Sailfish Community News, 23rd February, CLAT

Sailfish OS update from Jolla

Sailfish SDK release

Yesterday (22nd of February) a new version of Sailfish SDK was released. The new version bears version number 3.10, and it includes an emulator and build targets for Sailfish OS 4.5.0.18. The greatest new feature in the SDK itself is the ability to maintain patches with the command line tool sfdk. While that feature is really useful for package maintainers only, as opposed to application developers, all users will benefit from the various bug fixes the new version contains. And those of us who use docker build engine will probably enjoy the fact that installing the build engine is much faster now.

One change in the SDK that is worth mentioning is that from now on the new applications created using the wizards in Qt Creator, or via command line using sfdk init, will no longer contain YAML files. Instead, the packaging recipes are contained in RPM SPEC files. This does not mean that old applications, packaged with the help of YAML files, would cease to function. The existing YAML files will continue to work, only the new applications will no longer have them.

Minor release for Struven Ketju

The main reason for Sailfish OS 4.5.0.18 Struven ketju minor release was backported ffmpeg 5.0 support for Gecko. We got that promptly done, it was well isolated, and there was a clear need to get video codecs working. The other changes were mostly enablers and fixes for Sailfish SDK release and documentation. The release contained also a regression fix for the lock view ongoing call item being out of the screen. That’s all that it had.

When it comes to releases, last year we tried something a little different. Instead of major releases with long lead times, we had two major releases followed by three minor releases for Vanha Rauma. As there have been recently interesting discussions about how we handle Sailfish OS releases at Jolla, we would like to hear your input regarding releases.

Do you prefer a couple of major releases with big features each year, or quicker, more incremental, and subtle changes?

Please share your thoughts in the comments, and hit the buttons to vote!

  • Only major feature releases
  • Few major plus a few minor releases

0 voters

Improving mobile data connectivity with the community

I am excited to see how Jussi (@jlaakkonen) and Andrew (@abranson) engaged the community for testing CLAT for IPv6-only mobile networks. I have interviewed Jussi and Andrew regarding their experiences.

As CLAT is not necessarily that well-known technology, could you guys summarize what is this CLAT all about?

IPv6 is a newer form of network addressing with a much larger capacity than the old IPv4 that is rapidly running out of room for devices. Although the two aren’t compatible with each other, it’s possible to use the internet with only an IPv6 address, if your network provides a network bridge to the IPv4 internet (called NAT64) which wraps up the entire IPv4 internet into a small subnet that you can connect to. You usually wouldn’t have to do anything special to use this, as they also specially configure their name servers to make sure that any hostnames you need to connect to point to this bridge (using a mechanism called DNS64), but that doesn’t help if you’re trying to connect to an IPv4 address directly. CLAT helps with that this by detecting a NAT64 bridge if it’s present and creating an IPv4 address on the device to use that.

CLAT has been a feature of Android and iOS for long enough now that some mobile operators feel that they can give only IPv6 addresses to devices that they think can support IPv6, NAT64 and CLAT. The Sony Xperia X10iii is one of those devices, and our users on those networks have had problems on Sailfish OS with connections to the IPv4 internet and also internet sharing (which can only use IPv4 right now) because it does not yet support CLAT. Implementing it will ensure that those devices function as expected on those operators.

I understood that NAT64 is not used by Finnish mobile operators. From how many countries have you received logs?

Andrew: I first encountered this problem on the Orange network in France, but it was originally noticed on Orange Poland. We’ve also received useful logs from users in Germany and Italy.

Could you guys elaborate that how helpful this support from the community was?

Every provider’s network implementation is different, so the only way to be sure that our implementation is correct is for users to try it on their home networks and report back. That’s why it’s been so useful to get people testing this out.

Am I interpreting this right that without support from the community, we’d have been travelling around Europe, gathering logs, and trying to fix it?

Not only that, but roaming tends to trigger a fallback mode where the device is put on a legacy IPv4 network, so not only would we have to travel to every country that does that, but we’d also have to get a mobile subscription in each one.

Energy from the Community

Community Member Nico Cartron Recaps Jolla and Sailfish OS’ Presence at FOSDEM 2023

We’re excited to relive the FOSDEM experience through the eyes of Nico Cartron (@cartron), who has written a comprehensive blog post about Jolla and Sailfish OS at FOSDEM 2023.

In his blog text, Nico highlights Jolla and Sailfish OS’ presence at FOSDEM 2023, providing a detailed account of the company’s stand, presentations, Sailfish OS Dinner, and Sailfish OS BOF. He discusses the shared “Linux on Mobile” stand, where Jolla presented Sailfish OS on various devices, including the PinePhone and some community ports, as well as Björn’s (@Thaodan) presentation on porting Sailfish OS on Sony devices, which attracted a significant audience.

Nico also provides insight into David’s (@flypig) presentation on the SFOS app for Covid exposure, which showcased the advantages of open designs and protocols for non-mainstream mobile operating systems. Finally, he shares his experience of the Sailfish OS Dinner and BOF, where attendees discussed topics ranging from SFOS running on KVM to VoLTE issues. Overall, Nico’s blog text provides a comprehensive overview of Jolla and Sailfish OS’ participation in FOSDEM 2023.

You can read the whole report here. Thanks Nico for writing this!

Sailmates Association Launches!

In the previous newsletter, we highlighted the upcoming Sailmates association, a non-profit association established to support Sailfish OS activities. It’s worth noting that the Sailmates is now up and running! To learn more about becoming a member of Sailmates, visit their website at https://sailmates.net/ or read more here on the forum.

Repository roundup

Some of the merge requests listed here have been already pushed as a hot fix for 4.5.0, like the fix for video playback in the browser.

Telephony stack

The browser

Sound stack

Calendar stack

System control

Low level libraries

Software engineering

SDK and developer tools

Sailfish OS website

App roundup

We’ve another nice collection of apps today. Although only one of the apps is entirely new, we also have one that’s new to the Jolla Store, and a couple of nice updates as well. As always it’s great to see the high quality of new and updated apps filter through into the Jolla Store, a testament to the continuously high quality of development happening in the Sailfish developer community.

MeeCalc

First up this fortnight we have MeeCalc. Sailfish OS does of course have an official Jolla calculator, but some people may find its hard Silica edges and history tape add too much complexity. If you’re after a simple punch and play calculator, with some soft, nostalgic N9 styling, then MeeCalc is probably what you’re after.

Created by prolific app developer and Sailfish contributor Slava Monich (slava), the latest version handles Sandboxing so that there’s no longer a warning on installation. It’s one of the few apps you’ll find that doesn’t require any more than the minimum default permissions.

In use the app scales nicely to different screen sizes and has big vivid buttons that are hard to miss. And lets be honest, while it’s not trying to conform to the usual Sailfish styling, the N9 style still holds up.

Grab yourself version 1.0.10 from the Jolla Store or Chum.

Order List

Although not a new app, we’ve not covered Order List in the newsletter before. It’s an interesting app which appears to have been designed for quite a specific purpose, but which works very well and is surprisingly adaptable despite this.

Developed by aimless, Order List will allow you to collect together items into a categorised list. It’s especially useful if you want to make repeat orders, but potentially with differing amounts on different occasions. And if the organisation you’re ordering from allows you to place your orders by email, then this is definitely an app you should be trying out.

Populating the lists is easy: each entry has a category, a unit (e.g. “bottle” for drinks, “kg” for sugar, or “aquaria” for crocodiles… or so I imagine), and a name.

Once your list is populated you can easily specify quantities of the defined unit using the nice Silica circular slider widget, in steps of either tens or units. You can also select items to include or exclude by pressing the togglable glass indicator.

Finally, when it’s all ready, select the menu option to send it out to the email client as a neat list in text form for the recipient to act upon.

You can even specify header and footer text for your email, to making it passably human-generated.

Even if you’re not placing orders, it can be a great way to create shopping or other forms of lists, to send to yourself as a universal form of “cloud storage” for future reference.

Version 0.2 of the app addresses Sandboxing issues and is available from the Jolla Store.

Sailtrix

Matrix has become increasingly popular amongst open source communities, and the Sailfish community in particular. Whether you’re following the fortnightly community meetings, keeping up-to-date with Whisperfish development, joining the new Sailmates association, following Sailfish news through one of the many local or national Sailfish groups, or discussing all things Sailfish with the Sailfish OS Fan Club, then you’ll be needing a matrix client to help you do it.

Both Sailtrix and Hydrogen are available as native apps, but you could say that Sailtrix is the more native of the two. For while Hydrogen is brilliantly full-featured for a mobile client, because it’s largely based on cross-platform Web-app code, it doesn’t have the usual Silica look-and-feel.

Sailtrix on the other hand immediately makes you feel at home, with visible ambience and the usual Sailfish widgets in use throughout. Developed by Heng Ye (HengYeDev), it’s a fully-native Sailfish-only client that supports encryption and therefore wide access to matrix groups.

It’s come on a long way since it’s original release in July 2021, so that it’s now a very robust Matrix client. The latest version 1.4 release is also the first to make it into the Jolla Store, which is always great to see as well. This release adds room search, the ability to set the device name (equivalent to the user agent) and emoji verification (which Hydrogen currently doesn’t yet support).

It’s a great app and well worth a try, available from the full set of locations: the Jolla Store, OpenRepos and Chum.

BBK

BBK is another new release for the Jolla Store, this time from Anton Thomasson (attah) of SeaPrint fame. It provides a combination of Web front-end and compiled backend to the Bredbandskollen.se site for measuring your connection upload and download speeds.

I tried it out on a few WiFi connections (train, coffee shop, home) and found the results to be as expected (slow, faster, fastest). There’s a nice visualisation as the app does its work, separated between the download and upload testing.

I also tested against a few online websites purporting to test internet speeds and got very similar results. All very encouraging stuff.

Version 0.3.1 of the app is available on both the Jolla Store and OpenRepos.

Please feed us your news

Our ship can’t set sail without your feedback!

We need your updates, stories, and feedback to keep our community afloat. Whether you’ve discovered a new app, solved a tricky bug, or have a salty tale to tell, we want to hear it all. Please help us out by replying to this post in the forum if you’d like to see something included in the upcoming newsletters!

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Thank you for the Community News and for your continuing work on Sailfish OS!

I think it is a good thing to get changes out more often, especially if there are regressions.

However, I’m worried that releases seem to fill up the root partition. If this is a function of the number of releases, then fewer releases would be better. (I’m currently stuck on 4.4.0.58 for this reason and see no way forward but to reinstall, which is inconvenient.)

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That’s definitely not a function of the number of releases. Well, not an intended one at least. In any case, please have a look at Storage Space | Sailfish OS Documentation. The article mostly talks about the home partition, but it provides some useful hints for investigating the root partition as well.

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Personally, I’d like to see a more frequent release cycle that doesn’t require a feature barrage every time.
I just wonder what that would mean for the porters out there (and for maintaining the ports) if they have to run umpteen tests, make adjustments, etc. every month. Wouldn’t that diminish motivation?

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15 posts were split to a new topic: Root partition filling up

A little suggestion for the repo roundup:

It would be nice if updates to the documentation would link to the actual doc page instead of the Pull Request.

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I voted “Few major plus a few minor releases”, but that’s mostly because I don’t want to wait many months for fixes for very annoying issues, like battery drain (still an issue on 4.5.0 on my XA2), connectivity problems, sync problems and the likes. In many cases these are not even UI-releated, so no translation updates are required. In any case, I really prefer a more rolling release update of those updates, and leave the feature updates for the bigger releases, which you can then promote in all the media.

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Ah, good point @nephros, I’ll do it like that next time when it applies : for instance when adding a new page or doing modifications in a single one. Thanks for the suggestion.

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Really great Community Newsletter, good job.
I would also prefer minor releases as well. I think a regular updated system fits to a secure operating system.

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I think that minor releases are important.
Introducing or surfacing bugs with each major release has proven inevitable. To my mind it is important to fix some of these with a prompt minor release, and then ideally a second bugfix/papercut release a while later. (I personally didn’t even consider installing the .16 release, but waited for the .18 to land)

With major release only strategy, you never have a release without minor or easily fixed bugs. A state of endless, rolling, bugginess and papercuts, due to successive major “upgrades”, is about the worst state software can be in.

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One hybrid model could be small releases in ‘EA’ release mode, and major ones on the regular track.

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Major or minor, as long as bugs filed by the community are smashed quickly & released (propose in a minor release) and when long standing missing features (of which some are very simple ones) are put on the roadmap & released (don’t always wait for major release, release them asap in a minor release) the positivity and usage by end users will grow.

Fundamentals to get right (of which some are missing at the moment, @Jolla):

1 - Communicate clearly to your users
2 - Have an open release schedule
3 - Be consistent and predictable
4 - Communicate changes regularly and transparently
5 - Get user feedback

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The way the question was phrased was a bit too easy to answer for me. I read it as ‘do you want patches sooner’ without any implications. Why would someone want to deny that? Maybe because they find the ota upgrade process annoying… Or because they assume stuff would be breaking more often (i would think that smaller changes would actually help here)

However i wondered what that implies. Will that make development for jolla harder? Will bigger things be postponed because of that?
What about porters?

I only want to say yes without thinking much if it is for “free”. I do not really feel i can give an informed vote here

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As I’ve said before in this forum, and the previous TJC, I’d rather have fewer major functionality releases and more bug fix releases to squash some pretty basic bugs that have been outstanding, in some cases, for years, without a fix in sight.

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@rainemak, I would like to understand the purpose of this change, because as far as I understand it, it is rather detrimental for testing the SDK. I already asked at GitHub, but did not receive any reply yet.

For me it would be cool if the community could discuss the usability of the ui more straightforward.

Make a call fom contact app is a mess especially with 2 sim cards.
Edit: with one hand

Using the mail app is inconsistent from the ui philosophy. All swipes are not so logically.

Controlling the browser should be possible with swipes to.

All app shoul follow a central ui usability philosophy very strictly.

For me the UI was most consistent in during Jolla OS 2 / 3 …

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Yes, the look & feel of SailfishOS and Jolla’s apps was best and most consistent at the time of SailfishOS 2. But definitely not any later than that: SailfishOS 3.0.0 actually brought the most awful changes and subsequent releases made the UI and its interactions even worse. It was indicated back then, that these changes were introduced to make the (only) corporate customer happy, but that customer (Rostelecom) is no longer one since the beginning of 2022.

Nevertheless, you sure can discuss or complain with others of “the community”, still I cannot see an incentive for Jolla to change anything (back), can you?

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I feel very unconsistent that in the browser you cannot close all the open pages as you do on the main screen with the multitasking, pressing and swipyng down to close them all. There should be a common UI all over :wink:

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By the way, now that Aurora OS is over, can we please take back the pull-down menus in the email app? I still keep swiping down to send and get puzzled before remembering I have to look for the buttons below.

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Keeping my hopes up to see the browser update to ESR 91 or 102 soon. We need a more current browser (gecko) version urgently.

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