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Cellphones China

Jolla Sailfish Will Build A Google-Free Mobile OS For China (silicon.co.uk) 60

Jolla released their Android-free mobile Linux OS (Sailfish) on their own smartphones, "but has always intended to offer it to other manufacturers," according to Silicon. The next Sailfish smartphone was the Inex Aqua Fish, and people with Sony Xperia phones can now also run Sailfish through the Sony Open Devices Program. But their next big customer is the nation of China. Mickeycaskill quotes Silicon. The Sailfish China Consortium has gained the exclusive rights and license to develop a Chinese operating system based on Sailfish. Russia is also using Sailfish to build a national mobile OS in a bid to reduce its reliance on Western technology and reduce the risk of foreign surveillance. Jolla claimed that there have been many attempts to build a national OS on Android but these had been unsuccessful because of Google's control over the code.
One of the consortium's investors claims "several" major Chinese companies are already interested in joining them, adding "I have been closely following Sailfish OS development, and seen many Chinese projects fail, while Jolla's Sailfish OS has been steadily progressing. Sailfish OS is the only viable alternative for China."
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Jolla Sailfish Will Build A Google-Free Mobile OS For China

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  • Whew (Score:5, Funny)

    by GrahamJ ( 241784 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @01:58PM (#53976545)
    Finally the people of China can be free of tyranny!
  • For the last couple years I have used a Jolla phone as my primary phone.

    When i got it I expected it to be a shaky unstable alpha/beta/pre-release product, I bought it mostly out of curiosity, but to my surprise it worked well enough to use as a daily phone.

    In some ways it works better than say an Android, for instance the underlying Linux OS is much more readily available for direct use by the enduser.

    • for instance the underlying Linux OS is much more readily available for direct use by the enduser.

      By a bizarre coincidence, while rummaging in my junk room last night, I found my trusty old Nokia N800. One thing I really liked about the Maemo system, was that I could download just about any Linux tarball, and it would compile and run on Maemo. At that time, I was mucking around with OLSR mesh networks, and OLSR ran fine on it.

      Is stuff like that still possible on Sailfish . . . ?

      • Still the same core. (Score:4, Informative)

        by DrYak ( 748999 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @07:25PM (#53977785) Homepage

        Is stuff like that still possible on Sailfish . . . ?

        Basically: yes .

        Jolla's Sailfish OS is based on a GNU/Linux base called "mer", a direct descendent of the Meego / Maemo that was featured on Nokia Nxxx devices.
        Actually written by the same exact people. (When Nokia left their R&D department, the engineer started Jolla and kept working on the same).

        You can indeed run most of regular Linux software on it.
        There's even an "openbuild system" server that can produce appropriate RPMs for you (no need to locally compile them with the SDK) and a 3rd party repos for the RPMs. (openrepos, just like to good old Maemo days).

        The only key difference is that they have switch their interface from GTK to Qt-Quick / QML.
        And though it's not released under a Free/libre license yet, you can still see the source and hack it due to the textual representation of QML.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 04, 2017 @02:14PM (#53976609)

      It is no surprise Sailfish OS woks well, it should be remembered that Jolla is a good percentage of the old Finn Nokia Maemo Linux dev group. That group has been working on this OS and its Nokia predecessors since I think around 2005. I think even the name sailfish refers to that MSFT infiltrator Elop's burning platform speach where he threw both Maemo/Meego and Symbia onto the fire for another go at Wince.

      • The renegade Nokia executive who created Maemo was none other than Ari Jaaksi (Brits will have fun now, making jokes about his name). He was later in charge of the now failed Firefox Fone OS.

        Oh, I just responded to an Anonymous Coward . . . does that mean I have to go to church tomorrow, to atone for my sin . . . ?

        • Oh, I just responded to an Anonymous Coward . . . does that mean I have to go to church tomorrow, to atone for my sin . . . ?
          No worries, you simply can sent me 1 bitcoin and I sent you a letter of indulgence, eMail is fine, I assume?

  • by Solandri ( 704621 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @02:26PM (#53976653)
    Google has no control over existing Android code. The only thing they control is new versions of Android, right up until it's released. Android is open source [android.com] under the Apache 2.0 license [wikipedia.org] (free, as in beer - you don't have to release your modifications). If you don't like what Google is doing with it, just grab a copy of the Android source and fork it. Like Amazon did for Fire OS [wikipedia.org].

    The only reasons for not starting with Android (where 99% of the work has already been done) is if you don't like Android's core design, or if you want to add all sorts of other "features" that you don't want users to know about (like back doors), or if you deliberately want to make it incompatible with existing Android apps.
    • "Google has no control over existing Android code".

      clearly they DO have control somehow and listen, this is china since when does china care? stealing is what they do...Andorid was bought by google so they didn't even create it as many seem to think they have...

      http://venturebeat.com/2010/10/27/google-exec-android-was-best-deal-ever/
    • Android is open source [android.com] under the Apache 2.0 license [wikipedia.org]

      The problem is, only Google gets to decide what goes in there, unless you go to the extensive effort of forking it and maintaining your own separate lineage of android-like OS.
      That might be uncomfortably too much control to one single US company.

      On the other hand, Jolla's Sailfish OS is build on the "mer" core, a descendant of the Meego / Maemo that the same engineer were designing back when they were still at Nokia :
      it's a fairly standard GNU/Linux platform, with much more diverse contributors.

  • by presidenteloco ( 659168 ) on Saturday March 04, 2017 @02:45PM (#53976749)

    Extracted from the sailfish developer documentation: "we recommend using C++" to develop apps which do anything non-trivial, to paraphrase.

    Ok that's all I need to know about sailfish.

    Wake me up when you have a mobile OS where the main app development language was invented in the 21st century, and is, for example, safe, simple, and well-designed.

    • While C++ is the native binding of Qt (the toolkit Sailfish is based on), you perfectly free to write your apps in Python, as PyOtherSide is one of the officially supported methods [merproject.org] for Jolla store apps. If you want to write apps to scratch your own itch and distribute them through FOSS channels to other nerds, you can easily use PyQt as well.

      (Python wasn't invented in the 21th century per se, but most of the functionality that Python developers depend on these days dates from post-2000).

    • by r0kk3rz ( 825106 )

      Extracted from the sailfish developer documentation: "we recommend using C++" to develop apps which do anything non-trivial, to paraphrase.

      Ok that's all I need to know about sailfish.

      Wake me up when you have a mobile OS where the main app development language was invented in the 21st century, and is, for example, safe, simple, and well-designed.

      You can get quite far with QML [wikipedia.org] and Javascript, which is modern and reasonably nice to work with. Qt style C++ is there if you need it, but many Sailfish APIs are exposed through QML and so you don't need to use it a lot of the time

    • Wake me up when you have a mobile OS where the main app development language was invented in the 21st century, and is, for example, safe, simple, and well-designed.

      oh you want to write in a script language? ok, snowflake, enjoy your javascript. ;)

    • Extracted from the sailfish developer documentation: "we recommend using C++" to develop apps which do anything non-trivial, to paraphrase.

      This is universally valid advice. It doesn't just apply to Sailfish it applies to all mobile platforms including Android and iOS and across PC operating systems.

      Ok that's all I need to know about sailfish.

      Wake me up when you have a mobile OS where the main app development language was invented in the 21st century, and is, for example, safe, simple, and well-designed.

      Wake me up when a AAA title, general purpose operating system, web browser, RDBMS, net stack or codec is written in a language other than C/C++.

  • I'm not a fanboy of google, and really it's solely developed by them and periodically has an open source snapshot, but what's stopping them from taking a snapshot and running with it? If they do things against the TOS, they'll lose the google apps, but they can do with it as they wish outside of that can't they?

    Just not seeing how google's control is stopping them.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      https://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2013/10/googles-iron-grip-on-android-controlling-open-source-by-any-means-necessary/

  • I am dwelling the face of this earth with a broken smartphone screen on my Jolla for like two years.
    Meanwhile even my wife broke the screen of her tablet.
    We are both in the market for something (sail)fishy, but who will offer us something?
  • I guess that's what you have to do when no other major markets care about your product.
  • I am glad to see that the Jolla Team found an potential market for Sailfish OS in China. My N9 (Meego Harmattan) is collecting dust and my Nexus 5 is running fine on Sailfish OS (2.4.13) for the last months. Apart from the unofficial ports, the Jolla Phone 1/2 and the mentioned Aqua Fish, there is not much to chose from. If new phones are produced in China and are supported officially by Sailfish OS, great!

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from a rigged demo. - Andy Finkel, computer guy

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