Sailfish Community News, 21st March 2024 - Rust

Sailfish OS update from Jolla

We are very thrilled that translation round calling found this superb community. It looks very good already and many languages are 100% completed – awesome job everybody involved there. It’s also time to remind you that the deadline for this round is Sunday the 24th of March. Special thanks to direc85 and pherjung for volunteering to be translation coordinators for Finnish and Portuguese (Brazil) respectively.

Last fortnight we said that GCC 10 will hit 4.6.0 Sauna with good confidence. Now it’s sure as all changes are integrated and it’s looking good. Further, contributions from rubdos and direc85 to Rust 1.75 and LLVM 15 were merged after Gecko building issues against updated Rust and Clang had been sorted out. This Rust update is a great achievement :+1:!

Increasing root partition size for older devices (for flashable images only) sprinkled very vibrant and lively discussion on last week’s community meeting as we wanted to understand reasons why users are running out of space on the root partition. We decided to increase the root partition size for older devices. We’d like to mention and clarify that previous root partition resizing was triggered by 64-bit architecture taking more space affecting Xperia 10 II and Xperia 10 III. As we see this, it doesn’t matter how big the root partition is. It’ll be eventually full of certain usage patterns. There should be always reasonable space reserved for the home partition. This is the situation as of today. There are certain improvement ideas that we could do together with you, the Sailfish Community, but before starting we should organize around the topic. We’ll come back to these ideas.

Finally, we have received few questions about Store QA delays. Apologies regarding response delays in the Store QA queue. We have been busy with all sorts of exciting things happening.

Energy from the Community

Repository roundup

Developers will be able to use more up-to-date tools since GCC upgrade to version 10 has been merged, and the contributions from rubdos and direc85 will now allow to enjoy LLVM 15 and Rust 1.75 :partying_face:.

Communication bits

Location services

User interface

Browser stack

Multimedia

Other applications

  • nemo-qml-plugin-filemanager, QML bindings for file management, pvuorela cleaned the requirements, removing old ones that are not needed anymore (like contactscache, D-Bus, profile, connman…), and fixed the c++ API.

Low-level libraries

Developers’ corner

App roundup

A glitch in the newsletter matrix meant there was no app roundup last fortnight. But rest assured it was just a glitch and we have a fresh look at some nicely updated apps in the newsletter today. Although the four candidate apps we have for space on your phone today are all quite different in their functionality, what unites them is the quality and stability of their implementation. All four were rock-solid with beautiful user interfaces. Although I experienced some issues with backend services, the fact all these apps are still under active development means that shouldn’t put you off trying them out.

First up is the venerable Podcatcher, originally created by Johan Paul for the N9 but updated for Sailfish OS and now maintained by Moritz Carmesin (carolus). As the name suggests, Podcatcher is used for downloading podcasts, meaning it’s ideal for audio series that are released regularly over a period of time.

Podcatcher’s user interface reflects this. Rather than jumping from one online audio file to the next, the user is asked to subscribe to a particular podcast series. The app will then either automatically download episodes, or download them on demand when the user selects them from a list. There’s no streaming — you have to wait for each episode to be fully downloaded before you can listen — but the idea is that you can set it to download in the background while you go about your daily business.

Although I’m not a podcast aficionado, I really like this app. The interface is clean, well laid out and easily navigable. It has nice touches, like the little animated number that jumps up and down to let you know how many episodes are being downloaded. Or the fact that you can choose whether or not to play episodes via the perfectly functional internal player, or use your favourite alternative. I’m a big fan of splitting functionality into different apps, so for me, this demonstrates a focus on the user rather than the developer. If you are using the internal player, although it’s not persistent, it’s never more than one tap away, allowing you to perform other tasks in the app easily while you listen to a podcast in the background.

The backend of the app interfaces with both Apple Podcasts and gPodder. Unfortunately when I tested the app the online gPodder service was overloaded and not accepting requests. Using the Apple service I could easily search for, subscribe to, download and listen to a wide range of podcasts from spoken audio to music.

Whether you’re an avid podcast listener or just enjoy the odd episode, I can strongly recommend Podcatcher for your podcast-consuming needs. The latest version brings the app up to version 2.0.3 and includes improved memory usage, a new parser and streamlined dependencies. It’s great to see Moritz keep this app up-to-date and working brilliantly. Grab yourself a copy from the Jolla Store.

Next up is the Babbage mathematical expressions evaluator from Heiko Bauke (bauke). It’s nice to see the app enjoying continued development and the latest release introduces a whole new user interface.

Computers — and by extension smartphones — really are just calculating devices under the hood. So it’s always disappointing to discover how poor the default calculators are on most computers and phones. The default Sailfish OS calculator is better than most, but if you use it for any serious mathematical calculations you’ll soon hit up against its limitations.

Babbage pushes the default calculating capabilities of your phone to another level. It includes a very capable calculator with a push-button style user interface which gives decent — passable — capabilities. But the real beauty of the app is only exposed when you switch to the Scientific mode. Here you can enter full mathematical expressions, edit them, and execute them, including using arbitrary named variables for use within expressions. It’s not a full-blown programmable calculator, but it lives in a neat middle ground: more functionality than the default calculator and a better user interface than the Python console.

A nice new feature added in this release is the ability to store expressions for use later. These are even stored persistently after the app is closed, which is nice, although even better would be if all of the app’s state and my calculation history could be kept. Everywhere in the user interface you can press and hold to copy out an expression — or its result — for use in another app, or to reuse it within Babbage.

This latest release brings Babbage to version 0.20. On Sailfish OS we now have a range of nice mathematical expression evaluators, which can only be a good thing for the end user. Babbage is available to install from the Jolla Store.

Another nicely updated app for this fortnight is Ielig Web, the Web browser that bills itself as “Stupid but fast”. If I’m honest, I’m not sure whether it lives up to either of those claims, but that’s not a bad thing. I’d rather call it “minimal but effective”. Underneath the hood, the app has been crafted by Hans Wf (hanswf) to use Sailfish’s WebView component, which means you get good compatibility across the Web. That also means you’re immediately going to get a similar experience to the standard Sailfish Browser. Where Ielig Web shines is in its user interface.

When viewing a page you really do get the entire page to view. Just the slightest discolouration along the bottom edge of the screen is the only hint that there’s more to the app than the page you’re viewing. Pressing in the bottom left corner will take you back to the app configuration page. Pressing in the bottom right-hand corner refreshes the page. Pressing in the middle at the bottom of the page opens a menu with more options.

On top of that, swiping left and right will take you forward and backward through your search history. It’s a very fluid and intuitive approach.

The latest release brings Ielig Web to version 0.7.1, which also introduces a raft of nice new features. These include PDF export; a redesigned menu screen; and support for downloading files.

Due to the fact Ielig Web is harnessing the WebView in the background, installing the app doesn’t require the overhead of installing an entirely new browser. So if you find the user interface suits you, there’s no big downside to having it installed. My own experience with it has been very positive. You can install this latest version of Ielig Web directly from the Jolla Store.

The last app in our quiver today is Watchlist from Andreas Wüst (AndyWuest), an app that allows you to keep track of stocks and shares. Given my enormous portfolio of investments, this isn’t something I can claim real familiarity with, but I do understand that the value of these things goes up and down and that as an investor it’s useful to know which of the two is happening and when.

Armed with this simple knowledge I was able to easily add entries to the main page showing various currency exchange values and commodity prices. For many people, I imagine the stock price tab will be the most important, which is also reflected in the depth of detail the app provides. While the Market data shows just a snapshot of information, the app allows you to drill down far further into the history of a stock’s price, the latest news about a stock and more.

Before you get there you have to select stocks to add to the page. I experienced some difficulty here with the server throwing up access errors. Switching the backend from Euroinvestor to Ing-Dida via the settings page allowed me to get better results. From the settings, you can also configure whether data is downloaded over your mobile dataplan or just via WiFi as well as configure how the stocks are presented.

The charts associated with each stock are particularly impressive, with clear pricing over day, month, year and three-year periods, including approximate trend lines coloured to indicate increases or decreases over the period. The app manages to show these very clearly without compromising on the Sailfish Silica aesthetic.

Finally, the dividends tab is intended to show dates of when dividends are due, but the app refused to collect the data. In the background it uses the DivvyDiary service which sadly responded with a “Bad Request”. Hopefully, this is something that Andy will be looking into in a future release if there isn’t already a fix available.

Backend glitches and lack of portfolio aside, I found Watchlist to be an excellent app. If I was tracking stocks, I’d want this on my phone. The latest version brings the app to version 0.13.2 and introduces new display settings as well as a larger number of commodities. It’s available from both the Jolla Store and OpenRepos.

That’s it for this fortnight. Once again, it’s always a pleasure to get to try out such a wonderful selection of apps; to see the love, attention and effort that their creators and maintainers clearly pour into them. All four of these apps make amazing use of the brilliant Sailfish OS user interface and I encourage you to give them a go.

Please feed us your news

As always, please do not hesitate to share your ideas, thoughts, or suggestion for future newsletter topics.

Hope you enjoyed reading! Thank you all!

Please do also join us at our community meetings on IRC, Matrix and Telegram. Next community meeting will be on the 28th March

18 Likes

Thanks for the News has always.
No update on this matter ?

@sanginteret not yet unfortunately.

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I’m a bit ashamed that I forgot to report the (very nice) contribution from Karry, allowing to fetch events from a shared Google calendar:
fetch read-only google calendars by Karry · Pull Request #11 · sailfishos/buteo-sync-plugins-social · GitHub

It has been accepted yesterday, but was proposed in the period covered by the digest.

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Let’s amend newsletter.

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Once again, a few ancient versions have been replaced by old ones, if technically sufficient. Thank you in any case. Apart from Rust, we are still years behind. I would be interested to know what problems all occur with a current GCC.

I’d say it’s more like why to change/update something if it works.

Gathered some characteristics from the GCC update

  • During the process we did a good number updates and fixes
    • Counted that we fixed/updated 33 packages due to GCC 10 – I likely missed some.
  • Build breaks (compiler default config changes, C/C++ changes, etc)
  • Package updates
  • And even runtime errors

Whilst doing this kind of update, we needs to pay attention to a thing that we call ‘update jenga’ where a package update triggers a chain of updates firing new chains of updates.

Whilst it’s arm GCC 10 this change log gives an idea what kind of changes there are.

9 Likes

I’m running some linux boxes (not networked) with 3 series kernels because ‘they just work’. I’ll likely never upgrade those boxes because the cost is too high (in time) and the utility is there. And they are no where near a network :slight_smile:

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Knowing that jolla is tight on resources it wouldn’t be a bad idea of it abandoning (or gift to the community as open source) some of its apps that are not “essential” for the core OS.

Jolla focuses on the main OS and the community sorts out the app stuff.

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Thanks for the nice Watchlist Review :slight_smile: The latest version from openrepos is a bit more up-to-date than the one from the Jolla store (sorry, i am a bit lazy). The dividend code is working there. I need to check the Euroinvestor Backend - but since i am not using that myself anymore, i did not notice that it did not work anymore. I will have a look and try to fix it - but this may take some time.
Happy investing.

4 Likes

I don’t think anyone’s mentioned that there’s a new version of Amazfish in Chum this month (2.2.4-1.9.1.jolla) that now now supports syncing AsteroidOS smartwatches. So I’ll mention that.

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Does this work for you? I don’t manage to connect my sturgeion watch properly to my XA2 Ultra.

Works for me for catfish and bass, with xperia 10ii and pinephone. You have to pair the watch first with Bluetooth and then again with the app itself, which is the one easy to diagnose problem getting set up I can think of to mentiion first. There’s an asteroidos discussion on matrix with devs present that’s pretty active with helpful members including devs.

ed. to fix all the Xperia10 II induced typos

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