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Why is Sailfish advertised as truly open? [subjective]

asked 2014-02-05 09:06:37 +0300

torpak gravatar image

updated 2014-02-17 13:08:04 +0300

veskuh gravatar image

The first real Text on the Jolla homepage is this sentence:

Jolla is powered by Sailfish OS, a truly open and distinct mobile operating system.

The answers to the following questions seem to imply that Sailfish neither is "truly open", nor is it meant to be:

Clarification of open-source policy

Co-creation leading to co-development?

Which parts of Sailfish OS are closed source why and will that change?

Are Jolla deliberately misleading their customers?

Or are we lead to believe that like in the claims of homeopathy the concept of openness gets stronger the more it's diluted?

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The question has been closed for the following reason "too subjective and argumentative" by r0kk3rz
close date 2015-07-01 16:03:02.348897



compared to every other current platform SailfishOS is very open. We could discuss what truly open should be. but the way Jolla is interacting with its users and developing the OS on the go based ob what we contribute here and the way they use opensource core components I would say Sailfish is open.

Stating that Jolla is deliberately misleading is kind of well..

teun ( 2014-02-05 09:35:03 +0300 )edit

Well, if we take your "homeopathy" argument, Apple is the most open system ever!

Take into account that some SW components in Jolla are external projects that may not be open. AlienDalvik, for example.

lupastro ( 2014-02-05 09:44:46 +0300 )edit

Wouldn't it be more honest to say "partly open"? Have you seen the List of packages? Nothing Sailfish specific is open.

torpak ( 2014-02-05 09:46:59 +0300 )edit

@lupastro I don't really believe in Homeopathy. And if you take out the closed parts (i'm not even talking about driver blobs) you can't make a phone call or receive an sms, hell you won't see anything since there would be no UI.

torpak ( 2014-02-05 09:48:31 +0300 )edit

@torpak "Nothing Sailfish specific is open." is misleading. Lots of sailfish specific stuff is not open source, because most of the open source components are pushed to Nemo.

Andy Branson ( 2014-02-05 10:56:32 +0300 )edit

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answered 2014-02-05 11:03:34 +0300

tokaru gravatar image

It depends on your interpretation of "open". It does not say "truely open source" or "free as in freedom". It is indeed very open regarding the fact that the system is designed to let you customize quite a lot, i.e. granting root access to the file system and thus allowing you to modify system files, fiddle with the databases etc, log outgoing network connections... that's what I am loving this phone for...

That said, admittedly I had the "open source" interpretation, too, when I ordered the phone.

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So the statement is demonstrably misleading since it already mislead at least two people. And not removing or clarifying that statement on the front page after people have been mislead makes it deliberately misleading.

torpak ( 2014-02-05 11:13:49 +0300 )edit

I do not agree with this. Just because I wish everything was free and open source does not mean that anything I interpret as such is deliberately trying to mislead me.

tokaru ( 2014-02-05 11:35:39 +0300 )edit

Sorry, I still do not agree ;-) A known misunderstanding does not make a message deliberately misleading. IMHO, Jolla is open, even if the source is not (completely), this is probably the main USP of this phone.

tokaru ( 2014-02-05 20:20:56 +0300 )edit

There will never ever be a mainstream fully open source mobile OS and it also getting worse on small emdesktop ARM PC's coming latelly. Just forget about it. Most SoC is using closed drivers etc. And try make own open drivers by the community will be really PITA since those big SoC manufactors never release full specifications for they'r HW. So I think Jolla can say sailfishos most open commercial OS atleast. Being open Is not only about being fully opensource.

mike7b4 ( 2014-02-09 15:06:25 +0300 )edit

Leaving the firmware and drivers aside for a moment, Jolla is still not really more open than macos in principle. Apple too is using and contributing to an open source base system (mach, darvin) and made their closed source UI and apps on top of this.

torpak ( 2014-02-09 21:45:48 +0300 )edit

answered 2014-02-17 11:34:26 +0300

2Ti gravatar image

updated 2014-02-22 16:11:53 +0300

I would argue that Jolla and SailfishOS are open (leaving the semantics of 'truly' aside) in terms of their development model, usage policy and operating strategy. There is no vendor lock-in, not for you nor for the hardware manufacturer, indeed not even as an app developer. Indeed QT encourages you to develop for more than just one platform, that's the entire point of the framework.

I think it is important to remember what it says on the website, truly open not truly open source. These are two very different things and should not be confused with each other. I don't know if it's justified to say that Sailfish is truly open, that mostly comes down to semantics and isn't really worth debating, at least not here.

What is worth debating is how the openness of this platform compares to the openness of the other platforms. Windows Mobile, iOS and Android are all developed in the dark and released who knows when. The mere existence of this forum and the interaction of employees inside Jolla in it makes Sailfish more open than the rivals. You as a member (or indeed a non member) of the community can have an actual real impact on what gets worked on and in what order. That community driven development model indeed appears to be built in to how the company operates.

Then there is the other operational tactics of the competition. It has by now been well documented that even though Google would have us believe Android is an Open Source project, the OS you get when you by an Android based phone isn't. Google has extremely restrictive contracts that device manufacturers have to sign, if they wish to make an Android based phone. See details here, here and here. The jury is still out on that in terms of Jolla, but given that they are a small player trying to win over market share I suspect their game plan is somewhat more open.

Then there is the issue of integration. If you use an Android based phone you are integrated to Google whether you like it or not (please note that I am talking about the normal user here, not the guy who roots the phone and uninstall Google Play Services etc - this is about normal people). You will be using Google Search, Google Location APIs, Google this and Google that, this is how the platform has been designed to work. The same arguably goes for iPhone and Windows Phone. In the case of Sailfish, they don't suck up your contacts to their database in the cloud by default, they don't force vendor lock-in for you or the hardware manufacturers (at least as far as we know). It would be relatively easy for you to leave the Jolla ecosystem, and switch to say an iPhone, what about the other way around? Google, Apple and Microsoft are driving for more and more integration of all of their various services which usually restricts your options as the user for leaving those services.

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If you don't think that "truely open" in a project that uses mostly FOSS software should imply "truely open source" how about the Sailfish License section: https://sailfishos.org/about-license.html Nothing there says "But of cause only some parts will be open source". Try to tell me with a straight face this is not misleading.

torpak ( 2014-02-17 11:51:08 +0300 )edit

@torpak I think the 3rd paragraph pretty much tells you why it's not misleading. They don't say that they're releasing everything with open source license here and now. They say they're working towards it. So a little bit of patience, maybe? Give it a year or so; if nothing has changed (including the slogans) I would say it is indeed misleading. For now, I have faith in their efforts.

Acce ( 2014-02-17 12:30:06 +0300 )edit

@Acce well, it will be a year in may since i read that paragraph, before i preordered my jolla. I really hope you are right, and the situation has changed by then.

torpak ( 2014-02-17 12:51:22 +0300 )edit

@2Ti i am one of those persons who root the devices they own. And i would bet so are a significant portion if not the majority of Jolla customers. And it will stay that way. Because those who don't care enough to tinker, buy Iphones and Android devices.

torpak ( 2014-02-22 16:07:17 +0300 )edit

@torpak what does you rooting your device have to do with the platform being advertised as open?? You seem to imply that "not caring enough" means that you deserve your iPhone or Android and Jolla (Ubuntu?) should be left to the Pros who "care enough" and root their devices. That makes absolutely no sense, and again has nothing to do with the platform being advertised as open.

2Ti ( 2014-02-22 16:16:39 +0300 )edit

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Asked: 2014-02-05 09:06:37 +0300

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Last updated: Feb 22 '14