Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 28th Feb 2013 15:42 UTC
PDAs, Cellphones, Wireless "Originally stemming from MeeGo, birthed under Nokia's watch, Sailfish has since gone its own way and is maturing into a mobile platform getting ready for launch. This week at the Mobile World Congress, we tracked down Jolla and Mosconi again, getting the opportunity in the process to check out a live Sailfish demo. We check out how notifications work, look at the Sailfish take on a status bar, and get to see the media player with all its gesture support." By far the most unique and interesting of the alternative mobile platforms. Very fancy.
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Looks nice, one question....
by PieterGen on Thu 28th Feb 2013 16:39 UTC
PieterGen
Member since:
2012-01-13

Nice! Two questions though.
1. Can you really SEE an Operating System? I always thought that I can can only see the interface: the Desktop Environment/ Window Manager. On a PC, I can for instance see "hey! this is a KDE, Gnome, XFCE, Unity, ....". But I cannot see what OS is underneith. Is it Gentoo Linux? Ubuntu, Fedora? Or FreeBSD? Why are new Desktop Environments sold to us as new Operating Systems?

2. Should we call Android, Meego, Sailfish, Tizen and BB10 "mobile Linux distributions" ?

So, should Sailfish be called new Operating System or new distro with it's own newdesktop environment...?

Edited 2013-02-28 16:41 UTC

Reply Score: 7

RE: Looks nice, one question....
by henderson101 on Thu 28th Feb 2013 16:48 UTC in reply to "Looks nice, one question...."
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Nice! Two questions though.
1. Can you really SEE an Operating System?


Yes. Because outside of the XWindows world, most desktop managers are unique to the OS (Windows, Mac OS, QNX Neutrino, OS/2 etc.)

2. Should we call Android, Meego, Sailfish, Tizen and BB10 "mobile Linux distributions" ?


Much like languages,when does a dialect stop and a language start? I'd say - listen to the manufacturer. If they call it a "OS", it's an OS, if they call it a "distro", well...

BB10 is nothing to do with LINUX also, it is based on QNX, which was its own OS long before LINUX grew to be popular.

For me, "Desktop environment" is very much an invention of the LINUX desktop. Before LINUX, I remember using SUNOS on Graphical terminals (1990's), but there was never a big deal made about the Desktop it ran. We had "Windows managers" and that was about it really.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Looks nice, one question....
by vivainio on Thu 28th Feb 2013 17:08 UTC in reply to "Looks nice, one question...."
vivainio Member since:
2008-12-26

There is "OS" in "SailfishOS", so it's ok to call it operating system. ;)

Reply Score: 5

RE: Looks nice, one question....
by shmerl on Thu 28th Feb 2013 17:47 UTC in reply to "Looks nice, one question...."
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

It's a composite distro. It uses Mer (https://wiki.merproject.org/wiki/Main_Page) and parts of Nemo (https://wiki.merproject.org/wiki/Nemo) together with Sailfish specific parts. It's fine to call it an operating system and it is a Linux distro in more senses than Android.

Edited 2013-02-28 17:47 UTC

Reply Score: 4

RE: Looks nice, one question....
by tidux on Thu 28th Feb 2013 20:39 UTC in reply to "Looks nice, one question...."
tidux Member since:
2011-08-13

The GUI stuff is the only new part of the OS - and that's what's cool. The rest of it is the rock-solid GNU/Linux foundation we know and love. It even uses Xorg! With the right configuration, you could make it start a regular X window manager on the secondary display when the phone detects an HDMI output, and since it's GNU/Linux it will take about ten minutes to port a desktop or terminal application. This is real convergence, not the "let's jam Unity onto a Dalvik-less Cyanogenmod and call it Linux" crap that Ubuntu is doing.

Reply Score: 5

RE[2]: Looks nice, one question....
by Alfman on Thu 28th Feb 2013 22:31 UTC in reply to "RE: Looks nice, one question...."
Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

tidux,

"you could make it start a regular X window manager on the secondary display when the phone detects an HDMI output, and since it's GNU/Linux it will take about ten minutes to port a desktop or terminal application."

I asked this recently elsewhere but didn't get an answer. Do you know if the hardware that's used in tablets actually supports a secondary HDMI display or if it can only clone the primary display?

Reply Score: 2

jgagnon Member since:
2008-06-24

Do you know if the hardware that's used in tablets actually supports a secondary HDMI display or if it can only clone the primary display?



If the device has an HDMI port then it is safe to say it can drive an HDMI display. But there are many other questions about the specific chipset, CPU/GPU, and other components before you could determine if it can drive its main display and the external display separately. I don't think there is any generic answer to your question.

If the device has a host mode enabled USB port (many newer tablets do) then it is quite possible to run a secondary display through the USB port.

Reply Score: 2

jayrulez Member since:
2011-10-17

Porting desktop apps to mobile devices usually involves rewriting the interface for the form factor. Many linux desktop apps are not written in a way where the UI is cleanly separated from the backend. So porting desktop apps to mobile may be more involved than you suggest. Also, most mobile linux distributions do not come with the libraries that are usually bundled on the desktop distributions. Getting those libraries on the mobile OS may be simple or tedious depending on the library.

I do not understand this popular claim that it is simple to port desktop apps to a mobile interface and form factor.

I do not agree with your opinion about the Ubuntu mobile effort but I will not get into that now.

Reply Score: 2

Alfman Member since:
2011-01-28

jayrulez,

"Porting desktop apps to mobile devices usually involves rewriting the interface for the form factor. Many linux desktop apps are not written in a way where the UI is cleanly separated from the backend. So porting desktop apps to mobile may be more involved than you suggest."

I think tidux'es concept of "port" was just to get the desktop/console software running on a tablet connected to an HDMI monitor and not necessarily to rewrite it for the tablet form factor. In this case he's probably right that it should be pretty trivial. The GNU toolchains might be underpowered running on a tablet, and a keyboard would be very helpful, but it should still work.

Reply Score: 3

moondevil Member since:
2005-07-08

You still need the libraries, though.

https://android.googlesource.com/platform/ndk/+/master/docs/STABLE-A...

You can of course statically link, but then your executable might turn out to be too big for most users.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Looks nice, one question....
by Neolander on Thu 28th Feb 2013 23:05 UTC in reply to "Looks nice, one question...."
Neolander Member since:
2010-03-08

I think the answers depend on what you call an operating system. Myself, I accept as an operating system any set of software which offers an interface between raw hardware, end users, and developers.

From this point of view, both the Linux kernel AND Linux distros qualify as OSs in their own right. Because one CAN operate a Linux kernel without any extra software through the standard shell if masochistic enough, whereas distros would be other OSs based on the Linux kernel.

Linux DEs taken separately, however, would not be OSs in their own right, since they require extra runtime support.

Edited 2013-02-28 23:08 UTC

Reply Score: 3

leech Member since:
2006-01-10

Actually you really can't do anything with just the Kernel. Sure you could have busybox, which provides a shell, but you still have GNU libraries, which is why the hardcore people always refer to distributions as GNU/Linux, because you really can't do much with out the libraries/software outside of just the kernel. Granted Android doesn't use the GNU part all that much, which is why Android is just a different Linux based distribution, but very dissimilar to other Linux Distributions.

For the record, I use "Just Linux" with a shell all the time, and it's awesome.

Reply Score: 3

WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

Actually you really can't do anything with just the Kernel. Sure you could have busybox, which provides a shell


If you were using busybox on top of the kernel then busybox would be considered the userland, ergo it would qualify as a bare-bones OS. It wouldn't be just the kernel any longer, though.

but you still have GNU libraries, which is why the hardcore people always refer to distributions as GNU/Linux


No, there are replacements for most of these libraries. Considering your hypothetical busybox+Linux-kernel one could use e.g. uClibc instead of the standard libc, thereby avoiding the use of GNU-libraries. Using GNU is not a hard requirement for a Linux-distro.

Reply Score: 5

Love it
by WereCatf on Thu 28th Feb 2013 16:50 UTC
WereCatf
Member since:
2006-02-15

I love how smooth and fluid it all seems, and I am fairly certain I'd quickly grow fond of how the "menu-thing" that you pull down from the edge works. Sailfish really seems so much more innovative than anything Google, Apple or Microsoft has come out with and it's terribly refreshing!

I will definitely try to get my dirty mitts on a Sailfish - phone whenever they are released.

Reply Score: 5

RE: Love it
by No it isnt on Thu 28th Feb 2013 20:28 UTC in reply to "Love it"
No it isnt Member since:
2005-11-14

As an old Nokia N9 user, I don't see much innovation there. The gesture controls in the mini windows, mainly. Other than that, quite a few things are done differently for the sake of it, like swiping vertically instead of horizontally. It's very close to Meego Harmattan. Then again, there were plenty of good things about Harmattan.

Still, I'd like to see them succeed, and if someone manages to port Sailfish to the N9 (or the Nexus 4), I will install it. I just hope they've put more work into the browser than Nokia did.

Reply Score: 4

RE[2]: Love it
by shmerl on Thu 28th Feb 2013 23:27 UTC in reply to "RE: Love it"
shmerl Member since:
2010-06-08

May be they can help the development of embedded Gecko with Qt. It would be more interesting than another WebKit browser.

Edited 2013-02-28 23:28 UTC

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Love it
by henderson101 on Fri 1st Mar 2013 10:18 UTC in reply to "RE: Love it"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Let's be honest - if they could have continued Meego, I suspect they would have. You can't throw people who used Meego and OS components that spun off the Meego project at a phone without it looking ever so slightly familiar.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Love it
by dsmogor on Fri 1st Mar 2013 09:35 UTC in reply to "Love it"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

I couldn't agree more. Classical menu have been the sore point in mobile guis since first Symbian, and I was really disappointing IOS and Android didn't bring anything to the table.
I was waiting eagerly for someone to finally kill it.
Bravo Jolla!

Reply Score: 3

Just watched...
by Drunkula on Thu 28th Feb 2013 18:16 UTC
Drunkula
Member since:
2009-09-03

Just watched the video. Looks promising. If I were looking for an alternate mobile platform this one looks pretty good.

Reply Score: 1

v Comment by powderblue
by powderblue on Thu 28th Feb 2013 20:35 UTC
RE: Comment by powderblue
by Nelson on Thu 28th Feb 2013 22:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by powderblue"
Nelson Member since:
2005-11-29

God forbid Thom have an opinion on a subjective matter.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Comment by powderblue
by henderson101 on Fri 1st Mar 2013 10:16 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by powderblue"
henderson101 Member since:
2006-05-30

Has Thom actually used BB10? I ask because I felt the same way about Windows Phone till I actually *used* it. Now I quite like the UI.

Reply Score: 3

Comment by Sodki
by Sodki on Fri 1st Mar 2013 00:25 UTC
Sodki
Member since:
2005-11-10

According to the video, Android apps will run unmodified on Sailfish. If so, this is the number 1 reason that makes me believe on Jolla's possible success. Too bad the whole ecosystem is not very open.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Comment by Sodki
by dsmogor on Fri 1st Mar 2013 09:39 UTC in reply to "Comment by Sodki"
dsmogor Member since:
2005-09-01

Too bad they didn't preserve binary compat with Harmattan. In some countries (where Nokia was still the emperor) there were actually a valuable commercial software projects started before Elop blew it and these effort ultimately delivered. I home somebody would find a way to bring Harmattan compatibility environment to the device.
If geeks managed to bring enough Android api to run its games on N9, that one should be doable as well.

Reply Score: 3

RE: Comment by Sodki
by zima on Sat 2nd Mar 2013 19:21 UTC in reply to "Comment by Sodki"
zima Member since:
2005-07-06

According to the video, Android apps will run unmodified on Sailfish. If so, this is the number 1 reason that makes me believe on Jolla's possible success.

Like OS/2 running Windows apps? ;) (and desktop Linux running Windows apps through Wine)

Reply Score: 3

Background
by olejon on Fri 1st Mar 2013 19:17 UTC
olejon
Member since:
2012-08-12

I am the only one not liking that the home screen background also seems to be the background troughout the entire OS? I quickly get tired of seeing it.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Background
by WereCatf on Fri 1st Mar 2013 19:33 UTC in reply to "Background"
WereCatf Member since:
2006-02-15

I am the only one not liking that the home screen background also seems to be the background troughout the entire OS? I quickly get tired of seeing it.


Well, I can say that it doesn't bother me. I collect wallpapers, so it's not difficult for me to just change it if I ever grow tired of it. That said, I can certainly understand that some people might grow tired of it faster than others and therefore it would make sense to have a setting for disabling the wallpaper in non-homescreen situations.

Reply Score: 2