SGT CAPSLOCK writes:
Jolla Oy, developer of the Linux-based Sailfish OS for mobile devices as well as the creator of their namesake Jolla Phone and the soon-to-be-released Jolla Tablet, have announced that it will be restructuring the company. As per their official press release [pdf], the company has placed former Chairman of Board Dr. Antti Saarnio as its new leader, while former CEO Tomi Pienimäki has been appointed to a position outside of the company.
The press release states that a new company will be created to continue their hardware business while Jolla Oy (referred to as Jolla Ltd. in the press release) will be focusing its attention solely toward developing and licensing Sailfish OS itself.
As their product is Linux-based, I cannot readily imagine what market is out there for a non-free Linux-based OS in the world of free Debian/Ubuntu and Android. Why would anyone pay money for their OS? How much would *they* have to pay *me* for using their product? This definitely does not look good for the company.
Most of Sailfish's code seems to be open source except for (if I remember correctly) quite a bit of their GUI stuff. I'm not sure what they're getting at with this idea of licensing out their software. At one point in the past, I remember hearing that they fully intended to release their OS for a bunch of Android phones (specifically Samsung models) absolutely for free, but I guess that didn't quite work out or something? Or maybe I'm delusional and remember it all wrong.
I was and still am way excited about Sailfish though. It's real Linux! It's more Linux than Android can ever be at this point. It's RPM-based, uses Wayland as the compositor, and when I looked at one of their git repositories the other day I remember seeing all sorts of stuff for libav and gstreamer and stuff. Jolla's always going on about how much they value freedom and the hacker community too; I love that.
I'm almost afraid to say it, but I'd pay. I'd pay to get away from Google and Microsoft. I just don't feel safe using Android, and I don't think Windows Phone OS XXX would be any different! But the second some really free, actually privacy-conscious OS comes around (like Sailfish is actually supposed to be??? I thought) - I'd jump ship in a heartbeat.
I'd pay to get away from Google and Microsoft
Not sure what stops you now from using pure Linux. You can run Linux applications instead of Dalvik. Qt will support everything- not that you need much; a framebuffer would be enough.
The conflict here is between your desire for "getting away from *" and everybody else's desire to jump in bed with those. You can never be sure what your phone runs unless you build it yourself. If you are concerned, don't carry a smartphone. I don't. I have no desire to pay for being spied upon. There is nothing of value on my primitive cell phone, and it has no IP address. You can do the same. A smartphone has a large attack surface; you cannot be monitoring all the ins and outs unless you dedicate all your life to watching over your gadget.
Most of Sailfish's code seems to be open source except for (if I remember correctly) quite a bit of their GUI stuff.
Well, all Android is open source [android.com]. What are you gaining over it with Sailfish?
I remember hearing that they fully intended to release their OS for a bunch of Android phones (specifically Samsung models) absolutely for free
The business model of such a move is entirely unclear to me. I can at least see why Google is doing it, with their billions in the bank and with their thousands of coders, and their web all over the Web. But where would be the upside for a tiny company? The only upside would be in selling the backdoor to TLAs. This means that a Google's product may be actually safer because Google is only after your habits, whereas this OS would be after your data. As I said already, if you don't want to be spied upon, don't carry a gadget. It's impossible to record phone conversations that you do not conduct.
If you are concerned, don't carry a smartphone. I don't. I have no desire to pay for being spied upon.
I think I might follow your lead. I have a Galaxy Note 2 that I already disable pretty much every useful feature on, including GPS, and I refuse to even check my Yandex account's e-mail with it out of fear that it might phone home to Google with all my info. I am admittedly ignorant about how much data collection Android does, but after a few bad experiences back when I actually did use Google's Gmail and it somehow learned about all of my contacts that I had on my phone, I've become paranoid.
Jolla's whole company policy seems/seemed(?) to be about privacy though. That's what made me excited about them and their OS.
Well, all Android is open source. What are you gaining over it with Sailfish?
Since Jolla did their own hardware for the Jolla Phone and Jolla Tablet, and since I'm lead to believe that their policy is all about privacy, I thought I'd be gaining confidence in knowing that the modem firmware and other miscellaneous firmware blobs aren't backdoored. Plus they're from Finland, so I have high hopes that they don't care too much about helping the US government continue about its patterns of spying on the citizenry.
As for them releasing their software for Android phones -
But where would be the upside for a tiny company?
There are Sailfish builds for the Nexus 4 and possibly other Android phones. I thought the upside was that they were basically using it as a way to showcase their OS in hopes that people would enjoy it enough to buy an actually Jolla-branded phone created by their hardware division. But since they're apparently splintering their company's hardware division away, I'm honestly confounded about it now myself.
Last I checked (less than 6 months ago when I finally needed to replace my trusty old N900) there were Sailfish builds in progress, but none of them in "production quality" status, and with no ETA for any of them. You might be able to dig up an alpha by checking a dev's blog or something, but actually getting a stable binary - forget it. There is the Jolla official hardware, and that's it as far as supported devices actually on the market (and that not yet available in the USA).
I don't know about you, but I don't have time to roll it myself - if guys who do it for a living don't have time to get everything working on even the top 5 hardware, I certainly don't. I've toyed with the Stella Launcher preview edition they released for Android, and it all looks pretty interesting, but I simply couldn't wait on them any longer, myself.