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The /e/ foundation has started selling phones with their own version of Android preloaded on them:

e.foundation/

The /e/ version of Android is aiming to be de-googlised, but there are still a few remnants of G on them:

infosec-handbook.eu/blog/e-fou

Just wondering what people think about /e/?

Should I list it as an alternative to Android? Is it degooglised enough to consider as a "least worst" option?

p.s. Thank you to @sheogorath for the headsup about /e/ being on sale, and for the link to @infosechandbook 's article.

@switchingsocial Just as hint: They are also on the fediverse as @e_mydata and their founder @gael

Have fun people :)

@switchingsocial It isn't entirely free software either. LineageOS is more free (libre) than that I believe.

@masterofthetiger

The problem with Lineage is it's extremely difficult to install, much more difficult than installing linux on a PC.

The big advantage of /e/ is it's available preinstalled, so non-technical people can use it.

@switchingsocial @masterofthetiger Then we need someone who ships phones with preinstalled Lineage OS.I agree that it's absolutely horrible to install a custom ROM on many phones but proprietary software CAN NOT be the preferred alternative.

@nipos @masterofthetiger

I want to give people alternatives they can switch to without tech knowledge.

Are there any alternatives which are less worse than Google Android?

Or are all the alternatives as bad as Google Android?

@switchingsocial @masterofthetiger I think there are several projects which are more or less like Lineage OS and are really good.Only this eOS is not really a big advantage.It's difficult to find good alternatives for phones.My best recommendation would really be: Buy some phones,install Lineage OS and resell them.Or find someone who does it for you.That seems to be the only way to get privacy-friendly phones.

@nipos @masterofthetiger

I get that Lineage and similar are good, but if they remain so difficult to instally I don't think I can recommend them.

I'm *fairly* ok with tech stuff but I find Lineage installation instructions really scary and would not want to attempt it on an expensive device like a smartphone, and especially not on a friend's phone.

Given that situation, I guess there just is no alternative to Google Android for people like me? :blobsad:

@switchingsocial @masterofthetiger Yes,maybe there really isn't a alternative for you.I just searched for phones with preinstalled Lineage OS once again but it looks like there's really nobody who is offering that 😢

@switchingsocial
Just to mention it since it does not seems clear from your thread. LineageOS is not an alternative to /e/. /e/ tries to give you an android operation system based on LineageOS which tries to reimplement the google services. You have to differntiate between the OS itself which is Open Source (AOSP, Android Open Source Project) and the Google Services and Apps which are proprietary. 1/?
@nipos @masterofthetiger

When installing LineageOS you - normally - still Install the Google Apps (which include the Google Services). This is often done with "OpenGapps".

In my experience some "not that technical people" do think Installing LineageOS + OpenGapps would be better then their preinstalled OS in terms of privacy - since it is Open Source. This is not true.

The OS is probably better in terms of privacy, and it is Open Source. 2/?

But they are still using proprietary GApps which are certainly still invading their peivacy. (The "Open" in OpenGApps referrs to the packaging of the Apps. The Apps are still proprietary as they state themself. The name is quite confusing.)

Not Installing GApps is no option either, since the phone wouldn't be usable for a normal user. Thers no Browser, no Calendar, no Play Store, bad Navigation... 3/?

If you would install any non FOSS app it wouldn't work, and even FOSS Apps won't work often.

/e/ tries to reimplement the Google Services and preinatall alternatives for the GApps.

An alternative to this would be microG which is a real FOSS implementation of the GApps. It also tries to send as less to Google as possible and you have different options about this you can enable / disable. I have quite good experience with a. 90% of the Apps I use work with it without any problems. 5/?

I also heard some talking that /e/ is mostly LineageOS + microG preinstalled on Phones, which wouldn't be that bad in my opinion.

As @switchingsocial already said, there still isn't any perfect solution for non technical users.

A installation of LineageOS isn't that complicated itself. If you have some technical knowledge you can do it, but it will take a bit of reading and time. BUT depending on the Phone vendor it can get a lot complicater. 6/?

@nipos @switchingsocial @masterofthetiger resist.berlin/ sells refurbished phones with LineageOS, but I don't know if they come with any support or warranty though.

@nause_marc @masterofthetiger @switchingsocial No,they sell phones with Replicant which is great,too.I already got a direct message with the link but thanks anyway.

@switchingsocial Related to this topic, I briefly had a half-serious business idea of offering to install LineageOS on non-techy people's phones. But then I realised that it would probably turn into a nightmare of people complaining that various aspects of their phone is not working, or the whole thing is bricked.

For me on a Oneplus 3, LineageOS has worked perfectly.

@mmin

Yeah... I guess this is the problem, hobbyists and tech enthusiasts are ok using unsupported stuff at their own risk.

As soon as you take tech to a general audience, they will expect support because they just want a device that works reliably, and Lineage isn't reliable enough across all supported models.

@switchingsocial is not that difficult, you can learn the process in three days with fair work

@galipesc

Installing Lineage is horrifically difficult, there is no way I would ever attempt this, especially as I might brick my phone:

wiki.lineageos.org/devices/one

@switchingsocial i had made that process with three types of smartphones and everything has gone ok... I am philosopher, not an engineer...

@masterofthetiger

By the way, is there any info out there about which parts of /e/ are non-free?

(I'm trying to get a "pros" and "cons" list basically.)

@switchingsocial @masterofthetiger I'm using it on a Galaxy S7. As you said, it's likely the least bad option for nontechnical folks. The main proprietary parts I've noticed so far are the Maps application (actually "Magic Earth") and the "Apps" version of the app store that includes and promotes proprietary applications by default.

That said, there is no better shipping option that I've found. Once the LibreM 5 or the PinePhone are released that might change

@switchingsocial Some Google play services maybe? Plus the normal firmware which is also found in LineageOS, and apps in the app store.

All in all, it seems to follow the trend of forgetting about freedom when it comes to privacy.

@masterofthetiger
lineage.microg.org is the best degoogle'd compromise for those not willing to live with certain apps crashing or refusing to run because they cannot detect Google spyware. MicroG is sorta like WINE for google services
@switchingsocial

@masterofthetiger @switchingsocial
While microg does still access google servers IF you want it to, it is open source and allows you to shim in replacement services (weather and nongps location providers, openstreetmaps and offline Mozilla WiFi/cell tower data respectively)

@vrsmd

I'd argue that calyxos.org is a much better choice
Its got-
a locked bootloader
full verified boot
a more secure implementation of microG (which can be enabled on first boot)
Fdroid built in
The #GrapheneOS Auditor app - designed to detect persistent compromise
They're working on an encrypted back up service, with support for Nextcloud -think it will land soon.
Supports the Pixel 2 & 3 with early support for Pixel 3a and Mi A2

#CalyxOS
@masterofthetiger @switchingsocial

@dazinism @masterofthetiger @switchingsocial
Good to know! When I upgrade to a compatible phone, I'll check on the progress of CalyxOS and GrapheneOS. Lots of folks should use an opinionated security focused distribution/ROM, though other folks need to be able to make their own security configuration, tool and interoperablity choices. It's a blessing to us all that we now have all these options.

grapheneos.org/donate
calyxinstitute.org/support-us/
patreon.com/LineageOS
bountysource.com/teams/microg

@switchingsocial Happy user of /e/ here. It allows me to use and android without google stuff while I need some proprietary apps. It's absolutely wonderful.

@switchingsocial It is not really privacy-respecting.It has centralized shit like Signal and Telegram preinstalled which can't even be removed and it has MicroG what connects to Google servers and is required only by very few apps so it shouldn't be installed by default.

@nipos @switchingsocial

Won't we be forced in #europe to such devices in future (>13.09.) by the #eu #psd2 when #banks start to enforce these silly #apps?
This is a huge hurdle for otherwise technically capable alternatives?

@nurinoas @switchingsocial They can't enforce those apps and they won't do it.They can't tell everyone to buy a smartphone where these apps work.There will always be two alternatives: 1. Card TAN devices which are only used for this one purpose which are cheap and privacy-friendly 2. (My preferred one) Just use the machines in the local bank.

@nipos @switchingsocial The roadmap for /e/ has the ability to remove the standard apps, this is still a product in development. I have found that /e/ continues to provide updates for the phone models it officially supports even after the LineageOS maintainers for some models have stopped providing updates.

@supernova @switchingsocial As soon as that's really possible,I'll give it a change but at the current state,it's not really a open alternative with all its proprietary stuff.

@switchingsocial
so this is like jailbreak! haha

too bad Samsung s8 is not listed on there.. I wonder why..

@switchingsocial infosec-handbook.eu/blog/e-fou…

this page has the worst UX for external links: every links in the article link to the same generic footer "Link" section where you have to find again the link you were trying to open. Try one of the issue links in the article.. So long to "middle click, keep reading, go to tabs later". Genius.

@switchingsocial I think all options are worth listing, along with all relevant info on shortcomings, because even if there are more perfect options available stepping stones can still be necessary / helpful.

@switchingsocial /e/ is worth listing. They use some proprietary services like Telegram and Magic Earth, but it's not Google and they have good intentions (so far). If /e/ fucks up along the way, you can always remove them from the list.

@davidpgil @switchingsocial Probably not because it supports more devices and creating (free/libre) drivers can be hard. Replicant is based on LineageOS, so I see nearly no interest to rebrand Replicant if proprietary stuff is added.

@switchingsocial
Tested a community version of eOS based on Android 7 a few weeks ago on a OnePlus 3T.

Experiences:
The UX was completely mixed, not DAU friendly. Partly the eOS own UX, partly that of pure Android. Some elements are too big or inappropriate in color. Also the App Store had language problems, showed asian Apps.

Clearly not finished, yet. Dunno if there are more advanced versions or if I got a old version or somewhat, but if not, I really hope on future development.

@switchingsocial
So, in case that wasn't clear:

My setup with eOS wouldn't be worth listing. If the phones to buy do better, it may be. Unfortunately, I don't know that, as already stated out. Maybe someone here is deeper into e and can tell more?

(just installed it, tested for a few hours out of interest if its worth recommending for DAUs and then switched back to LineageOS, as I'm happy with it)

@switchingsocial

We have a #jolla first generation phone since 2014.
It still receives updates!
I have no ideas how much #degoogled its inner cores are.
It's at least an alternative to #android that made an attempt to bridge allowing users to run needed #apps from #publictransport, etc.
IMHO, this is what @ubuntutouchpl & #plasmamobile or @purism are completely missing.
A phone should offer #productiveness and #convenience but not lock me out or turn me into a #hermit...

@switchingsocial Is doing a factory reset and not signing in with a google account still considered google free? Or do they still snoop on the device itself?

@unklebonehead

Google still snoop on Android devices even if you don't sign in.

Android is designed to gather and pass on to Google information about how it is used, who uses it, where it is etc.

@switchingsocial What about One Plus phones? Are they still snooping even though they run OxygenOS?

@unklebonehead

As far as I know it's Android with a manufacturer's interface stuck on it?

@switchingsocial Just found the answer on reddit. It does have the googld services. They have version without it called HydrogenOS but it is a Chinese rom. So prolly not any better, lol.

@unklebonehead

Yeah, this is the toughest area for alternatives :blobsad:

I wish it was like computers where you can just easily install your own.

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