I’ve just installed Sailfish, and here is my experience as a long term Linux and Blackberry 10 user and software developer.
I already had my bootloader unlocked and android tools installed so that part was easy, except fastboot crashed so I had to continue from another OS. I had to force power-off after installation, but all in all it could be worse.
Installation went fine, with a small hitch at the timezone screen where I had the option of Helsinki or disabling automatic timezone updates. I’m not in Helsinki, but close enough I guess…
Then I came to the tutorial, which I was initially quite impressed by. The “ligth bulb” buttons feel a bit dated, but otherwise it’s very fancy. All went well until it wanted me to open an app, and it appears it crashed back to the setup, but not letting me set a pin code: https://twitter.com/pepijndevos/status/1725938313364680734
While completing the tutorial again to see the rest of it I was greeted by error notifications of Android stuff failing to install. But after I completed the tutorial I did end up with F-droid on the home screen.
The home screen feels really familiar to Blackberry 10, with the notifications to to the left of minimized app views. Like.
Navigation is honestly super confusing to me. Despite BB being very similar, the sideways motion feels unnatural and confusing. In particular it’s as of yet unclear to me when it swipes back and when it swipes out of the app. The edge swiping also seems really picky to the point I thought the tutorial was broken where it wanted you to swipe back. Nothing happened at all until I very purposefully jammed my thumb into the edge of the screen.
I was also initially confused by the pulley menu because I didn’t get you’re supposed to highlight an entry and let go. I pulled it too much and then tried to press it with my other hand. But actually it seems like a nice idea, the tutorial just wasn’t very clear if you’ve never seen the concept before.
Then I decided to explore the system a bit.
In the notification area was a weather widget that asked for my location, but then showed an error message. I think I saw a post about it on here somewhere.
Then I decided to investigate the Android errors that had since disappeared. F-droid actually launched fine, and prompted to update itself. That opened a new “app” with the android app installation window that then promptly froze.
Then I decided to explore the Jolla app store, but didn’t find anything of interest. There doesn’t appear to be a search feature, and popular apps didn’t feature any interesting things like, idk, a Twitter app or something.
I’m also apparently too dumb to install anything. It took me a good minute to find the pulley menu.
(weirdly enough, touching the finger print sensor doesn’t unlock at once, instead it first turns the screen on and then you have to press again to unlock, why?)
I decided to go on a mission to add my Twitter account. So that means installing Bitwarden which means installing the F-droid repo, which means installing a QR reader app, which is actually in the Jolla store. I have scanned the URL, but I’m also too dumb to copy it somehow. I opened it in the browser and from there also failed but somehow it ended on my clipboard in ways I don’t understand with a missing h.
I just discovered something incredibly uncool: if you copy your twitter password it’ll just show it in plain text above the keyboard. But I guess my next mission is an OTP app.
Ah and turns out the search in the app store is also in the damn pulley menu. But for some reason SailOTP from the popular apps doesn’t show up when you search for OTP. You know what I don’t want to be dealing with import/export from Aegis right now, let’s move on to Twitter.
Well that was underwhelming. Unclear what I can do now since there isn’t a twitter app or any other visible indication of Twitter doing anything at all. Did that just break on the not-so-recent paid API and was never removed? Great.
So all in all it has been a rough start and I haven’t yet explored many apps that I actually care about. I heard there is a third party store, maybe that’ll have some useful apps. And of course I can try some android apps if the native ones don’t work.
You know, it does kind of feel like Blackberry: very smooth but in a state of decline