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Sailfish OS future outlook

asked 2019-11-02 23:10:38 +0300

Malakay gravatar image

updated 2019-11-02 23:55:06 +0300

Ahoy Jolla, I am quite concerned about happening around sailfish OS, I am quite worrying about future. I see some major problems and I hope to see some feedback from you.

I want you to know that I am a big fan of you and Sailfish OS and I don´t want you to understand this "letter" as some nagging or complaining, I am writing this as some constructive critics to help you see your system like little customer sees it.

Where did I started? Maybe 2,5 years ago I had Nexus 4 with ported but no updates for a veeeeery long time (it was community port, so I understand). I decided I want officially supported phone by Jolla, so I had to buy Xperia X. Now, maybe 1,5 year later I see some things, which quite bothers me.

1) only very limited selection of officially supported models - honestly, Xperia X is good phone, but nowadays it slowly becomes quite obsolete and Xperia XA2 is not brand new either. When I was reading some future outlook in the past, there was written you are working on better compatibility with more devices on Sailfish 3. So I have to ask - where is that? I still see no progress on it.

2) concerning point 1 - it looks "weird" when I visit your website, reading about your great system, but there is no option to buy a phone with it from you. Only some overview of some obsolete phones with obsolete release dates can be seen. I contacted your helpdesk asking where to get Sailfish OS phone. Reply arrived - but there only was info that they cant help me with this.So just compare these 2 situations:

a) this is my personal experience - potential customer finds somewhere that there exists some Sailfish OS system. He will propably google it. He decides to get it, he finds your website and wants it, but there is no option to get phone on your website. So, he has to get the phone on its own and then maybe will buy your system (I think this is the point, where every user gives it up because big lack of any info - I almost gave it up too). When he buys it, there is 2paged guide (not too clearly written) how to install it on the phone. Basic user totally burns here like a paper, it has to be at least the power user, otherwise he has no chance to finish it. And the last thing - if there happens a miracle and user will install it, after restart there is that annoying message "your device has been unlocked and can´t be trusted". This really doesn´t look good.

b) this is how I personnaly imagine ideal situation - customer finds that there exists some Sailfish os system. He will propably google it. He discovers Jolla pages. He will check available phones, which Jolla has in stock. He chooses some model and order it. Jolla will buy that model from his money or pick it up in its own warehouse and installs Sailfish on it - never mind customer will wait maybe a month to arrive, because he read on the web how long will it take. When it arrives, customer turns on the phone (maybe jolla in the meantime solved how to make dissapear that annoying "unlock blah blah" message) and can use it just from the box. And we see happy customer :)

Now Jolla, tell me, what´s better in your eyes :)

3) your company needs customers, because your system has real minority on the market. Were you thinking about offering Huawei your system? That could solve the problem of limited models selection. I have read that their own system needs many time to finish it.

4)obsoleteness of Jolla store. I didn´t noticed any new applications for very long time and if there wasn´t openrepos with Storeman, system has almost no apps. With this comes second problem - aliendalvik android compatibility layer. Will it someday be updated on Xperia X? Or you rely on that users will buy nowadays almost obsolete XA2 with uncomplete Android 8 support? Just by the way, most recent version of Android is 10, so if user will buy XA2, after a moment there will be same problem with XA2. So, wouldn't it be better to concentrate your developers to make some majorly used apps (like instagram, youtube, facebook etc...) and some other important apps natively for Sailfish in RPM? If it is done, you and all your users will be completely independent on Android and you won´t have to develop some Aliendalvik thing which (as I see) takes a years to make it working properly. I am sure your developers will spend time better if they write native apps for SFOS than wasting their time to make some useless android emulator, which will ever be obsolete, because android makes updates almost every hour :D

5) I know, that most of your paychecks comes from your bigger clients like Russian government (I read that you won a tender) so it is completely okay you are doing like customer wants. But are you interested in your other users like me? Am I important to you as a single customer? It is a pity that some great and original features which made Sailfish OS unique are now slowly getting lost just because some rich customer said so and still more and more it becomes to look like some another "consumer" system like Android is. You are unique, you are not an Android, so stop pretending you are. That uniqueness made your system something special and brought you many customers like me, so don´t ruin it just because some paying monkey says that is wrong. Maybe we can´t earn you billions like governments, but when is your system good, me and other community users surely recommend it and bring you more users, so who knows, maybe one day your system will have major share of the market. You have huge potential, because I know many people who don´t want android or apple. Don´t act like Windows Phone which died because lack of apps.

Last point - make better your attitude to small customers like me,don´t ignore us, inform us what is happening right now. Personally, I would welcome some mail newsletter (once a week maybe? :) ) , whats new in SFOS development and what are your points of interest nowadays, communicate with us, we are YOUR community :)

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So, wouldn't it be better to concentrate your developers to make some majorly used apps (like instagram, youtube, facebook etc...) and some other important apps natively for Sailfish in RPM?

No. Sailfish OS once had integrated functionality for social media that the media companies broke.

vattuvarg ( 2019-11-03 08:07:54 +0300 )edit

The Sailfish "Store" is a slightly odd name for a software repository.

My suggestion would be to unify software repositories (both native and android) under one umbrella app. The user could then choose which repositories to activate. There could even be specific repositories for regional apps.

vattuvarg ( 2019-11-03 08:23:57 +0300 )edit

@vattuvarg Noted this now. Yes, Jolla go on!!!

N9Sailfish ( 2019-11-03 08:50:20 +0300 )edit

Vattuvarg: so, in the early beginning Jolla implemented functionality for social media and companies broke it?so Jolla relies it will be the same forever and nothing will ever change? Time goes on, everything moves forward, so this attitude is at least.....weird. Sorry, but this argument is not relevant.

Malakay ( 2019-11-03 14:34:25 +0300 )edit

I still think that apps should be developed with priority, because if it is enough apps natively, there will not be necessary to maintain Aliendalvik. There are lots of users who use sailfish because they don´t want android. But jolla forces them this way to use android apps with doubtful performance. Sailfish apps are lightweight, faster, with much better performance and system integration.

Malakay ( 2019-11-03 14:37:29 +0300 )edit

6 Answers

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answered 2019-11-03 07:54:27 +0300

vattuvarg gravatar image

The PinePhone and PineTab by PINE64 have the potential to be off-the-shelf Sailfish OS devices. The hardware is supported by open source drivers.

With enough demand there could be Sailfish branded devices from PINE64 with official Sailfish X software.

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answered 2019-11-03 05:04:58 +0300

Kopekenscheich gravatar image

Jolla is small. They need to focus their limited resources. One big customer (investor at the same time?) is keeping them afloat. Not that I like it, yet I am writing this without a grudge either: We don't matter as much (anymore) at the moment. It is like it is.

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🤔 Well, thinking small, staying small for ever. Truth might stay somewhere ...

N9Sailfish ( 2019-11-03 08:43:54 +0300 )edit

N9Saifish - completely agree.

Malakay ( 2019-11-03 11:44:31 +0300 )edit


N9Sailfish ( 2019-11-03 12:47:25 +0300 )edit

"thinking small", you mean, like Linus Torvalds once, wrote a quite useless kernel (at that time), just for himself? Obviously, you didn't think this way, but is it far fetched?

A.Maretzek ( 2019-11-03 14:24:33 +0300 )edit

Well, "Jolla is small ...."

N9Sailfish ( 2019-11-03 14:28:15 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-11-03 10:44:47 +0300

atlochowski gravatar image

There is an option to buy phone with installed SailfishOS from https://buy.jolla-devices.com/ but not from Jolla.

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good observation - I haven´t ever seen this web :D apparently its kinda complicated to find it. However, there are only kinda obsolete Xperias and one children phone 3310 :D :D I would expect something more from company which develops their own system in year 2019. Some marketing maybe... Its hidden somewhere and it can be found just by accident :D

Malakay ( 2019-11-03 11:48:32 +0300 )edit

I have my XA2Plus from him, his service and later support was excellent...

I do not know why Jolla does not promote this solution but from customer perspective this solution seems to be perfectly complementing “sw-only” offer of Jolla

zlutor ( 2019-11-03 12:20:38 +0300 )edit

It took a while for Google to start selling phones...

vattuvarg ( 2019-11-03 16:04:19 +0300 )edit

yeah, maybe, but they´ve got majority system, because they started making native apps from the start...

Malakay ( 2019-11-03 23:15:32 +0300 )edit

I wish i new about it 3 days ago when i finally found a XA2 from a shop that shipped to Sweden. Do they sell devces preloaded with a SailfishOS license? I understand that they sell the phones with android and one can ask them to install Sailfish X Free a non payed license.

abc123 ( 2019-11-04 09:35:37 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-11-07 17:10:53 +0300

mViper gravatar image

It would be like Windows Phones. They had a brilliant working operating system, but all the people are shouting for more Apps and more Apps. Jolla is some kind of that what all those people were asking --> a different OS to iOS and Android, but (nearly) all the Apps you could ask for with the emulator. If big microsoft failed with not keeping up with Apps for Windows Mobile, how could ever Jolla do more own apps for Sailfish OS? With Sailbook there is a native Facebook app and with Prostogram a native app for Instagram. And YouTube is working from the native internet browser.

No offense but If you want a "easy" life - go to Android or iOS. they have the resources for all your wishes.

As mentioned, Jolla has limited resources. But if it would be even more easy for everyone to use Sailfish OS, they would need all their people to answer question like "how to change the font size", how to install this or that,... I would like them to put their resources to the OS itself. You would like to have a fancy, up to date website - congratulations, even less people would be left for working on important stuff.

On the website you easily find which device will support Sailfish OS. Any websearch will help finding the device of your choice. Even now electronic stores will offer at least one device compatible with Sailfish OS. They can't use brand new devces because they have to adapt their OS to each device. Yes, my past phones had better hardware than the Xperia XA2 now has - but at the moment, that is the price to pay for having something other than Android or iOS. I am willing to pay that.

Just mentioning the lock at startup... just don't look at it - who cares about the lock at startup...

I love Sailfish OS! Keep on doing well, I wish all the best for the future!

Keep calm and keep sailing (-:

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mViper: let me answer my reasons - i will quote parts:

"It would be like Windows Phones. They had a brilliant working operating system, but all the people are shouting for more Apps and more Apps. " yes, because apps makes functionality. If there are no apps, no users will use the system. Specifically Windows phone was good system I liked, but with no apps it will be still only cellphone like Nokia 3310 was. = In this time it makes useless.

"Jolla is some kind of that what all those people were asking --> a different OS to iOS and Android, but (nearly) all the Apps you could ask for with the emulator." yes, it is good to have system other than Android or IOS. But is expected to have its own apps. Because without native apps is necessary to maintain some emulator (like you said). And that is the problem - why make something to act like Android when it is NOT an Android - that´s why I personally use the system, I am not a consumer like millions to use Android or IOS. I need stable fast system, which SFOS surely is. Plus it can be customized personally almost everywhere. By the way, its one of reasons why Windows Phone died - no apps, no customization.

"How could ever Jolla do more own apps for Sailfish OS?" if they don´t have to lose time with maintaining unneccesary emulator, they could maybe make their own apps instead of relying the community to make ones. Other thing is there are many developers who gave it up and their apps are no longer maintained. So there will never be an update of those. And this could happen to every app, which Jolla relies on.

"No offense but If you want a "easy" life - go to Android or iOS. they have the resources for all your wishes." Easy life is when your cellphone works like you want. Not how Google or Apple wants. So that´s why lot of people use Sailfish instead. Plus it is fast and stable, everything works like you customize it - neither Android neither IOS could be customized like SFOS.

they would need all their people to answer question like "how to change the font size", how to install this or that,... I would like them to put their resources to the OS itself. Completely agree. I thought that Jolla together is mainly a community site (maybe maintained by Jolla), but replying people are not Jolla employees, at least most of them are not. Almost everything could be solved by community, so why they are bothering with these stupid questions?

You would like to have a fancy, up to date website Only thing I said was that there should not be archaic phone models, that can´t be ordered anymore. And almost every company in 21century has its own e-shop. Its normal progression. Plus it makes profit. When it works for company like that I work at (it has 30 employees), why it shouldn´t work for Jolla?

Lock at startup Personally I mind only one thing - it slows booting after restarting by 5 secs. It could be faster. But it doesn´t look good, because there are for example companies, which won´t allow you to use phone with unlocked bootloader because security reasons. So that´s why I think after SFOS install should be bootloader locked again.

Malakay ( 2019-11-07 19:00:48 +0300 )edit

Prostogram is not working because of Zuckemberg. I go deep in this issue lately: the new API are not allowing an unofficial app, and asking to an Instagram/FB creative employee (in Italy office) , there will not be a "special permission" for a Sailfish OS client.

minojolla ( 2019-11-07 19:20:59 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-11-03 08:24:42 +0300

N9Sailfish gravatar image

updated 2019-11-03 08:37:12 +0300

@Malakay Thank you for your message! I'm in with all personally. 👍👍👍 Also would like to point to lack of a smart watch support. Android support has to be developed further. Also support for android LE Bt is needed. Or the native apps supporting also android bluetooth. All are wellcome.

Pls see



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Following the development of PineTime for the above reasons.


vattuvarg ( 2019-11-03 08:30:12 +0300 )edit

Great! But also UI for Galaxy / Gear watches is needed, too.

N9Sailfish ( 2019-11-03 08:35:25 +0300 )edit

One question:

Why Jolla does not externalize some developing actions? Thus save time and add ready puzzles in the existing ui frame? As far I understand, the ecosystem contains also both apps in store and development of those apps for store.

Yes, all are stopped now due to non-existing-state of payable apps in store. Just thinking by myself.

N9Sailfish ( 2019-11-03 12:53:05 +0300 )edit

@N9Sailfish Samsung should either open up their protocol, at which point the community can create a UI, or Samsung itself should create a UI for SFOS. Jolla should not bother itself with proprietary, closed, DRM'ed third party devices. If Samsung does neither of those, then don't by their dreck. Or also buy an Samsung Android device.

Back in the day, Pebble published the interface to their Pebble watch. Thanks to that, and even more thank to the community, I can still use my Pebble on SFOS today, with all the features, without being spied upon, even though Pebble the company is long gone.

Fuzzillogic ( 2019-11-03 13:31:44 +0300 )edit

Thanks. You put words in my mouth. I will take contact to Samsung. I quess they need extra money due to sink in their last reported resulrs Q3 /2019.

N9Sailfish ( 2019-11-03 13:44:47 +0300 )edit

answered 2019-11-08 05:38:43 +0300

Stanislav1988 gravatar image

updated 2019-11-08 07:20:20 +0300

I have some ideas, which I think, help us popularize SailfishOS:

  1. Option to hide root for apps which detect this and dont work. I dont think that in any (near or long future) any institutions will create a native apps for SailfishOS (I mean goverment, bank etc.) So better option is possible to hide this fact and make this app working.

2.Add possible to use NFC for android apps, I know that is very near impossible to make it ... but maybe if someone sacrifice his time and strengh, then will make this working.

  1. Dont fragmentation own OS, I know that Jolla dont have resources for this moment, and we have only one year licence, but I think that is very adverse, to leave other devices for newest devices ... I dont see any reasons that Sony Xperia X cant be upgraded to use newest version of alien dalvik. This fragmention will be very confusing in very near future.

4.Make good quality native apps, on UB Touch ports I saw that they use web apps (and Google Music exist as native app), yes I have all my music in there (so it "must have" app for me) but why we can`t have something simmilar. On open repos and native jolla shop I can see only crap translators, maps, radio apps ad nothing more ... maybe start create better app or improve alien dalvik that we can use android apps without any issues.

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So basically... "Make Sailfish more like android"?

vattuvarg ( 2019-11-08 12:49:03 +0300 )edit

@vattuvarg, there is nothing left in this option, if Jolla can`t make anything to get good apps in their shop, so better improve aliendalvik and SFOS to work better with android apps.

Stanislav1988 ( 2019-11-08 13:06:34 +0300 )edit

What would it take to make the native apps good?

vattuvarg ( 2019-11-08 15:33:21 +0300 )edit


-First give job a programmer which make new apps or improve existing

-listen the community to hear what they want and add this in new updates. I know that SFOS is directed to goverments or business clients. But there is not good enough to have a lot of moneys and popularize OS

let programmers get a money for their apps

-And what important, even if someone can flash SFOS or get a phone with this OS on board, I don`t think that all users have experience to install google play services or play with android support. So better when Jolla makes a native apps

Stanislav1988 ( 2019-11-08 16:07:21 +0300 )edit

I am beginning quite tired of this. We are Sailfish OS community. When someone puts here an idea or request, we hear just excuses why it couldn´t be done, again and again instead of how could this or that be possible. I feel like total jerk, idiot etc. just because I dared to tell I need or want something and everybody persuades me that my needs are useless or stupid or unnecessary. So tell me why Jolla keeps this "community" when it doesn't listen to user feedback anyway. When we are bad because we want or need something,then there is no point for this community. I thought when this is community based system, my request are welcome, but now I have a feeling that assumed position is more like "pay for the system and piss off". It is sad.

Malakay ( 2019-11-08 16:56:37 +0300 )edit
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Asked: 2019-11-02 23:10:38 +0300

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Last updated: Nov 08 '19