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Xperia X & Sailfish OS still unstable - about to quit

asked 2019-04-22 18:31:35 +0200

louisbob gravatar image

updated 2019-08-29 13:09:44 +0200

jiit gravatar image

Hi Jolla team, hi all,

First sorry for the long post. I have tried to be really optimistic on the roadmap of Sailfish OS for 1 year now, and I can't find any improvements in Jolla communication nor updates. I'm really about to quit sailfish OS for Lineage OS after 2 years of daily usage. Note that I'm using it for pro usage as well as personal usage. I first bought a Jolla C, then switched to an Xperia X later. I'm currently on the latest version ( Actually I don't want to switch to XA2 because I don't like the phone itself (it is so bulky!)

Recently I needed to do some urgent stuff while abroad. I was so upset to not being able to do a simple task like searching in my SMS I almost throw my phone in the room I was!

What I really liked when I switched to sailfish OS:

  • a nice SDK and wiki for making applications

  • running almost everything on Opensource software

  • nice UI design

  • Android support

  • active community

I have run into so many problems that I can't count the number of hours I lost to do a simple task with my smartphone or to find a solution on together. My friends are now joking on Sailfish OS regarding the number of bugs I have.

In general on UI:

On Sailfish OS:

On Android stack:

So if I put everything in a nutshell today with Sailfish OS:

  • I can't improve my user experience by myself, like fixing bugs in Exchange stack or add SMS search because these are closed sources.

  • I can't use my phone as a multimedia device, because of bluetooth audio integration that's really sucks.

  • I can't use SailfishOS professionnally because of a bad email app, broken Exchange and some failures on carrier when abroad

  • I can't use SailfishOS properly with messenger.

  • Since I started to use Sailfish OS, I'm replacing one by one all Sailfish native applications with android ones (email client, etc)

  • Dev community still motivated?

About Jolla company

  • No roadmap!

  • No communication!

  • No public bug tracker!

So why use SailfishOS in 2019 if I don't have the control on my user experience anymore?

EDIT: I'm really sad of posting this message actually. I'm a developer in a small team as well and I really understand that you don't have the horse power of google. But still I think some main issues with your system are not adressed and these are important for the mass to get interest in your system...


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Great post! I agree with everything, except the Android stack which I don't use and don't even have installed and consequently can't comment on. I would also like to add that the browser is horribly outdated and makes the phone crash and reboot when visiting a veritable plethora of websites - and that basic functionality like different ringtones for different contacts is still not implemented!

Still, what choice do I have but to stick with Sailfish? I will never EVER become a good little sheeple to Android or Apple.

bocephus ( 2019-04-22 19:49:33 +0200 )edit

I'm in the same boat. Though I have a bit different subset of bugs that matter to me the general attitude is the same. It seems like LinageOS doesn't support Xperia X officially? There are some unofficial images available for Linage v15. If you do switch, please share how it went and maybe put some links to the firmware you've used.

butler ( 2019-04-22 20:53:41 +0200 )edit

An old sailor here, I had it on XA2, also encountered similar bugs(same as on SFOS 2), features missing, in general agree with topic starter, I went from SFOS 3 back to Android with the help of emma, now using LIneage OS16, wich works wel on my Sony XA2 icw MicroG.

aQUICK1 ( 2019-04-22 21:03:15 +0200 )edit

Hmm, strange to hear... Author seems to be the Best tester of product btw only shoetcomings are mentioned without any other advantages it has... Not a good practice. I'm really see some functional issues but realize it does reviewed&fixed by a little Jolla team as they have time and resources and clear comprehension what's going wrong and have no another way to get around for everyday usability... I agree it needs to be fixed a lot but disagree to quit it out.

AlexOm ( 2019-04-23 08:17:50 +0200 )edit

I am a Sailfish OS user and supporter since the release and the first announcement on twitter back in 2012 (irrc) and unfortunatelly I can confirm all the above issues on my Sony Xperia XA2 running SFOS Just a fraction of the mentioned Android issues are not valid for the XA2 because of the new Android runtime.

I am really patient but I have to admit that I am getting more frustrated with every day I am hitting on a bug that exists for months and years...

The current situation that drives me crazy is that the device adaption is bad for the Sony devices and just the official outdated Jolla phone will give you the best experience (UX wise). So e.g. I am missing the double tap feaure on my Xperia, there are many issues with connections (losing network coverage, bluetooth issues etc.) and simple feauteres like turning on the display after plugging in the phone for charging...

Alex ( 2019-04-23 09:07:46 +0200 )edit

12 Answers

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answered 2019-04-23 17:41:43 +0200

babo gravatar image

You guys have to understand that we now are just some pocket money for jolla. Just a platform to show their work and their OS to big corporations and governments. We stopped being their focus VERY LONG TIME Ago (specifically when Marc Dillon stepped down).

I removed sailfish from my Xa2 and back to android for the huge inconvenience it brought with everyday usage.And I find it amazing how jolla always slaps the 'Beta' to their OS whenever they need some money knowing that it will take a very long time to get out of IT. This way, they get their 'pocket money' while having an excuse for all their possible FAILURES.

And I bet that it will take them a whole year just to get out of beta, while still having loads of bugs (as accustomed) and while we, their supporters, were promised a very funny 'support for as long as the device is supported'. Another excuse for all possible failures and/or sudden ceasing of support so they could get away with it at their own convinience.

FOR SOME REASON, I still have hope (ironically and sadly) and waiting for their OS to have the very basic features and stability required for everyday use.

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If Jollas focus is big companies and governments as you say, I would have expected to benefit from it by now. That is, have contacts, mail and calendar that work reliably in a corporate environment (= MS Exchange), be it in the office or while traveling (= across WLAN/mobile networks and time zones). But, as OP correctly points out, that is not the case.

I got Sailfish X for semi-private daily use. By now I learned its quirks and workarounds, so it mostly works for me. I expected a kind of "eternal beta" and I am OK with it - still prefer Sailfish over iOS/Android, for the open source base and the different UI concept. But I can understand why others might not see it this way: For any important business use, I rather use my laptop.

Kao ( 2019-04-24 00:20:47 +0200 )edit

Well I don't think Ms exchange is a corporations' or governments' priority.Quirks and workarounds?!?!? Should that be the case? A standard one? Anyways everyone has his own opinion but we all can agree that sailfish is buggy as hell and does not have the very basic functions and stability for everyday use, after almost 8 years of development and Our support!

babo ( 2019-04-24 13:55:25 +0200 )edit

Sadly I agree with the OP and a bunch of comments, being 'in' from the start and buying into the ideal, it's gone from hopeful to hopeless now. I'v e said several times that this is my last year of any sort of support for Jolla. With all that is currently swimming around, like LineageOS, Eelo. Necunos, Purism's Librem, PostmarketOS etc etc, I'd rather compromise and have functionality than wait forever for fuck all to change, which is what I feel like I'm currently doing. Promises promises and nothing to show for it after 5 years............. except disappointment

davekelly ( 2019-08-01 00:04:09 +0200 )edit

but.. how to flash a XA2 back to android or lineage OS?

danfin ( 2019-08-13 10:14:28 +0200 )edit

@danfin, I always use Emma flashing Android back onto the Device.

bymoe ( 2019-08-13 15:42:18 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-09-06 22:35:33 +0200

ExPLIT gravatar image

updated 2019-09-06 22:36:18 +0200

I think, this always depends on the curernt needs. I use SailfishOS as my daily driver since day one. And i have no Problems with bugs.

Anything i use: Lot of Email, very little web browsing, some calender, A lot of SMS and Telegram, some GPS Navigation, 2-3 Android Apps, ssh access

It works for me. I can live with this little bugs. I can buy iPhone or every other shiny Android Smartphone, and the User Experience will be much, much better. But i don't want :)

Because they are not really GNU Linux Smartphones. Android is not Linux, even it has Android Kernel. What i want is real linux smartphone. Maybe we will See Pine or Librem 5 Devices with another Linux OSes. Maybe i will switch on it.

But Android and IOS is not an option for ME.

So everybody need to decide, what is importand for HIM.

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Hear, hear. Your comment reflects my use and standpoint as well.

anasyntes ( 2019-09-07 08:26:55 +0200 )edit

Yes, this is also what have kept me using Sailfish so far. There is no other phone that is this close to a real Linux operating system. I know that Sailfish is incomplete in that there are some proprietary parts and it is a big issue is that it is dependent on Android kernels for the hardware. The Purism project with Librem 5 is trying to do it the "ideal" way. Let's see if they manage to (I've paid for a Librem 5 device).

johanh ( 2019-09-07 10:49:36 +0200 )edit

@ExPLIT about "So everybody need to decide, what is importand for HIM" correct but who care of a public dirty washing. jolla is not responsible that he choosed it, that things works wrong because of some bugs. he may do it in silence, like our parents teached us. such kind of delivery may be fatal for some small business.
Personally i was aware of some malfunctioned functionalities (bugs) and had always an alternative if it goies wrong. for example at the beginning i used a second alarm clock, or have an other phone near of mine for important calls. Told friends that it may interrupt etc.etc etc. i took some disposition for some functionalities which might be unstable. never i tell you, NEVER i bring me invulnerable without alternative or in a dead-end situation. we are adult please, why to complain for this because of his own decision. and now we should read why he want to leave, because he wasn't able to assume the situation in which he brought himself. jolla should be guilty! what a scandal.

cemoi71 ( 2019-09-07 21:38:52 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-08-14 10:55:58 +0200

Scurvy Jack gravatar image

While strongly agreeing that all your reported deficiencies are frustrating, In my world, these are only minor deficiencies. Really frustrating is, that there's still no SIP support, and that it's impossible to use that "email app" for anything.
Sent/Inbox separation, introduced by Outlook some decades ago and proven wrong by hundreds of modern messaging apps - even Microsoft integrated a solution to that very wrong decision in their recent versions, can't be changed/overwritten – same for deleting mails; IMAP and moving to trash folder is similar stupid. Any MUA I'm aware of can be configured to not do these tasks that wrong... And it's not possible to use multiple identities... Well, no need to enumarate deficiences of the abysmal email app, that's been done hundred times before...

But next user scaring thing is the layout of the UI. It's missing almost any structure, which results in eye distraction and makes everything hard to read. I have friends + customers, who would accept all the mentioned deficiencies with SailfoshOS in it's current 3.1 version, but as former Blackberry users, the can't get used to that – different – layout of the UI. Not the handling, most people like the swipe handling or at least accept it, but the lack of _unified_ background/boxes/separators/borders - whatever you find on any other human operable software driven divce of this century – is a real problem for SailfishOS. Light ambiences were a very welcome step into the right direction, and also the tabs aren't that bad like written in other postings here, but the graphical implementation make them so bad (simply add a ambience matching (but ambience-independent, _unified_) background and they wouldn't look that ugly anymore).

Jolla, please take any old blackberry, and do some badly needed UI rework – sailfish might look fancy at the first moment – that's a matter of taste (while most people I know have a significant different taste), but the lack of unified backgrounds and, for example, the font blending of important information (soft keyboard lables e.g.!) with the ambience dependent highlight color, makes everything very hard to read and stay focused and do tasks quickly. I'm using SailfishOS for 5 years now, and I'm still not used to the settings menu. Some settings need to be done in the app, others under the App-menu in settings?!?! SailfishOS stands out by inconsistencies all over the place! Like mentioned, you wouldn't need to spend hard work for fixing a single technical bug to gain additional/new customers, but if you ever want to have more than one thousand users, you will have to rework the UI and fix usability resp. readability at first place. People are wondering/laughing/crying when they are faced to open the "calender app". Rellay! There's plethora of examples how to make a human+user friendly UI – not a single one does it all perfectly, but any one does it much less user scaring as Sailfish currently and still does. It's good enough to launch finger term, but everything else is disappointing and doesn't make fun to operate. Which is the major reason that I'm the only one still using SailfishOS in my circle of friends – while every body asking me, what to use best and why they can't also use SailfishOS; giving them a minute with my Xperia X and Hossa ( answers that question swiftly. If there wasn't PureMaps and OSMscoutServer, my Xperia X with SailfishOS would be completely useless even for me, it was just a toy for testings/moddings – but thanks to rinigus, I can use it as quiet user friendly offline navigation device. And to some extent, for regular phone calls (if I know the number - phone book is unusable too, UI wise and due to it's lack supporting multiple (encrypted) books, with working sync support).

So to my understanding, the real problem is not that even people of the inner SailfishOS core are about to quit due to frustrating user experience, but that current UI will prevent Jolla from gain a bigger/new user base; independent of the technical features/deficiencies. Guess Jolla bets on authoritatives which dicatete the usage of SalfishOS in any incarnation, but in countries where people have a choice, SailfishOS won't be considered as alternative in it's current state – UI wise at first place! 5 years ago, there was the hope that things will change sooner than later, but after 5 years of almost no progress - user experience wise – nobody shares that hope anymore (of the journalists), hence the current dead-lock situation.

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Completely agree.

ziellos ( 2019-08-14 11:13:23 +0200 )edit

I read this entire page, and I got an Xperia XA2 and put Sailfish OS on it, I must be mad :) Anyway, yes, it's buggy but I can't say it has been unusable or anything. I hope they want+can+will stabilize it for the Xperia devices, since that is the only performant alternative right now. The alternatives for me are either waiting for Librem 5 (expensive and at this point nothing real, we don't even know if it will be a viable alternative), or LIneageOS, but I would miss the vanilla Linux experience so much more that dealing with bugs. I agree though that not being able to stabilize it on a small amount of devices they currently offer will decide the faith of Sailfish OS. But I don't mind putting some money into a common dream of a Linux phone, so far it's been the only one that's been more than an attempt :)

steabert ( 2019-09-09 21:11:54 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-09-07 14:58:02 +0200

tobru gravatar image

After a long time of struggling with the decision: I changed my daily phone to LineageOS with MicroG. This was not an easy decision, as I'm using and following SailfishOS since it exists and own all devices (Jolla 1, Jolla C, Jolla Tablet, Xperia X and Xperia XA2). Using Sailfish OS as my daily OS on my smartphone was just not a pleasure anymore, there were so many bugs and issues (many of them already mentioned in this thread) in many places. It felt like it was getting less and less usable over time, more and more bugs started to show up.

I'm forced to use many Android applications, f.e. WhatsApp (yes, it's sad), Threema or SBB, all of them not available as native applications. Until last year this was not a big problem with the Android support in Sailfish X on the Xperia X. But as time passes by, many important (for me) Android apps stopped running well on Sailfish X and the Android support wasn't updated anymore for Xperia X (which btw is a shame as it's a very good device!). I switched to an XA2 and bought the Sailfish X license again, but there were so many bugs with the Android support and even with the native apps (f.e. camera not working all the time, apps crashing, calendar sync issues with UTF-8, ...) which disappointed me (and my wife) a lot.

Until the latest release 3.1 of Sailfish OS the default native apps like gallery, contacts, calendar, ... weren't updated since ages and are struggling with usefulness, compared with similar apps on Android. F.e. having 1000s of pictures in the gallery, it's impossible to navigate. Also the updates in 3.1 are not really convincing and the UI get's more and more cluttered and the original idea of the swipe UI is seemingly getting abandoned.

In terms of openness of Sailfish OS: It feels like "the Open Source OS", but it's not 100% Open Source as many components and apps are closed. This is a shame: Why not open everything and let the community help to improve the native official apps? Looking at LineageOS and the community around: This is really Open Source IMHO.

I also miss a real open bug tracker, the Together forum is not a bug tracker. And the missing open roadmap gives the feeling of a closed development of Sailfish OS.

TL;DR: Byebye Sailfish OS, hello LineageOS. I'll continue to watch Sailfish OS, hopefully being able to come back in the future again.

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Goodbye and good luck!

anasyntes ( 2019-09-07 22:14:28 +0200 )edit

A daily driver with lineageos and a sailfish device to play with - if you have time to config around bugs - is a good choice.

jolladiho ( 2019-09-09 12:31:20 +0200 )edit

I'll do it this way: Keeping the XA2 as a playground for Sailfish OS and the LeEco with LineageOS as daily device. But I still miss using Sailfish OS as daily device.

tobru ( 2019-09-15 17:48:45 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-04-23 21:59:10 +0200

tortoisedoc gravatar image

Suggesting #ragequit tag. /ducks

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He, I almost did a retag, but then, it is hot enough around here already.

Venty ( 2019-07-31 13:36:32 +0200 )edit

The sad thing is that there are so many ragequit posts here that we could really use a tag...

Federico ( 2019-07-31 16:00:53 +0200 )edit

why /ducks? Important to say when something is going in the right direction to keep motivated, important to say when you are going in the wrong direction. As a developer, if no one is telling the bad things, how can you improve the software?

louisbob ( 2019-08-01 01:31:38 +0200 )edit

Hello, I'm a newbie and fan of the idea of ​​an alternative operating system, because I find it highly questionable that the whole world essentially uses only two commercial systems. So far, I used Windows Mobile, but support will end in late 2019. So I switched to sailfish because I like the idea behind the system very well and I want to avoid using Android or iOS. I organized several smartphones for the family (which was not that easy) and installed Sailfish. I am also ready to deal with problems and inadequacies. Through questions and support on this platform I was able to solve some of my problems with the system. But there are still some left (hmm.... many left). Also, I am patient, but I am concerned to read that the development of the system is not really progressing. So I'm worried that I've just bought a system that - just like Windows Mobile - will not be usable in the future. OK, I can make calls with the device, surf the Internet a bit and I can also use WhatsApp, but I have no hope that I can use my printer in the future, get my data consumption displayed correctly and I know that after each update various Functions need to be corrected (example: Storeman). I am happy to endure these restrictions, if I may have hope for the future. Unfortunately, the flow of information from Jolla is very limited, so this is obviously a question of faith. Well then: Then I want to express an unshakable faith - Please give me hope ... because I want to use Sailfish!

sailaway ( 2019-08-01 10:43:28 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-08-13 07:52:22 +0200

aQUICK1 gravatar image

updated 2019-08-13 07:56:52 +0200

Sorry to say , I can confirm most of the bugs mentioned in topic, and I already moved on since I could not use my XA2 properly with or without andy. Now using Lineage 16 , and was hoping the latest update would be a good time to come back to SFOS but I read all those comments and stories about bugs and workarounds for basic functions I will not yet move and reflash back.

NOTHING changed for me to do so. ps I do totally agree with the following remarks by TS

About Jolla company No roadmap! No communication! No public bug tracker! So why use SailfishOS in 2019 if I don't have the control on my user experience anymore?

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I've bought another XA2 just to flash LineageOS for MicroG on, and I could already use it daily after just playing with it for 3 or 4 days - something I've yet to achieve with SFOS. I'll keep my XA2 with SFOS just where it is, on my PC desk with my original Jolla phone, not being used but updating when it happens, and I'll probably just keep an eye on the facebook pages for info, cos' I just find myself moaning when I come here lol......... I don't want to bash SFOS, and I've always wanted it to be that one I told my mates about that were mad not to try, and for me to be proved right! but dipping a toe in the 'other side' feels a bit like the taste of humble pie lol . . . . . . .

davekelly ( 2019-08-13 11:14:09 +0200 )edit

answered 2019-09-04 13:28:34 +0200

WT.Sane gravatar image

But.... Isn't life also full of inconveniences? About to quit? ;-)

Jolla is a small company and fixes take their time. I am using SFOS for 2 Years now and I am aware that Android might do things better. I wanted a mobile that is not controlled by Apple and Google and that is what I got. Beeing happy has something to do with expectations. Maybe you are not the kind of human for something away from the mass market. Buy an iphone instead! Even the bugs on these are feature you fail to see in the right light.

Or reconsider taking the slightly stonyier path.

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answered 2019-09-04 00:01:22 +0200

kro gravatar image

Unfortunately, my patience has run out as well. Now that my Xperia X (primary phone) is having its last breaths, I'll replace it (and the Jolla 1 used as a secondary device) by a Fairphone 3. I'd love to see a modern version of Sailfish OS on it one day, but for now it just doesn't cut it anymore, it feels stale and is limiting in too many ways, especially:

  • insufficient Android support ("DB navigator" started working again with last update, but many more apps failed since then, for example its french equivalent or also couchsurfing app)
  • deficient browser (try loading for example...).You should be honest about it and just drop it altogether, and work on adapting Webcat or any other (ideally native) browser instead.
  • I never again want to use a Sony device

It's been an interesting experience (Nokia N9 - Jolla 1 - Xperia X), and I'm somehow sad to have to move on to Android, but at the same time I really want to use a phone that mostly just works, doesn't lose SMS, doesn't burn through a whole battery in a jiffie just because a carddav entry contains a base64-encoded jpg, and doesn't permanently lose all connectivity just because I again crossed a border...

So long, and thanks for all the (sail)fish!

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answered 2019-09-08 00:07:31 +0200

johanh gravatar image

Sorry Jolla, but I jumped the ship now and flashed my Xperia X back to android. It has been a long ride, more than five years. I started with the original Jolla phone, bought the Jolla tablet and the Jolla C. I still have the tablet and will check up on Sailfish OS now and then. I'm sad...

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answered 2019-09-05 12:15:15 +0200

kumottolo gravatar image

I agree on most points, and I would say that I would be able to live with all these bugs IF Sailfish was focused on user privacy, but it is clearly not. The browser is ridiculously vulnerable and does not offer any protection from trackers and fingerprinting and there are no individual privacy settings for the apps. The only reason I moved away from Android is because I care about privacy. I have thrown 50 euros on this and I am still stuck with a glitchy operating system that is unable to protect my privacy while surfing the web. I am a daily user but really tempted to quit and switch back to a google free android. My privacy will be more at risk but at least I'll have a phone that it's working.

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I use Firefox Mobile on mine, the native browser isn't up to standard, tried a few other native Sailfish OS browsers, not quite good enough, but they are a bit nicer.

nshiell ( 2019-09-14 20:12:48 +0200 )edit
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Asked: 2019-04-22 18:31:35 +0200

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Last updated: Sep 08