Fairphone Open OS roadmap discussion

I agree with you guys as well. I think it would be a good thing to have a set of user apps installed, that can be used easily and cover most basic functions (people will be disappointed if they cant even play music with their new flashy smartphone…). But they should also be uninstallable easily for those users that like to replace them with other apps.

I dont know your exact definition of “functional” but for me the TWRP works perfectly fine :slight_smile:

Hi there

great, but who’s working in the release of the release ? Joking, but when grosso mode is that due to be released? Thanks


@Bru the MR2 release (the first major release since the release of the phone) has been long due and we would have liked to release that version much earlier. We are plan to start release candidate testing next week for the GMS builds(waiting CTS and GTS test results). The result of those tests will influence when we release the GMS and Fairphone OSOS release. Some code changes related to root have not yet made it to the code.fairphone.com

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We have been playing with the idea to indeed offer a suggested apps functionality (you can find some traces here at the end of the document).

There where still a few problems and questions we needed to answer before we where able to release such an app I will name a few here:
-We would like to also be able to add Paying (but fair) apps but don’t know how to do this yet. In the era of the cloud you can not purely rely on you phone for you privacy but also need the infrastructure to be present in a sustainable ($$$) way
-Some apps we consider fundamental have in recent Android releases been replaced by Google proprietary apps (The camera app for example) and other apps that remain on the system (like the mail app) are basically abandoned and alternatives like k9-mail are way better. The problem here is how to not push apps to the users (e.g. how to offer them as proper alternatives while living without them is also not a great thing to do.).
-We need the community to be involved as it is very hard as company to say “Firefox” is what you need/want (your input here)…

We made a list (also based on the content of the forum) with needed apps and their “good” alternatives. Sometimes we considered that there was no app nice/good enough as a replacement. I those cases we wonder how Fairphone can help improving the usability of those apps in such a way that we don’t need to spend to much time on this:P


Thanks for taking time to answer Keesj. That is still vague, but we’ll be patient, as usual :slight_smile:

Is that list available somewhere for us to comment on?


I don’tknow, and maybe am wide off of mainstream, but is it really necessary to go that way and put valuable resources into a piece of software, when it really is not that hard to install an app from an app store? I mean, you will never get consensus anyway…



is definitely good, completely configurable.
May I do not know how, but what I find missing is a way to configure what goes where, in terms of folders, it is often a drag to change or even understand the folder’s architecture.

Hi together,
I even think the best is to keep the OSOS as simple as possible. I think the OSOS should have NOTHING preinstalled, -it should be just naked and absolutely clean, -and everyone can choose his preferred apps. I agree with Iklaus, -it is easy to install self chosen apps, so I don’t want and need preselected apps…
The forum gives very good informations what are recommendable apps.

With greetings, Ahne


Our rather ambitious goals is change the industry and increase awareness. From that perspective it is such that user that already use open source/f-droid are not directly the target group for an app like suggested apps. The Fairphone Open Source OS is a few bridges to far for them because it does not have all that is needed to be a complete replacement. Suggested apps or similar can help the conscious user (running GMS) to gain more ownership and we hope for them to take the leap.


This is a topic that already caused a lot of confusion in this thread (see above microG, "Open"GAPPS, GMS). People having trouble understanding the different concepts of “Apps”. Do they talk to servers, which ones?, non-free apps, SaaS, and frameworks like Google services and other “services”. Can you elaborate a bit on this?

I think it’s important to have a somewhat “clean” phone and extent it from there. I don’t mind paying for good infrastructure for some things … there are some nice companies out there. But mandatory? Nope & Never.

The “clean” release could come with a installer based on profiles.

a) “Leave me alone, I know what I do.”,
b) "I come from a Google/Apple phone and I know I can’t have it all right now, but I want to try this"
c) “I want Facebook now! Where is the !@!@%$! apps store? I want my money back”.

Give them
a) Nothing. Just root and a working recovery and some patches for the services.
b) The same as above but with the best open apps people come up here (+F-droid with all sources)
c) Just give the the choice between going back to the stock image or installing "Open"GAPPS.

Update: Oh and looking at the end of Fairphone: designing a fair experience as recommended, it feels very live-style-ly. Als long is the stuff is open and is not killing resources for nothing (sensors without replaceable batteries) fine. But if it’s just gadgets that use a lot of secret protocols and “their” apps … I wouldn’t waste a lot of time on this. It’s just not fair. It’s lifestyle c*p.


Just a note on replacing the camera: I copied the “Snap” camera used in Cyanogenmod from a Nexus 4 to the FP2 and it works great. Maybe you could include that instead?

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I like the idea of “suggested apps”. But I have some questions:

  1. Is the suggested apps functionality only planned on the Google-free Android or also on the original with-Google Android? What’s with the alternate operating systems (like Sailfish OS, Firefox OS and Ubuntu Touch)?
  2. Where will I see the suggested apps? Is it in a wizard on first start, in the app drawer or in an extra app?
  3. How is the suggested app list determined? Is it only a static list of apps and those which aren’t installed are shown? Or is it dependent by the already installed apps? Will the Fairphone phone home to suggest me apps? Will it suggest an e-mail application if I already installed another one on my own (as an example)?
  4. Will only one app per functionality (web browser, e-mail client, media player, …) be suggested or can it be also more than one app with the same functionality?

Some suggestions from me:

  1. Provide a description of the app so the user knows for what is the app.
  2. Provide a statement for each app why Fairphone suggest it and prefer it over other apps.
  3. When the description is shown, the user should also see a list of other apps with the same functionality.
  4. If it’s not only a one-time job or a special “suggested apps” app, provide a way to dismiss a suggested app, to show dismissed apps again and to completely en-/disable “suggested apps”.
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As the alternative operating systems are not developed by Fairphone you won’t see any Fairphone functions there unless the devs of those OSes implement them (FP apps are open source).

I fear that the majority of the FP2 users are just users that want to do “something good”. But they don’t understand the underlying technical issues, they just want to use the same apps as before because that’s there their “friends” “are”. A classical vendor lock-in.

Maybe using raccoon and microG services could be a workaround for some. But this could also lead to more technical issues once Google decides to change the APIs. Or “apps” don’t get updated automatically and pseudo-DRMs kicks in. Or the server “in the cloud” just closes the users account because the system thinks something fishy is going on.

But I tested a few “normal” free apks that people think are mandatory for them … it seems to work for most. And if people really want to use google maps & services maybe they should just stay with the google stock rom. Also, I think, Google Maps and Google Mail still work just by using the web interface or standard protocols (SMTP/IMAP).

So just release the image with a working recovery, NLP and root. It complies. :slight_smile: It’s all good and just see from there!

People should just understand that if they install it, it’s official-unofficial (thanks to the stupid licence) so they have to look for help in the forum and not bug the support any longer, as long as it is not a hardware issue.

So just add just another standard disclaimer and licence to the download and we can see from there. This release should also be tagged in the repo, so people can look at the related code quickly.


As a CyanogenMod + NoGApps user for almost a year now (on my former Nexus 4), I can confirm Google Maps application works without Google Services with real GPS. Not network location, of course, unless you have UnifiedNIp configured.

A great solution I see here would be having a working TWRP recovery. Any user that want to use FairphoneOS-OS with GApps could just flash a ZIP of the size and source they want with a few taps.


I have never had a smartphone until now because I care about my privacy. For a number of reasons I will most probably have to get a smartphone in the next weeks.

I am seriously considering buying a FP2 and knowing how soon the FPOOS will be available would be the final element to convince me.

I am not very tech-savvy, but i have been using linux for almost ten years on my computers, so I know what a shell is and even if I would prefer to get a ready to use smartphone, I think I could follow some easy How-To explaining how to install the FPOOS.

In this sense I would love to have a FPOOS available as soon as possible and it to be as clean as possible. No Google stuff preinstalled. I have no experience yet with smartphones but I guess just providing some shortcuts to the apps most people want (e.g. GApps) and a simple guide on how to get any other app would be enough.


Sorry it was quite obscure, so what would be most helpful then is a file manager like “Dolphin”, quite configurable and with possible extensions such as different services that may be included gradually, for example root actions service menu which is so helpful.

I come to the conclusion that no own FP OS is needed at all, if #CyanogenMod was the base ;). IMHO it would be easier to have CM as base and add FP customisation in there and not the other way around.

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This update are great news, thanks! :slight_smile:

I would suggest to go back to the personas you have developed. Assuming that the data is valid we have following personas, we can look at to discuss what their needs regarding Fairphone OS (and especially Fairphone OSOS) probably are. I could imagine following aspects:

  • The Ethical Supporter: Limited tech knowledge. An eco and social marketing/image of an app and a good design is key. While concessions are possible, a switch from WhatsApp or Skype to a “better” messenger app will be no option if all contacts are lost as communication is important to them. To make them happy, all apps needed should be ready installed and configured to be used when the phone is purchased. Facebook is used to stay in contact with Fairphone
  • The Proud Pioneer: Even though their tech knowledge might be limited, they are motivated to expand their knowledge to use an alternative app. A little struggling is okay, if there is a community to help out. If it works for them, they probably will recommend it to their friends: if the UX of OsmAnd~ is the same as the UX of GoogleMaps, they will not only use it themselves but spread the word about it. They are open to install and try out new apps if there is no fitting one pre-installed. They subscribe to the mailing list to stay in contact with Fairphone.
  • The Thoughtful Critic: As longevity is important, on the software side regular updates and actively maintained apps are a must have. The system must be stable. An ethical and FOSS background of apps could be a convincing argument, if the usability is good. They are using the pre-installed browser to participate in the Fairphone forum.
  • The DIY Techie: Root and shell access is necessary. Documentation and the possibility to contribute is important. Not much apps need to be pre-installed as they want to customise their phone (or rather their “mobile computer”) anyway. The will use a (self coded) RSS-feed reader to get the Fairphone news.
  • The No-Nonsense User: They will only use the phone if all necessary apps are pre-installed and work out of the box. They want to use the apps and services they are used to – or at least don’t want to recognise any difference. The support form or by phone is their preferred means of communication with Fairphone.

So how can Fairphone fulfil all this different needs? A Fairphone GMS still seems necessary. Nevertheless only looking at people interested in Fairphone OSOS, on the one hand we have the users who just want a working phone without any interest in configuration, on the other hand there are the people who want to decide, understand and configure everything. My suggestion would be to provide with a single click a ready to use Fairphone OSOS. It should work just like Fairphone GMS. That would mean to first of all provide a FOSS replacement for the services (e.g. µG, unifiedNLP, and f-droid pre-installed) but also for apps (find a FOSS replacement for every pre-installed app on a Nexus device [<- the purest Google device, not too much bloatware, but everything you need to get started, I believe]). Obviously for a good UX more is needed, e.g. a cloud connection to share files. While techies will have their own ownCloud installation running on their cubietruck in their living room, the other extreme will need for example an ownCloud installation run by Fairphone and preconfigured. To satisfy the personas who want to configure more or everything I could imagine an “advanced” button during the one-step installer of Fairphone OSOS. Clicking on that could lead to a dialogue (similar to setting up an Ubuntu server) where you can decide which services and apps you want to install. So both extremes (one click and everything works, or a bare system without any services and apps but root) could be satisfied.
Obviously this is a rather abstract idea. For solutions to more concrete problems (which app to exchange by which app), we would need more information about the specific problems/questions. For example, if you provide us with the list of suggested apps you mentioned we could create a matrix with all pre-installed apps on a Nexus and all the personas (and relevant selection criteria for their app decision) to select a good alternative app.

[quote=“keesj, post:45, topic:14547”]
There where still a few problems and questions we needed to answer before we where able to release such an app I will name a few here:
-We would like to also be able to add Paying (but fair) apps but don’t know how to do this yet. In the era of the cloud you can not purely rely on you phone for you privacy but also need the infrastructure to be present in a sustainable ($$$) way[/quote]
I haven’t looked into payment options myself yet (I prefer anonymous cash), but you’re right. Beside an app, a trustworthy infrastructure would probably be needed. If you cannot host something yourself, you probably need a partner doing it for you. Maybe contacting ethical/cooperative driven banks could bring interesting information. If that is a concrete question you are tackling down atm, maybe starting a new thread with a specific question in this forum could uncover an expert.

I’m not sure if I understand you correctly here. But maybe my suggestion above is a solution to the problem: Use good defaults and offer alternatives if wanted as an advanced option. The alternatives could contain the proprietary app as well, if sensible. Please elaborate if my suggestion doesn’t fit the problem. :slight_smile:

Ack. Maybe a different methodological approach could lead to more valid results. :slight_smile:

Well, if you cannot spend time, you basically have to spend money (as we live in a profit based society). Probably the most effective and efficient approach depends on the app you look at. Who is developing and why? What would help them best to improve it? Are they interested in money or in developer support/time or in design support/time or in usability evaluation support/time or in project management support/time? If you cannot afford any of it, maybe you can organize getting it (obviously, that costs time). I could imagine that people here are willing to help out if the tasks are a little better defined. I could for example imagine to offer a usability review or design suggestions for a specific app if the developers are interested in it.