Closed Poll: Future Fairphone OS Development

I am adapting what I said some time ago in the previous forum:

I am a Fairphone’s convinced owner/user/contributor/advocate , and whereas I am quite happy with the ideals behing it and overall product quality, I am quite unsatisfied with some problems that are still pending since the very first moment and the slowliness in updating the OS (not to mention that it’s not possible to install another OS, as it was promised during the crowdunding process).

Most of these problems are related to the two factors: on the one hand the Operating System we are using now (which despite I like its launcher, aesthetics and how you fixed Google apps optional installation, I am not sure if it is worth it, since I don’t see any other differences with stock Android) and on the other hand (this is a guess, so I may be wrong) having a small team of experienced developers on the core. If I am right, these problems could be addressed by the following different approaches:

  1. Increase the number of senior developers focused on maintaining the OS (this will be even more important in the future and after the second batch of Fairphones is over, which means that if you double your team)
  2. Create a more community-oriented OS by attract and improving community’s contributions (it is not enough to have a repository which only contains part of the files and does not make an OS at all). I am not sure about how can Fairphone achieve that goal, but I guess they can try with some partnership /announcement on other developer sites (since I am afraid there are a few developers on Fairphone’s community right now), rewards policies…
  3. Get rid of this operating system and use another open-sourced one which has a wider community, user-base and experience (eg. Cyanogen mod). Current development could be transformed in widgets or apps to be used by Android community and staff members could join efforts with the community, turning Fairphone into a strong development pillar of another opensource project.

Please don’t get me wrong with this message: I don’t mean that all Fairphone has achieved so far in terms of Fairphone OS is rubbish and they should get rid of it the sooner the better: I do appreciate all the efforts and there are things that are very well done and you should be proud of. It’s just a matter of being practical. As I said, and as I am sure you already know, there is a real issue with the inhability of fixing problems in a reasonable time frame, and I wanted to propose more practical approaches.


I would love to be using an open sourced/community os… I don’t think it is absolutely necessary for FP to make their own if others tick a lot of ethically based boxes. In my opinion there are too many of the same thing being reproduced. Unless it will be twenty times better, resources should be channelled into another area.

Although… is there a way to change the current android/Google on my phone now? Any hi tech way to change it myself? I hate myself for using Google…

One of the main reasons why I bought a fairphone was that they claimed it would be ‘open’, and rooted, suggesting you could install whatever operating system you want. I am still pretty frustrated that this is not an option, and that it wasn’t communicated during the production of the first version…Those buying the second version probably knew in advance…
Looking at the votes and the amount of topics, comments, blogs etc. talking about this, I am certainly not the only user very frustrated about this

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from [about Fairphone page][1]:

Fairphone is a social enterprise working to create a fairer economy and change how things are made.

If one considers the phone as not mostly made of hardware, open source makes more sense that Android.

Hi @emmanuel,

Android is licenced under Apache 2.0 and GPLv2. Both OpenSource/Free Software licences.

Only hardware drivers are mostly closed source.



Hi @stojmas,
I probably misspoke; I should have said open source and community driven which, to me, sounds closer to changing how things are made than a customised Android.
The nub of the problem, indeed, is the non-openness of the hardware drivers.

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I wouldn’t like to cool people down on that one, but in the past I have bought the first, and to my knowledge single up to now, open-source phone from hardware down to software, drivers included: the OpenMoko (check wikipedia). It never reached a level actually workable, and was only barely useable even for sending phone calls. And it costed twice the FP cost.

After this I carefully followed various attempts, the last of which is the Jolla phone, not at all fair trade but OTOH fully open linux: by longly scanning their forums it became obvious they don’t even have a decent email reader at this time, and just zero applications.
Still, you can buy a Jolla today, or at least you could last year, for the comparison with FP numbers is striking: I remember their first series was 600 only, outperformed by a factor 20 by the single first FP1 batch.
To me they are out just for this reason: 600 vs more than 30000 users today, means they’ll never get any developers investing in apps.

So don’t get me misunderstood: I’m definitely for total independence from Google, but as far as I can see, it’s because FP stick to Android that they succeeded.
Which doesn’t prevent the company to support alternate OSes now they are afloat.

But I for one definitely would vote for continueing a baseline version with a minimal android compatibility, along with, potentially, alternate things.

Alternate things that will have zero applications, remember. I paid for trying.


As a developer, its generally not worth working supporting much less used platforms. Android and iOS, everything else is just for fun. I would go for Cyanogenmod or similar hack of Android.

Sailfish looks really interesting though - would definitely consider that as a platform for development.

Sailfish looks really interesting though - would definitely consider that as a platform for development.

Adamski: you are quite precisely illustrating my point above; you would consider Sailfish (the OS in the Jolla phones I described), but at this moment you, well, are waiting a bit.
Which is why anyone buying a Jolla phone today finds itself with just no apps, and I really stress: no apps, not even K9mail.
I’m not competent to elaborate on which alchemy brings in the “apps ecosystem” (apart just being big like Google or Apple), but my concern is, from OpenMoko to Jolla, their respective OSes never raised the ecosystem they definitely were worth.
Maybe, maybe, a port of Sailfish onto the FP would start things up. IFF the guys from Jolla… accept it (Sailfish is open, but why would Jolla support any question on porting it out of their company?)
But in the meanwhile, if you buy a Jolla phone you get an serious, and costly, smartphone with just nothing smart in it…

At least, for Fairphone, the small flock among us that really want to drive “with no Google Apps” do benefit from the fact 90% of the other buyers did buy a FP to run Android and the last Google Fart app on top of it.

If they weren’t here: Fairphone would just be dead in the water at this moment -having courageously built and sold 600 phones, like… who were they again?

Instead, they are alive and well, and they illustrate both a brand new crowdfunded way of changing things and how delicate it is to stay clear from the devil… but not too far…


I would be glod to buy a fairphone shipped with Firefox OS.

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Interestingly enough, Google reportedly tried to buy Cyanogenmod.


Interestingly enough, Google reportedly tried to buy Cyanogenmod1.

I would rather call this “frighteningly enough” :frowning:
I don’t have Cyanogenmod on my Fairphones but various protecting apps (AFWall+…) and my daily feeling is that avoiding all things personal sent to Google is a permanent fight…

Option 2 (cm) is similar to option 1 because it requires hardware support from the chipset maker. Option 3 would be useless (own os without 3rd party support). So the main problem here is that fair phone chose the wrong chipset manufacturer. If there will be ever a fairphone 2, make sure that the vendor tries to upstream their cpu support (including gpu!). Mediatek was the worst choice FP could do regarding this point. On the other hand, it likely was the cheapest.
Another point to take care of is to open up the schematics of the phone. Ok, this may be hard, but doable I think. You already did more impossible things :-).
You could just reuse some of the open platforms already available and focus on the supply chain.


Android 5 Lollipop enhancements explained on - i guess a custom launcher would damage the experience. I looks nice.

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voted for option 1

but there should really be an sub option here that says crap or bloatware free…

most phones come with blaotware you cant get rid off without loading a hacked rom, if you can get one for your phone

and should we not have the right to have a very basic phone to start with and then load what we want?

ie out the box it should only be able to do calls, text, mms and then the play store

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Bloatware free yes - play store no. Because if there is the Play Store, there is Google and all the Evil which comes with it.

well just becuase the play store icon is there does not mean the user have
to use it… but yes when its first luanched the bloatware comes in

a number of users who’re not as tech-savvy as those posting here might not know that “Cyanogenmod” actually is based on Android. Those users might be afraid to not be able to use their favorite (and paid) apps on an OS with such “weird”, unknown name, and thus go for option 1.

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As much as I stand sympathetic to the “open source” choice, I’ve become quite dependent on Android apps over the years. And I’m sure a majority of other straightforward users are in the same position. My years of experimenting and playing with devices (even building my own in some cases), are well behind me. I now wish to buy a device that works. And that works in a familiar way, w/o having to find out where all the buttons and dials are and what the you-know-what- they are ment to do. So yes… keep supporting official android releases… please :dog: :sunny:

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So this is my opinion. I would like to see phones as an open piece of hardware, just as computers are.

Where YOU as a user can decide what OS to run.

If I want the latest Android, I install that. If I want Ubuntu Touch, or Firefox OS, hell, or even Windows 10.

The Fairphone company could deliver a default OS, like Android ONE. So it can focus more on other stuff, than the OS.
As far as I read from Android ONE, is that the Fairphone company does not have to worry about the release cycle of the OS anymore, and users can choose to follow the latest update.

I am totally FOR Open the open culture, however we have to acknowledge there is an existing user community, who have iphone and android apps. If you want them to come over, we have to incorporate some things. Like the huge ammounts of apps other platforms have. So. Android is Open Source, what is against that?

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