reading comments without a Jolla device, is not possible. There's plenty of open topics here, just search for them. And Jolla is anwering to them that, creating a system like that, is taking too much work (whaaaaaatt???!), that many other things are required before. And, the basic system apps, need a bit of reworking, they are not bad, but should really be upgraded.

I just quote that the Sailfish experience sometimes is ruined by some annoying bugs that stands for months, but this point is really weak because I know Jolla is a small team and debugging involves a lot of work. And btw, the perfect OS doesn't exist.

Now, before I wear like a mid-germanic barbarian throwing an axe to the first Xperia X I see, let me have the opportunity to discuss something serious, really serious. On one of the last Jolla blog entries, we were introduced to a so said big leap ahead for the mobile world that promises to revolutionize the user mobile experience. An alliance with Zipper is aiming to create a blockchain system of value (read, ecosystem for a cryptocurrency). This is really dangerous. The amount of work involved is BIG, the chances of succeeding, few, no warranties being that the cryptocurrency world is way too volatile and unexplored now to take such a merchandising risk. We will see, I hope the best of course, but let me say I see no interest in such product, although being a little cryptocurrency user. Simply, I'm not wanting to share information for money, and more generally I'm not interested in earning money wih a phone. A job is to earn money, not a phone. Maybe I didn't understand well aims and capabilities of such systems... the way it was announced is really cloudy, cryptic (lol), I'd flankly say. Void of intentions. AND, btw, Xperia X WILL NOT be the first phone to manage cryptocurrency, as wrongly stated. Search for Finney, by Sirin Labs. A different project, but involving a phone and cryptovalues. When I discovered this, I was really disappointed.

I'd like to discuss many other things, but I guess all this it's sufficient to outline some critical issues that, if Jolla wouldn't solve in this coming 2018, will get to a dead point and a resized user basin. Let me resume:

  • Sailfish is lacking availability on many devices (tablets, smartwatches, other smart devices and, to a lesser extent, phones), limiting its expansion and leaving the wanna-be consumer-user with little or no choice at all;

  • The Jolla store and its app ecosystem are left alone with little margins of accesibility, usability and the standard jolla apps needs maintenance, reworking, refreshing and most importantly, access from every device supporting Sailfish;

  • Some Jolla projects incoming are not worth it, consuming time that would be better spent on other important areas.

I'd really like baing not the only voice over this critics (I hope,constructive criticism) and to open a serious discussion between us, users-consumes, and the Jolla team. Of course, the purpose is not forcing Jolla doing what we would like to see, but hearing our requests with more attention, and dedicating with more focus on some areas. The fall of Jolla empire is imminent: what shall the empire do?

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no tablet? because the market died down, and developing sfos for tablets too will put extra load on the small team

no smartwatch? because there is no market for smartwatches at all, completely adopting all gui element and adding integration to the phone would be a huge pile of work,and because it was never announced, or even hinted at. the prototype way probaly kind of a hobby project and/or targeted to business partners to show capabitlity on extremely low end devices

misc11 ( 2017-12-31 16:07:41 +0200 )edit

Tablets are dead (thankfully!). The bottom fell out of that niche market a long time ago, and even the sheeple who always run after the latest gadget - no matter how redundant - stopped caring about them. It's high time you disabuse yourself of the notion that you need an extra device to fill a non-existent gap between a large-screen smartphone and a regular laptop.

bocephus ( 2018-01-01 09:05:02 +0200 )edit

I totally agree with all the critics here, have the same thoughts.

On the other hand: Jolla's captains need to manage the ship cruising. If once wrecked, or if once tied up in a harbour with the crew left, the vessel is out of business forever.

They did some strange and surprising cruises in the last years and sailed close to the wind, but I think it was just to avoid the wreckage. More or less successful so far....

What I definetly miss is a better exchange with the "passengers", their users. They're talking about their community, but they don't see the community is falling overboard, disappointed and lonely. You can see it by the count of new releases in the store and the maintenance level of many apps in warehouse. For example: people are moaning 'bout the functionality of Jolla's own E-Mail-client, okay, but normally in the Linux universe there would be a third party FOSS application soon, fulfilling different needs. Here's nothing in sight.

Robomike ( 2018-01-01 12:16:53 +0200 )edit

@bocephus for me it's the opposite: there doesn't exist a gap for laptop between a tablet and a regular desktop. So seeing Youyota failing to get enough funding makes me really sad.

Aldrog ( 2018-01-01 15:35:58 +0200 )edit

@bocephus. I don't want a large screen smart phone, I want a phone that I can use in one hand and one that will fit in my pocket. Besides the screen on a large screen smart phone is too small to replace a tablet.

I have all three, a smart phone, a tablet and a laptop.The tablet is used for internet browsing where the use of the laptop isn't practical, plus I use it as a document/book reader and I have one specialised app in particular where the screen size of the tablet is important.

There may be no gap for you between the smart phone and a laptop but there is for many people.So the tablet is not dead as you bluntly put it.

AlanBreen ( 2018-01-01 23:05:48 +0200 )edit

5 Answers

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answered 2018-01-01 12:55:02 +0200

Beethoven gravatar image


They're a tiny, tiny, tiny company, and they have (imho) the best phone software on the planet, competing against two of the largest software companies in the world, who probably have ten times more cafeteria staff than jolla have employees and users combined.

Sailfish is absolutely wonderful, yes the caldav sucks and the email support is bad and I'm starting to get paranoid that BankID is no longer supporting whatever android version Sailfish has this summer, but apart from all that I still think the Xperia is the best phone I've ever used, and it's entirely down to the beautifully interfaced, incredibly efficient OS on it.

There's always room for improvement, but keep the difficulties that Jolla face in mind. So far what they have produced is absolutely mind-blowingly out of proportion to the resources they have to command.

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answered 2017-12-31 16:10:53 +0200

ApB gravatar image

Jolla needs to concentrate on the phone SW. None of its partners will like to find that the SW that offers to its customers has dodgy Caldav, crap email, mapping SW and navigation that doesn't work, unsupported fingerprint -and other- sensors etc. And we need a redesign of some areas of SFOS to make it more easy to use.

As long as they keep they crypto crap separate i am fine with it.

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some will agree with me that j*lla is not doing enough , even some basic things are absent from the sailf1sh os but how much time they need to develop them is the question. The core features should be complete which are absent. Sailf1sh os is like an attractive h00ker, "beautiful outside but nothing inside". some will disagree with me and say we are getting updates for the last 5 years and It's like this and like that and like this and uh but we sailors are still nowhere. G0d knows whats the management is doing. If things keep going like this J0lla fall is imminent. Happy New Year sailors.

hardy_magnus ( 2017-12-31 18:33:16 +0200 )edit

Core features is a loose term. We live in the times where smartphone means = proprietary data collecting apps, and not a mini computer in your pocket. Many wouldn't care if their phone doesn't do sms as long as it does facesnap or whatever.

As far as design as much as i love the UX the visuals/graphics could be better. But that is subjective.

ApB ( 2017-12-31 18:50:18 +0200 )edit

lolz @ "crypto crap".

Edz ( 2017-12-31 19:00:54 +0200 )edit

some people think they are secure because they are using sailf1sh os and there is no data collection , i want to remind them that c and fish uses andr0id drivers, so don't believe that no data collection crap.

hardy_magnus ( 2017-12-31 20:52:40 +0200 )edit

@hardy_magnus: why do you use leetspeak?

nthn ( 2018-01-02 21:18:50 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-01-01 15:19:58 +0200

Please always keep in mind, how small this software company is.

They have to keep the whole infrastructure up and running 24/7. They have to continuously support the sold hardware devices, be it in a separate daughter company thingy to minimize risk or whatever. They need to incorporate security related patches into the Linux distribution - SailfishOS - as fast as possible without breaking anybodys device. They need to keep all software dependencies reasonably updated in order to be able to pull in security patches in quickly but they need to avoid pulling in too new unstable stuff. They have to keep in touch with all maintainers of software dependencies to avoid development going in the wrong direction there if possible. Every change in Sailfish needs a lot of regression testing which I think can't be fully automated.

There is more stuff to do, I'm sure, but all that is required to "keep the lights on". This doesn't involve any new feature development or improvement of existing features.

Of course, it is required to give feedback in a friendly way but the community shouldn't put them under too much pressure. We have to trust management to do the right decisions even if the word "blockchain" is being used a little bit too often. ;-)

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@gnuheidix, You say, "There is more stuff to do, I'm sure, but all that is required to "keep the lights on". This doesn't involve any new feature development or improvement of existing features."

New feature development and most importantly improvement of existing features is exactly what is needed to "Keep the lights on"

Sailfish OS is good but needs to be continually improved. Right now in my opinion Sailfish isn't as good as Meego was/is. You would think that since Sailfish has it's roots in Meego it would at least match Meego at this stage of its development.

AlanBreen ( 2018-01-01 23:15:04 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-01-01 00:39:12 +0200

tortoisedoc gravatar image

Youre drunk. Go home. :) Happy new year!!

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answered 2018-01-01 11:18:18 +0200

Dreej gravatar image

He's right with what he stated... on Sfos I learned to modify the systen but before I had no idea. but for me it's still one of the most important thing that I can open the box and start using the phone.

I also hope Jolla will add the missing features before they waste too much time and resources on a project like blockchain

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Blockchain is the magic spell to the money im afraid; at least until they realize to either make hardware again, or find another source of income (paid apps in the store?)

tortoisedoc ( 2018-01-01 11:53:19 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2017-12-31 14:53:47 +0200

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Last updated: Jan 01 '18