Last July, a company called Jolly announced it would design, develop and sell smartphones based on the Meego operating system. This is now closer to reality as a demo has been showcased running on Nokia N950, except the operating system is now called Sailfish OS.
Internally, Sailfish OS is built on top of the Mer project and Qt. The UI is built with QML and QtQuick and the standard QtMobility APIs are supported. For software development, you’ll need to use a special version of QtCreator. The development flow looks very similar to what you would do to develop applications for Symbian or Harmattan phones. More precisely, the Sailfish SDK consists of QtCreator, a virtualised Mer Platform SDK and Sailfish components. Code is developed in Qt-Creator on the host device, then the code is passed to the virtualised Mer SDK where it compiles inside the Virtual Machine.
If you want to have a look at the user interface, watch Jolla promo video below.
This is still early development and binaries are not available, so you have to build the OS and the SDK by yourself. If you want to try, check out the instructions to build (Mer) QtCreator. At the moment, getting started seems to be tricky (build is difficult and documentation is lacking), hence you may have to ask for help on IRC if you #mer and #nemomobile. Developers looking want to contribute or looking for further information can visit www.sailfishos.org.
The FAQ is also an interesting read, and you’ll learn hat HTML5 and many Android apps should run without modifications in Sailfish OS, although implementing those apps with Qt should provide better performance and provide a better integration with the OS.
Finally, ST Ericsson has just announced they would fully support Sailfish OS with their Novathor processor, so hopefully with some silicon manufacturers behind the project, we should be able to see Sailfish OS smartphones sometimes next year.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.