Video: Sailfish OS running on Nokia N9 (+ guide)

| December 10, 2013 | 36 Replies

Screen Shot 2013-12-10 at 8.33.38 pm

News of Sailfish running on the N9 has been circulating the interwebs for a bit. I’ve been using it on one of my N9s for a few days, and made this little video showing it off.


Now, the easiest way to install it is to follow the guide for installing Nemo and replacing the Nemo.tar.bz2 file mentioned, with the file from here (direct download). (There is also a image, though that involves a little more work – you need to extract it over the other image, and then copy files over so you can get access to root etc. If you’re interested in that, come chat on irc at #nemomobile on freenode)

There are of course bugs such as:

  • Android layer not working
  • Swipe down to close, actually being swipe right-to-left
  • Time not setting properly
  • Camera and GPS does not work
  • Apps may need to be launched twice (crashes first time)

Also, note that the sailfish tar I linked above is from a users device, and he/she has been silly enough to leave a few personal things (like a test contact, test SMS, WiFi networks etc), so please don’t abuse that, and just remove it.


Category: How to:, Jolla, Linux, N9 Hacks, Nokia, Nseries, Video

About the Author ()

Hi! My name is Michael. Like the others, I'm also a Student, living here in Sydney. I have a real passion for the latest technology and I'm a real Nokia buff! My aim is to keep those of you, like myself, updated with the latest in what's going on in the Nokia World. Currently sporting N9 & Lumia 820, with other Nokia devices in my posession. Get in touch on Twitter via @MFaroTusino, Google Plus or even simply drop me an email at mike.mnb[at] or tips[at]
  • Janne

    I also have tested this, the instructions were easy to follow on an Ubuntu Live USB stick.

    It is actually very fluid, not slow-feeling at all. Launching apps does take a small moment though.

    The most confusing part is indeed the reversed border swipes. Also, I was unable to get the on-screen keyboard work in many instances.

    • Janne

      I installed with these instructions:

      Basically those instructions are about flashing four, five kernels and then copying some files into place.

      • Michael Faro-Tusino

        Thats the ubiboot method obviously?

        • Janne


          The instructions have a lot of “fluff” to them which is useful for some situations I’m sure but may intimidate the beginner. Just read around them, basically it is just a case of setting up a Linux Live CD/USB and Maemo flasher, if not already on your system, and then flashing with the correct options (as in the instructions) clean MeeGo firmware, then openmode, then MOSLO, then ubiboot and finally copying Sailfish and boot menu files into place.

          There are also Windows instructions there, but I didn’t try them.

    • Bloob

      takes a while on the jolla device too (just got mine)

  • Carbontubby

    And the Jolla CEO expects people in China or wherever to flash Sailfish over Android, just for fun?

    This is even more complicated than rooting Android, installing custom recovery and flashing a custom distro on top, and it still doesn’t work properly.

    • Michael Faro-Tusino

      Of course it is more complicated, the N9 doesn’t support flashing alternative OSes natively, where as Android does. Plus, this is a community port, where as the Android version will be officially supported by Jolla.

      • Carbontubby

        Android *also* doesn’t support flashing alternative OSes natively, unless you have a rooted device and thrown your warranty out the window, or you have a Nexus device.

        From the Jolla CEO: “”That is the plan. We are on device business and OS business. It is fairly easy to install the OS on Android devices… For us it is a possibility to distribute our operating system especially in China. There are websites that already distribute [OS] software and the Chinese customers are doing it ­so we don’t have to teach them. We just have to get Sailfish to those websites – and to make sure that Sailfish will run on different kind of Android devices.”

        Just what exactly are these guys smoking?

        • Bloob

          By making the OS free to install, they’d be increasing their userbase, by making hardware that is designed for the sw (like other half) they can enhance the experience, and bring more value to the customer.

          Could also be free for personal use but not for commercial.

          While, for Jolla, it would be best if customers choose their phones, but the second best option would be that the customers use their OS and not Android, on the phones they prefer.

          And he did hint at figuring out monetization before making it available.

          Not saying they will be successful, or even alive for long, but I can see benefits for them in distributing the OS to Android devices.

    • Shaun

      No he doesn’t.

      Their Sailfish on other manufacturers handsets is aimed at the manufacturers doing it in a factory currently, not end users with off-the-shelf android handsets.

      If it ever ends up as an official end user install they’d provide an installer of some kind.

  • et3rnal

    I want to try it so badly, but as Im using my N9 as a main device atm, ill wait a little bit more in hope to get a better every day to use image.


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  • D Harries

    As a complete novice…

    The pulley menu has hints of Asha Fastlane, and…

    for the user, what is the difference between Jolla, and the overlay some phone makers put over Android?

    • jiipee

      The differentiating factor is essential as you say. I havent figured that out yet – partially because the OS is still beta and eg the social network support is not in place.

      You could also turn the question around. If an OEM sees Jolla/Sailfish as an interesting alternative to Android and those devices are available to consumers, why wouldnt he she take Jolla/Sailfish?

    • Shaun

      The pulley menu is a replacement for the toolbar you normally have on the bottom of the screen, not Fastlane or the N9’s events view. It’s so you can operate the phone one handed with your thumb anywhere on the screen instead of having to peck with a finger at tiny icons on a toolbar.

      Have a look at the ‘Tell me about…’ videos on Jolla’s official YouTube channel.

      Sailfish is an entirely different user interface and OS to an Android overlay. You won’t get multi-tasking in Android with just a UI overlay or the application covers with shortcuts. As more Sailfish native applications are released instead of using Android apps in Sailfish it’ll become more apparent what the advantages are of Sailfish v Android.

      • D Harries

        Interesting. Like to see an example app

    • Janne

      The pulley menu has hints of Asha Fastlane, and…


      I think the pulley menu is quite unique in Jolla. It actually works better than I thought in person, but it is still something to get used to.

      • D Harries

        yes I like it. both. The action is pulling down to see things above, whether fastlane or pulley.

        This is how UI evolves to become fast, simple, and easy for everyone to use

        • Janne

          I still don’t see how the Jolla pulley menu is anything like Fastlane. The pulley menu is quite unique.

          I have to compare my Asha 503 with the N9 Sailfish.

          • D Harries

            It is the physical action and simplicity of doing it whatever the function it does.

  • Shaun

    The “Android layer not working” isn’t really a bug.

    Android compatibility is part of the Jolla handset offering. It’s not included with Sailfish. It’s licenced software so can’t be distributed to non-Jolla hardware. Same goes with the mapping.

    The problem with the edge swipes being wrong is supposedly because the N9 and N950 report the device orientation wrongly so it reports landscape instead of portrait and vice versa making the top edge the side.

    Still, it’s a promising start but with Sailfish missing CalDAV, SIP, CardDAV and no licence for Android or Maps, I’ll be sticking with my N9 as is for a while and keeping Sailfish just on my Jolla (due for delivery soon).

    What would be useful is being able to run N9 apps on Sailfish so we could keep Nokia Maps & Drive and some of the accounts plugins at least until Jolla get CalDAV, Skype and SIP working.

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  • Sefriol

    I hope I get my Jolla soon so I don’t have bother with this.

  • Pingback: Video: Sailfish OS v1.0.1.10 running on Nokia N9()

  • JGrove303

    Sailfish should cook on a Snapdragon S4 SoC. Sony Xperia T and TL should be abundant and cheap by now. Would fun to play with and learn on.

  • tom

    Now you can see how beautiful was original design of N9, and how ugly is sailfish. This UI is horrible.

  • Vu Trong

    I want to try it on my N9. So how do I have to do ?
    Can someone show me plz ?
    My email: and I come from Vietnam. 😀

  • D Harries

    I think Jolla should have a tag line so people get what it’s for.

    Does it need it?

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