Sunday, 29 December 2013

Closed - Jolla missing OpenSource policy

 Edit 31-Jan-2014: Thanks Jolla, on behalf of the whole community! With Sailfish OS update Naamankajärvi, Jolla has delivered the solution. It's now possible to remove the OEM lock  via updated recovery menu. OpenSource policy is coming back :)

A pick from the changelog:
  • Improved recovery mode functionality introducing new features such as bootloader unlocking, shell and filesystem recovery options
Earlier Marc Dillon already tweeded this promise, now (only a month later) carried out:

Original article 29-Dec-2013:

Due to an unexpected turn that Jolla has locked their phone from OpenSource developers without warning them or discussing with them in advance, I'm stopping my contributing to the community. My contributing was done without benefits in a believe for having the most OpenSource favoured phone in the market.

Besides that this is the last article I write, I'm pulling out of my ongoing bug tracking projects: One conserning location services, 2 conserning memory handling, one possibly related to i2c/NFC (the project wasn't started yet).

My phone went OEM locked after Sailfish update (version was installed. I'm ready to join the community again only after OpenSource policy is back, and I see a decent explanation of why the act was done the way it was (sudden, silent way and not e.g. offering a separate, OpenSource solution for those who would have liked it at the same time).

For information:
  • OEM lock enables the manufacturer and 3rd parties to enter hidden code into system. For example in China, where the government has a strict policy to the community, phones sold there are usually OEM locked.
  • No phone in the market is true OpenSource, and I didn't expect Jolla to be one either. There's always some closed, copyrighted code included, especially from the hardware part manufacturers, and this is somewhat acceptable. So far, Jolla was doing a great job having as much OpenSource code in their phone as possible.
  • Sailfish OS itself remains as OpenSource - Jolla has included some of their own, copyrighted code into the phone, so the phone's operating system is partially OpenSource, partially closed.
Thank's to all my readers, thanks to all Jolla owners contributing with me, and thanks for sharing the information (,,,,,  and all the other great forums). In my opinion, the best way to return the company to the desired level of OpenSource policy is to pause until it's seen again. Hope to see you soon.

Simo Ruoho

Edit 29-Dec at 20:35 UTC: Workaround was not only published quick by @bencord0, but it was also shared quickly by Harri Hakulinen, chief engineer at Jolla. Jolla's phone stays OEM locked until the official solution for developers is presented, but booting the phone with your own images is possible again Not tested, so please confirm by comment when you've tried. In conclusion, I hope this brings some talented brains back to #jolla2gether. I'm not counting myself to this group, but I'll contribute again - mostly thanks to Jolla's fast reaction.


  1. Just a simple message during the update process would have been enough. For example:
    "Note - installing this update secures important user data in cases the phone is lost or stolen. If you are a kernel level developer and access to the boot level is important in your work, please contact us for optional, less secure update package for developers."

  2. Meanwhile, if there's someone wanting to go on in hardware bug hunting in their phones, here's an app that was helpful for me when I was analyzing the user reports and hunting the NFC bug. This app is already in your phone, but it's hidden. Press enter after each row:

    (your password) <-- invisible writing

    The testing app opens right away on top of the terminal (leave the terminal open). When you close the app (normal swipe from top), you can return to terminal and close it. First command exits the devel-su mode, second one closes the terminal:


  3. Simo,

    This change was probably poorly communicated, but like you can see from updated release notes (link below), the intention was not to lock down the device, but to secure user data. We will provide safe unlocking tools after our people are back from vacations and able to work on that.

    Remember, that factory reset will always return you back to original setup, that was completely open (if that is important for you in short notice).

    Tinker-ability regression
    Due to the bug fix to protect user privacy, it is not currently possible to utilize the fastboot protocol to boot other kernels. This is naturally a regression in tinker-ability and a temporary problem that we will fix in an upcoming update when it can be done in a secure manner with respect to device lock and user privacy.

    There is no intention to lock down the device and disallow tinkering and we'll seek to remedy this regression when possible.


    1. Good conversation going on behind that link, and important things added to the release note. I'm not factory resetting after everything I've installed now, so I'm looking forward for the solution offered - hope to see it soon. What I'm most happy about is to see your response there - it seems that I wasn't the only one worried. You're doing a great job - maybe it's just the communication in urgent need for improvment.

      Happy New Year!

  4. We don't have "official" solution yet, but as usual, community is restless:

    RT @bencord0 … Tinkerability: On recent the #Jolla Update #Maadajävri

    Thank you @bencord0

  5. "Update 1-Dec-2014: Adding Marc Dillon's tweet". I guess you probably meant 1-Jan?