Jolla and the SFOS community

Hi everyone!
I’ve been following SFOS on and off for a few years, with particular interest this past year (to the point of getting the Xperia 10 II the moment it was said that it was on SFOS’ roadmap).

One thing that I don’t understand is how separated the community feels from Jolla itself. I don’t quite get it. SFOS is not used by many people, not well known, and in fact there’s VERY little content about it on sites like YouTube, where even incredibly niche things tend to attract a lot of content. Not only does this not seem to be a concern for Jolla, but it almost feels like they are not interested at all in motivating the community, and thus it seems like people have given up. After following the company and the community for quite a while, I just get the impression that Jolla does not care at all, and that’s not a very good mindset when it’s a project that would definitely benefit (maybe not financially right now) from closeness to the community, which promotes enthusiasm for the project and tends to then attract more people and, most importantly, talent to it. It feels like they are completely separate, starting from the fact that it’s so hard to understand documentation. I’m not completely tech-illiterate (wouldn’t call myself a proficient programmer either), but the Android community was way better at this at its inception. Yes, they quickly got the support of a MASSIVE company like Google, but that spirit of “openness” was there, the same spirit you can find on PostmarketOS, the Pinephone, etc. You feel welcome there, not only by its users but also by the main project leaders, like you can contribute and be listened to, and gradually learn the ins and outs of the software. It feels like every user can give back in their own way.

Yes, Jolla has the monthly community chat (yet their answers are so dry), and they do have the forum for bug reports, feature requests, etc. But, and I don’t know how to properly explain this, it feels like quite a cold place to be in (and don’t get me wrong, this is not due to the users, everyone I’ve talked to here has been super nice. I’m talking about the company’s approach to the community).

Don’t know if this is how others feel, but after being so enthusiastic about this OS for such a long time, I’m starting to feel a bit frustrated by the fact that Jolla just cares more about getting Russian contractors than about creating a proper piece of software that can be used globally, opening the phone OS landscape a bit more. Maybe I’m getting something wrong about their approach and I’m missing something, and if so, please do explain it to me and I will apologise if I’ve misinterpreted the situation. I just wish that this fantastic OS would attract more attention, more talent, be more supported and become gradually better!

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Most companies have people doing the community work. Here you are talking directly to the engineers and they have work to do obviously and cant be 24/7 in the forums. :slightly_smiling_face:

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You can get answers to almost every problem that occurs with SFOS here in the forum. Don’t hesitate to ask, write in an existing thread or open a new one! Also you can use the search function (magnifying glass on top of the page) of this forum to find some information you want to have.

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Indeed, the community is far more helpful and useful in solving problems with Jolla software than Jolla are themselves! I think that is part of the point that @diegoc is making. If you want to promote a community and benefit from it then its always a good idea to engage with it - otherwise disillusionment sets in and people eventually get fed up and leave. This is the bit I don’t understand. Of course Jolla is focused on where they can make money for their survival - absolutely understandable. And of course they don’t have the time or resources to respond to every post as they all have day jobs - but their absence from the forum they created for (mainly) their benefit is a little strange.

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Hi @diegoc. It’s great to hear you’ve got a device you plan to run Sailfish OS on and I hope you will be soon. I’m speaking personally, but as someone who has themselves been part of the Sailfish OS community for a long time, and who recently(ish) started working for Jolla, I hope what you say is more perception than a reality. As you point out the Sailfish OS community is enthusiastic, engaged, helpful and full of interesting and nice people. My experience is that Jolla values the community immensely, and being involved with it is one of the most important and rewarding parts of what I do. As examples, although you may find the answers in the community meetings to be dry at times, in practice there are also always many sailors attending who join in the discussion, and which can get quite lively :slight_smile: If you have ideas for how to make the place feel warmer, then we’re always looking for suggestions (e.g. we’ve been posting fortnightly community updates following @KuroNeko’s suggestion, and which I’d encourage everyone to contribute ideas to).

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Ah, so you actually work for Jolla - I didn’t know that. Are there more Jolla employees lurking on the forum is disguise that us newbies wouldn’t recognise? :slight_smile: To improve perception of community engagement why not change your handle to ‘Jolla - flypig’ or similar? At least then Jolla involvement would be more obvious.

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It’s quite possible. Stay sharp :smiley:

That’s not a bad idea; I think TJC had a badge but there doesn’t seem to be an equivalent here (it does say in my bio if you click on the pig).

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My wife always says I am limited to one good idea per day. She says the rest are usually rubbish …

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Another good sign is that almost(?) all of them have the Leader badge/status. Making that, or a dedicated Jolla badge visible directly on the posts would be nice.

Although i do have to agree with @diegoc, it does seem several sailors steer clear of the forum. But i don’t take that as that they don’t value the community, i rather have experience to the contrary.
Between having too much to do and not enough time to do it, and the sometimes quite accusatory tone on here, i can’t really fault them for it.

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I don’t think anyone is accusing Jolla or anyone else of anything here - or not that I’ve seen. They’re (me included) just expressing their own opinion which you may or may not agree with. Also, people of different nationalities and cultures express opinions in different ways - some cultures are more direct than others. All makes for a good lively discussion though :grinning:

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Thank you for your reply! I really appreciate that Jolla cares about the community (in the end, they set up the forums). After being a big Blackberry 10 user until the purchase of a Sony Xperia 10 II at the end of 2020, it really sucks when a company completely ignores the community (although Crackberry forums was never meant to be an official place, it would have been nice to get more feedback from RIM).

I guess that after reading @orangecat’s post the other day (SailfishOS in universities: feedback on experiences) about how unnecessarily complex it was for uni students to actually develop and test for Sailfish OS (and being a uni student myself, I agreed quite a lot with what their impressions were), and not seeing any feedback from Jolla (or not that I’m aware of anyway), I finally thought that it was worth bringing this up. I really want this project to succeed not only in the business area with Russian companies, but rather as a good, solid and open alternative to iOS and Android, something that Canonical, Mozilla and Blackberry (minus the open part) have all deemed impossible or impractical. With how good the OS is already (I haven’t been able to use it on a daily driver, but I have extensively tested it on other people’s devices), it’d be great to have more documentation, maybe a bit more presence on the community from Jolla with what @Steve_Everett mentioned about the badges (don’t want to waste any of the engineers’ time, so maybe a more official group of volunteers could be set up to handle this? support on this forum is already amazing by regular users), and more content online (helping to get SFOS on content creators’ hands? something that would help spread the word more) would be quite nice to make more people aware of this great project.

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I really didn’t want to sound accusatory. Although I could have worded the post a bit better (maybe it sounded more like a rant than an attempt at a constructive conversation), I didn’t want to criticise and accuse, I just wanted to point out a feeling that maybe others were having and were not expressing. Hope that Jolla didn’t take it the wrong way.

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It wasn’t directed at you. Your initial post is fair, measured, and constructive.
But there are plenty of threads around where people are overly negative, and blame Jolla for things that are out of their control, or obviously too expensive. I’ll refrain from pointing them out at this time.
Often they deteriorate into “GAAH, Jolla needs to fix all the issues”, promptly followed by failing to actually specify what issues, or indeed why Jolla can reasonably do anything about them.

@Steve_Everett
You have maybe blipped on my negativity-radar once or twice, but you do try to be constructive. I’m judging possible reactions from sailors by my own experiences here, as a developer also from the Nordics. So it is definitely bound to be a bit off, but also closer than many. I don’t think directness is really an issue, but when that turns confrontational instead of constructive, it could definitely become one.

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Easy solution - turn your negativity radar off and save battery power! Then you won’t have to second-guess what our motives are for posting the posts we post :wink: I can’t imagine that anyone (me included) is on this forum for any other purpose than they like Sailfish and want it to succeed :grinning:

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It was just a matter of speech, and i really did mean it was minor.

I have no wish to search them out, trust me. But there have in fact been times where people plain have refused to be constructive or even fair. And that gets in the way of the rest of us.

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Based on my experiences over the past 7+ years, I must say I’ve seen Jolla employees reply to loads of questions and help out with all sorts of problems. Whether their Jolla hat is on or off, they’re Sailfish enthusiasts just like us community members, who want Sailfish to succeed and people to succeed with Sailfish - you don’t work for a small company if you don’t in some way believe in that company. I’m 100% sure that if you’d ask Jolla for help with a problem you’re experiencing on the now-retired Jolla 1, someone would still give it a look - within reason, of course.

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But that also tells us something useful - that, for whatever reason, their experience has not been good - they’re frustrated, angry, unfair or not constructive. So why? Key to fixing any user or customer’s perception of a product is to understand why they hold that perception. When the reason is understood, the underlying cause can be fixed - the product improved, their perception corrected or whatever. Normally happy users or customers rarely complain or comment, unhappy users or customers do - and this can be destructive as you say. I’m all for understanding them and fixing their problem.

I do somewhat agree with this in that there is a certain distance between the company and the community. While there are company people around, in terms of communication, strategy, plans and even ultimate vision for Sailfish, the company is less than transparent. Being more transparent would create a warmer feel in the community.

However, when you’re a small company struggling for survival, it is very easy to become a little unfocused on the community. Especially if that community becomes a forum for complaints and whining (which is not uncommon — we are on the Internet after all). Your attention stretches only to the immediate things that can keep you afloat. Been there done that.

To really be able to make the community a multiplier you need two things:

  • A strong USP (as mentioned in another thread). Something the OS does uniquely different or uniquely well that the users rave about, and which the company raves about (think early days of Tesla or iPhone). That way the other quirks are forgiven.

  • Strong leadership that can convey energy, a vision, and create a following.

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That’s what I wanted to express, but you put it 1000 times better than I could!
And regarding your last point, I agree. It’s not very easy to see who’s behind Jolla now. If you go to their YouTube page, the last video is from two or three years ago. It’s hard to create that following if you don’t know who exactly to follow. Some might argue that the product will speak for itself, but sadly in the real world good marketing helps quite a lot. As you say, they are not very transparent about their vision or their long-term plans, which is not great when it’s such a small community (small compared to Android, haha)

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How? By just pointing out the truth?
This should not be the case and must not happen at all in an open forum, imo!
And I am sure it does also not help to keep silent about the well-known shortcomings…

I have followed the last days a lot of @Steve_Everett 's posts and do see them all as valid and with well formed wording. And no negativity.

Nevertheless I agree there have been lots of whining and demanding as well a lot of times.
For whatever reasons? I am not going to join that discussion…


As a side note:
I started to use SFOS as daily driver only around summer/fall 2018 (before using N9/x0 and Jolla1/C only as hobby) with XA2 with updated Android support.
Just to find end of 2019 that some unacceptable bug(s) hindered me to update to 3.3, then again to 3.4 and now again with 4.0. So my daily driver is still on 3.2.
And those bugs were partly resolved only, and new (imho some unacceptable) introduced. Again I do not want to start/join that discussion…

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