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> Sailfish on Gemini tips, tricks, and solutions to common problems
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post Sep 9 2018, 11:12 AM
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This is a compilation of many of the solutions and suggestions from this forum, plus some external material. Much has been derived from material posted by Meganerd, and Vader has contributed many of the most important parts herein. Feel free to add new stuff in the comments and from time to time they may be incorporated here.

The following applies to the Planet Computers-supplied Sailfish 2.14.14. It seems as if there have been some bug fixes slip-streamed into that image, because some of the initial complaints (such as being stuck on the number pad at first login) appear to have gone away.

Installation and initial setup:

Installation works well with the PC installation and partitioning tool, available here:
http://support.planetcom.co.uk/index.php/Gemini_Firmware (installation)
http://support.planetcom.co.uk/partitionTool.html (partitioning tool and OS download)
As of early September 2018, it is not possible to run Sailfish as the primary/only OS on the Gemini; it is possible, however, to have Linux-Sailfish only, with no bootable Android (though in any installation some Android components will be brought aboard). It’s not known if or when this problem will be resolved.

There have been reports that on X27 devices one must select their SIM card in Android before Sailfish will recognize it, but this is not a universal problem, with at least one case of a SIM being recognized when it was placed in the device for the first time only after a Linux-Sailfish-only flash. So your mileage may vary.

There are also reports of success installing Sailfish via the TWRP recovery tool:

https://forum.xda-developers.com/gemini-pda...-2-1-0-t3763855

Post-installation:

If installation has gone well, the first thing you’ll encounter on booting Sailfish OS in the Gemini (unless you’ve set a login PIN of at least five digits, after which you poke “Unlock”) is the tutorial. This is worth going through, because in about five minutes it teaches you the essentials of operating your Gemini with SFOS. It is initially in portrait mode, though, which is a problem, though one we’ll get to in a bit. The problem now is that for most if not all users, the tutorial does not then go away – you need to go through it at each subsequent boot. There are two ways of being rid of it without deleting it entirely, but we’ll deal with the quick and temporary one for now and the permanent one later: When the tutorial appears, touch the upper-left, upper-right, lower-right, and lower-left corners of the screen, in that order. The tutorial should then go away.

Enabling developer mode

Turning on developer mode in Sailfish OS is easy: Open the Settings application and scroll down to Developer Mode, the last item in the System section. There you can set a developer mode password, turn on developer mode, and note your device’s WiFi and USB network addresses, useful if you want to SSH into your device so as to work on it from a larger desktop or laptop keyboard or screen.
Developer mode is necessary for many command line operations, such as downloading and installing packages and editing configuration files.

When performing superuser tasks from the commandline, the command is not “su” as in Linux, but devel-su after which you will be prompted for the password you set when enabling developer mode.
The error messages SFOS displays at the command line can be puzzling to those accustomed to Linux errors. Occasionally it will seem briefly that a command is being carried out, only to result in an authorization error. This means that you’re not in developer mode. Sailfish turns off developer mode after a period of time or a reboot. In any case, when you’re through with whatever task requires developer mode go back into settings and turn off developer mode.

SSHing into your device

To enable the ssh server, enable developer mode (see below), then enable Remote Connection. You can set a password in the same settings screen. Make sure you set a good password as people could get access to your Gemini via ssh!

There are reports that even after the above has been executed, there’s more to be done before you can SSH into your Gemini. If your SSH session doesn’t work as expected, you might need to start the SSH daemon:

CODE
su-devel
[enter password when prompted]
systemctl enable sshd
systemctl start sshd


If the tutorial pops up every time you boot SFOS

The phenomenon has been widely reported that every time you boot into Sailfish you have to go through the tutorial again or at least touch the corners as mentioned above. To banish the tutorial (but keep it as an application, for whatever reason), this works. It is done in a terminal but it doesn’t need to be done in developer mode:

CODE
touch /home/nemo/.jolla-startupwizard-sfos2-tutorial
touch /home/nemo/.jolla-startupwizard-done
touch /home/nemo/.jolla-startupwizard-usersession-done


Landscape mode

For some users, landscape mode just works, most of the time. But sometimes it goes to portrait and stays there, and because of the hardware defaults the terminal can appear upside down. So there are a few settings that need to be changed. They are detailed in this thread:

https://www.oesf.org/forum/index.php?showtopic=35195

(Highly recommended also is Meganerd’s Git-hub project:

https://gitlab.com/Meganerd.eth/Sailfish-De...02.x%20Setup.md )

You may want to perform other tweaks. In all cases, it’s best to make a backup of the file you’re working on before editing it. If you ever want to modify qml, they exist in:

/usr/share/<package_name>/qml

eg. toeterm is:

/usr/share/toeterm/qml

You can modify the qml in there to change the look and feel. If things are upside down, just search for Landscape, or Orientation and change Landscape to LandscapeInverted.

Mounting the SD card

Sailfish doesn’t read all possible formats; the preferred format for an SD card (especially in the Gemini, where it’s unlikely to be removed) is Ext4. Presuming an Ext4 SD card in the internal slot, mounting it is easy:

CODE
su-devel
password: [developer password]
mkdir /media/sd1
mount /dev//mmcblk1p1 /media/sd1


If your card is always in the gemini, you can add it to the fstab file (/etc/fstab) which will mount it at boot time. It will still be recognised as an SD card, and all the SD utilities will work.

Add the line:

CODE
/dev/mmcblk1p1 /media/sdcard ext4 defaults,uid=100000 0 0


to /etc/fstab. Replace ext4 with the format of your card (eg. vfat for windows readable cards).

Some important applications

While there are a number of applications available from the Jolla Shop, which is installed by default and is one of the application icons, many more are available from OpenRepos.net. It’s likely that first thing, you’ll want to open a web browser and navigate to that site and download and install “Storeman,” https://openrepos.net/content/osetr/storeman , which is the application that gives you access to the apps there. With the application you can install a lot of applications, many though not all of which work on the Gemini. To install an app you want, pull down the pulley menu and select “Add repository,” wait until the repo is added, then pull it down again and select “Install”. Voila!

(Before you do this, go to Settings > System > Untrusted software and enable untrusted software.)
An application you’re likely to want is File Browser, which is, as the name suggests, a graphical file manager and viewer. Navigating through all the files on the device is simple and obvious, but a few features aren’t, so here’s a quick how-to: if you poke a filename with your finger, a right-side sub window will open, giving your details about the file. There is a pulley menu, coming from the top of the screen, that lists functions you can perform on that file, such as changing permissions, renaming the file (useful in backing up a file before installing new versions of an application), viewing the contents of the file, and opening the file for editing. If it’s an RPM file, the choice will be to install it. If it’s a compressed file (and you have compression-decompression tools installed), it will offer to open it. When you select a directory, a menu from the bottom of the screen offers you the choices of cutting, coping, or deleting the directory, or viewing its properties.

The default terminal application in SFOS insists on appearing upside down on the Gemini screen. The solution is to install the ToeTerm terminal emulator. You may at first be beset by such things as an onscreen keyboard, but poke at the typically SFOS bright spot at upper right and you’ll be able to change that and a lot of other settings, not least of them the font size, making terminal text far more readable.

To use the outside LED array, you’ll want to get Funzel from OpenRepos, which lets them work under Sailfish. At this point it’s an early version and there’s not yet an associated daemon, so the program must be running for it to work as desired. But it will allow you to code particular light patterns for particular callers, in part making up for a lack of caller ID when the device is closed and a call comes in.

The default web browser is good for some things – ProtonMail, for instance, works on no other SFOS browser – but it’s terrible for others. Two popular browsers are Webcat and Web Pirate. Webcat is especially useful if you watch a lot of YouTube. Its author has a YouTube channel devoted to Sailfish, and he’s gone to some trouble to make the site work especially well on his browser.

If you would like to participate in the Jolla community, the Jolla Together app provides searchable access to the community support site together.jolla.com. It’s available in the Jolla Shop.

Remorse timer

Many functions in Sailfish OS include what’s called “remorse timers.” This is a countdown bar at the top of the screen that counts down for five seconds before doing what you’ve asked to be done, such as deletion of a file or directory. If during that time you decide not to do what you instructed SFOS to do, you can tap on it to undo it before it gets done.

Customised look and feel

If you’d like to change the wallpaper, the pulley menu on the main screen (and other screens that have no pulley menus of their own), will let you choose something different. In SFOS, what many of us know as “themes” are called Ambiences, and a change of wallpaper is a change of Ambience as well.

What’s cool is that you can bring in your own pictures and make Ambiences based on them. When you download a picture onto your Gemini running SFOS it automatically is included in the pictures you’ll find in the Gallery application. Glick on Gallery > Photos and you’ll see the pre-installed ones and any that you’ve added. Poke at one and it will come up on the screen, with a share menu that offers Bluetooth, MMS, and Add account. Ah, but that little menu has its own pulley menu, of Details, Delete, Edit, and – wait for it – Create Ambience. Poke at this and the picture will come up. Scroll down for the behavior you’d like your Ambience to exhibit: the “Ambience color,” which is the color of transparency and other screen aspects associated with the picture. You can use the slider to find the color you want. You can name your new Ambience,and assign a ringtone volume and other actions to it. If you poke the appropriate star, it will be added to the pulley menu of Ambiences.

However – and this is crucial – your pictures must be square to use as wallpaper, or else they either won’t work or they’ll get cropped or distorted. Ideally they’re the width of the height of the screen, so for the Gemini they should be 1080-pixel squares.

It’s worth noting that the Gallery app offers more pictures than you expect – probably far more, because it lists every icon or other graphical file on the device. This can be prevented by adding an empty, hidden file, .nomedia, to directories you don’t want indexed for the Gallery. (A whitelist for Gallery would be better, but it is what it is.)

Closing applications

Closing applications in SFOS by default requires poking and holding a minimized app until a small circle with an X in it appears at the bottom of all running apps. Poke the X on the one(s) you want to close, and it will indeed close. But there’s another way, too. Go to Settings > Gestures and select Quick app closing. Then, swiping down from the top of the screen closes the app you’re using.

If you have installed apps that you don’t like or that don’t work, you can press on the app’s icon and in a couple of seconds an X will appear at the bottom of its icon (and all other app icons, so be careful). Poke the X of the offending application and it uninstalls.

Essential links

Sailfish OS Cheat Sheet: https://Sailfishos.org/wiki/Sailfish_OS_Cheat_Sheet
This is a listing of the purpose and syntax for a multitude of important functions that can be performed from the command prompt. It is especially useful to those who would configure (or fix) their Sailfish installations via a SSH connection.

Jolla Questions Blog: https://together.jolla.com/questions/
This is an unusual site where questions are asked and answered having to do with the full range of Jolla versions and the devices that run them. One important rule is to search for the answers to your questions before posting them, or they will get moderated into oblivion. That said, the community is generally friendly and very helpful.

The Jolla Users Blog: https://jollausers.com/
The front page is a series of articles, some though not all having to do with Sailfish OS or the devices that run it. It is also the home of the Jolla – Sailfish – users forum, which is like the fora of, for instance, Linux desktops. It also contains how-tos and lots of other things of potential interest to the Sailfish user.

What to do if you mess up Sailfish

If you play around with the internals of Sailfish and break it, you can still recover even if Sailfish won’t boot. You need to install Linux with Sailfish, so you still have a bootable Linux. Perform the correct boot procedure to boot into Linux. You will need to log in – the default password is GEMINI, however this may change with different versions – check online. Once logged in, you will find the Sailfish filesystem under /.stowaways . You can reverse whatever caused the instability (hopefully you remembered to keep backups of the files you modified), and then reboot back into Sailfish, no harm done. If you don’t have backups, you can mount the Linux install image and copy/compare the original files.

3G/4G and voice

Sailfish doesn’t (yet) support VoLTE, so there can be problems using the gemini as a phone if 4G is selected. This is very much carrier dependent, so only change the settings if you experience problems. By changing settings→Cellular Network→Network mode to Prefer 3G, the phone issues should disappear. You won’t get 4G download speeds, however you will normally switch to 3.5G which is between 7.2 and 21Mbps.

Unleash your inner Sailfish

Probably the biggest benefit of Sailfish over Android is that it is a complete Linux distro. If you are familiar with Linux, and the bash prompt, you will love Sailfish. You can run standard Linux utilities, perform manual configuration (eg. SD card in fstab) and install packages manually using the pkcon utility (a wrapper to rpm). Some useful commands:

to find a package: pkcon search <partial string>

e.g pkcon search gcc

to install a package: pkcon install <full package name>

e.g pkcon install gcc-c++

to get a list of available commands, and help just type: pkcon

Open source applications and utilities can be compiled once the correct packages are installed (gcc, make, automake etc). Sailfish uses Wayland, so not all X11 apps will work, however it supports Qt5 and SDL2.

Feel free to add in the replies things that you think should be added to this document.
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Varti
post Oct 12 2018, 10:13 AM
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Thread pinned, thanks for this comprehensive list of useful tips, I'll read it carefully once I'll install Sailfish.

Varti
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FrankS
post Jan 9 2019, 03:24 PM
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Hi, I wrote a short 'howto' how I did the update from community version 3.0.0.8 to the new 3.0.1.11 EA Jolla version.

wiki on tjc for sfos on geminipda
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vader
post Jan 10 2019, 07:38 PM
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QUOTE(FrankS @ Jan 10 2019, 09:24 AM) *
Hi, I wrote a short 'howto' how I did the update from community version 3.0.0.8 to the new 3.0.1.11 EA Jolla version.

wiki on tjc for sfos on geminipda


Is this the official gemini aware version of 3? PC has said that Jolla is releasing a beta gemini version early January, and the full version shortly after. I'll probably install it anyway smile.gif
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mgfm99
post Jan 11 2019, 01:51 AM
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QUOTE(FrankS @ Jan 10 2019, 12:24 AM) *
Hi, I wrote a short 'howto' how I did the update from community version 3.0.0.8 to the new 3.0.1.11 EA Jolla version.

wiki on tjc for sfos on geminipda


Thanks for doing this - it is incredibly helpful.

I had updated my Gemini to 3.0.1.11 without altering the adaptation-community and adaptation-community-common repos. The device worked, but the fix for screen orientation wasn't turning up. I tried again, and the result was all of the necessary HAL libraries for accessing fast charging etc were lost.

Once I followed your instructions everything updated exactly as it should.

This version of Sailfish is much closer to what the Gemini needs; and will presumably be even more polished by the time they release Sailfish X for the Gemini.

The most obvious thing missing is productivity software. I'm keen to have some software which allows document manipulation. There is now a working port of Calligra 3.1 integrated with Sailfish-Office (you can find it on Mer build repositories). However, I can't get it to expose any menus which allow editing.

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vader
post Jan 11 2019, 08:16 PM
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Can confirm the instructions work a treat. Really liking 3.0.1.11, the only slight annoyance is the slightly larger icon sizes in the menu. You don't get as many icons across now. Positives include much better camera, as well as working video recording (prevously didnt work), Proper orientation support, faster, webgl now works in the browser and probably a lot more that I havent found.

Thanks go to FrankS for his instructions - they worked perfectly. I was at the original PC version of sailfish and upgraded to 3.0.1.11 withut issue.
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FrankS
post Jan 12 2019, 08:03 AM
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QUOTE(vader @ Jan 11 2019, 04:38 AM) *
Is this the official gemini aware version of 3? PC has said that Jolla is releasing a beta gemini version early January, and the full version shortly after. I'll probably install it anyway smile.gif


No, it is not officialy released (beta), it is the version Jolla is working on. 3.0.1 is EA (early access) for SailfishX users (sony devices). My short howto is a 'hack' to change from community version to the Jolla beta (the adaptation repositories will change from community to jolla store if you do it). I found in the changelog for 3.0.1 (you can find it on tjc too) many things for geminipda, but no image at the shop, and I wanted to try it. You will never get the license parts eas, xt9 and alien dalvik this way. Later this year (soon) there should be a version in the Jolla shop that you can buy.

If you like to stay with the community version you should wait until the 3.0.1 ist realeased and someone makes a build for the community.
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