Ask / Submit

Android kernel ??

asked 2014-11-24 21:37:54 +0200

florifreeman gravatar image

updated 2014-11-24 21:45:09 +0200

Is it true that Sailfish OS is using an Android Kernel? I thought it would be an ordinary Linux kernel?

Posted in this german "IT" Mag =>

Can´t be true.

edit retag flag offensive close delete

3 Answers

Sort by » oldest newest most voted

answered 2014-11-24 23:01:42 +0200

Philippe De Swert gravatar image

Yes and no. The basis is a kernel for android since we needed the ODM support and they only deliver android kernels. However it has been as good as possible been synced with upstream stable (I think the last release was synced up to 3.4.92 stable). So there are android bits in it, but it is also upstream. To be honest an android kernel is just an upstream snapshot with some android fairy dust and drivers sprinkeled in. The difference in the end is pretty small and we did our best to make it even smaller.

Also the bits for the android kernel are totally open, its only a few userspace blobs that are closed android blobs. More or less similar to people who run Nvidia closed drivers for example on their desktops/laptops (except that in Jollas case there is libhybris in between to be able to use a true Linux userspace on top )

edit flag offensive delete publish link more



The basis is a kernel for android since we needed the ODM support and they only deliver android kernels.

Can you please clarify this in the context of the tablet? Intel does provide and develop drivers for the stock (non Android) kernel, and even more - they are open. So what exactly is deficient in their Mesa / KMS driver that requires you to use Android Intel blobs on the tablet with Android kernel as well?

shmerl ( 2014-11-24 23:27:30 +0200 )edit

@shmerl: Here I spoke in Jolla phone context. The tablet stuff under investigation.Thus the situation is still unclear and I am not going to speculate about that.

Philippe De Swert ( 2014-11-24 23:34:09 +0200 )edit

I see, thanks for the clarification. I really hope you'll end up using open drivers, since then you can report issues to Intel and they'll be moving forward. And if not in the final product, at least in your test environment in parallel. Since at some point these drivers should become good enough.

shmerl ( 2014-11-24 23:35:20 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-11-24 21:46:08 +0200

shmerl gravatar image

updated 2014-11-24 21:50:16 +0200

It is true on devices that use libhybris and Android blob userspace drivers with Sailfish. That includes Jolla handset and the upcoming tablet.

The reason for it on the handset it the lack of high performance Qualcomm GPU drivers for Wayland. Same thing for the tablet, according to @Stskeeps, Intel's Mesa / KMS driver is not performant enough. Note, that's his claim, which he didn't explain clearly.

edit flag offensive delete publish link more


So where´s the difference in buying an Android device instead of Jolla when both are using an Android Kernel with all the Google Stuff in it?!

florifreeman ( 2014-11-24 21:48:51 +0200 )edit

There is no userland "Google stuff" in it (besides the driver blobs). The difference is that it helps Sailfish to move forward. I asked them why they can't get native Wayland drivers, and the answer is - manufacturers don't care. So Jolla's claim was, that first they would get some traction using this crutches method of running glibc system with Wayland on top of Android kernel + Android blobs + libhybris hack, And when they'll reach some bigger scale, they can push for native drivers. Sailfish can work on native setup though, as long as hardware adaptation is functional (kernel, drivers, Wayland etc.).

On the other hand, it's not clear why Jolla can't use open Intel drivers besides the claim that they have poor performance. How are they supposed to get better if industrial users like Jolla won't be submitting bugs and feature requests?

shmerl ( 2014-11-24 21:55:04 +0200 )edit

In case of the handset, it's Qualcomm we are dealing with. Don't expect any help from them. There is Freedreno though, but it was quite behind in power management the last time I checked.

With tablet it's better since it will be using Intel GPU. There will be a good chance of producing a workable installation of glibc Linux with stock kernel and open video drivers for Wayland on it. That can be for the same Sailfish or for alternatives like Nemo Mobile or Plasma Active.

shmerl ( 2014-11-24 22:06:06 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-11-24 21:40:23 +0200

torcida gravatar image

No, not true.

edit flag offensive delete publish link more


Incorrect in a number of cases. See below.

shmerl ( 2014-11-24 21:48:30 +0200 )edit

Sailfish is not using "an Android Kernel", but it's using the "Kernel 3.4.0", which is also been used by Android (KitKat). That's what is writing.

torcida ( 2014-11-24 22:04:43 +0200 )edit

Ahhh okay, now iam understanding! Thx for the explanation!!

florifreeman ( 2014-11-24 22:08:17 +0200 )edit

Sailfish is not using "an Android Kernel", but it's using the "Kernel 3.4.0", which is also been used by Android (KitKat).

It has to be using the kernel that works with Android blobs. So it is proper to call it Android kernel. It won't be your stock upstream kernel for sure.

shmerl ( 2014-11-24 22:10:20 +0200 )edit
Login/Signup to Answer

Question tools



Asked: 2014-11-24 21:37:54 +0200

Seen: 1,534 times

Last updated: Nov 24 '14