What's all this about

Hey what’s up i just stumbled upon a video by Hugh Jeffreys - Worst Phone I Ever Bought - Jolla Phone - SailfishOS - YouTube

Which brought me to check this project out.

I read the FAQ but was left intrigued about a few things:

  1. Is this project open source? Can i view the source code?
  2. If it’s open source, how come you’re selling it?
  3. Where did you get funding from

Some schmuck is surprised not everything is exactly like Android, and modern Android at that.
Who really knows what were active decisions, inherited from the OEM or just not spent time and resources on.

Mostly. GUI, most stock apps, and the value-adds the license gets you aren’t. Plus some few more bits and bobs.

What an odd question. Developers need to eat too.

Apart from the licenses, presumably Angel Investors. Various licensing projects, including Russia (which for obvious reasons isn’t a thing anymore). Licensing (Android) AppSupport to car companies.

This is my very unofficial understanding based on openly available information, and having been around since forever.


Cool! Thanks for the reply.

I’m still wondering why would anybody bother with it, especially given that it’s technically less open source than AOSP, which is fully open source, but more power to you guys

Sure, in pure component count AOSP might be more open, but it’s about as misguided as thinking the clone-a-chrome browsers are helping temper the Chrome monopoly. And honestly, most people will be running GMS and using Play store anyway.

AOSP is still beholden to what google want the Android experience to be, and at least from what i have seen it’s not like outsiders are allowed, let alone encouraged, to contribute.

SFOS has strong GUI guidelines and a specific toolkit/paradigm/… (which when it started was miles ahead of the competition). But that’s about that… it really is a fairly standard Linux distro in most other aspects. (And i don’t say this to downplay the fairly substantial amount of middleware maintained by Jolla that the other mobile Linux distros benefit from, rather that it is part of what it means to be a Linux distro)

And the real selling point, as i keep taking for granted:
There are no ads, no sell-your-soul EULAs, no apps abusing notifications, no apps asking for fishy permissions. Just peace and quiet; everything is just fundamentally uninterested in your personal data, or advertising to you.

And as developer, i still think running Java (now Kotlin) on a portable device is really quite stupid. Apps here start at 100K or so, and that’s like half icons anyway.


Yes. This is unique and precious.
Not so common for a -not perfect but daily super well working- system, even for non-expert users.


Exactly! And therefore SFOS is the best mobile OS. Browser, e-mail, calendar, camera, notes, webradio, calculator, e-book reader, MP3 and videoplayer, GPS (GPS-only mode) and Mobile Access Point for my laptop in my pocket (edit: handbag) and that’s it.

That’s what I love. Before SFOS, I simply had NO smartphone. That’s it. Thank you @Jolla !


Technically it is true but AOSP without GAPPS that is totally closed source is useless. Isn’t it?
Who is evil?


Sailfish OS is actually free. The paid license only enables some additional third-party functions.


Yes, without gapps you can’t use Google Pay, but I’m quite sure you can’t do that with SFOS?

I’m not sure if the appstore is open source, and I’m not sure which open source parts of SFOS are actually better than AOSP

I’m all in favor of competition, I’m just puzzeled that you’re selling the software, which on first sight looks barely usable, not even open source, voids your warranty by unlocking the bootloader…

Oh, i totally missed that part. That makes more sense.

How can you judge? I’ve daily-driven it for coming up on 10 years just fine.

Just a short while ago, you were surprised Jolla was charging for it because it was open. Make up your mind :slight_smile:

I’m guessing you are American?
Meanwhile, here in the EU, companies don’t get away with any BS criteria they make up. They actually have to stand by their products.
Sure, some companies you need to enlighten about this fact, and some just behave.
But should you wish to not hassle with that; you can just reflash Android, lock it, and then claim warranty.

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Depends where your sight is oriented.
Orient it to me: totally happy, daily use, privacy respected, feeling in peace on my phone, no Danger Warnings all the time. Some small bugs to solve for the boring moments :-), cool apps and features, a bunch of nice people to exchange with. What do we need more?

Don’t forget the youtube video is talking of a specific problem on a 10 years old device which had the merit to be built especially for an OS by people with ideals, visions and courage.
Isn’t all that desirable? :wink:

About warranty, I anyway disassemble all what I can as soon as I can

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I’m from the EU. I read the whole fiasco about warranty with an unlocked bootloader, i still saw people struggling to get the warranty.

I’m puzzeled because on one side it’s claiming to be more privacy oriented, yet less open source (so how can i verify that you’re really not spying on me), and also costs more than a legit free alternative

Then perhaps, did you read the thread where someone tcpdump’ed that the phone was completely silent network-wise?

No one human can verify that in its entirety. But Jolla being fundamentally uninterested in anyone’s data is probably at least as good of a guard or better anyway.

It costs nothing in the grand scheme of things - a fraction of the hardware you need.

But you do you. I just really appreciate the calmness of nothing wanting to capitalize on me every minute of the day.


I’d say, for me its half the culture of the people at jolla and in this forum and half that i get to use something that is a “normal” linux distro and is diversifying the phone os market a little bit. Using it for 4 years as my daily driver now.

sometimes i wish i had a phone that just works, but i stay for the nerdiness and passion here :wink:


Short answer, much nicer UX. Much more fun to develop for. Android really sucks in that regard.


It’s simple.
Some people have different taste and preferences.
Maybe you prefer the UI, the fundamental principles of the OS, the privacy policy, the dev community, everything that’s already explained here.

It’s like asking why don’t you like this specific man/woman/car/shirt etc.

It’s all up to you and your preferences.
For example I think that the more choices we have the better.
At the end of the day having only 2 companies dictate what you’ll use and what is considered “the norm” won’t help anyone but themselves :slight_smile:


What thigg said, except since 2014. :wink:


I’m actually puzzled that millions of people can use Android as daily driver, because to me it looks barely usable :confused: I don’t want fancy features that look cool, I just want to be productive and Android is very far from that.
Your point about privacy is a good one indeed, there’s no way to be 100% sure that nobody is spying, but first of all you need to understand how the business works. You mentioned that SailfishOS is not completely free while other alternatives are “better” and completely free. The fact that something is free should ring a bell… what’s their business? How do they earn money? Because, you know people don’t live without earning money. tldr: they probably earn money selling your data, so the “free” argument is not a good one for me.
To clarify, I have an Android phone for work and I use it as less as I can. I just wanted a Google-free phone and really don’t want to use an iPhone, so I ended up trying SailfishOS as an experiment. Well it turned out it’s not an experiment anymore and I’m happy to use SailfishOS as a daily driver for about 4 years.


In Google/Apple case, it sure that privacy is ruined.
They even scan your pictures.

In Sailfish, in the worse case, it is the same.
In any case, I’d prefer to give my data to a local, small, human sized, weak, progressive company than to a giant monopoly.

And there is never enough net trafic out of my phone to upload my pics. So, anyway, even in the most pessimistic pov, it is better.

As said, paying with our datas is losing more value than paying once for all with money.

The project/utopia where this value goes is more human oriented, also.