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Originally Posted by JaechenLi View Post
I lurked without an account for some time to see if Sailfish is worth my interest. It seems to me that it's just another walled garden.

Post-Google-Play-Services Google is often depicted as a murderer of open-source. This article, from 2013, describes it more than enough, so I'll restrain from summarizing it:

Now notice the similarities between the Google's and Jolla's approach.

Do you remember the Nemo Mobile applications? Nemo had it's own, open-source e-mail client.
Jolla completely stopped the development of the open-source client in 2013 and locked people into their proprietary one.

The same holds for text input - Jolla has proprietary tx9 repository (or something like this) for anything more than a simple virtual qwerty. Now just wait until Jolla includes a backdoor there, uploading what you type to some Chinese server...

Just my two cents.
I don't think Jolla and Google are really comparable like this.

While Googles agenda is clearly apparent & nicely described by that rather well known Arstechnica article, in Jollas case the current state is in my opinion a result of different circumstances, bad luck and some pretty bad decisions.

For example the Nemo email client and Nemo middleware/UI overall, I remember the situation back then. Jolla developers worked on it together with the community (eq-Maemo/MeeGo). making a good progress. Then generally Jolla developers vanished and things more or less ground to a halt due to a lack of manpower. Later on it turned out this was due to the first Sailfish OS release - Jolla basically lacked the resources to both stabilize the upcoming Sailfish OS release and work on/maintain Nemo at the same time. And since then the situation has not really improved - it rather got worse at times, as with the Tablet fiasco where Jolla lost a massive ammount of developers and the in hindsight apparently not that successful Aquafish program.

So rather than abandoning open source alternatives on purpose as Google does I see the situation as an unfortunate side effect of Jollas lack of resources. But I'm not saying it's not bad - it's very bad and can get even worse if Jolla does not start doing something about it!

The thing is that by lacking an upstream community distribution being developed in the open (a tried and tested model used in Fedora/RHEL, OpenSUSE/SLES, Debian/Ubuntu) Sailfish OS is in a pretty bad position.

Community can't help with testing and integration of new components, so it all falls back to internal Jolla developers, delaying library and toolchain updates further and further. This also effectively mean most components don't have a stable maintainer, so even if community members want to contribute improvements an fixes to open parts of Sailfish OS, it takes ages to get them merged.

So while the community + stable/enterprise distro model is definitely not without overhead, I think Jolla is seriously risking it's future without using it - and without enabling more community involvement overall. It's pretty apparent at this point that both single-handedly maintaining it's own distro in a reasonably current & safe state without community help and also adding new features and hardware support is not really working out.

As for closed source components in Sailfish OS (excluding third party stuff like xt9, Alien Dalvik, Exchange) I see it personally just as a very bad initial decision, likely driven mostly by schedule pressure and possibly overestimated expectations.

And I really hope Jolla is regretting it since then, since I don't think the closed components have ever helped *anyone*, including Jolla:
  • closed components create "bad blood" and make people who like open source reject Sailfish OS
  • closed components prevent community contributions and fixes
  • closed components even block fixes and enhancements in open components that need to interact with closed ones (SIP, messaging, etc.)
  • closed components make the work of community porters harder (but thankfully not impossible)
  • closed components require a separate closed build and issue reporting infrastructure (3 bug trackers, yay! together, Mer Bugzilla & closed Jolla bugzilla)
  • closed components are not auditable and understandably make people uneasy given ongoing security threats

So I really hope Jolla will do something about these issues soon - there have been som encouraging signs lately, but I'm remaining skeptical until more stuff is actually open sourced and more community involvements happens.
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