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Rostelecom acquiring Votron, the majority owner in Jolla

asked 2018-02-06 20:22:41 +0200

Russian national operator Rostelecom has submitted to the federal competition watchdog an application for clearance of the acquisition of 75 percent in the companies Open Mobile Platform and Votron, reports Tdaily.ru. The companies develop the Sailfish OS. The watchdog plans to take a decision on the issue within a month.

Open Mobile Platform is the developer of the Sailfish Mobile OS Rus platform. Votron owns the majority stake in the Finnish company Jolla, the developer of Sailfish.

Link to the new item: https://www.telecompaper.com/news/rostelecom-plans-acquisition-of-sailfish-os--1230813

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Mhm... Is this good news or bad news? Good news would be something like: A big company sees a lot of potential in SailfishOS, believes in its future and therefore wants to bring it under their control (to invest further in it, make it successful).

Bad news would be: Rostelecom buys the 2 for whatever other reasons and it's unclear whether or not they will continue Sailfish development at all. Or even worse: They buy them with the clear goal to end Sailfish development because for some reason, they see it as a threat for their own plans.

ossi1967 ( 2018-02-07 10:33:53 +0200 )edit

worse would be to acquire the team or code expect to have an easier implant control tool, spyware or i don't know what...

cemoi71 ( 2018-09-12 21:05:17 +0200 )edit

11 Answers

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answered 2018-02-07 14:16:03 +0200

Pim gravatar image

As long as the Jolla developers, or at least the ones that assemble and release new versions of Sailfish, are based in Finland / Europe, and thus subject to European law and supervision, I'm not worried. More shareholders from more and different geographies, more Sailfish source code open sourced, more community contributions etc. would all be good for Sailfish and its reputation though.

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I did not know that Jolla is Russian-owned. It's kind of a joke that the OS which we hope will be free from back doors and data collection agents is Russian controlled, the country of suppression and troll farms. Only 100% opened source code can prove otherwise.

Stefanix ( 2018-02-07 18:57:59 +0200 )edit

it has to be completely OSS to be safe. It's the only way to have trust in security and a long and prosper future. At least I would be more concerned, if a big US company would be the owner of jolla... but overall the only way is OSS

h.berd ( 2018-02-10 18:01:55 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-02-07 13:57:59 +0200

zash1958 gravatar image

I see this as a very good news. Russia nowadays makes LOTS of efforts to establish its own IT and Telecom infrastructure. And they als try hard to switch all official Computers to opensource. And they also try to switch all national telephone needs (Post, Government and others) to an US independent platform.

They do what Germany has missed ....

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Being independent from US companies surely is a good thing to avoid their mass surveillance. But doing this by joining the russian side clearly is not, it's like replacing pest with cholera. Russia has no better interests or laws regarding the users privacy (it may even be worse) and is conducting it's own mass surveillance system. So it may very well be tempted to use the influence on companies for it's own good. Furthermore, the US services are highly interested in technology used by the russian authorities, so it's likely they'll analyse Sailfish for yet undiscovered security flaws (and will surely find some), which puts all of us SFOS users at risk.

In the end, all we can do is speculating what will happen. But I'd imagine that being influenced by the russian side (with it's own agenda) is worse of an image for an open, privacy-friendly system than being an independent EU company, at least for now.

ghling ( 2018-02-09 12:29:30 +0200 )edit

The russian laws and other issues are not as a lot of people here think. As stated above, my stepson is working as an advocate/Jurist there and we often discuss what happens (and not happens) in Russia. The personal freedom in Russia is at least as great as in other european countries. But we here in EU do not see our limitations and negatives, because we live with it from our birth and mostly never have experienced another system.

Therefore I would not "turn my hands" about the opinions where in which country the situation is better or worser than others. It greatly depends on that what we learned as children or in school. But this are not obejective positions. This are positions most people in our culture may have. But neverever objective. So I have absolutely no problem in using a Mobile OS from Russia.

If You have the intention to have an absolutely free and private OS --- I see NO ONE ATM. Purism has the
i n t e n t i o n
to do this. But no usable product neither a plan when we can have it in our hands.

Therefore it would be a good idea on NO mobile OS use anything like Messengers or apps for social networking. Neither anything which knows where You are and where you stay. And also no navigation and no mail and no SMS.

So what to do for privacy?

Nowadays the war seems to be lost and NO country has ANY interest in giving us shelter. No China, no USA, no Europe, no Russia and also no Irak and Korea.

One last thing:

There is NO independent european company or system. ALL providers and their connected partners have to sign the TRANSIT papers or they would be closed. And TRANSIT allows easily all official services to see ALL what we communicate. And also the forwarding of all these infos to "the five eyes" and other "partners"... SO WHAT

zash1958 ( 2018-02-09 15:52:08 +0200 )edit

Are you kidding? "The personal freedom in Russia is at least as great as in other european countries in Russia." I am an active member of Amnesty International for about 40 years and therefore I know that this is not true. Personal freedom is also political freedom, freedom of expression, freedom to oppose governments, etc. Personal freedom is only possible in a democracy. I won't say that european countries are fully democratic, but they certainly are the most democratic in the world.

Kea ( 2018-02-15 13:05:07 +0200 )edit

No, it is not. Personal freedom is also the freedom to do what You want. And not only to express Yourt political thoughts. Amnesty is on one side blind for things:

  • You live in germany, without TV and radio. Can You then live without payment for the TV? NO. You have to pay You use it or not.

  • You live in germany and You are ecologist. can You dismiss paying for the waste system? NO, You have to pay for it You use it or not.

In Russia, if You think you want to have a fishing event with Your friends on the Newa River in Petersburg...40 cm ice on the river. DO IT

In Germany You will be caught by police and have to pay "Strafe" for what You do. You want to have a barbecue in Your garden at night? You would have also a "Strafe" from the police.

In Europe in most of Your countries You can say what You want. But no government has an interest for it. They are 0,0% interested in that what people want, say and express. Freedom to speak against a wall? This is the NEW system of democracy for our governments: Let people freely talk about they want. Then ignore it and do what You want as all the time before.

Everybody defines freedom in another way. Depends on culture and social experiences. But the EU has made a very fine corset for us what is forbidden. It is made in a way that most people do not see it.

My tip: You have to live some time in another country like Russia or Near East. The perspective to this what is freedom would greatly change.

Democracy is not primarily built to bring You personal freedom. It is built to have an system to control what happens in a country by majority decisions. But democracy freely can suppress what 49,9% want.

Therefore - please held back in making official statements what is wrong or good in other countries. The US also killed hundred thousands of people for bringing "Democracy"? Where here was AI ??? And when in Afganistan a rocket misses his aim and fires up 75 people of an marriage party. Where here I see a demonstration of AI? Sanctions against the guilty people and organizations? Please AI - look for that and act for that.

So what...... look at FIRST at YOUR country and environment before judging about others. A lack of freedom is always a problem of the OTHERS ????

Just my two cents - an "Appell" for doing the best at YOUR countries first

zash1958 ( 2018-02-15 18:01:45 +0200 )edit

@zash1958 "Freedom to speak against a wall" brilliant. However living in a country very similar to Russia I can assure you that being "Strafed" for barbecue party and being imprisoned for years because of political activism are simply not comparable.

mdidaryan ( 2018-03-22 14:13:30 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-02-07 14:26:06 +0200

zash1958 gravatar image

updated 2018-02-07 14:27:47 +0200

You think Europe has better laws for privacy and security? There will be a
g r e a t
laughter about that.

ALL informations and data about everything in Europe is listened and stored.

In Germany ALL providers have to sign the "Transit" agreement which makes it sure that ALL traffic can and would be monitored by germans secret service. And the german "BND" sends depending on a "selectors list" all infos further to "friendly services" in "partner countries".

Do not have any illusions about that and that Europe is an better place für security and privacy than others.

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Ah yes, good ole Germany, where the legacy of Gestapo and Stasi lives on to this day! Germany is the worst of the EU countries when it comes to free speech, individual liberty and personal integrity, but they have good competition from all the other member states.

bocephus ( 2018-02-07 17:20:16 +0200 )edit

You think that ANY other european country dos this better...... a big llaughter will be needed.

The talking about Gstapo and Stasi is all hooribly shit. The true robbers of our freedom are sitting in two countries who are workling heavily together and are speaking the same language as here. The services are called GHCQ/NSA/CIA Interesting, that the countries who are most claiming about freedom and democrazy observe us and treat us like slaves. They are the worsest ever and I do not know where YOU live. But all throwing spam to others is not correct here. Whre do YOU live?

zash1958 ( 2018-02-07 18:47:20 +0200 )edit

@bocephus in this forum we should try to restrain from politics/bashing, simply because we do not want it to become like the marketplace its is elsewere in the net. On the other side, basic facts should be made clear: Germany is the only country I know, where freedom and self decision about (IT-) personal data has beeen introduced in the Constitution (Informationelle Selbstbestimmung), albeit in the form of a cluster of decisions from the Bundesverfassungsgericht. The government of D tries to ignore theese new rules, opening up the legal praxis of spying the People, like in France, GB, USA u.s.o.

It is an ongoing legal war, that we should not give up too early, and not resign. You just did that in your posting. /end of discussion outside The R u l e s.

prometheos de+it ( 2018-02-08 01:39:32 +0200 )edit

@prometheos: Thanks a lot for your clarification!

zash1958 ( 2018-02-08 09:31:49 +0200 )edit

Yes, I think Europe has better laws and a more democratic political system than Russia. Indeed, it is, as bocephus says, an ongoing battle to keep these democracies and human rights alive. I still have faith in the EU.

Kea ( 2018-02-08 20:35:32 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-02-08 08:34:29 +0200

Ta_das gravatar image

Here it says Votron owns 9.72% of Jolla shares. As far as I understand Open Mobile Platform completely owns Sailfish Mobile OS RUS. https://nag.ru/news/newsline/100682/-rostelekom-kupit-razrabotchikov-sailfish-mobile-os-rus.html

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Freedom is certainly not that you are be able to do what you want. That is an absurd idea and the examples mentioned above are quite childish. My freedom ends where your freedom begins. So our freedom is limited to the benefit of living in peace with others. Doing what you want is only possible when you live on an isle, alone. If everybody just would do what he/she wanted to do, life would soon become a living hell. About taxes that you have to pay while not benefiting from it: often these decisions are based on communal principles. For TV it's possible to create an alternative system: a pay-for-each-watch system. But for health care this would not be possible, because fees for health insurances are based on solidarity. Where would we be if there was no solidarity anymore in society?

Kea ( 2018-08-10 15:54:43 +0200 )edit

And don't forget: If you want peace, prepare for war!

deloptes ( 2018-08-13 10:45:30 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-09-11 18:52:59 +0200

Raymaen gravatar image

Here is an interesting visual grafic who belongs to whom.

Interesting to read the article! https://www.kommersant.ru/doc/3733374

image description

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Any native translation of the above?

mr_xperia ( 2018-09-11 19:07:39 +0200 )edit

only googletranslator or similar.

Raymaen ( 2018-09-11 19:12:25 +0200 )edit

After just moving over and being happy with my SailfishX, feeling a strange free feeling after years of Android I definitely now feel like I'm out of the frying pan into the fire! What percentage Russian state ownership is that image showing?? Hard to figure out without my calculator but looks like a prefect marginal majority at 51%?

I'll maybe enjoy a month or two of probably naive ignorance that I'm relatively tracking free until the scandals come.. :D

mr_xperia ( 2018-09-11 19:17:26 +0200 )edit

the text in the article is all about the Sailfish OS RUS version, that is ment to be the OS of governmental institutions in Russia. Sailfish OS as such has nothing to do with the RUS - version. It is the core of the RUS OS

Raymaen ( 2018-09-11 19:22:24 +0200 )edit

Great if that can somehow be maintained, under pressure effectively from the Russain government, it may prove difficult to run the development of two branches of the OS keeping the integrity of one if the other slips slowly in another direction. Also the image showing ownership really doesn't make clear that jolla would have a majority voice to stand up and run an independent version if a decision was changed from the top in Russia?

Possibly SailfishOS and SailfishX differ by quite a bit already so it could be run in a similar way although I know very little about it.

mr_xperia ( 2018-09-11 19:28:05 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-02-07 19:53:50 +0200

zash1958 gravatar image

updated 2018-02-07 19:54:30 +0200

We have to wait and see what happens. I do not think Rostelecom buys Jolla to close it afterwards. And in reality nothing big has happened. Jolla was sold a long time ago in their sutuation of having NO money after the tablet disaster. Fortunately the russians have had an interest in Jolla... or the finnish company would be closed a long time ago (maybe 2015).

Rostelekom - I think - wants to use heavily SFOS and wants to establish a "native" OS and product line for their market. Not a bad idea....

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answered 2018-02-08 18:30:54 +0200

Kea gravatar image

Such a pity that Jolla could not get European funds. That would have been better for independency. I am afraid that Jolla Sailfish in the future will going 'to speak with the mouth of the one who gives the bread'. But maybe that fear is not correct. Who knows? The success of American companies is due to surveillance, data selling, big investments and to the share market. Jolla does not fit in this system, however, Jolla Sailfish has to monetize it's products in order to survive. Nokia did not develop a paying system for apps, neither did Jolla. So now it will depend on Russian and Chinese investors...... China wants to be independent from the US, and the Russians too. That the Russians support Sailfish is certainly not without political interest. It serves anti-americanism. And Europe in between has no options of its own. Actually Google and Apple with their 'free' stuff spoiled it.

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Thats because the Europeans don't get it till today: data is the gold of the 21. century and you have to invest a lot, to let the users give you there most private data 'for free'. EU can moan about google, amazon and apple as long as they want, if they don't develop a better IT environment, we are doomed here. AI, KI and self driving cars will not be the only things that rely on data. We will see technical innovations disrupting our life in the next ten years and these innovations will not come from european territory, which means the europeans will also collect no data in the next wave of web based services.

h.berd ( 2018-02-10 18:15:22 +0200 )edit

It's all about money. Europe does not have the ultra-capitalistic system that the US has, so Europe has less billionaires than the US who can invest ( and less poor people too). Yes, data is the gold as long as people believe it is and at the moment everyone seems to parrot this statement. To me it is like a giant tulipomania and I wonder how long it will last. Maybe quantum computing can disrupt it? . Several teams in Europe and elsewhere are working on it. http://www.ce.ewi.tudelft.nl/research/quantum-computing/

Kea ( 2018-02-15 13:01:58 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-02-07 19:40:48 +0200

tortoisedoc gravatar image

updated 2018-02-07 19:47:49 +0200

I'd be more worried of this continuous hand-passing of jolla. Add that to the slow reaction of jolla, and the longer than usual silences, and you get a good picture of what the situation must be like in jolla. Most likely a team at the border of collapse, financial instability, and zero interest from healthy investors (read: non-public). I hope XPeria SFOSX will help in changing this. It sounds like one of the last options, tho. Its a pity, the OS is actually maturing pretty nicely, and is getting to the point of being "almost" usable. But how far has jolla then gone? We have a "new" blackberry style, this time in open source flavor. From there, its product sales. And the harder part of the journey, im afraid..

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answered 2018-02-09 16:57:21 +0200

richie gravatar image

Isn't it surprising Votron are majority shareholders of Jolla if they only have a 9.72% share of Jolla? Wonder if story lost in translation. Or perhaps Russian licence partners and owners are one and the same.

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It was strange for me as well. I am not familiar with finacial/investment terms so I looked a bit. It appears that (in Russia only?) shareholder owning major stake is a shareholder having >5% of shares and having the right to vote.

Ta_das ( 2018-02-09 21:25:33 +0200 )edit

answered 2018-02-07 22:28:29 +0200

richie gravatar image

Interesting. It says 75% of OMP and Votron, but what percentage do these Russian organisations own of Jolla? Does it follow if Votron owns say 60% of Jolla, that if Rostelecom buy 75% of OMP/ Votron, that in effect they'd have 45% of Jolla?

I suppose regardless of owners Jolla needs to be successful. More interesting to see what happens in other markets like China with new “disrupting” products due to launch as per CEO blog at Christmas and increased activity with Sony devices.

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It does not work like this. If you have 60% of a company you control it. If the company you control has 75% of another, you control both of them.

Giacomo Di Giacomo ( 2018-02-08 10:27:55 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2018-02-06 20:22:41 +0200

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Last updated: Sep 11 '18