First impressions

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:

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


Hey, and welcome to the boat!

Good thing you wrote down your first impressions, I think that’s always valuable in order to develop the UI and rest of the stuff as intuitive as possible / necessary. I’ll answer to only those parts I feel like I can help you with.

When you swipe from the edge to the center, it minimises the app. When you swipe from center to the edge, it “turns a page” inside the app. It took me a few days to get customed to the whole swiping thing, but I like it a lot, because I can do many things while not even looking at the screen.

If you feel like this even after using SFOS a while, I suggest you adjust the sensitivity of the edge swipe. Here is a tutorial from the official SFOS wiki to explain how to do that: Sailfish OS Tips & Tricks | Sailfish OS Documentation.

Yes, Jolla store has quite a restrictive API policy. Therefore, I suggest you install Storeman (Storeman Installer | — Community Repository System) and once you have done that, you can install Chum GUI (SailfishOS:Chum GUI Installer | — Community Repository System) using Storeman.


The III does that (and previous ones didn’t)… fastboot reboot is maybe the nicer way to do that.


As @tuplasuhveli says; it is very clear - edge vs not. It is the pickyness of what is the edge that takes a bit of time to get the hang of.

While it is a bit more featureful… you could also just use the camera app.

How do you mean the keyboard/copy-buffer is supposed to know what you copied?

Foil Auth is a good plain TOTP app.

As for lack of apps… what does one really need? I find it more interesting to figure out what is missing than simply noting that it seems a bit barren. Rumor has it there is a printing app that is pretty snazzy.


That’s a nice tip, have to try (fat fingers).

I’m continuously impressed with sailfish os docs!


I use an glass screenprotector (Panzer Full-Fit) and it effects edge swiping. I was hoping to get time to dive into how to “widen” the edge so it works better.


I was not happy to the edge swipe on my Xperia 10 II with a screenprotector. I followed @tuplasuhveli hint. Just opening the terminal and giving one command helped a lot. In my case:

dconf write /desktop/lipstick-jolla-home/peekfilter/boundaryWidth 96

I do recommend!


You can also use “Edge Swipe Control” from Chum for that.


Of course you have to activate developer mode to have a terminal in the first place.

1 Like

Welcome aboard! It’s always interesting to hear what new users think about and how the first steps go!

Pulley menu and edge swipes are something you “just have to know”… If the tutorial was not clear about this, please formulate a good suggestion about how it could be improved and create a bug report on the forum!

Having said that, I think it’s way better to have a consistent method of accessing menus than have every application implement accessing menus and settings in a gazillion different ways.

It’s the clipboard functionality you see. Copying works by selecting, and it’s copied automatically. (Occationally I wish it didn’t, however…) Copying a password goes to clipboard just like any other piece of text. Long-press the paste symbol to clear it. In terminal, you can use wl-copy and wl-paste to interact with the system clipboard, you need to install wl-clipboard.

OpenRepos and Chum have a suprisingly large amount of software! Note that you don’t need Storeman to download and install applications, you can just download the RPM files (for correct architecture) and install them by clicking the “download complete” notification (or by clicking the transfer in Settings > Transfers).

Note that there’s also a notable overlap with the apps they offer. I suggest starting with Chum, as Storeman is a bit more layered due to the way OpenRepos works behind the scenes.

Note that the current Android App Support doesn’t support Bluetooth connectivity. (Some say it supports Bluetooth audio, but in reality it just pushes audio to Salifish OS side, which then routes it somewhere - be it loudspeaker or Bluetooth speaker or wired headphones.) In my experience the application support is pretty dang great these days! I have MicroG 0.3.0 installed, and now even the banking applications I need work happily, i.e. Android App Support satisfies whatever security checks they do.

I suggest you check the maximum battery charge setting in Settings > Battery, since especially with Xperia 10 III the idle power draw is not nothing, and thus battery charge cycles tally up faster.

Keep us posted in a week or two, please!


Yep, contract ended. Whole thing should be removed.

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.

It would be a nice bit of polish if Sailfish clipboard recognised passwords but it doesn’t.

But for some reason SailOTP from the popular apps doesn’t show up when you search for OTP.

Sometimes happens in the other stores too.

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.

I don’t think there’s ever been an official Twitter app. Sailfish has always had ~0.2% of the paid developers of Android and iOS and no-one charges for apps. There used to be an unofficial app but the developer disappeared, the API changed, SF is 20 versions on and no-one has yet volunteered a new version.
I was wondering if CodePilot could fix up code like this.

You know, it does kind of feel like Blackberry: very smooth but in a state of decline

Blackberry owned the market for a decade and had vast resources to create apps as well as hundreds of private developers. SF never did and was always bare-bones to some degree. We’ve lost a few developers and the remainder either don’t use social media or use it in a browser or use the Android versions.

The Android support is far superior to Blackberry’s, by the way.

The other advantages are:
It’s Linux. It’s not fully-open but the other Linux’s have a much smaller ecosystem.
Jolla don’t spy on you.

Thanks for the feedback. The new user experience is pretty bad and you illustrate perfectly which it should be a focus.

1 Like

There is/was an awesome Twitter app, which sadly got nuked by Elon:

Generally, don’t bother with the Jolla store. Go to OpenRepos or Chum.
Because of the limitations of the store, you can often find the same apps on OpenRepos you would find there but more recent and with lots of additional features, etc.
Also there are developers who publish only to OpenRepos and Chum and ignore the Jolla Store altogether.


In general, Sailfish OS relies a lot on Fitt’s law:

  • most of the time you don’t hunt and peck tiny button with your fingers
  • you either swipe from the screen (wherever you finger is):
    • left/right to switch panes or tabs, and up and/or down to scroll or access pull menus.
  • or you swipe from the edges
    • to access system panes etc.: pull from top for quick setting, pull from top corner to close, pull from right edge for application list, pull from left edge for notifications and status, pull from bottom for apps (edge pulls can also be partial, pull just a bit from the right makes the app translucent so you can quickly peek at other cards the move back the finger to return to current app without switching and same with notifications from left edge; bottom edge allows you to only open the first couples of lines instead of flinging the whole app drawer open). This is part of the reason why there’s no status bar in SFOS: you can always quickly to a partial pull to peek at the status then return to the app.

It’s an interface that can be operated single handed-ly using only your thumb (as long as your hand is big enough to hold the phone and your thumb can reach around the screen).

That’s very different from the “hunt buttons all over the place” from other user interfaces.

Keep in mind that following the whole Melon fiasco at X (formely known as Twitter), the official API is paying. The only way to access it on your phone for free is the native browser or the official Android app (you would need to install Aurora Store to get apps from Google Play Store. Some apps would require googles’ services to run on your phone: the simplest is to install the opensource microG that emplements enough of them for several android applications to work, the alternative is to install the actual Google Play Services but it’s a bit more involved as you need to modify a system.img file)

The current copy-paste buffer is shown in the top line until you start typing, then the buffer display disappears and only suggestions show up (and a non-labelled past button).


I had the same issue, I thought it was only me. SailOTP just does not appear there whether on the lists or by searching. Was really hard to find it. I think maybe I managed when I searched by typing Sail instead of OTP. I’m not sure how I did it, it took me plenty of trials and error.

I installed it, it complained about not being designed to work in a sandbox and refused to do anything else. I read somewhere one has to start it from the command line.

Do you have an idea of the compared users / contributors? 1) Purism covers the same kind of users in the US as SFOS covers in EU, I thought it would be comparable; 2) Also Halium could have many contributors from KDE (Plasma Mobile), though Plasma is apparently not yet ready for the daily user.

If the sandbox is disabled in the .desktop file you can use the app again

I checked, the openrepos /chum version has opt-out from sandboxing included, better don’t take the version from Jolla store


I don’t know about the Jolla Store version, but the Chum version works fine.

The reason for sailjail opt-out is that Foil Auth, Foil Notes and Foil Pics share the data folders to have only one password (perhaps something else too?), and sharing data files between applications is not (yet) supported with sailjail.


I can’t stress this enough. Only use an app from the Store if there is none available on Chum or OpenRepos or you may wonder why it either does not work or it’s functionality is severely limited.

1 Like

This case shows again its important that Chum and Storeman (aka should join forced for a wider variety of native Apps and less confuse.

1 Like

My take on this: If the Jolla Store rules and restrictions don’t limit your app, publish it on Jolla Store. If you can’t make it compliant, release it in Chum/OpenRepos.

As Jolla Store is available in every device, it will provide the largest potential user base. There’s nothing “wrong” to publish Jolla Store. If an application can be found in both, then there most likely is a difference in the features of the versions, but not always.


I’m currently trying to live without Storeman … just CHUM and Jolla Store. So far it works but I had to lay hands on one or two apps (namely to disable sandboxing).

When CHUM came out I understood that widespread migration is desirable because it uses a better repository mechanism.