Sailfish Community News, 20th October, Community

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Sailfish OS update from Jolla

In the last newsletter we reported on a host of upcoming community meetings taking place across Europe. Along with these and the creation of a the new Sailmate Cooperative, there’s been a lot happening in the community over the last two weeks. So in this newsletter we focus on these community activities.

We return to Vienna with vlagged for his report on the Austrian Sailfish Meeting. We love the photos, showing the clear transition from Metalab’s bright daytime energy to Charlie P’s evening Irish Pub relaxation (although we reserve our highest admiration for vlagged’s cleverly tweaked photo containing all the participants, including jojo who was taking the photo at the time).

We also delve deeper with jojo into the aforementioned Sailmate Cooperative. What is it? Where is it? And why is it? Jojo will answer all these questions and more, just read on to find out.

Finally, don’t forget to read onwards for dcaliste’s repository roundup, where you can catch up on all the developments in the repositories that are being prepared for future releases of Sailfish OS. Plus the app roundup where we look at four of the best recently updated apps from the Jolla Store.

Energy from the Community

Community Meetup in Lausanne, 22 October 2022

The community meetup in Lausanne, Switzerland, that we covered in the last newsletter is now very nearly upon us. Organised by Patrick Hervieux (pherjung) and taking place at the FIXME Hackerspace, the event will include presentations by Whisperfish developer Ruben de Smet (rubdos) on the topic of confidentiality technologies, and our very own Andrew Branson talking about Sailfish OS and the Sailfish ecosystem.

It’s shaping up to be both fascinating and enjoyable. We hope everyone who attends has a great time, but for those of us unable to make it in person the presentations will be live-streamed on Twitch, and surely worth a watch.

And in case that doesn’t satisfy your need for Francophone Sailfish news, you might also want to take a look at the recent Sailfish news update shared by Pierre (mips_tux) on linuxfr.org, which neatly summarises a whole three years in the life of Sailfish OS.

The Austrian Sailfish Meeting

Also as reported in the last newsletter, the Austrian Sailfish Meeting took place in Vienna’s Metalab on the 8th October. We asked vlagged to compile us a Port Report from the meeting. Vlagged has put together a lovely collection of both words and pictures about the event, so over to him.

As a recap, nephros came with the idea of having an Austrian Community Meeting, set a date, people started booking trains and/or hotels, and I myself found that flying from Bucharest is cheap on that date.

Then smatkovi talked to Daxim and he very kindly offered to host us at the venue, which is like a hackspace made available for technology passionates.

We started from the comfy sofa at the entrance, talked a bit about how everyone got into Sailfish OS, showcased each other’s phones (nephros a suitcase of them, that had even two flip-phones running Linux!)

Our host Daxim (did I mention he is also using the original Jolla 1 as a daily driver?) made us a tour of all the space in Metalab, the hardware and all the hackish stuff that is available there). Here we see everyone at the Metalab tour start.

Then we sat down again, this time at the big table, brainstorming what projects would be best for the future Association (Verein) to help with first. We then proceeded to signing the associations’ papers for its initial creation (more on this below). We then headed to the restaurant, but not before jojo made us this group picture.

From left-to-right here we see sisu, smatkovi, Emanuel, nephros, Daxim, vlagged, fridlmue and jojo (taking the picture but cleverly edited in; actually I made the first picture but I was so bad at it that jojo is not in it! So this is his take). Behind us is the Metalab entrance, of course.

At the restaurant we continued talking with many discussion threads about Sailfish.

While fridlmue and nephros even got into some QML debugging (here nephros inspects QML files on the phone in vi!).

And of course at one point we had all our devices together (including the Linux flip-phones) in a picture (why didn’t we have the idea to turn the screens on? Was it very late in the evening for us maybe?).

All in all it is was a very enjoyable event, I was very happy to see so many people using Sailfish in the same room — even though they were sometimes talking in English because of me not understanding otherwise — and I am also full of hope that we will soon have the Sailmates Verein do some real work.

Sailmates Cooperative

The notion of having a community-funded development programme that’s community-led and runs in parallel to Jolla’s development of Sailfish OS has bubbled up over the years in one form or another. And while historically this has tended to take the form of individual donation or crowdfunding projects for individual developers, there was a suggestion more recently to try a more coordinated approach.

To this end, the idea to create a cooperative was proposed explicitly by pherjung earlier this year through a poll which demonstrated a very clear majority in support for the idea.

As you can see from the discussion on the forum, the idea has already been through many iterations and taken in ideas from a large number of community members. Pherjung’s idea was always to create something focused on user needs, as he explains.

My goal with a cooperative is to speed up what we users really need. Secretly, I want to lobby with this cooperative to encourage Jolla to make Sailfish OS more open-source :smiley:

With the seed planted by pherjung, things really started to get interesting when community-member and daily Sailfish user jojo initiated the process of creating a non-profit association incorporated in Austria. The name of the organisation: Sailmates.

We spoke to jojo about where things are at, and what he and his fellow co-operators plan for Sailmates. And the best place to start? Figuring out exactly what it is. AS Jojo explains:

The association will be shaped by it’s members, but from my point of view, Sailmates is about helping the Sailfish community. This can be done by supporting projects, ideas or requests made by it. We can do so by financing open source mobile operating systems related projects or with spread.

From the discussion and poll on the forum it’s clear there’s a lot of interest in the idea. Jojo has been getting support from others, and has already made good progress with the administrative setup of Sailmates.

So far vlagged and fridlmue are founding members, but I got messages of people interested in being a member already.

So far the statutes were written and approved by the community and we are meeting with the founding members before the Vienna meeting.

I’m really happy the community participated in the writing and correction of the statutes, so we are all on the same page and aware of the association’s purpose.

The working draft of the statutes are online for anyone keen to read them. The final document was signed by the founding members – jojo and fridlmue – at the Austrian Sailfish Meeting. The team will now have to wait four weeks to receive a reply from the Association Authority in Vienna before the association becomes an official entity.

At that point the association can start to attract more people, in particular, all of you enthusiastic and generous supporters of Sailfish OS, to get involved yourselves.

In the short term we will open it to the members to join. Have elections for the different positions we need filled in the association - that will be a great opportunity for those wanting to participate in the associations life. A bit later the members will have to pick a first project to finance with their membership. I am really excited about this last part.

And that brings us to the ultimate aim of the cooperative, which is to help finance open source development and other activities that contribute to Sailfish OS. What sort of projects might these be? Jojo points us to some of the nice suggestions made on the forum, from poetaster’s ideas to fund the servers needed to run mapping apps and a patchmanager catalogue, to hildon’s suggestion to fund improvements to browsing and videocalling apps, or dcaliste’s many ideas for improving the calendar app. “Many good ideas were given…” Jojo explains, “I wouldn’t be able to say what will be the first project to be financed since it will be up to the members’ vote.”

But there are other benefits to the association beyond funding, in terms of organisation and focus. Jojo sees it as a focal point for community activity that will help bring Sailfish OS users together.

In the longer term, the association will also be a great way to represent the users. Here in Austria for example, you cannot rent a tennis court without being an association. For renting a room for a meetup, it will be easier as an association rather than as individual(s). And also to ask for grants.

The association is one of the means to help the community, but there are many more! Like buying a coffee for a dev, translation, bug reporting, sharing with friends, colleagues or students, helping other devs, writing blog posts… the possibilities are endless.

If you’re wondering how you can get directly involved with Sailmates, then you’ll have to be just a little more patient as the statutes work their way through the system in Austria. As soon as that process is complete, Jojo has promised to advertise the next steps on the forum. So keep your eyes peeled! “We will definitely warn the community about it!” Jojo explains:

The involvement of the community for the statutes writing was very overwhelming and I thank you all for that. Sailmates is just beginning and has many topics to implement, I personally have many ideas I’d like to bring to the association, and I bet, so do others.

We’re very much looking forward to seeing how Sailmates develops over the coming months, and looking to the future, hoping it will help galvanise the community and bring even more development to Sailfish OS.

Repository roundup

After the update of accounts to better support the latest Microsoft flavour of OAuth2 and the continuing effort on low-level library updates, the last fortnight brought (almost) the conclusion to the new charging settings. In the next (large) update, there will be the possibility to adjust charging of the phone in a finer way, including an hysteresis on full charge to limit battery ageing.

Accounts

  • signon-plugin-oauth2, a plugin to handle OAuth2 protocol, tomin1 opened a pull request adding parameters passed to plugins. This allows sending non-standard query items to server. For example, Microsoft identity platform uses this to know that it should prompt user to select account.

Power management

Calendar stack

Low-level system libraries

SDK

Documentation

App roundup

We have another nice quartet of apps to share with you today, all available directly from the Jolla Store, and all having enjoyed recent updates. One of the joys of writing this section is the opportunity to chart an app as it goes through its lifecycle from initial release through to maturity. Amongst the apps today we find a mixture of vintages, from established apps that occasionally acquire new features but are otherwise pretty stable, through to newer releases that are developing rapidly, but may still hide the odd glitch or two. All of the apps here are well worth a look, and all of them I hope we’ll revisit in the future as their development continues.

German Weather Service

We last took a look at the German Weather Service app from Mark Washeim (poetaster) at the end of last year, when it made it into our top ten of most favourited apps. And I can see why. Having grown up in England, I’m well aware of how important it is to know that the current burst of showers will be followed by a downpouring of rain.

From my testing of the app, the weather in Germany does at least seem to be somewhat more variable. But while the utility of the app isn’t in doubt, where it really shines is in its combination of detailed information presented in a succinct and attractive way.

Select your location and you’ll be presented with a five-day forecast showing minimum and maximum temperatures, likelihood of clouds and rainfall, windspeed, and the essential summary icon. Select one of the days and you can drill down to an hourly forecast.

In the latest version opening the hourly view will position the display on the current hour, so you don’t have to spend your evenings scrolling downwards. Plus poetaster has applied his experience with embedded WebViews, no doubt garnered during development of Mah Solitaire, to add a very effective Rain Rader page, with which you can chart the movement of overhead sog animated in ten minute intervals.

This release of the popular app it up to version 0.9.2, available from the Jolla Store, OpenRepos and Chum.

WORDLE

While the official WORDLE site offers only an English-language version of the game, Slava Monich (slava) continues to extend his native WORDLE app with new features and new languages. The latest version adds Ukrainian to the list of supported languages.

WORDLE is a simple game: guess the five letter word within a maximum of six attempts. On each attempt any correct letters in the correct location are coloured green, while any correct letters in an incorrect location are coloured yellow. Each attempt has to be a valid word, but every letter that’s incorrect is removed from the alphabet of possible letters to use.

While it’s a simple game in terms of rules, it’s also a fiendish game in terms of effort and strategy. Do you start with a new word each time, or choose a word packed full of vowels? Permuting the correct letters in order to create a new word can be a genuinely taxing experience.

The original WORDLE offers only one game per day, but with slava’s implementation you can play it as often as you like. A single game can take just a few minutes, but with no restriction on repeat plays, you’d be wise to allocate yourself a lot more time if you plan to give the game a go.

It’s great to see it continue to get updates, and version 1.0.11 is available from the Jolla Store, OpenRepos and Chum.

CodeReader

Slava Monich (slava) has also updated his CodeReader barcode reader app. Based on the original CodeReader app by Steffen Förster, you may be wondering why you’d use a third party QR code scanner now there’s one built right into the official camera app.

The fact is, while the inbuilt scanner will do the job, slava’s CodeReader app goes a step further in terms of usability and functionality. For example, scanning a Covid vaccination certificate with CodeReader will decode the data contained in the embedded text string and present it in a nicely formatted way. Similarly vCards will be decoded into their individual fields. Indeed, the latest version embeds a contact card viewer into the app, presumably to replace the operating-system-supplied viewer which now blocked due to sandboxing.

As with all of slava’s apps, CodeReader is slick and feature-packed, so if you find yourself scanning QR codes more than just occasionally, you’ll find it a useful addition to your phone.

The latest version 1.0.48 of CodeReader is available from the Jolla Store, OpenRepos and Chum.

TimeLapse Tools

It’s always great to see developers taking on board suggestions from the community, and that’s exactly what Lukas Karas (karry) has done with TimeLapse Tools, the app that lets you capture images over a long period of time to be stitched into a faster-than-life animation.

When we tried the app back in September we enjoyed configuring the app and capturing images, but hit a snag when trying to generate the final video output. We even went so far as to suggest skipping the release to avoid getting stuck at this final step. The issue turned out to be locale-related, with slashes in the date format (dd/mm/yyyy) unexpectedly causing the images to be stored in subdirectories. It’s great to see karry rolling out a fix so quickly.

Following this update, there’s now no reason not to recommend the app again for timelapse photography enthusiasts and curious dabblers alike. Not only does the release fix the issues we experienced, it also now stores timelapse metadata alongside images, and updates the translations.

Another nice new feature is that battery levels of both the phone and any attached camera are also displayed on the capture screen, very apposite for an app that’s likely need to run for hours at a time while it captures its shots.

The latest release of Timelapse Tools brings it to version 0.3, which is available form both the Jolla Store and OpenRepos. Definitely worth an upgrade.

Please feed us your news

We hope you enjoyed this fortnight’s community news. This is your news, and frankly we can’t always keep up with all the exciting stuff happening in the Sailfish community, so please help us out by replying to this post in the forum if you’d like to see something included.

And do also join us at our community meetings on IRC, Matrix and Telegram. It’s a great place to discuss any of the content you see here, ask questions and share your ideas. The next meeting will be on the 27th October.

24 Likes

There is small typo error. In German it’s Verein :wink:

And there is another one:

pareticular

Thank you for your work! It’s always nice to read the Community News \o/

4 Likes

Thank you for the feedback @pherjung! I’m glad you’re enjoying the newsletter, and I’m always happy to fix any mistakes.

1 Like

A big heartfelt thanks to all for pushing forward with the Verein!

3 Likes

Did I get this correctly? Battery charge control is going to be a built-in feature? That’s great!

4 Likes

Certainly looks like it - this is indeed great news!

I want to repeat my thanks to everyone who joined the meetup, making it a very enjoyable afternoon and evening! There was a lot of good talk, productive discussion (esp. in the context of the Verein discussions), some app bug fixing, exchange of tips and tricks, and general enjoyment.
You are a bunch of great people and hopefully we’ll meet again at another installment of this event (or a similar one).

Also thanks to @vlagged, @jojo and of course @flypig for featuring it in the SCN.

5 Likes

Exciting news from Vienna - thank you for the summary and photos! And thanks to the Lausanne meetup for their livestream! It was great to hear from @rubdos and @abranson “in person.”

1 Like

That are interesting news concerning a new “Verein”: If we users (= members/Vereinsmitglieder) could vote and pay for issues to be fixed, which are for us mostly important. Nice Idea! Thanks for your work.

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