Sailfish Community News, 28th July, Xperia 10 II VoLTE

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Sailfish OS update from Jolla

Last fortnight saw the release of Sailfish OS “Vanha Rauma” 4.4.0.68, bringing with it a number of bug fixes and smaller changes. The really big change it introduced was beta VoLTE support for the Xperia 10 II.

As you’ll no doubt be aware, beta VoLTE support was rolled out for the Xperia 10 III back in May, and this is the second stage in that process.

The VoLTE implementations between the two devices differ, with one of the most significant — from an end-user perspective — differences being that the VoLTE configurations, which are handled internally to the modem on the Xperia 10 III, or handled through the use of configuration files on the Xperia 10 II. These configuration files come with the Sony Open Device Platform firmware, but not all of the configuration files on the device are immediately available to the Sailfish OS VoLTE implementation.

In many cases the files are already hooked up correctly and so VoLTE will work out-of-the-box for your provider on both the Xperia 10 II and the Xperia 10 III. However, in some cases this “hooking up” needs to be performed manually on the Xperia 10 II (recall that this happens totally automatically on the Xperia 10 III, so there’s no need for any of this there).

Sailor Andrew Branson has been spearheading the campaign to hook configuration files up with providers. As he writes elsewhere on the forum:

If you’re finding your 10 II doesn’t connect, there’s a chance this is just due to missing config mapping, and you might be able to help us submit the proper config to Sony for inclusion in a future release.

So after two weeks of Andrew and a whole host of enthusiastic community members have been looking into this, where are things at?

People all around the world been having fun messing around with their modem configs to try to get VoLTE working on the 10 II, with varying amount of success. For example, Sailfish OS currently has no carriers working out of the box in the UK on the current release, but thanks to cypherpunks, jetset and our very own flypig it will soon have three. Thanks to everyone who’s been fiddling about so far, and I hope we get some more providers working before the next update. This sort of hacking about and breaking things is exactly what Sailfish OS lets you do best.

The overall VoLTE picture for both the Xperia 10 II and the Xperia 10 III is looking very positive. At time of writing the provider support table, generated from data collected by all of you out there, shows a total of forty two providers tested on the Xperia 10 III and twenty one on the Xperia 10 II. That’s impressive progress on the 10 II given the shorter window of work.

Device Status Count Percentage
Xperia 10 III Fully working 30 71%
Partially working 4 10%
Not working 8 19%
Xperia 10 II Fully working 12 57%
Partially working 2 10%
Not working 7 33%

The numbers for the Xperia 10 II have been largely achieved without the need for config file mapping. Consequently Andrew predicts that the proportion of fully working providers on the Xperia 10 II will rise over time.

Some people who’ve fixed their own configs have added them to the table with a footnote, others have just left the configs in either thread. I’d expect the broken percentage to drop when the new configs are integrated.

So what are the next steps in this process? Users are encouraged to continue adding their test results to the provider table, and the results of their config file detective work on the “filling the gaps” thread. Andrew is currently away, but feels the time is rapidly approaching when the fruits of all of this detective work can be pushed up to Sony for a wider fix.

I think we’ve got a lot of configs to add. when I’m back I’ll make a catch-all PR [pull-request] for Sony and submit them. We definitely want most of those in the next release so Xperia 10 II users will have those providers working automatically.

We look forward to that. So thank you to everyone who has provided data for the table, and to those of you who have gone to the trouble of working through the config hookup process described by Andrew. It’s truly amazing to see such a breadth of providers appear., From the US to China via Europe, we’re seeing Sailfish OS VoLTE in use all across the world.

Once more, an amazing effort from the Sailfish OS community.

Energy from the Community

Due to unexpected circumstances we unfortunately had to cancel the Community Meeting last week at the last minute. That was despite there being interesting questions to tackle, which we were keen to answer.

Those questions and their respective answers aren’t lost forever: they’ll be pushed over to the next Community Meeting which, if all goes to plan this time, will take place of the 4th of August.

In the meantime, if you have any further questions you’d like to know the answer to, please add them to the agenda by the end of this coming weekend (the cut off is three days before the meting to allow us time to get the answers together). We can’t answer everything, but will do our best.

Repository roundup

As regular readers will know, Damien Caliste (dcaliste), our usual Repository Roundup guide, is enjoying a well-earned holiday for a few weeks, and so the job of writing the roundup this time has fallen to me. You’ll immediately notice the drop in quality, which I hope you’ll forgive, if nothing else as a reminder of what to look forward to when Damien returns at the end of August!

Notwithstanding there have been a significant bunch of changes either proposed or merged in to the Sailfish OS repositories again this fortnight, so no doubt at least some will pique your interest.

Media

  • droidmedia, the multimedia service that allows hardware codecs, camera support and hardware video buffers to be exposed from the Android HAL on libhybris devices, thaodan has had his pull request merged that provides additions to the FakeAudiopolicy for Android 7 on MediaTek chipsets.

  • Also in droidmedia, thaodan also had a pull request merged to similarly provide a FakeAudiopolicy for Android 5.1.0 devices.

Audio

  • ohm-plugins-misc, a miscellaneous set of plugins for the Open Hardware Manager (which goes back to maemo) and provides an abstraction for various hardware features such as power management, jusa had his pull request merged that updates the initial routing state during startup for wired accessories, so that early queries before the route is changed don’t give incorrect results.
    sailfishos/ohm-plugins-misc route: Update initial routing state during startup.

Networking

  • qtbase, the Qt framework, and the networking part in particular, HenkKalkwater has created a pull request to solve a bug that caused apps to freeze when connecting to servers with a specific type of bad TLS certificate. In particular, this solves the issue of Sailfin freezing that HenkKalkwater was experiencing.

Documentation

  • sailjail-permissions, the files that control sandboxing permissions, martyone has proposed a pull request to advise how developers should add data migration to their apps when activating sandboxing. The documentation is quite detailed including some nice examples (which may be useful for devs to take a look at even before this gets merged).

  • docs.sailfishos.org, the source for the main Sailfish OS documentation site, martyone is proposing a pull request to significantly improve the documentation related to sandboxing, including the existing Security Architecture section.

  • Also in docs.sailfishos.org, martyone is proposing a pull request to add a page to the documentation site to explain how to contribute API documentation, especially related to Qt projects that use the QDoc tool (which is the case for many of the app-centric Sailfish OS APIs).

  • Also in docs.sailfishos.org, rainemak had his pull request merged to add the release date for Sailfish OS “Vanha Rauma” 4.4.0.68 to the Sailfish OS Releases page.

  • sailfish-qdoc-template, the template used when generating Qt-based API documentation, martyone had his pull request merged that ensures API documentation is generated in HTML, rather than QCH, format by default.

Power management

  • nemo-qml-plugin-systemsettings, a QML component used by the Settings app, martyone is proposing a pull request to allow the charging hysteresis to be managed. This means that thresholds could be applied within which battery charging is paused, with different limits for charge and discharge, to help improve battery longevity. This is a continuation of earlier work done by spiiroin.

  • mce, mode control entity, for monitoring and handling various global modes and states, martyone has also created a pull request for exposing the constants related to battery hysteresis on dbus. He’s also created a similarly related pull request for mce-dev.

Alarms

Tooling

  • scratchbox2, the cross-compilation tool used by the SDK, thaodan has proposed a pull request to fix the order of prefix selection to avoid build tools being run under the target policy when they should be run under the tooling policy. After a few small remaining suggested changes it looks like this can soon be merged.

  • rust, the Rust programming language compiler, lbt is proposing a pull request to allow the prjconf file used by OBS to be used to disable builds for particular architectures. The pull request has been approved, so is likely to be merged soon (if it hasn’t already been by the time this goes out).

Apps advancing

The repositories have been busy, but to keep things manageable we’ve picked out just the four main app updates for you from the Jolla Store this time. It’s great to see both old and new apps receiving updates this fortnight.

Stopmotion

Stopmotion, the new stopmotion video creation app from Mark Washeim (poetaster) has received further updates since the last newsletter. The changes bump the version up from 0.2.1 all the way up to 0.4.3, which gives an idea of the development effort Mark is putting in to the app. As well as what seems like a large amount of internal code restructuring, and a bunch of nice bug fixes, the more visible changes include storing more of the settings between executions, adding busy indicators to better communicate when the app is working, and fixing colour issues with the rendering.

In case you’re not already familiar with it, Stopmotion is a tool for creating stopmotion video, where you create a static scene, take a photo, slightly move the items in the scene, take another photo, slightly move them again, take another photo… and so on. At the end of this lengthy process, all of the photos are combined into a digital flickbook, each individual small movement of the items in the scene combining to give the illusion of fluid movement.

I’ve always enjoyed watching the results of stopmotion animation — done right, they can be properly magical — and yet I’ve never felt inclined to try it. It sounds painstaking. But having now been forced to try it out so that I could test out this app, I was amazed at how surprisingly quick and easy it is to get pretty convincing results. It is painstaking, but it’s also less frustrating and much more relaxing than I’d thought it would be.

And, to be frank, I’m sure a lot of that comes down to the benefits that come from having an app like Stopmotion. It may sounds facile, but it really is true that having the right tool makes all the difference when it comes to stop motion animation.

Even though the app is still a bit rough in places, it’s also very usable, and if Mark continues to update it at the pace we’ve seen up to now, the rough edges will be gone in no time.

The lovely Stopmotion is available in the Jolla Store, and in OpenRepos, and even if you’ve not thought about creating stop motion animation before, I urge you to give it a go. You might impress yourself with the results.

Seabass

Seabass from Mikhael Milikhin (milikhin) is an excellent, and improving, text editor with a particular emphasis on syntax highlighting. That makes it interesting to developers for sure, but in practice anyone who has to deal with structured text files (html, csv, markdown, etc.) is likely to find this app super-useful too.

Seabass makes clever use of a WebView so that it can harness the existing CodeMirror code editing and highlighting framework, giving it immediate access to over a hundred language highlighting modes. But while some WebView apps lack the integration to make them feel like native Sailfish apps, Seabass does a great job of feeling just like any other native Sailfish app. It successfully managed to make the best of both worlds.

Seabass comes with a convenient read-only mode for when you just want to view a file, moving the keyboard out of the way for maxing screen-read real estate. So whether you want to edit or just view code files on the go, Seabass is a great way to do it.

Version 0.9.2 of Seabass brings a host of improvements, including better indentation support, an update to Codemirror 6.0.1, and improved resizing when the keyboard opens and closes. It’s available from the Jolla Store and OpenRepos.

Communi

You may have come across Communi under its previous incarnation in the Jolla Store, when it went by the name of “IRC”. The app has passed through a number of different owners over the years since it’s release in 2014, but underneath it’s always been built on Communi, which describes itself as a “cross-platform IRC framework written with Qt”. The app, which is a different thing, makes use of this framework. The app recently changed its name from IRC to Communi, although underneath the app was always in fact called Communi too. You’d be forgiven for finding this a little confusing.

The important thing, in case it wasn’t clear, is that Communi is an IRC client, and a very good one at that. It’s now maintained by Björne Bidar (thaodan) who also happens to be a fellow Sailor. The latest update brings Communi to version 0.11.

In case you’re not familiar with the IRC protocol, it’s the mother of all chat platforms*, created in 1988 at the University of Oulu in Finland. It’s mainly used for public group chats, but can also be used for one-to-one messaging. It doesn’t support text formatting, graphics, privacy or user validation, so most people now prefer more ornate messaging services, but as captured by the widely-cited XKCD cartoon on the topic, there’s a core set of die-hard users who will never use anything else.

The Sailfish OS IRC channels remain lively, and we continue to hold our fortnightly Community Meetings on IRC, so Communi is an important tool for the Sailfish OS community.

Communi offers all of the features you might expect from an IRC client, including joining multiple channels on multiple different servers, private messaging, commands, SASL, SSL, alternate nicks, notifications and more. And while a mobile device might not offer the best typing experience, Communi remains a great way to access IRC on the go.

The update from 0.10 brings a huge number of small fixes and an update to libcommuni 3.7. But perhaps the most important change for the recent release is the inclusion of an aarch64 version for 64-bit devices. This latest version is available from the Jolla Store, and OpenRepos.

* Which I suppose makes MUT the grandmother of all chat protocols.

Frome

Frome from Rustem Abzalov (arustg) is an app we’ve featured a few times, having enjoyed some quite frequent updates recently. It’s a relatively simple app with a tight focus on calculating percentages. On most simple calculators, the % symbol actually just divides by 100. Frome works with a slightly different sequence: first enter a number X, hit the percent key to set the percentage. Enter a second number Y and hit equals. The app then outputs the second number with that percentage removed, i.e. (1 - (X / 100)) * Y.

If the page you’re working on gets cluttered you can create a new one with the pull down menu from the top to push a new page with numbers on the left hand side, or using the menu at the bottom to push a page with numbers on the right hand side. Apart from shifting the numberpad location, the chosen side didn’t seem to have any other affect on the operation.

Percentages come up in many different aspects of our lives, from tipping to taxes, so having a single-function percentage calculator clearly has its uses and it’s great to see Rustem continuing to update the app and improve it further.

The latest 0.3.6 release provides some user interface improvements. We noticed that the buttons now have an unusual animation both when appearing the first time, and when being pressed. There’s also a less-colourful new icon. If we’re honest we rather liked the original green icon, but the new paler version is arguably more stylish. The app also enjoys an update to the translations. It’s available from both the Jolla Store and OpenRepos.

Please feed us your news

We hope you enjoy this community news, which we’ll continue to refine over the coming months. 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. After the cancellation of our last meeting, we’re hoping the next meeting will be a fun one, on the 4th August.

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Thank you @flypig, your reports on repository changes are very nice. It was very pleasant to read and see Jolla changes and community contributions, as for the VoLTE contributions for X ii.

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Thank you @dcaliste. I now better understand the surprising amount of effort you put into pulling the info together and writing the summaries each time. I’m looking forward to you returning from your holiday :grinning:

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