Sailfish Community News, 30th November - Jolla reborn!

Sailfish OS update from Jolla

In today’s newsletter we’re very happy to discuss a major milestone within Jolla’s business environment and we also have a special report from pherjung from the recent Hackathon that took place in Bucharest, Romania.

As known, Jolla’s ownership structure became an immediate issue for the whole operation due to the Ukraine war, eventually leading the company to a corporate restructuring program starting in spring 2023. A solution was finally found on November 24, 2023 as the local District Court decided on the restructuring program and obligated a complete sale of the business to another company. The entire business and staff of Jolla Ltd. has now transfered to a new company in whole.

The new legal entity was named Jollyboys Ltd, but as it has now acquired the Jolla and Sailfish brands and trademarks, you may consider the legal entity name to be secondary - it’s the new Jolla anyway. Further, the Automotive business is structured into a separate new entity called Seafarix Ltd.

We will now start strategy work for the new Jolla where we will analyse:

  • How we should position new Jolla in the light of technology development (e.g. Cloud, Progressive web apps, AI, blockchain security, zero knowledge proofs)
  • Where does market need new Jolla?
  • What direction is realistic for Jolla considering the resources and knowledge of ours and the community

We will be working closely with you, the community, for finding the right strategy for the company and the community. We will be coming back to the community asking what kind products and services we should build in the future. Let’s make it flourish again together!

Energy from the Community

In the newsletter today we’re very happy to have a special report from pherjung about the recent successful Hackathon that took place in Bucharest, Romania. As you’ll see below, vlagged, dumol and pherjung organised the event with a focus on developing hydrogen, the very well-respected, widely used and full-feature Matrix client that runs on multiple platforms, especially Sailfish OS!

Introduction

As rubdos and direc85 met last year to improve Whisperfish, I thought that a hackathon was definitely the best occasion to start with hydrogen.

Thilo asked for new maintainers and vlagged and I accepted to give some love to this nice app. Unfortunately, we realized we hadn’t time to invest for a new project. And even more starting with no idea how QML works.

Going to Romania, especially Bucharest, was for me a great chance to visit this really nice country. Discovering various cities, a new culture and a really great gastronomy.

I took the hackathon as a perfect opportunity to start, get some experience with QML and diversify my contribution to Sailfish OS by developing apps. Besides nephros, we all were in a similar situation. Meaning we would help each other, give some hints or simply be a rubber duck :slight_smile:

Because I’m a newbie, my only objective was to start tinkering with QML and get support once I’m stuck. This really helped me to not lose my motivation and get even more motivated to learn new things.

Let’s dive in

The first day was spent discovering all these new technologies and test some workflows. Unfortunately, I spent too much time with QML Live. I saw this tool as a great opportunity to blindly and rapidly check my code. It worked fine when testing with one device, but stopped suddenly after I removed some problematic code containing python. Honestly, I suspect there is something wrong with the WebView.

In the meantime yajo10 and vlagged worked together to get a hydrogen build using Github Actions, because OBS is not able to fetch data from the Internet. After this was done, we were ready to improve harbour-hydrogen. The first feature yajo10 added was the possibility to open a link externally from within hydrogen.

It sounds easy, but we didn’t want each link be opened externally. The solution wasn’t so difficult to find, a simple regex checking that the URL does not start with localhost did the job. He decided then to add a pulley-menu to get access to the settings. Comparing how other apps implemented this feature, he found out that a WebViewFlickable would be needed.

Once it was included and working, he realized that the keyboard was hiding the text field, meaning that you don’t see what you’re writing. It’s not really what we wanted and such a bug must be fixed. As it was the end of the day, this task was kept for the next day.

Developing apps with a little bit of experience forces you to compare what others have done. The beauty of open-source allows that. During all the hackathon we asked ourselves where such a feature is implemented and how? Unfortunately there are not so many apps using the WebView component, but that didn’t stop us searching and finding examples. The keyboard bug for instance wasn’t present in the browser. Looking at the source code, helped yajo10 fix this issue.

The next day, nephros arrived even though his first flight had been cancelled. We were hoping he would manage to catch his connection. Our hero could join us! I always love such meetings, because it’s usually a good way to discover who’s behind a pseudonym :slight_smile: Nephros’s presence was really helpful. With his help could understand a bit more about QML and even submit some features or fix another one.

I tried to find a way to fix the bug with the pulley-menu. As it conflicts with the WebView, it’s necessary to first swipe a bit to the top to scroll down. This is not what we wanted and discussing with vlagged, we discovered that the email-client had such a feature implemented. There is even a patch which brings it back! My objective become clear: establish what are the difference between hydrogen and the e-mail client that allows this feature to works?

I started comparing, analyzing and trying to understand how the e-mail client works. Nevertheless, this wasn’t enough and I was unable to catch the right code to fix this bug on hydrogen. Once I realized my skills aren’t good enough, it was better to skip this issue to look at later.

As there was another annoying bug, I already knew what to do. We discovered that on some specific links, the WebView opened it, rather than the browser. This wasn’t expected as the new feature was implemented: open links externally. The main advantage of hydrogen, is that it works using a web browser. Analyzing the code, we discovered that these links didn’t contain a target attribute. The question after was: which lines to modify? git grep was the perfect tool and helped us to fix this bug.

The last days, we were really happy with the configuration of the hackathon. Meeting at 10 am until 08 pm, going to dinner and drinking together after was really cool.

Conclusion

Before the hackathon, we listed each feature we would like to have. This was a really good approach and permitted us to stay focused during the event. We each took some tickets and we helped each other out when we got stuck

Working together and in the same place was really a big advantage. Otherwise, I’d stay focused too long on a task with the hope to find what’s wrong with my code. Staying with other people — including a smoker — was a perfect opportunity to take some breaks. Calm down, speak about what you’re doing during the break or even speak about something else was the motto of each break.

“Go back to jump forward” as we say in French.

Next year, we really would like to repeat the experience. Perhaps not in Bucharest, but in a more central place. The Czech Republic could be a cheap and accessible location.

Stay tuned!

Repository roundup

Browser stack

Communication services

Multimedia

  • droidmedia, Android media wrapper library, simonschmeisser while testing mal 's developments on Camera2 API, opened two new issues: one about exposure correction and one about using the flash as a torch.
  • ffmpeg, a framework to encode and decode multimedia resources, poetaster proposed to add compilation of support for text drawing. This would allow text overlays and subtitles in Videoworks, for instance.

User interface

Low level libraries

Developer’s corner

Please feed us your news

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

The recently organized successful Hackathon once again proofs what this community can do when working together! Awesome work everybody involved!

Please do also join us at our community meetings on IRC, Matrix and Telegram. Next community meeting will be on the 7th December.

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I’m truly happy we could inspire that. That’s a great honour! :slight_smile:

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I am very glad you had such a good time meeting and working at hydrogen!
This is such a great thing for the community!
Especially because you were not afraid to learn something new!
i was following your progress with joy. And I’ll take a look through the changes to see if I can contribute something.

I am very happy that you took over :slight_smile:

maybe I am able to join next time. I promised you pizza for the hackathon but missed the oppertunity. I hope i can fullfill my promise next time :wink:

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We had to wait for a long time for any news, but boy are the news great! I’m so happy to hear everything turned out well (apparently)!

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Thanks for such an uplifting and inspiring newsletter! Hearing the official news about the restructuring makes me look forward to a bright future for Jolla, Sailfish OS and Seafarix. Looking forward to hearing more about the strategy. The hackathon report from @pherjung fills me with positivity (and also more than a little FOMO for not having taken part!).

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Congratulations. Look forward to purchasing my next SFOS licence from SFOS.

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Good to know that SFOS continues. I’m interested in the automotive side ‘Seafarix’, will there be any access to repos/files/demos/modules for development of all things that require a speedometer?

I’m already playing far too many speedometers/dash/gauges/instruments based on my phone hardware. I hope at some point to purchase an OBD reader, canbus hardware, an actual digital dash, all that jazz, so I can play and learn with physical stuff but without spending a small fortune…I can dream can’t I.

Does this also mean SDK gets some updating and old things working that never really quite worked?

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Raine that’s the greatest news I’ve heard in a long row of the sad things happening all around the world. Good luck to Jolly Boys and hope you guys get back on track with great ideas and the enthusiasm to bring a true OS upgrade to all of our devices. :rocket:

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Me to, but I think we need a new device. :wink:

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12 posts were split to a new topic: OBD readers - Split from Community News, 30th November

Congratulations on this important milestone from getting rid of the deadly embrace of Rostelecom et al. This is a serious achievement and I’m glad that you finally succeeded.
Regarding the company name, I wonder whether Jollyboys also welcomes Jollygals and Jollyenbies. :rainbow_flag:

I really, really hope that the only “blockchain” involved in the making and operating of SailfishOS is and will be git :crazy_face:
On a more serious note, I’d still like to stress that IMHO any collaboration with or integration of so-called blockchain tokens or other token-washing schemes will only bring negative influences, please just don’t.
There are much more dire fundamental questions to be answered, e.g. on how and whether SailfishOS can employ GPLv3 code again to update parts of its ancient tech stack, Qt being one of such components.

With Seafarix being split out as a separate company, I am curious to find out who now owns the rights on the AppSupport Adnroid runtime. I heard rumors about wanting to use some AppSupport licensing payments from e.g automotive companies to cross-fund Sailfish OS, the Seafarix move makes this less likely to happen.

All the best luck to everyone still and newly involved. :tada:

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With Seafarix being split out as a separate company, I am curious to find out who now owns the rights on the AppSupport Adnroid runtime.

This is a propitious time and opportunity to prioritize the enhancement of native app support rather than relying repeatedly on Android apps. Please don’t misconstrue my sentiment; having the option to use an Android app is convenient, but it appears to impede the progress of native app development. Why should developers allocate time to create native apps when there is already a functional Android app for a particular task? Most Sailfish OS users transitioned away from Android and iOS for valid reasons. Therefore, if there is significant demand and pressure, I am confident that the development pace will accelerate.

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I don’t see how having a functioning Android App Support may be detrimental to native apps. At this point Sailfish is a tiny, tiny market so no Android developer will waste their time to provide a native version of their app just because it may not run on SFOS. In fact they mostly don’t even care if it properly runs in Apps Support (requiring Google play services, etc.).
I also doubt that developers who already have the time and skills to create Sailfish apps would somehow be discouraged by the fact there may be an Android app with similar functionality out there.

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I think it is quite the contrary. Sailfish must support Android Apps to have any chance at all. Native apps will still be developed simply because Sailfish is better and as both a Sailfish user as well as a developer, you will always prefer native apps. However there are too many critical apps that don’t exist on Sailfish (such as banking apps), that you can not use a Sailfish device as your daily driver unless it has excellent Android App support. If Sailfish can not be used as a daily driver, it ends up a toy.

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Please let us know if you will plan some hackathon in Czechia, maybe I will participate :wink:

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The Android business model is to extract all available personal information from its users, to be able to auction it off to the highest bidder. This is what I transitioned away from, so SFOS where Android apps work well is just what I need.

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The Czech Republic is also a more likely candidate for me. That’d be grand.

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