Brussels / 4 & 5 February 2023


Sailing into the Linux port with Sony Open Devices 

A journey of adapting Sailfish OS to work on Sony Xperia phones 

Sailfish OS is an embedded Linux distribution developed by Jolla that’s designed to run primarily on phones. In this presentation I’ll talk about my journey porting Sailfish OS to various Xperia phones, via the Sony Open Devices Program, and how that’s made it possible to contribute changes upstream. If you’ve ever wondered what’s involved in porting a Linux operating system like Sailfish OS to a new hardware platform, or might even be interested to try, then this talk will describe one of the easiest routes to getting started.

Sailfish OS is an embedded Linux distribution developed by Jolla that’s designed to run primarily on phone and tablet hardware. The Sailfish community has a proud hardware adaptation track record, having ported Sailfish OS to devices as wide ranging as watches, feature phones, smartphones, tablets and PC hardware. Despite the breadth of successful ports, the process of adapting Linux to a new phone platform can be daunting for new porters. On the other hand, the Sony Open Devices Program makes the process of opening up a selection of Sony’s Xperia mobile phones for use by porters as easy as possible.

In this presentation I’ll look at the process of porting Sailfish OS to Sony Open Device Program devices, see how the Open Devices Program helps in practice, and also look at some of the tools, documentation and infrastructure made available by Jolla to help with this process.

I’ll talk about my own journey as a porter, how I came to start porting and the work I’m doing now porting Sailfish OS to different Sony Xperia devices. I’ll also talk about how Sailfish porters are able to work with the Sony Open Devices Program for mutual benefit, pushing changes upstream that then flow back down to make porting Sailfish OS or other Linux variants to other Xperia phones in the Open Devices Program more streamlined and reliable.

I will aim to provide enough technical detail so that developers who haven’t yet tried porting can go away and get started, but will also aim to include material that is of general interest to more casual mobile phone and Linux users.

If you’ve ever wondered what the process of porting Linux to a new hardware platform involves, might even be interested in trying it yourself, then this talk will offer some essential groundwork and highlight one of the easiest routes to getting started.


Björn Bidar