Fairphone’s approach to root on the Fairphone 2

Hi,

I’m also one of the guys that followed this discussion quietly so far. I agree with the majority in this thread that I am happy to support Fairphone with both money and patience, since I absolutely support the idea of “Yours to open, yours to keep.”.

I have used my old phone almost 5 years (yes, it was a smartphone) and I would have continued using it if it didn’t suffer from a more and more dying touch sensitivity. When I read about FP1 at the time, I decdided that my next phone (when the time comes) would be an FP.

Hence, I ordered the FP2 (bit more expensive, but okay), because the arguments of sustainability, responsibility and the interpretation of ownership met my perception. And this clearly includes the option of having root access, if it is desired by the user. The safety arguments may have their point, but this is exactly what this was supposed to be about: It should be the user’s individual decision to take over the responsibility - and live with the consequences, or to decide to stay with the device as is.

I would like to deeply underline the statements of the majority of contributors in this thread that FP should honestly consider to revise this decision. It’s not only a question of what may be adviseable or not. It’s a question of what has been promoted and thus also of honesty.

Don’t get me wrong, I certainly support the mentality of the FP team and I certainly appreciate all the work you did, particularly in the last and the coming weeks. I just would be really disappointed if this would really be it - either I have to spend a lot of time and take risks to root my “your’s to open” phone or I have to wait an indistict time to get an OS that may or may not suite my perception. The solution is easier.

Have a nice evening!

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Let’s do a little poll: Do you agree with Fairphone’s decision quoted above?

  • Yes.
  • No.
  • I don’t care.

0 voters

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There already is a poll to the topic of rooting the FP2:

https://forum.fairphone.com/t/poll-i-urgently-need-to-root-my-fp2/11842?source_topic_id=11893

Of course I vote no…

I would like to have an official android 4.4 for my FP1 so I can use it with sumup (I really need this application) so I can send my FP2 back…

OR

ROOT MY FP2 CONTINUE TO USE GAPPS IF I WANT AND BE ABLE TO GIVE MY FP1 TO SOMEONE ELSE!

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Hi BauAC,
Thanks for linking to the other poll (“I urgently need to root my FP2”). I also regard this an important poll. I just think that both questions are different and so I support to have both polls here.
I personally don’t “urgently need to root my FP2”, I just want to have the choice in the future for my “your’s to open” phone. And I want to have the choice to root it without losing the possibility for GAPPS.

I also read the post of keesj several times but I couldn’t find an explanation understandable to me why it’s not possible for FP to offer an option for the user to decide himself.

This is why I disagree with Fairphone’s decision quoted by tofra.

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Hello,

We provide the source code for Fairphone OS and a way to build the system (but this does require blobs). The result of such a build is a fully working system (without gapps). This is a quite unique offering! And at this stage we are not limiting in any way (other than legally obliged)

What we currently are working on is a way for user (non developers) to be able to install this system(e.g. make it easy to switch). We also will provide easy install of SuperUser (or similar) on that operating system. (your phone, yours to break)

So the main complain I see in the thread is that the default operating system does not offer a way to be rooted (We certainly already announced that the operating system would not be rooted by default). This need to be put in the perspective that we are giving user choice and even the possibility to replace his FULL operating system and take real control over his/her phone, no “rooting” needed. We hope for the community to join and help here.

We are also looking forward to discussions on alternative operating systems and apps.

Still we would like to iterate that we will not offer the combination of the google services (and all good that comes with it) and the the option to install SuperUser (the phone does not need rooting and has a unlocked boot loader).

About keeping apps up to date: is ApkTrack any good?

https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=google&fdid=fr.kwiatkowski.ApkTrack

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Hello @keesj and thanks for your answer.

For this I’m OK, but as I understood it, this wouldn’t necessarily mean that the OS would not be rootable by default … Thus our sadness on this matter.

This is good news. Still, will the fp-osos get updates with this ? Do you know if they will need a full wipe or not ?

I don’t know about ApkTrack, sorry.

Thanks again for the answer !

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Thank you for your answer @keesj

However, it seems that you have serious concerns about rooting and SU in general. Your post sounds like rooting is a security risk by definition (“yours to break”). Could you, as a developer, please share detailed in-depth information, where these concerns are coming from?
My point of view was, that rooting in addition with SU works safely unless the user knows what he does. You don’t seem to share this opinion. If so, why? I really would like to hear the opinion from an experienced OEM-developer.

Edit:
In other words: Do you see a difference between providing root-access onto the default OS and re-installing GAPPS on reflashed Fairphone OS?

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Updates will be like normal updates (e.g. it will not be required you to wipe data) however when doing the switching to fp2-osos wiping data will be required to ensure correct functioning and full removal of system apks (and updates to those).

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The only reason I want root is to be able to use Titanium Backup Pro.
Is there an alternative similar to Titanium Backup Pro that doesn’t require root?

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I need Titanium Backup Pro and AdAway.
I also need Google Apps.
So what do I do?

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Well, I want to share my opinion:

First, I agree to Fairphone not pre-rooting the FP2. Not every FP2 user needs root. And the user should know why he has to be careful with root before he gets this powerful tool.

I fully agree with above quote. I also don’t want to root my FP2 instantly, but I can’t say whether I will need root in the future. But when I need root, it’s unclear what (apps and data) I will lose. So I feel uncomfortable with this decision.

I don’t think that a non-rooted smartphone is ultimately secure. A smartphone is a very complex system and security holes are constantly found. So using the smartphone as a security token (like some banks do, see pushTAN or photoTAN) is not very clever. I would not use such an application.

Analogy: Nobody would see a Windows PC as an ultimately secure device even if the user is locked out from the Administrator account.

Also, there the expectations of users and app developers collide: Some app developers want a “trustworthy device”, this means, that the user cannot manipulate the app. Some users want a “trustworthy device”, this means, they want to have full access to the device and control what the apps do.

Does this mean:
a) that you don’t need root on your phone?
b) there is always an alternative to rooting the phone?

If you mean b), I would suggest you open a thread where users can write why they want to root their FP2 and you tell those users an alternative what they can do without rooting to achieve the same goal. @Lidwien and @Feli are already asking.

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Now this is certainly telling of the direction Fairphone is taking, and it’s a rather unethical one. Is there a way to send back my FP2 and get reimbursed because I really don’t want to be involved in a project where “the user who wants mre freedom” is seen as the enemy.
Frankly I don’t see any need anymore to try to convince people to buy a fairphone. I though it was for even the most simple soul clear that “ethical” includes “freedom”. But then I have to think again and undergo the way the marketeers of Google have successfully brainwashed the fairphone team. Sad.

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I ordered FP1 during the cowdfunding campain and FP2 as well (the first day). I had to have a lot of patience and fiddle myself through complicated stuff, but I somehow even liked that. Otherwise maybe I wouldn’t have known this great community :slight_smile:

And I’ve read many topics of people that got very angry about the same problems I had, but I always thought, I’m conscious to be a beta tester, no problem, I’ll just wait. And everything went well:-)

The same happend with root access to FP2. Getting a bit nervous about having the phone before having the official root app, I started this poll https://forum.fairphone.com/t/poll-i-urgently-need-to-root-my-fp2/11842, but just to influence a bit the priorities. Because I have to migrate my data from FP1 and I would like to apply the community workarounds/solutions for the bugs before they start annoy me.

And then, today, this statement disappointed me so much, that I almost cancelled my order. :scream:

Almost, because I love and will support Fairphone thanks to all these ideas to try to make a change.

But what can I do now? Put my FP2 (I’ve been waiting for it for half a year now) in the drawer until one day the Open Source FPOS is officially released? Because if I use it before, I can’t backup and migrate my data, because Titanium Backup won’t work without root access and I would lose everything… Or change my life completely so I have time to learn how to compile an OS by myself? Or just install some dubious chinese rooting app like KingRoot, hoping it won’t harm me too much (more trustworthy rooting apps don’t work with Lollipop anymore)? I’m afraid I’ll end up doing the latter…

So please, please, please, also for the sake of security, rethink your approach and provide us a safe and easy way to root Onion.

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This is what I wanted to hear.
Personally I’m happy with that as I need root but not GAPPS.

This disturbs me a bit. Are you seriously saying you guys sold 60.000 broken phones since 2013??!!

Did anything bad ever happen to a FP1 user because of root???

Well changing the OS is not what most users need root for. Or did you mean users don’t need to tweak the OS as they can simply install a custom OS? Well I don’t think many of us can build their own custom OS to match their individual needs. Root can do that and I think people can easily learn how to use root but won’t know what to do with an unlocked boot loader.

Yes I think so. It doesn’t update automatically but it notifies you for new updates and gives you multiple options for downloading the update.
Downside: If you are using F-Droid as your main App-Store AppTrack will notify you for updates not yet available on F-Droid. And often the updates are not available for good reasons. (Update added Advertisement, Proprietary Code or Spyware)

Are openGAPPS an option for you?

There is: What apps with root access do you use?

I don’t think any of those Apps can be replaced by a App that doesn’t require root. (Unless Fairphone develops it themselves and provides it as a preinstalled system App, but they don’t have the resources for that.)

I wouldn’t express it that crass but it certainly sounds a bit like @keesj is not using his own words but those of the Google Marketing Machine.

In conclusion I hope:

  • That there are some people in the Fairphone Software Team that don’t consider root the enemy and therefore switching to the FP Open OS doesn’t mean less frequent update and less support.
  • That not to many users cancel their orders or send back their phones, but look at the bigger picture! Software Freedom was never one of the main issues Fairphone wanted to address, but with the FP Open OS they are still providing it. The user is not free without root, that’s true, but he is also not free WITH GAPPS. If you need some of Google’s Services there are alternatives e.g. the openGAPPS.
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I have been struggling with this all night now. My conclusion is the following:

Because I can’t root the phone, FP2 doesn’t meet my expectations.

I still have 6 more days to decide to send back the phone (mine arrived Dec. 31st). I hope a satisfactory solution will come by that time, even if it’s not coming from FP itself. I will stop using the FP2 (which I hardly used anyway because it was not rootable), factory reset it and start using my old phone again. Then I will invoke my right as a EU citizen to return unwanted goods.

For something which is almost twice the market value and a good chunk of money on it’s own, I want to be able to own the phone, the apps I (un)install, the data I put on it and my privacy. Without rooting, it’s not possible to disable certain excessive rights that were asked by apps.

I see that @keesj is looking towards a long term solution. However, as I mentioned above, I’m still very unclear how this will work out in the future and how long it will take before the fp-osos will be available for download and flashing. Will it also be possible to still install some apps from the playstore ? Titanium Backup Pro and the support I have given to OsmAnd~ are things I would need to install. Both are payed for apps.

What I don’t understand is the POV of @keesj against rooting, as @xaxa pointed out. Yes, there are inherent dangers. However, they seem to be completely taken out of proportion.

I currently own a rooted Samsung. But if it were non-rooted, it would have been safe ? That’s quite a statement because it’s still running Gingerbread, security bugs and all. They way that I’m using it mitigates a lot of the risks (no MMS, no multi-media, no wifi/bluetooth, rarely using 3G, …) so I still feel comfortable using it.

@keesj: you are very concerned about the safety of ‘banking apps’ on a smartphone. Personally, I will never, ever use my smartphone for direct financial transactions (app nor NFC). That is just asking for trouble. With security holes, 0-day exploits, SMS hacks, lack of fixes from vendors (an area where FP is doing a good job I understand !), … a smartphone just can’t be trusted for this, even non-rooted.

On the other hand, @keesj, your answers completely don’t cover my privacy. I would suggest you to read the dutch C’T of September 2015. They have several articles about spyware, dataminers and ad-networks that mine (sic) your data without your consent. That’s a real problem that at the moment. Rooting would give me control back over my privacy.

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I’m very disappointed that we have to choose between Google app and root access, it’s not the freedom we have been announced…

Edit: Also, unfortunately I think with this situation, some people will use some exploit Chinese app to root the default OS… Not a very «fairphone» consequence isn’t it?

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@keesj disappointed because Fairphone is a project and not a company like Apple, Google Or Samsung. This project also supported by community.For that i still support this Project apart of discussion.

Rooted vs Non Rooted
Security vs Freedom

Q: Which is better?
A:The one that works best for ME / US

There are only solutions that work for our needs.

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I’m afraid this wil become a publicity nightmare for Fairphone…
People expected freedom with this phone (besides the sustainability, which I deliberately leave out of this post for now)
Now the development seems to be that you won’t get an official way to root stock rom, and you get the open source os which you can compile for yourself (at the moment), but it doesn’t work.
I don’t know whether you need the blobs for something like cyanogendmod or omnirom, so nobody will be able to distribute an alternate os for the FP2 (with full functionality, at least). So, in the end, FP2 is at least as restrictive as a Samsung phone, in the end, for most people. I guess that’s catastrophic!
Honestly, going with a Google Nexus (Google does not have a problem with rooted devices, only Google Wallet won’t work, which many people easily can live with…) might be the way to go for many people, including FP2 owners, who won’t stay owners for long, probably. I for example did use my S3 mini for three years, because it has an alternate ROM and in this way was very useful, until it’s resources became too little for me.
Coming back to the os version. “compile it and flash it and you’re set” right now is not true, because it obviously wasn’t tested at all whether it works. It does not. So people having the FP2 are not able to restore all their data on the new phone and probably don’t know whether they will be able to any time, including then making valid backups to restore (in case of fatal failures or even switching ROMs). In the end, there are a lot of at least momentarily useless FP2 which might end up returned…
if this gets out to some of the major tech outlets, see above. This will stop a lot of people to buy a FP2 because now they know it’s not as free as they expect…

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Hello hello,

I took the freedom to start a <a href=https://forum.fairphone.com/t/kingroot-and-fairphone2-share-your-experience-please/11925?u=georgmayer">new topic on using KIngRoot and FP2.

Cheers from Vienna,
Georg

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