Saturday, June 23, 2018

Gemini - fourth look

Planet Computer recently updated its Linux Flashing guide page and provided all the files to flash Jolla's Sailfish and Debian/GNU Linux. I downloaded all the necessary files and unzipped them into a single directory, generated my scatter file to have all four boot options i.e. Boot 1: Android as the default booting option when no buttons are pressed; Recovery Mode when the Esc (On) button is pressed during reboot; Boot 2: Sailfish when the silver (side) button is pressed during boot; and Boot 3: Debian, when the Esc(On) and side button are pressed simultaneously during reboot.

All appeared to go well, without any failures or error messages. 


When this was over I had to restore 122 Android programs, which ate up about three hours! And then I tried the various options. I had no problem booting 'normally' to Android; also to the recovery option. And the Boot 2 sequence got me successfully to Sailfish. 

Once in Sailfish I went through a short tutorial and then registered with Jolla, spent a few minutes trying different things, and downloaded a screen capture program from the Jolla Store since the Gemini shortcut (Fn + R) isn't available.  

Using Sailfish I had a couple of immediate issues: First, when I started Sailfish the orientation was 'off' and even after enabling screen rotation in the settings each time I have booted into Sailfish it seems like it has taken several minutes before screen rotation starts to work. Secondly, I could not get the phone to work. Attempting to check voice mail (Sailfish, correctly, showed one voice message) I got the error message "No network connection" although all settings seemed to be appropriate. So, getting the phone working under Sailfish needs to be resolved/worked out. I will need to 'learn' Sailfish and see if it is to my liking! Supposedly, many Android apps are supposed to work under Sailfish, so having the two separate booted OSs many not be optimal. Also, I have seen write-ups such as this one - Goodbye Sailfish OS and Jolla. However, time shall tell!

The next issue I discovered was when I attempted the Boot 3 option to get to Debian/GNU Linux, I had no luck! When I try the boot 3 scenario (i.e. "starting from a switched OFF Gemini, press the Esc (On) key to start the unit until the Gemini vibrates. Once you feel the vibration both Esc (On) key and silver right-end side button are pressed at the same time") I see the planet/tux screen, then it goes dark, then the phone vibrates, then I get the planet/tux screen, then the screen goes dark, then the phone vibrates, then... and I appear to be stuck in an endless loop! So, no Debian yet, will have to try and work this out later.

Correction: Strike the above, my fault, I was holding down the Esc key too long. Boot 3 into Debian/GNU Linux works just fine:


Overall I feel fortunate that trying this did not cause me any major issues; others have tried and run into various, fairly severe problems, for example see here and here... 

I  am also waiting for my external camera add-on. Back, before I had a camera on my PDAs or phones, I never particularly felt a need to have one but it's quite amazing how quickly one gets used to having one handy when they now comes standard on practically every phone. So, the lack of an external camera is annoying. I will have to see, truthfully I am very underwhelmed by the sample Gemini camera pictures out there!

More to come...

Earlier looks:
Gemini - first look  (May 4th, 2018)
Gemini - second look (May 14th, 2018) 
Gemini - third look ( May 26th, 2018)

Resource links:

Online reviews:
Gemini PDA (in Japanese) 
Gemini PDA (in Japanese)