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Community Intro Series: Franz-Josef Haider

Ever since Sailfish OS became available to be ported to different Android hardware, our community started expanding with new members who were interested in porting Sailfish OS to as many hardware as they can get their hands on, and that still holds true to this date. We got to know people who were so passionate about it that they could solve any obstacle in their way just to make everything work. Evidence of which can be found on Mer project’s wiki page. However, the porter side of our community is usually the silent part of it. They really don’t get that much publicity among other members which makes them remain unknown.

We are about to change that today, by introducing one of the best and most passionate Sailfish OS porters out there, Franz-Josef Haider or “Frajo” for short. We are going to interview him, as we did with the other community members and ask him a few questions regarding his passion. So without further ado, let’s get to it!

 

James: Hello Frajo! Please let the community know who you are by introducing yourself and giving the community a rough background of you!

Frajo: Hi James, hi fellow SailfishOS community and Jolla fans!

My name is Frajo (short for Franz-Josef) Haider and I am 25 years old. I was born in Austria where I work as a embedded software engineer. We develop firmware for small wearable medical devices.

I went to a technical school where I specialized in technical informatics. Then I studied technical mathematics for my bachelors degree in Innsbruck while visiting some advanced informatics courses and working for the informatics departement as a programming tutor and for the statistics departement as Xen Server administrator. One of my biggest hobbies is tinkering with mobile devices and digital electronics.

James: That’s quite a résumé! So how did you get introduced to Jolla and Sailfish OS? What was the reason you started supporting us and what made you so passionate?

Frajo: I was introduced to Jolla fairly early but I am not sure whether it was Apkenv developer nicknamed “thp” who introduced me or whether I stumbled across Jolla via a TMO post, one of those definitely. I always felt the Android operating system was not ideal, running Java JIT compilers or re-compilers on somewhat limited hardware. Not to mention you always feel like the device doesn’t really belong to you. Then Jolla came around and I suddenly had a device which could do everything I wanted and more.

James: When was the first time you got to meet sailors? Personally, I met you at the International Sailfish Community Event last summer.

Frajo: Well I have been on the #sailfishos-porters IRC channel for some years now but indeed the Jolla Community Event was the first time I met Sailors in person.

James: How was your MWC experience with Jolla? What did you do there and what did you learn from the 4-day event?

Frajo: It was awesome, I met Topias and a lot of other community members and guys from UBports. It was the first time I met sledges (Simonas Leleiva) in person and we had a really great time. When I first saw the Sony device, I was speechless. The weekend before the congress I went sight-seeing and during the week I spent half of the time on the congress and the other half coding.

James: Fantastic! We know by now that you are a capable developer. Where did it all begin? Have you always had a passion for coding?

Frajo: The first time I came in contact with “programming” was when I played with lego robots at the age of 12 and participated in competitions around that. And yes, even though it was only a LabVIEW dialect, I do call it programming. Since then I tried to learn as much about programming as I could and I still want to learn a lot more.

James: Alright, so tell us more about this porting thing! How did you begin porting SFOS to Android hardware, what was your first ported device and what are you working on now?

Frajo: I started with kind of the reverse. I did port Android apps to glibc based mobile operating systems with the help of apkenv. Apkenv has one shared key component with libhybris which is the Android linker. From that I’ve learned much about how libhybris itself works which finally lead me to contributing to libhybris. I’ve dissected Sailfish OS since I got my first Jolla device and ported some apps like mupen64plus and kodi. Then I started to look at the HADK and SailfishOS ports by other people to fully grasp what it takes to complete a SailfishOS port. The first device I ported Sailfish OS to was the N9 – thats not really Android hardware, but I used nitdroid as a base with a hybris adaptation on top. The second device I ported Sailfish OS to was the Nexus 4 (mako) using CyanogenMod 13 as a base which was never done before. Afterwards I helped other porters get their ports to work, sometimes working remotely on devices which I had never held in my hands . Currently I am playing with anbox, implementing a native rendering method inside the LXC container which is possible on Android hardware.

James: That’s cool! What do you have to say to your fellow community people about porting? Is it difficult to do? Who can do it? What is the most challenging part?

Frajo: It is not the easiest thing in the world but anyone with enough endurance and some coding experience can make it happen! To me, the most challenging part has always been one of the first steps: putting something on the screen. Porting is something you do collaboratively, no single porter knows about everything in the Operating System – thats why we have to do it together. The reason why I am continuing to do it is the joy you get when something starts to work after long days of digging through documentation and code. I’ve done my fair share of celebration dances!

James: I would pay to see that! :D Now, I ask this one from everyone, How would you improve Jolla? What could we do better?

Frajo: I am not entirely sure what the right answer is. You’re developing an Operating System which is very user friendly, has endless possibilities – much like a desktop computer, and you’re definitely heading in the right direction. I would like to see Sailfish OS on more devices while keeping the Operating System as open as possible. From the developer point of view, Jolla could improve the 64-bit support but I am aware of some of the difficulties with that.

James: Thank you for that! Do you have any words to Jolla blog readers?

Frajo: Keep supporting Jolla! And to the Sailfish OS porters: keep up the good work in bringing this amazing OS into users hands!

 

Thank you Frajo for this awesome interview. We all hope to see more hardware, adapted to Sailfish OS.

Cheers.

James Noori

Community Manager at Jolla. Gadget geek. Open source supporter and advocate. Long time Jolla blogger in a third party blog. Ready to change the world with unique and unusual alternatives!

65 Comments

  1. Very nice post, Thanks for your Work guys!
    We (I speak in the Name of the German-speaking community, would be very happy to see SailfishOS on Qualcomm 801 Sony Devices. There are good HW alredy on the market (like Sony Z3 Table Compact, SGP621, which is defacto SailfishOS compatible (Thanks Nokius)), but need more work on the adaptation (Camera, Sensors, BT, Video etc.)

    • Thank you for your comment! We will definitely take this into consideration after we are done with Xperia X project! However, it is a bit unlikely that we will actually take it into action since there will be newer devices to work on (And since Sony is only going forward, we may as well follow them). But I personally think a push or a help from our developers would be nice. I just hope we have the resources to put on the matter.

    • Verry nice post ?
      WTF ??
      How about the honest story about the 2nd part of the refund of the Tablet backers .. Do you remember that ?
      This trustworthy company who STOLE the money of crowdfunders making FALSE promises and still keep their users of the first hour in the Dark ??
      MAN !!!

      JOLLA !! POST when you are planning to pay us back ! And this time I demand interest .. it’s all taking too damn long !

      • Yes, you really can’t forget the refund.
        Or to find things out, must we ask the consumer authorities to find out how the funds for the tablet were used.

        • You obviously are not a backer now are you.
          Or you like to give money away ? If so please let me know so I can send you my paypall account to you so you can honor the refund ?

          Feel free !

  2. Hi Frajo! It’s people like you who deserves a tablet. The rest deserves a 2nd refund.

  3. “James: I would pay to see that! :D Now, I ask this one from everyone, How would you improve Jolla? What could we do better?”
    Communicate. Listen to your backers and talk back.

    • And with listening and talking back, I’m talking to Jolla in general. We’re waiting on news regarding the Sony Experia phone with Sailfish, and some people are asking for the tablet refund over and over again.

    • @robnas: I’m pretty certain Jolla is listening and talking to their backers. I’m almost pretty certain their understanding of who their backers are is very different from yours.

    • My KDE calendar must be stuck, because it says it’s not June yet.

    • Hello Robnas!

      I would like to thank you for your feedback, we are definitely listening and have been listening since the very beginning. It’s just that we are not yet fully ready to come out with a concrete answer to you guys. We are planning the process for the remaining refunds as we speak and will inform you the soonest when we have clarity. The reason we seem to “ignore” some of the comments is that we have already answered them in previous posts and there is no use in putting more time and resources for re-posted comments.

      • James, thanks for your response. Unfortunately there’s no update regarding the Experia with Sailfish, but that’s ok, too. Thanks for letting us know you’re listening and working behind the screens :-)

  4. 2nd refund ,waiting still.

    • Yes sir ! Same here !
      Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund ! Refund !

  5. I have to admit that come the final week of next month I’ll be expecting to read that Sony’s Xperia is NOW available (and it better be a sweet price considering the lukewarm the Xperia first received….there must be warehouses full of unsold Xperia X stock?!)

    If instead I read an announcement in the final week of next month that relates to telling Sailfish fans to keep waiting for further updates and “news coming soon” then I might tap out!

    • Agreed. The Sony announcement at the end of June is crucial. A “fellow sailers, get ready for an important update in q4!” will drive community members away in droves. A “Now available! Sailfish Sony device!” announcement should attract new customers and inspire confidence. We await with interest…

    • Thank you for your enthusiasm! It is very understandable.

      We are working hard on Xperia X project and it is progressing steadily so far. We are planning to have an announcement by the end of this month.

      • Thanks for the reply James.

        Can you confirm that this coming announcement will include the actual launch of the device?

        (hint) please say yes

        :D

        • According to my thinking (if it happens, it is totally co-incidental.. :) ), you may get actual device between July 15 – July 21 timeline.

        • Well that I can’t confirm yet! There are a LOT of ups and down when it comes to porting Sailfish OS to a new hardware. Considering how many projects we have at the same time and how many employees we are at Jolla, many unexpected bumps are believed to be met.

          • @James you cannot do that. Seriously, somebody needs to start working on expectation management at Jolla. In February, the information was:

            “The target is to offer the first release to Jolla’s customers and community members by the end of Q2/2017″

            (Which according to my book means: June 2017 is the latest possible date. Internally we plan May or so, but we say June just in case anything goes wrong unexpectedly.)

            Ever since, all we heard was: project on track, everything’s fine.

            And now, all of a sudden, it’s been all ups and downs and unexpected bumps.

            “Considering how many projects we have at the same time and how many employees we are at Jolla,…”

            Jolla knows best how many projects they have at the same time and how many employees. Wouldn’t it be up to them to publish realistic and safe (!) timelines in the first place?

            • well said @ossi1967 ! I feel so beyond frustrated that the information we’re given is vague comments scattered in blog posts and not a proper honest update. My Aquafish is literally falling apart so I’m desperate for new hw and if there isn’t a proper detailed update at the end of the month I’ll make the choice to move away from sailfish (the tablet’s still going strong though). My patience is running out quickly due to the fact that Jolla seems to not have learned a thing regarding communication

              • What’s wrong. You have no patiences? Jolla have more importent project to finalize first. Besides you have a date. Wait for it.

                • it’s a matter of personal choice Dave. Just like it’s your choice to spam every blog post about the tablet refund. I hardly think you’re the right person to judge my impatience.

                  • Fair point, its was directed to Ozzie mostly. You will get a basic beta version for test in july. Just wait for june announcement.

                    • @dave999

                      Hopefully you’re well recovered from the burn you received above? :D

                      what makes you so sure that a basic beta version will be available for July?

              • @fstrahlm, i’m in the same boat :D

                I’m on the original Jolla phone and clinging on for new Sailfish HW

                Cant wait to order my new phone in 24 days! :D

                • well said. I haven’t been delivered the tablet, yet, either, I wasn’t quick enough to order the C and now my Jolla 1st1 is falling apart… I WOULD NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF MOVING AWAY FROM SAILFISH…feel sick thinking of the other options available.

            • Well, Ossi, I do understand your frustration with this. But you need to picture this: No project ever is without bumps and ups and downs. Yes, we have been saying that the project is on track because it really is and it has been, but by no means we have said “we are moving forward and nothing is blocking us!”.

              With that said, think about it yourself, a project like this is quite large (almost as large as actually making a phone!), and is definitely divided into different segments for our developers to move forward with. Think of it as a train track, when a train is going forward, and suddenly there is an unexpected delay to reach the next station, do everyone demand the train company to announce it before, when it is unexpected? I have been in those situations and I haven’t seen anyone do that. What do I mean by all of this is that there definitely are unexpected twists in every project unless you are very lucky, and going forward segment by segment, reveals new twists that we need to work around them. This is not a “card” that we “play” but we actually are not a lot of people working on this project. Think about Jolla, we are around 60 people and certainly not everyone is a developer and not everyone is working solely on this project.

              Adding to the end that we are certainly committed to deliver this project as fast as possible to our beloved community. An official post will be in the works to update everyone on the status of the project.

              • @James, that’s perfectly fine.

                I work in IT myself and have experience in project management.

                You need to appreciate that Jolla set the date (and therefore expectations) for the end of the Q2.

                You will note from the comments that most of us are actually expecting the release of an actual device.

                If you already doubt this will happen can you imagine the reaction, as we all gather on June 30th in excitement, just to be told that we will have to wait ANOTHER few weeks or until the end of Q3?

                You are 2 weeks away from the end of Q2. You must advise SOONER rather than later if there is indeed any time slippage.

                As someone above has alluded to, Jolla MUST manage customer expectations BETTER! Jolla announced the Sony release the end of Feb…and since then, no formal announcement since. (I even suggested back then that it looked like you guys had jumped the gun with your announcement but you replied that this project was long under-way prior to going public).

                That’s fine, however, in comparison, the onePlus 5 was announced only a month ago and will be available to purchase on June 20! See, what onePlus did was to wait until they were almost ready and THEN announce it…thereby managing AND exceeding potential buyer’s expectations.

                I for one have a Jolla that struggles to see out a full day without recharge and getting sick of having to monitor my battery because my handset is so old, i.e. its hurting me to stay loyal to the brand!

            • Wooooow.

              Jolla you managed to make Ossi annoyed.

              You guys seriously need to work on your expectation management and communication!

              • @hmartin You’ve never seen me really annoyed. ;)

                It’s just that I feel so bad for them. They do amazing work. I mean: The original Jolla Phone has received update after update for so many years now, I own a tablet, the Jolla C, there’s third party hardware with their OS…

                … and yet they never ever manage to “sell” their success. All they do (and have done ever since 2013) is spoil their own work by setting expectations that they themselves cannot meet.

                I guess teachers sometimes feel this way about pupils: They know that those kids know everything and are really good, but then at each and every test, each time they would have to deliver spot on, they fail because they’re so nervous. You feel sorry for those kids but cannot really help them because the test was really bad.

                • “I own 2 Jolla tablets, so I’m the living proof that you’re wrong with this one.”
                  @ossi1967 you really sold one of your tablets. Why?

          • Here we go… Isn’t better to do smaller but realistic steps rather then big and hit the wall?

  6. What makes you think jolla will ship Sail bundled with device?

    • I can see your point, but personally I don’t mind to just get a ROM that I’ll be able to flash on a stock Xperia. The only thing I care about is that it should be officially supported.

      • Not any Xperia. The worst of them all, the most basic x of all x models.

        If it was supported from the smallest Xperia mini to the biggest Xperia ultra it would be great, but it’s only the basic x for now and don’t expect anything else this millenia.

        • Well, any company has to start somewhere when it comes to trying new strategies. We started with the X, who knows where it will take us? Plus, I personally have played around with the unfinished version of Sailfish OS on the Xperia X, not only it is buttery smooth, but it looks absolutely beautiful on that gapless laminated screen.

          • Absolutely right. Sounds good :D

  7. No tablet, no refund, no new devices. ergo: please no new promises unless you know that a project comes to reality!
    Instead: Story telling: what is possible, instead of
    what is realistic. I would prefer in Jollas’ case rather one project that fully comes to reality than several ones that just disappear…
    If Jolla knows that the manpower is limited, so why don´t they concentrate on the delivery of new devices? (I do not mean a watch or other dreams) That’s the only thing the community is interested in. A software without a device is as useful as a steering wheel without a car…!
    So Jolla, when do you serve your customers reliable and advanced hardware? When do you solve the refund question?
    I think you can offer your customers a new device and you should do it NOW, not in 2 months, not in 6 month not, in a year, just NOW ! Otherwise there is no need for that anymore. (by the way: If Aquafish devices break appart already now (see comment in this blog above), the quality of that device is miserable).
    I hope you will preseant a new device in the end of June.

  8. Any update about the REFUND !
    We are still waiting here !!

    Come one JOLLA !! FUN IS OVER ! SHOW ME THE MONEY !!

  9. Many thanks Franz-Josef for fixing the JollaC/Aqua Fish ticking noise issue!

  10. Still waiting for the refund…

  11. WooHoo!

    2 weeks left before we can get our new Sailfish OS devices!

    Who else is excited???

    :D

    • I’m afraid there will be no devices for a looooong time. If the OS and Sony X’s aren’t ready by the end of June it means a nasty delay of four to five weeks, atleast, as Jolla sailors will be on their summer holidays in July.
      It would be massively appreciated if Jolla could give out the latest and detailed info regarding Sailfish OS and Sony as soon as possible. In particular, we are hoping to hear a clear message containing well considered dates and arrangements how and where actual devices can be bought.
      There are still quite a few of us waiting for their refunds. I suggest that Xperias will be sold on discounted price instead of using PayPal…Any thoughts?

      • There is no evidence to state that there will be no devices for a long (or even looooong) time. Jolla set the target to release the first (Sony) device at the end of Q2. For now, let’s assume that this is correct.
        If it is released then I’ll get one specifically to support Jolla (it won’t replace my iPhone 7s+ as I’m too tied into the Apple ecosystem but it’ll find a use)
        If it isn’t released then I’m out.

        • Snowfun, it depends how you your long is described but by the look of things (mainly stuff written by James) I’ve made my conclusions.

          Thank God I’m not RottenApple user, yet, but I may be forced to start looking that direction as my IstOnbede is soon to be delivered to the rubbish dump…I reckon we’ll be all enjoying snow fun before the limited batch of 100 xperias reach few lucky community members… No plain sailing on this boat but…Jolla sailors, please prove me wrong even this time….

      • > I suggest that Xperias will be sold on discounted price instead of using PayPal…Any thoughts?

        Well, I, for one, agree to buy an XPeria (either with pre-installed SFOS or compatible with an available SFOS ROM) with a discount equal to the second part of the refund, instead of getting the actual refund.

        However, this should be an _option_, as people who don’t want this new phone will be pissed if they won’t have a way to get their money back.

        In a perfect world, all backers will get an e-mail suggesting three options:
        1) Get the second part of the refund
        2) Pay the residual price and get the XPeria
        3) Donate the second part of the refund to Jolla.

        And in a perfect world, this will happen before the end of June. (Hey, a guy can dream, right?).

  12. Hopefully, when Jolla releases Sailfish OS for Sony Xperias, it will be available pre-installed or provide the option of porting/having the ability to download it. Much to my chagrin, the Intex AquaFish phone was jerrybuilt and left much to be desired. Could someone tell me what happened to the Oyster SF and Turing Phone? Weren’t they supposed to have the OS?

    • The Turing Phone is an abstract phone. Theoretically it *could* be implemented, but no one has ever attempted to do that.

      • What?.. Turing phone exists, runs Sailfish, and has a userbase. Just search TJC for the “turing” tag and you’ll even see some bugreports.

        • idk about your website there, but I know about the official website and it hasn’t changed in the past 2-3 years. Or maybe they removed something lately, making it even less informative than it was. I believe I signed up for their newsletter 1 or 2 years ago and never received any update.

          • > TJC
            > idk about your website there

            Man, seriously? What are you even doing here then?..

  13. As a Jolla customer since 2013 and backer of 3 tablets I logged into my Jolla account after month. I can’t believe, what I see: Just the same stupid talk from Jolla for 2 years now! No new devices, no 2nd refund – I wonder, what they are doing there at JollaHQ?

    I would never buy a Jolla again, although my Jolla 1 is still working fine. They are only unreliable amateurs. They won’t make it.

    I’m happy with my OnePlus 3 on LineageOS 14.1 for a year now – free & open! And guess what: OnePlus 5 will follow in 2 days… ;-) I will never again buy finish smartphones. Jolla ist as dead as Nokia!

    • As you say, your 3.5 years old phone is still working fine and continues to receive software updates. So obviously they are not only amateurs.
      They don’t communicate as we would have expected, that’s acknowledged for a long time, but I still like the product, and it would be sad if they wouldn’t make it because we stopped to support them too soon.
      The wait is long, but in the meantime you can browse OpenRepos/TMO to try out all the awesome work of the community ;)

    • We are here as Marc Dillon and Stefano Mosconi left, so I think. What vanished: passion. What is left: opportunity. Btw how is with TOH?

      • Passion and good looks.

  14. I understand your frustration with Jolla/Sailfish OS. More-or-less, I have been following it since its inception. Thus far, I am not too chuffed with its progress. However, by virtue of my maverick spirit, I continue to maintain a scintilla of hope for Sailfish OS; I am bloody fed up with Apple and Android being the only OSes available. Moreover, the world needs more competitors to Apple and Android. Hopefully, if Sailfish OS is on Xperias on the scheduled date, it does well.

    • I will also never use Apple iOS or Google Android. But with free and open Lineage OS, 100% google-free, I found a great replacement for Sailfish OS.

      • Still, Lineage *is* Android, no? It comes with .apk, java, the funny “back” button, bloated junk apps, no sudo/root… Sure, if Jolla doesn’t deliver at some point that’s going to be either that or no phone at all, but that’s far from saying it’s good imo.

  15. Woop! Woop!

    Just 9 more days to go peeps until we are able to order our brand spanking new Xperia devices!

    Isn’t that right James? ;-)

    • And be handsomely rewarded for all the years without full refund. 9 days you say. Awesome.

    • and James says: “Hold your horses, mate! We are still working on it. Xperias will be available sometime later, most likely by the end of Q3″ ;)

    • As our CEO said in our latest blog post, we’ll have an update for you guys by next week!

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