Use FP 3 better with /e/ OS or Sailfish OS as alternative to Google's Android version?

Hi community,

since a short amount of time I am using the combination of FP3 + /e/ OS.
As a semi-technical user I actually like the functionality and that /e/ eases a lot the opportunity to switch for rather not tech-savy folks.

However, recently I read the following paper, which tells about different cases, where companies or communities tried to fork Google’s Android version:

Karhu, K., Gustafsson, R., & Lyytinen, K. (2018). Exploiting and defending open digital platforms with boundary resources: Android’s five platform forks. Information Systems Research , 29 (2), 479-497.

The paper highlights that Jolla’s Sailfish OS is a special case, since “it did not exploit the [open source] platform core [of Google’s Android version]; instead, it exploited complements on app and device layers. Android relies on Java technology, which isolates apps from the underlying platform core. As a result, the apps can be run on any platform, such as Jolla Sailfish, provided that the platform shares a compatible runtime environment. By
replacing the genuine Android Runtime Environment (ART) with a substitute obtained from the company Myriad, Jolla enabled the use of Android apps on its Sailfish platform. Similar to the idea of cloning APIs, Jolla has also cloned and ported Android’s device interfaces (HAL) using available open-source libraries (libhybris and bionic), which provide HAL compatibility for generic Linux distributions (such as Mer). Using this approach, any Android manufacturer can use its existing device design to produce a Sailfish phone, as
Sony has recently done. Jolla exemplifies an alternative strategy of not forking the platform core [what /e/ did to my understanding] but, rather, of exploiting not just one but multiple complementor sides of the Android platform.”

The case of Sailfish OS shows that platform forking can also be only partial, in contrast to a complete platform forking, what /e/ has done to my understanding.

Thus, finally, I ask myself: which OS is at its core more independent from Android’s original developer? The partial fork of Sailsfish OS or the complete fork of /e/ OS?

Sailfish OS is not an Android fork. It’s based on Mer.
It is totally independent from Google, because it doesn’t need to run Android stuff by default. Android App compatibility is just an added functionality.

The study says “the Jolla Sailfish platform (built on the Mer open-source project while exploiting some elements of the Android platform).”

Another Example: Windows didn’t become a Linux OS (yet :slight_smile: ), even though it nowadays provides an environment for running Linux stuff on Windows (WSL), for which it certainly had to exploit some elements of the Linux platform.

Doesn’t take away from the fact that Sailfish OS may be set up to run Android Apps (e.g. list of compatible Apps on Sony XA2), but as you said yourself … it’s a special case.
It doesn’t help much to compare it to Android OSes like /e/.

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As a former user of the first Jolla phone, I would like to mention than the “VM” that allows to run Android apps is not a part of sailfish itself but is something you need to pay if you want to use it. See sailfish X for more details.


There seem to be more and more projects to bring GNU/Linux to mobile devices. It’s not available for the FP3 but is interesting nonetheless, and hopefully one day that could be an option. The Ubuntu Touch project has making some progress as well (sorry, also not available yet :slight_smile: )

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