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Which parts of Sailfish are closed source, why and will that change? [subjective]

asked 2014-01-28 12:47:52 +0200

torpak gravatar image

updated 2014-02-13 17:02:18 +0200

I recently saw a list of packages sorted by license and at first glance anything remotely Jolla specific was closed source. I'm more than a bit disappointed by this. It seems even android has a larger percentage of open sourced core applications. Is there any plan to make this Situation better?

Let me elaborate a little on my question. Of cause it is polemic but the core is very serious. I preordered my Jolla because i was looking for a phone that was open "unlike" ios, android, windows... Jolla allways emphasizing their collaboration with the open source community seemed to be that phone. I could have gotten much better hardware and software features for quite a lot less money but my hope for a truely open but still awesome phone system lead me to buy Jolla.

My hope, maybe a bit naive, was that Jolla would become what Openmoko should have been. But it seems that Jolla just took what the open source community had to offer and added their (beautiful but) proprietary UI System.

Update: rephrased my question to be a little less polemic.

Update: Quote of the License Section on the Sailfish Site: Our goal with the Sailfish OS is to develop an open source operating system in co-operation with the community, thus ensuring the development of a best-of-breed operating system.

Is the above Statement still true or not?

Update: from what i have seen so far Apple has the same legitimation to call MacOS truely open as Jolla with Sailfish: Both use an open source base system (and contribute to it) and both build their closed system and apps on top.

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The question has been closed for the following reason "too subjective and argumentative" by veskuh
close date 2014-02-13 17:43:10.290033



Where did you saw the list please?

TeHeR ( 2014-01-28 18:19:18 +0200 )edit

How are Jolla supposed to survive as a company if they open source everything? They need to get some revenue somewhere. Otherwise, a Chinese company takes the system and puts it on its own Android terminals, and Jolla works for nothing.

Giacomo Di Giacomo ( 2014-01-29 15:30:51 +0200 )edit

@Giacomo Would that hypothetical company not be better off collaborating with Jolla because Jolla has arguably the best Sailfish know how?

torpak ( 2014-01-29 15:41:41 +0200 )edit

Related discussion, which has been going on for a while: https://together.jolla.com/question/680/co-creation-leading-to-co-development/

What do you (all) think? Should this new information be moved there as a new answer, to keep the dsiscussion in one place?

simo ( 2014-01-29 15:44:05 +0200 )edit

5 Answers

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answered 2014-01-29 11:26:49 +0200

veskuh gravatar image

There are plenty of Jolla originated packages in Nemo Mobile and Mer. These packages aren't Jolla specific so they do not stand out from the list. Also, a lot of the packages, especially in Nemo, were really not maintained anymore before Jolla's involvement and now Jolla is the main contributor. Additionally, in most cases where packages have had BSD license Jolla maintains them openly even though the license does not require it. Also, Jolla does a lot of upstream contributions, for example to Qt.

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Just to understand you correctly: Changes to existing open source projects, that were needed for Jolla/Sailfish were contributed back, but no part of what is specific to Jolla/Sailfish?

torpak ( 2014-01-29 12:05:35 +0200 )edit

torpak: That doesn't sound like a perfect simplification. Jolla has specifically contributed a lot for Nemo/Mer to become fully functional free software mobile platform, instead of keeping them Jolla/Sailfish specific. So it's a bit other way around, there's not much that hasn't been contributed.

Mirv ( 2014-01-29 12:53:31 +0200 )edit

Then that's still a lot less open than android, where you can have at least the full look and feel of the System in an an open source package: cyanogenreplicant

torpak ( 2014-01-29 13:02:42 +0200 )edit

@Mirv Yes, you got it right.

@torpak On the Core OS and Middleware we do the developement open in public git repos and we have done a lot. For the UI part you are right. Actual UI code is still closed.

veskuh ( 2014-01-29 13:39:25 +0200 )edit

@torpak To say that SailfishOS is lot less open than Andtoid is equating an OS with the top-most layer of the UI, which is simply not true. As the core OS and mw in SailfishOS is just open, in.Android there are in these layers many nom-free and proprietary blobs and technologies.. And even in the UI of Jolla there are open NemoMobile and Qt/Qml frameworks, so I dare say that SailfishOS is way more open than Android, or any other mobile OS out there..

foss4ever ( 2014-01-29 14:59:37 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-30 08:39:34 +0200

torpak gravatar image

updated 2014-01-30 09:01:51 +0200

I knew that beforehand that the Jolla hardware would be worth about half of what i pay for it. But i was willing to pay that premium for a phone that is "#unlike" and "truely open". From the answers and comments i have gotten so far it seems to me, like i am left with a bit of hardware, that's completely useless without a significant amount of closed source software.

I feel deceived, and that is a horrible feeling, i don't want to feel that way. Please anybody from Jolla, tell me i am wrong! Or tell me this situation is going to change.

I am willing to live with limited functionality, i'd even settle for just being able to use it as a phone and an alarmclock. What ever else i need, i can program or port myself.

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If you are both unhappy and a programer, you can join the nemomobile project that aims at developing a free UI (open source) on top of the open source parts already in. On IRC, join #nemomobile, twitter @nemomobile...etc... So it is possible to be 100% open ! And the project seems to lack people

pat_o ( 2014-01-30 12:19:55 +0200 )edit

But why should i do the work, we all payed Jolla to do?

torpak ( 2014-01-30 15:26:41 +0200 )edit

There's no better GNU/Linux hw+sw product available. If you accept ~4-7 year old hw and double the price you could buy GTA02+GTA04 combo and have it more open. Or you could use Nexus 4 with Ubuntu Touch. If you're happy with Android/Linux and closed projects (but open source), then S3+Replicant.

Mirv ( 2014-01-30 17:50:41 +0200 )edit

I'm personally happy with Jolla model with Mer and Nemo - it needs further work, but currently there are 0 really 100% productized free software non-Android platforms available (and even Replicant is basically a one-man project - help needed there too!). One needs to choose and join the (Nemo) fun.

Mirv ( 2014-01-30 17:54:43 +0200 )edit

@Mirv yet noone with a closed UI layer claims to be truely open. Macos has the same right to claim being truely open as jolla: Open source core components developed together with the Community with an added closed UI layer.

torpak ( 2014-02-09 12:27:47 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-02-03 05:31:48 +0200

llindner gravatar image

I have not bought a Jolla yet. Spent the day trying to figure out whether a Nexus 5 for "stable usage", or if perhaps the Jolla would fit my needs and philosophy better. So while I read some news, blog posts and bugs etc. about SailfishOS to get a feeling for the community and how stable SailfishOS is in its current state, I came across this very interesting thread. Thanks, torpak.

While it may be true that Jolla is doing lots of effort to contribute and maintain open source projects (appreciate that), it's also true that open source is essential for, at least, some security aspects. I'm new to Jolla, so maybe I am wrong, but I don't see this issue as "only UI-related" since packages like "jolla-keyboard" (I guess it reads keyboard input), or jolla-contacts (I guess it can read contacts), jolla-messages, jolla-ca and so on are affected, too - with these being closed-sourced I can't think of a way how to stop, for example, the so-called lawful interception (which might be, in fact, not so lawful in other countries). Sure, at some level it's all "only UI-related", but for those people in these days who might be concerned of their privacy and are willing to pay for a "truly open" device, it's not "unlike" Android or other platforms. I don't want to compare SailfishOS and Android, but the question which parts of Sailfish OS are planned or guaranteed to be opensourced (or guaranteed to be never will) seems highly legit to me.

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It's pretty much all open source except for the Android hw adaptation (but that's not Jolla's fault, but Google's to have lead the industry this way) and the thin layer of the #unlike UI along with the Jolla apps. But even there, most parts of Silica are open source (BSD-licensed).

pycage ( 2014-02-03 08:40:41 +0200 )edit

On this graphic it looks quite different than you imply.

torpak ( 2014-02-03 17:09:45 +0200 )edit

The thin layer of UI is what I’d be interacting with daily; that is precisely the part of the device that I want to be able to modify to my needs.

nomeata ( 2014-02-08 22:14:13 +0200 )edit

@nomeata that is another good reason to open it yes, but given previous experience i don't think chances are high to get someone @Jolla to see it.

torpak ( 2014-02-09 11:44:26 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-29 13:55:52 +0200

simo gravatar image

I'd love to see Jolla publishing a list like that (linked in comment under the question) of the phone's content, and we could then discuss about the Open Source policy, knowing better where we stand now with it. I believe that Jolla has a desire to move towards openess, but some business point of views doesn't make it too easy quite yet.

However, opening an open discussion and sharing detailed info about the current situation would be a step towards this :)

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http://releases.merproject.org/~carsten/niceview.png is a nice view presenting what's open and what's not, from perspective of the dependencies of the UI (ie some packages may be missing that are on device)

Stskeeps ( 2014-02-02 15:51:14 +0200 )edit

@Stskeeps Thanks a lot :) Could that great view be also published by Jolla e.g. on their site or the service/support site (zendesk)?

simo ( 2014-02-03 16:48:44 +0200 )edit

@Stskeeps the link is dead. Is there a new version of that somewhere else? Best, Keywan

prometoys ( 2015-03-02 13:12:20 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-01-29 14:28:07 +0200

Bart Vanhauwaert gravatar image

Personally, I don't care so much that the current Jolla user interface is proprietary. I use it, I like it. As long as the OS continues to allow 3th parties to develop their own alternative when necessary I am sure the open source community will step up to the opportunity one day or another.

Remember, open source isn't just about what currently is. It is about what is currently possible.

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Asked: 2014-01-28 12:47:52 +0200

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Last updated: Feb 13 '14