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Degoogle with Lineage OS, Lineage for microG, or /e/?

Hello world, I want to degoogle and wanted your take on which OS to run.

  1. which is most stable? I can tolerate some instability, but would prefer not to have to backup externally daily because of frequent factory resets.

  2. what is the difference between LOS and LOS+microG? If LOS doesn’t have the APIs for apps looking for Google services, what apps are available on it? Can I still use Aurora and F-Droid? Is the security flaw potential of microG really that high?

  3. would /e/ actually be better than either LOS? Could I still use normal apps from Aurora and F-Droid?

If these questions have already been answered in a comment somewhere, I’ll gladly take a redirect! Couldn’t find a thorough answer in a search though, the discussion level was either too superficial regarding OS installation or too deep.

Yes, you can use both of these on LineageOS as well as on /e/OS.

Basically, /e/OS can be described as “LineageOS plus” because it is based on the work Lineage does and then adds some of its own special features on top of it (its own app installer, its own synching for contacts/email/calendar, its own iOS-reminiscent launcher, microG if you want to).

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Or it can be described as “LineageOS minus” because it lacks the stability of LOS, from my own experience. Bugs are not resolved for a long time, e.g. the integrated K9-fork as email client is not (or was not? I gave up on /e/) able to store attachments. The fix has been postponed to the next release for at least two times. The workaround proposed is: use the upstream k9 for the time being, as the integrated version is horribly outdated. What is the point of having built-in apps that don’t work because they are outdated and won’t be fixed for several months?
Additionally, the microG is (or was?) horribly outdated, so that there were a lot of problems and it couldn’t be updated separately because it is a system app.
These are only two examples. Furthermore, the Quality control is suboptimal, every update there are reports on bootlooping devices (not only FP3).
If you care about privacy in general (and not only degoogling) and are able to read German, I suggest to have a look at the blog-series Take back control by Mike Kuketz and install LOS 17.1 which is working rather nicely. [EDIT: this series guides through the process of setting up LOS a lot more privacy a protecting]

The only “plus” for /e/ which I see is the online storage/backup which makes it more an ecosystem than an OS only. On the other hand, this is not super-capable, so seedvault would be at least as good, IMHO.

You can see, I am a disappointed user of /e/. I think the concept is great but the execution is very poor.

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Personally I’ve rooted the phone and removed all the google services and qualcomm telemetry from FairphoneOS (Stock) via a root explorer. Installed microg afterwards. Works for me

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theres also iode, an other interesting alternative i’m using
Out of curiosity, is the fairphone OpenOS still in dev?

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For the Fairphone 2 supposedly yes (beta testers of the Android 9 version of Fairphone OS for the Fairphone 2 are told Fairphone Open OS is to get an Android 9 release, too, after the imminent non-open OS release).

For the Fairphone 3 currently no, Fairphone set up an official partnership together with /e/ instead.

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On my part, I’ve been using /e/ on my FP3 for almost one year now and have met absolutely no problem.
I’m a normal phone user, Google hater, no tech genius at all, only been able to flash /e/ on my brand new phone, no more. Suits me perfectly.

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On Wikipedia, it says about /e/:

French entrepreneur Gaël Duval […] challenges the public to “find any parts of the system or default applications that are still leaking data to Google.”

Bold statement, given that upstream LOS is chatting with Google quite a bit out of the box. From what I know at least:

  • Default DNS server is set to Google’s 8.8.8.8.
  • A-GPS data is regularly downloaded from supl.google.com while happily sending the device IMEI.
  • Default Captive Portal server is set to connectivitycheck.gstatic.com.
  • Uses AOSP Webview (not sure how much that talks to Google). Bromite is recommended as alternative.

See: https://www.reddit.com/r/LineageOS/comments/cl5c90/degoogling_lineageos_instructions_august_2019/

And there may be more stuff lurking in the system.

Some of these defaults have to be changed by rooting the device with Magisk and using adb on a *nix host. So it’s not for your average Joe.

Has /e/ really taken care of all of that?

Or should I just dodge the hassle and just use LOS and perform the de-Googling myself?

Welcome to the community forum.

https://doc.e.foundation/what-s-e#degoogling--ungoogling

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Not too shabby.

FP3 + stock /e/ seems to be a good default recommendation to non-techies, or to use yourself if you don’t want to bother fiddling with your phone.

Also doesn’t look like magic. There seem to be functional guides for LOS to solve most of these issues yourself, e.g. with adb. Relevant if you don’t want microG or /e/'s app system.

/e/'s de-Googling list and the whitepaper are recommendable reads. The only thing I couldn’t find a guide for is “IPv4/IPv6 availability check” which is an unsolved issue in /e/ as well.

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Latest (April 2021) verdict by Kuketz for /e/ is: “no recommendation”

/e/: Eine datenschutzfreundliche Android-Alternative? ⋆ Kuketz IT-Security Blog (German)

The review mentions:

  • Outdated base OS
  • Untrustworthy source for APKs
  • Significant technical errors in degoogling (?)

The author recommends doing the dirty work yourself: Android ohne Google: Take back control! Teil1 ⋆ Kuketz IT-Security Blog (German)

I am still open to recommend FP3 + /e/ to Uncle Noob and Aunt Novice, but I will probably not use it myself.

This doesn’t apply to /e/ on the Fairphone 2 and 3/3+ currently, and will not apply for quite some time to come.
The article refers to /e/ still using Android 7 as a base on devices which have no more current Android versions in the form of LineageOS as a base to use for /e/, which is a valid point.

Currently Android versions 8.1.0 and newer still get update support from Google (source and source).

LineageOS on the Fairphone 2 and 3/3+ is Android 11 currently, /e/ are about to catch up using this as their base, coming from Android 10 (or 9, if users didn’t upgrade pre-10 installs to Android 10 yet).

Users who care about this can easily avoid this by simply not using the /e/ Apps installer, but F-Droid and (if Apps from the Play Store are needed) Aurora Store instead, discussed at length in the /e/ forum.

Does this refer to “Issues zum Thema »Ungoogling«” in the article? It looks like those issues were all resolved? And this was the case for some time already at the time of the supposed article update?

I don’t know.
I think I would have other complaints about /e/ currently than about their degoogling.

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I don’t know for which phone you want your system, and if GSI run on your system. If you are really so geek to degoogle yourself, I think you are better served with LOS and your work than with /e/. Or you can try the LeOS where harvey does a good job degoogeling AOSP as GSIs.

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Well, as some users stated before: /e simply works. And it provides a very much degoogled system.

I deployed /e on two Gigaset 290 and just yesterday on my fp3 (which had its mainbody replaced during repair so it was completely “as new”). I did that with their “easy installer” and it worked like a charm.

So after years of trying and waiting (having flashed and rooted some phones) I’d say: For a very low amount of time and risk spent on flashing and/or rooting) I got a very high amount of a degoogled phone (even still with warranty).

There is always room for improvement but the relation between effort and result is the best that I have ever had.

Cheers!

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@AnotherElk and @fpara seem to be correct, both with the technical stuff and the verdict. /e/ may be the way to go.

I have been trying to maintain a de-Googled LOS for a couple months now and it’s a pain in the butt for a single reason alone: certain low-level tweaks don’t seem to survive system upgrades. Specifically:

  • Disabling/changing the Captive Portal Server
  • Disabling SUPL for A-GPS
  • Rooting with Magisk (which is necessary to run AdAway domain blocker and AFWall+ firewall).

Can anyone confirm that manual de-Googling survives system upgrades?

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LineageOS OTA updates are not incremental, they are complete OS installs on the unused OS slot, so it seems comprehensible that any low-level tweaks will be overwritten.

If you could get Magisk to survive, I think your best bet would be if Magisk modules would apply those tweaks and reapply them automatically after updates. I’m not running Magisk, though, so I wouldn’t know.

Perhaps here’s something … Feedback from usage of LineageOS on Fairphone 3+ - #12 by Woaloo.

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But it used to work.

It appears that self-unrooting after upgrades is a known regression with LOS 18.1: https://github.com/topjohnwu/Magisk/issues/4655

Reason unclear. Possibly something with LOS Recovery and encryption.

Will update here if/when I have discovered and verified a fix.

Money link is this guide: https://www.droidwin.com/install-ota-rooted-android/

do not reboot your device after installing the OTA

AFAIK this is not possible in LOS (even though someone in the forum claims it works). The installation process in LOS entails a forced reboot.

So the guide doesn’t help, at least for LOS.

Have a look:

Tanks for the link!
For those interested, you can find the same info in English here:

With a link to the report in the 4th §.

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