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[jolla tablet][request] complete linux environment [answered]

asked 2014-12-26 22:20:46 +0200

Sayutin Dmitry gravatar image

updated 2014-12-26 22:21:05 +0200


Please make a tablet software more closer to desktop linux.


  • coreutils and other standart GNU (and not only) tools.
  • package managing util (of course with dependencies support)
  • gnu compilers, so you should be able compile other tools on device without problems.
  • buildt-in ability to become root (su, sudo).
  • filesystem for user data should be normal linux fs, supporting hard and symbolic links
  • Android cut this, unfortunately, but you shouldn't: this way almost any linux program would become runnable on sailfish, and that is great.


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The question has been closed for the following reason "the question is answered, an answer was accepted" by eric
close date 2014-12-29 09:48:22.335991

2 Answers

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answered 2014-12-26 22:22:00 +0200

r0kk3rz gravatar image

all this is already available on SailfishOS on Jolla Phone, and will be the same for the tablet

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While apparantly not part of the GNU coreutils, I do miss less on stock Sailfish OS. Sure one can install it themselves but I do not know of any Linux distribution other than Sailfish OS without less preinstalled. Also, why is there no sudo or su but devel-su? I suppose there's some sane reasoning for that...?

JonasG ( 2014-12-27 00:49:01 +0200 )edit

@JonasG: There is more. ;-)

devel-su: it is guesswork but I figure it may be Jolla's way of reminding you again that this command is part of enabling developer mode and you can break things really badly for yourself.

sidv ( 2014-12-27 04:18:19 +0200 )edit

Instead of less: to get scrolling, use cat with Drag mode set to scroll. To get a separate view to make terminal work flow easier to review, use screen, then cat filename, then Ctrl+d. The text mode program less is less suited to touchscreen, GUI-based activity.

rdmo ( 2014-12-27 10:05:06 +0200 )edit

Makes sense. I usually SSH into my device, so touch is not an issue. As for devel-su I don't think Sailfish users in particular need more protection from their own stupidity than any other Linux users. Having to enable developer mode from Settings should be enough of a reminder, IHMO. Not to mention sudo's usual "think before you type" lecture upon first usage.

JonasG ( 2014-12-27 13:47:16 +0200 )edit

im sure you could install sudo if you really want. and the tablets bigger screen would be better to type on i think

r0kk3rz ( 2014-12-27 15:47:10 +0200 )edit

answered 2014-12-27 00:10:23 +0200

sidv gravatar image

updated 2014-12-27 04:13:43 +0200

Adding on to the perfectly correct other answer, I see the biggest porting issue more in the area of usability. Without a hardware keyboard, console based programs are from a mild nuisance to a pain to operate. But even with a keyboard, they are, face the facts, not the most accessible for the vast majority of users. Now codes with a GUI will likely have porting issues due to the Wayland vs X11 and QT stuff that is featured on the Jolla devices. But even if these could be sorted out technically: do we really want to operate interfaces that were designed for an environment with multiple mouse buttons (and a keyboard) by touch?

Hence, the biggest issue is not portability of old stuff (as also pointed out so correctly by r0kk3rz answer from a different angle) it is developing a new software ecosystem and new interfaces that integrate well with design "guidelines"/ideas of Sailfish. Only with such applications Jolla/SailfishOS becomes an option for the average Joe (which they'll need to be to stay afloat!). I for one thank each and every developer for native QT applications but I am also grateful for the Android support Sailfish has, it's a practical, temporary workaround until everything is either Web based or has a native app.

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Do not decide what is good usability and what is not for other users. This way you can simply say "why linuxoids need console? it is deprecated, use awesome gui!" Having a 1st class console is definitely better than not, even without hw keyboard. (for keyboard see this and this threads)

Totally disagree with you: there are millions of good console linux programs, and hundreds good gui linux programs. Throwing this into trash can and starting from scratch is terrible idea, of course you can rewrite them, but ask yourself a question: will your new version better than ported oldschool one? Probably not, right?

Anyway: there are people interested in linux-on-mobile, like me. And sailfish will get an ultimate boost from geek users if will consider this as good point to make.

And you are not loosing ability to write new things specifically for touch interface for sailfish os, so don't ruin experience of people, who come from linux desktops.

Sayutin Dmitry ( 2014-12-27 16:42:29 +0200 )edit

@Sayutin Dmitry : unfortunately, you do not seem to get my point at all. I am using a good 75% of my time both in private and in my job (Unix) console codes (the Linux qualifier you chose is wrong, as most console codes do not use kernel functions and those that do typically try to use POSIX compliant ones). Hence, I am fully aware that console tools are very powerful if used properly.

Also, I am fully aware of the threads you so kindly pointed me to. I bought a TOHKBD and intent to buy a keyboard case for the tab if it becomes available. For the exact reason that typing on a virtual keyboard plain sucks already for mails, even more so for typing in commands and flags containing special characters. Keyboards will undoubtedly help. Nevertheless, all of these are optional add-ons for the devices. The default is, again, an on-screen keyboard and a touch interface (based off Wayland and QT).

Nobody is, again, interested to throw anything into the trash can and we can use these codes already as both my and the previous answer pointed out (w/ the mentioned X11 vs Wayland caveat).

However, the group of people comfortable to use console based codes in a productive manner is a very small one and economically not sufficient (as previous attempts for "hacker phones" have shown) Unfortunately, the vast majority of users does NOT like this stuff. This is, despite your allegation, not a mere personal opinion but a lesson generally learned and accepted in the last decades of UI and software design.

Again, you can already now compile a console code for the Jolla and do everything you asked for in your question. You can write and execute shell scripts and manage your accounts from the command line (sometimes the only way to get something obscure done properly).

Nevertheless, the less technologically inclined (where the money is!) will not care. They demand a smooth user experience with well-designed interfaces. And yes, those can/should re-use in the back-end the old stuff.

sidv ( 2014-12-27 18:11:35 +0200 )edit

I am not agree with your position about geek-users. Yes, this group of people is not very large, but very might =). Anyway, i think ordinary users will lose nothing if there will be good console. So i hope that jolla devices will be much more geek oriented, than android ones.

Good interfaces are a separate topic, separated from console. One not affects other.

Sayutin Dmitry ( 2014-12-27 19:54:34 +0200 )edit

Also, the number of upvotes and watches shows up that people are interested in such things.

I think, that jolla's devices are for geeks, others are on android, ios and winphone.

Sayutin Dmitry ( 2014-12-27 19:57:21 +0200 )edit

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Asked: 2014-12-26 22:20:46 +0200

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Last updated: Dec 27 '14