Community Intro Series: Topias Vainio
Our latest addition to the fairly recent tradition of introducing key community members to the public via our official blog. Today we have Topias Vainio, a fairly helpful and rather awesome personality in our community who is the pioneer of Sailfish OS Fan Club, Sailfish OS News Network and Sailfish Hack Club Helsinki which is moderated by the help of other community members such as Aleksi Suomalainen and Eetu Kahelin on a communication platform and social media called Telegram. They hold monthly Sailfish OS related meetups in Helsinki which I recommend everyone to join if you happen to live in Helsinki!
Topias, alongside a few other community members will be joining us this year at MWC. It will be his first experience and we are extremely excited to be able to share it with him. It was only fitting to publish this interview right before MWC for people who already don’t know Topias and aren’t a member of his channels.
Let’s get to the interview and get to know Topias!
James Noori: Hi Topias! Please introduce yourself to the community, even though the audience might have a pretty clear picture by now after reading the introductory part of this post, but you could maybe go into more details!
Topias Vainio: Hello James and hello to the wonderful Jolla and Sailfish OS community! I’m Topias Vainio, turning 26 years old soon and living in the Jolla homeland, Finland, near Helsinki in a small town called Kirkkonummi. I’m a long time Sailfish OS fan all the way from the early days and been with Jolla through the ups and downs. Been always interested in tech, computers and smartphones since I got my hands on N-Gage QD running Symbian S60. I’m also working as a Full Stack Developer at Poplatek Oy developing web applications and finishing my bachelor’s degree in information technology. Besides programming, my hobbies include gaming and learning Japanese, Korean and Mandarin Chinese.
James: How did you get into Jolla and Sailfish OS? Tell us about your background with Jolla/Sailfish OS and the reason you chose to start supporting us?
Topias: I was very fascinated by the N9 running MeeGo Harmattan and was sad to see it being dead before release but nevertheless it left a strong impression on me. Being an Symbian S60 heavy user and then moved to Android, what really left me stumped about Android was the lack of control over running processes. What I truly loved about MeeGo was the great multitasking feature it offered coupled with a fantastic gesture based UI that provided natural way to interact with a touch screen. Later when I heard about Jolla making a phone running a MeeGo-based Sailfish OS, I got excited about it. I wasn’t brave enough to preorder a Jolla phone but after a month or so reading news about it I decided to get myself one. Ever since I’ve been a supporter of Jolla and Sailfish OS and loved all the energy, effort and hard work put into Sailfish OS, which I truly believe is a fantastic product!
James: You were also one of the attendees at International Sailfish Community Event! Was that your first time meeting the sailors? Tell us a little about your experience and how it went at the event.
Topias: The first time I met the Jolla guys was when I helped them move to another office in Helsinki when they had a lack of manpower because of the layoffs related to the end of 2015 financial problems. I was thrilled to be able to help and meet the Jolla guys so I grabbed the chance. Later I also participated their party where all the movers were invited and got to know the people behind Jolla a lot better. The Sailfish Community Event was an absolute blast and it was nice to see and get to know sailors even more and not forget about the fantastic Jolla C I was so expecting to lay my hands on! I really loved all the great stories, development tips etc Jolla guys presented at the event as well as meeting more of the community from all over the world.
James: Why did you consider Telegram [LINK] instead of any other platform to show your support?
Topias: Telegram in my opinion offers the best and most feature rich platform for open and modern group chat compared to other chat platforms. After many problems with third party Whatsapp clients for Sailfish OS and the closed nature of the Whatsapp platform, a lot of effort had been done to bring a native Sailfish OS client for the direct competitor and open alternative Telegram. A big shout out to Davide Trogu aka Dax89 [link here http://github.com/Dax89] for the amazing Telegram client Sailorgram! Telegram is independent and not backed by big corporations like Facebook or Google which really matches the Jolla company ethos as well. Also Telegram channel was a natural choice for the Sailfish News Network since the community was already formed in Telegram. It has proved to be a very good choice thanks to the link invites, high user cap and bot support, which also enabled us to setup an IRC bridge, which in turn enabled us to connect to Matrix chat platform.
James: How active are the groups you own?
Topias: Sailfish OS Fanclub is currently standing around 218 members plus about 17 people connected through IRC and Matrix so in total 225 members. We have around 15 users writing daily and about 50 writing something weekly. Sailfish News Network has 101 members and Sailfish Hackclub Helsinki 18 members. Sailfish OS Fanclub is a very active group sometimes peaked over a 1000 messages in one day. Sailfish News Network about 2 news articles a month and Sailfish Hackclub Helsinki meets once a month.
James: What topics are usually discussed there?
Topias: Pretty much everything from tech to cats is discussed on the Sailfish OS Fan Club but naturally the discussion is centered around Jolla stuff, Sailfish OS and it’s close relatives Nemo, Maemo, MeeGo and Asteroid OS — mostly tech oriented. We have a very free and open policy so we haven’t limited the conversation topic to just around Sailfish OS. We want to be open and friendly towards each other just like you, the great sailors at Jolla. I wanted to create Sailfish OS Fanclub so we could have a common discussion platform to deepen our relations towards one another and towards Jolla and I believe we have achieved that goal. We are a group of friends united across the globe sharing our love towards Sailfish OS. Sailfish News Network is a news channel about anything with the word Sailfish OS and Jolla. It also serves as an announcement tool about the happenings in the Sailfish OS Fan Club. Sailfish Hackclub Helsinki is mostly just centered on organizing meetups for our hackclub and aims to teach people about Sailfish OS programming in the Helsinki metropolitan area.
James: Please tell us how would you improve Jolla? What would be the key thing for Jolla to do in order to improve what we do considering the resources we currently have?
Topias: Transparency has certainly improved so that’s on a very good standing now. I would like to see Jolla embrace Open Source more on the UI side or at least have better ways for direct collaboration by the talented community. Many members of the community are able coders and would actually be able to provide direct code contributions for Sailfish OS apps and UI. There are a long list of different patches for Sailfish OS UI some of which improve the user experience immensely or fix some problems here and there. We have seen many other ways to contribute but many of the pain points lie in the apps or UI elements which are not open for contributions. Many of us just love the OS so much that we would be willing to contribute to code just because of our love towards Sailfish OS. It could be a huge boon for the Sailfish OS development and would further deepen the ties between the community and Jolla company.
James: How many Jolla devices have you owned? How do you like the experience on different hardware?
Topias: I have all the Jolla branded devices, Jolla 1, Jolla Tablet and Jolla C as well as all the official other halves for the Jolla 1, except nadeshiko pink and stella, plus three 3D printed ones from shapeways. Love all of them and even the Jolla 1 still runs Sailfish OS perfectly! I’m still surprised how sturdy the Jolla 1 feels despite its age, much more than the Jolla C that I’m using as a daily driver. Despite the cheap build quality of the Jolla C, it totally rocks with Sailfish OS and I still get many surprised faces when they see me navigate it so fast and smoothly! The build quality is very good on the Jolla Tablet and excellent hardware, the best of the best! Sadly the most anticipated feature split screen multitasking got cancelled along with the tablet. Hopefully Sailfish OS can continue to be optimized for the tablet in the future.
James: How do you feel about joining us this year for MWC? We know that it is your first time and I personally remember my own first experience at MWC, it was surreal! Tell us about your expectations!
Topias: I’ve always been following MWC closely since I got my first Android phone and even more closely since I hopped on the Jolla boat. I can’t express the excitement I have with words and I feel absolutely honored to have received this invitation to join you sailors! I bet my experience will be nothing short of surreal either and I’m looking forward to see you guys in Barcelona and see what you guys have in store for this event. I can’t wait to meet you guys!
James: Any words to the readers of Jolla blog?
Topias: Continue being awesome like you’ve been up until now. Be nice to each other and to the sailors and have faith in this wonderful little company. Jolla has delivered a fantastic OS against all the odds and continues to battle against the big guys. Thanks to you community members, Jolla is where it is today so please continue showing Jolla the support they deserve!
James: Thank you Topias, for supporting us throughout the thick and thin and thank you for sailing with us! Last but not least thank you for taking part in this interview, I wish you a safe trip to Barcelona! See you there.