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Jolla and Sailfish OS at FOSDEM 23

February 15, 2023 — Nico Cartron

A post focused on our beloved mobile OS at FOSDEM


If you don't know what FOSDEM is, or want a more complete summary of my first FOSDEM, you can have a look at my blog article about FOSDEM 23 here.

This post will be focusing on Sailfish OS and Jolla.

Jolla at FOSDEM

Jolla has been at FOSDEM several times, and has been reporting on it on various medium, such as a blog post in 2015, or posts on the "old" TJC ( for 2017 and 2020.

2020 has been the last "in-person" FOSDEM, the 2021 and 2022 editions being remote because of COVID. So this year was the first in-person edition in 3 years.

Jolla stand

Jolla had a "shared" stand with other Mobile Linux OS, such as Mobian, Ubuntu Touch, postmarketOS). The stand was called "Linux on Mobile".

Finding it!

FOSDEM's website mentioned that the stand was in "building H level 1 (group A)".
Upon arriving at FOSDEM, this was the closest building, so I went there but didn't find it - even though I could locate Ubuntu and Ubuntu Touch.
I ping'ed Andrew and he told me they were in Building K, upstairs.
Since I first wanted to see Björn's presentation (Thadon on SFOS forums), I first went there and came to the stand later.

It was packed! It was impossible to get at the front, but I could see David, Björn and Andrew engaging with folks, showcasing Sailfish OS on the different devices that they brought.

I had a chance later to have a look and they had a PinePhone, with Adam's latest camera changes.
There were also a few "official" Xperia (10ii, 10iii) as well as some community ports such as the Xperia 5 or Xperia 1.
David also brought his Planet Gemini.

Photo by Andrew


Björn - Sailing into the Linux port with Sony Open Devices

Björn presented his work on porting Sailfish OS on Sony devices.
This was challenging timing-wise, since the talk duration was only 15 minutes, so presenting Sailfish OS, the Sony Open Devices, and how porting SFOS works, was really tough!

The room was full (I didn't count, but I think there were around 80 to 100 people in attendance), showing interest in SFOS.

Björn managed to explain Sailfish OS, why using Sony as devices made sense, and the work he did.
I'm sure this allowed making people aware of SFOS, and encouraging them to go to the stand.

You can find more details here:

  • the slides are here
  • the recording of the session is here

David - Covid Exposure Notification Out in the Open

David presented on Sunday morning at 9:20am - yes, you had to be motivated :)
He was presenting on the SFOS app he wrote for Covid exposure, which used Apple's and Google's protocol.

What made the presentation very interesting is that not only did he explain how the protocol works, but also how he implemented it, how "working" with Google and Apple was (hint: no collaboration possible, but the specifications were good enough for him to work on his own), and finally how working with SAP was (since the "Corona-Warn-App" was Germany's implementation of the protocol).

Overall, David did a great job at showing how open designs/protocols benefit the community, making it possible to non-mainstream mobile operating systems (such as Sailfish OS) to implement applications which otherwise would only be available for the Apple/Google duopoly.

  • the slides are here
  • the recording of the session is here

Sailfish OS dinner

I already covered the SFOS dinner in my FOSDEM post, so I'll just sum it up:
we met at Café Georgette, and were 26 folks.
Andrew had teased us about the awesome Belgium Frites of this place, so everyone's expectations were high - and nobody was disappointed!

The event was a good way to engage with folks you didn't know, even though the fact that we were spread across 3 different tables didn't help.

Photo by Andrew

Sailfish OS BoF

The "Birds of a Feather" event happened on Sunday afternoon, and we were about 15 SFOS fans discussing various topics.

  • Björn showed SFOS running on KVM
    • basics of how it works
    • more a PoC (proof of concept) at this stage (Lucien asking "when will it be officially available?")
    • camera doesn't work
  • Raine stressed the new features available in 4.5:
    • alphanumeric password,
    • fixed a lot of CVEs,
    • Android App Support update,
    • Multimedia / audio handling improved in App Support.
  • VoLTE issues:
    • tough to test on all operators,
    • David busy getting feedback on the SFOS forum,
    • integration with modem is deep and proprietary/closed
  • Someone asked for the ability to enable screenlock in Android:
    • Andrew: not easy to do - it's not just telling Android that screen lock is enabled, apps that request this also want users to authenticate themselves with their security code before doing something risky or expensive. That's a lot more to hook up, and isn't trivial as there are security concerns.
  • KiriGami:
    • looks different on Android/desktop, but running it on SFOS causes problem with navigation
    • Someone mentioned the Silverline project (from Fedora), which is a GUI coming from Flatpak packages. Less overhead than having 2 or 3 systems running at the same time for different apps kinds.
  • Limitation with Bluetooth not available on App Support:
    • this is because we can't have 2 devices using Bluetooth at the same time - this is mutually exclusive at hardware level.

Ordering a Jolla 1!

With the nice TOH and spare display that Raine gave me, I told myself "it would be nice to have a Jolla 1 again to experience it and enjoy it!".
Patrick did the same a few months ago - and we even did a fun blog post comparing Sailfish OS 1 running on the Jolla 1, with SFOS 4.4 on the Xperia 10 II - you can read it here.

And of course, as luck would have it, Andrey (aka Coderus) sold some of his devices, including a Jolla 1 - which I bought :)

Needless to say, I'll probably write something about it in the coming weeks!

Wrap Up

What an event! It was my first FOSDEM, so of course I enjoyed the whole event, and also catching up/meeting with folks and friends from Pine64 and DNS.

But what was a bit "special" was seeing the various Sailfish OS events/demos/talks: they were great and showed one more time that this community is alive, vibrant and with plenty of fans!

Tags: SailfishOS, English