The Birth of Sailfish OS

Sailfish OS’s heritage lies in Nokia times, especially in the MeeGo operating system. Prior to 2011 Nokia and Intel had a vision of an open mobile operating system. Together they invested around 1 billion USD to the project and created an open source based operating system called MeeGo, which was used as a basis for several devices, such as the iconic Nokia N9. Although the Nokia N9 became the beacon of open source operating systems, Nokia decided to end the project and chose instead to continue with Microsoft’s Windows Phone OS. The rest of that is another story.

The passionate team behind MeeGo refused to quit working on the project they’ve believed in. They, or currently ‘we’ saved MeeGo by setting up a new company, Jolla Ltd., to develop the swipe-based MeeGo into the flowing user experience that is Sailfish OS. We quickly enhanced Sailfish OS to run Android appsand it became hardware compatible with Android chipsets. In November 2013, we launched the beta version of Sailfish OS to the market with the Jolla smartphone. Shortly after this, we released Sailfish OS version 1.0 and the first Sailfish OS product, the Jolla smartphone entered 36 markets during one year.

After 16 software updates, our OS matured to Sailfish OS 2.0. It was rolled out to current Sailfish OS users in September 2015, and has been developed further ever since. 

Sailfish OS has currently tens of thousands of users around the world. Through current licensing partnerships including India’s largest smartphone vendor Intex Technologies, Turing Robotics, Open Mobile Platform, and our community’s Fairphone 2 effort, as well as other upcoming partnerships, the user base is expected to grow significantly in the near future.

Introduction

Independent platform

Sailfish OS is built on the premise of inclusion, cooperation and partnership. We believe that the value of mobile ecosystems is creating networks rather than exclusive monopolies. We’re set to create an ecosystem unlike others around Sailfish OS and welcomes everyone to join the voyage.

Feed your creativity

Innovation and differentiation are at the core of Sailfish OS. Whether you are OEMs, ODMs, chipset providers, operators, retailers or application developers, download our development kits and sail on with us!

Get to know how we work

Iteration cycles

Fail fast, learn faster

We plan and develop in iterative cycles, giving us an opportunity to get fast feedback, ensure high quality code at the end of each iteration and a possibility to roll-back if needed.

 

Small teams

Faster, higher quality

We work in small, self-organized teams and use one tool for planning and tracking our work. This allows us to produce higher quality code, take ownership and pride in what we do.

Release fast, release often

Continuous integration

We have parallel release structure built into the CI process to avoid blocking development on the main development branch. This gives us the flexibility to push fixes on multiple releases in parallel and discard those not meeting our quality expectations.

Repository continuum

Our integration machinery promotes software between devel, testing and release QA levels at regular intervals. The most valued feature of this system is the ability to update software over-the-air on R&D devices and switch between these levels, both up/downgrading software to aid testing.

R&D features

Separates individual feature development from mainstream development, ensuring only mature features get integrated.  An invasive change or a new feature is worked on in a separate feature branch, minimizing the disruption in the main codebase.

Translations

Our translation server pootle supports various writing systems of which 3 are in use and is easily extendible. It provides an easy-to-use interface for our translators to localize the Sailfish UI and supports working with R&D features. The whole process of translation and validation can be completed in days instead of weeks.

OS architecture

Sailfish operating system is built like a classic Linux distribution. The core of the OS is based on the Mer Project, an open, mobile-optimised, core distribution.

The signature Sailfish UI has been developed by Jolla using QML, a powerful user experience design language provided by Qt framework. The QML language and features give Sailfish OS the ability to provide a rich set of UI elements, to create animated, touch-enabled UIs and lightweight applications. Jolla has created the UI building blocks to build native applications with custom components called Sailfish Silica.

Sailfish OS also includes the capability to run Android™ applications. It is based on Android libraries, ensuring performance comparable to the native environment.

With Sailfish using Qt5 and Wayland technology, existing hardware adaptations made for Android can be leveraged, significantly easing the hardware adaptation work required to support the OS.

Everything is a package

Sailfish OS is built to require every development detail packaged for ease of maintenance, ranging from traditional (multiple) architecture binaries, project documentation to image building scripts, translations, process documentation and changelogs auto generated from git.

Modular system

Sailfish OS and integration is designed to be modular by nature and easily support multiple hardware targets. Third party components are maintained separately as features and are plugged-in into the core OS. Currently, Sailfish UX is part of the core system, but in due time, it will be separated as well to allow flexibility in building the OS.

If you are interested in Open Source software part, you can download source code from here.