I didn’t want to reply yesterday as I got pretty mad about that initial statement here, so I thought I would sleep over it. Nonetheless, I am still very frustrated with the statement here posted.
I have total understanding that the phone wouldn’t come rooted by default, and if there were legal reasons, I would also understand why you cannot provide a rooted version with GAPPS. Anyhow, it’s not difficult to install GAPPS later if someone wants (as we have seen on the FP1 also).
However, I am really frustrated about the current situation. Yes, indeed Fairphone announced before shipping that the phone would come unrooted. However, when I bought my phone, there was no word yet about it. In fact, it wasn’t even clear then what OS or what version of Android it would be shipped with. As a satisfied costumer of FP1 I trusted Fairphone to continue to understand fairness and openness of the phone to not only be a matter of hardware, but also of software. I got really disappointed already in autumn when I learned that FP2 would be unrooted. But OK, I was still believing that there will be an easy way of rooting the phone. Now I have to learn that this was naive, as at this time getting your phone rooted seems to be an endeavor for developers only.
However, I have to disagree with @keesj in some points, as for me the main reason why I want to root my phone is to increase safety! I would like to take up your metaphor of the safety belt (even though I think it’s a bad one, because you cannot compare safety of live with data safety or computer stability). If the safety belt is not tight enough, the seatbelt becomes useless or may increase vulnerability! And this is what, in my opinion, is the case with Android and many apps. I have been using the xposed framework particularly because of the x privacy, which is a great tool to get control over app permisions, i.e. what app gets access to what functions/data (compared to apparmor, which I like to use on my PC). Unfortunately, without root I am not able to use it anymore. The same goes for orWall, which allowed me to channel apps where I don’t log in anywhere to go through tor, to increase privacy. These are just some examples to show, that by having root access, unlike your statement, I can actually increase privacy and security (security not in IT terms, but in personal). The FP2 OS currently available does not satisfy my security need on a computer.
For me smartphones are quite hot potatoes and I don’t trust them (i.e. Android/Google) very much. I feel very unsafe if I have to use a computer device, where I cannot be in control over it, where I cannot set permissions to various apps/programs. This is why I hate my work computer as well, because I have no admin rights there. But OK, it’s not mine, it belongs to my employer. But damn it: The Fairphone is MY phone, and I want to have control over it!
Alright, I see I’m getting emotional again. I understand that you are working on a version than can (or may?) be rooted. But from all what I understand so far is, there is no timeline when this should become available. I have been waiting for the phone over 6 months since I paid for it. Now it is here, I can hold it in my hands and play around with it. But with the current state, I do not feel safe to take full use of it, i.e. going ahead to install different apps or using the browser, as I still does not have full access to it in order to set app permissions properly etc.
This is really frustrating, to wait so long for a phone to only learn after arrival (as said, likely due to my naivety in believing Fairphone would do it better, as they have shown they can with the FP1) that I cannot take use of it as intended.
It is true that Fairphone is not only about open and fair software, but rather bases on the hardware. And I absolutely appreciate that, I am behind that philosophy, and for this reason I have been much more patient than I would be with any other phone. However, this alone would not be argument enough for me to choose a Fairphone. I need a phone that meet my needs, with which I can and want to work with. It’s like I find it great that you can get fair trade bananas, but since I don’t like the taste of banans, I wouldn’t buy it.
At this point this is also true for me with FP2. It is a great project, I am glad about all the work that has been put into it. I also really really appreciate the concept of the fp-osos. But for the time being, I have no use for the phone.
As much as I am convinced it would be interesting to start learning how to compile a os for a phone myself, or even more, how to modify it to my individual needs, I unfortunately just not have the time for this, as I do have a job also. I already spend too much time with trying to figure out how to root the FP2 I paid for (and I am avoiding consciously here to say my phone), and I also already spent too much time with actually trying to built the OS myself, until realizing that my prerequisites are not working and I would need to start fiddling around with setting up an proper operating system on my computer, in order to be able to compile the OS myself, which I understood is also not that easy as even the files you provided are not working out of the box.
So basically, I find the status quo unacceptable. I can understand that the IT staff from Fairphone must have had a busy time lately and that there is lot’s of work to do at the moment.
However, I also would like the Fairphone team to understand how frustrating it is for users of the phone, to not being able to again control over their phones, and not even knowing when that could be! It actually makes me feel like for now I could easily sell the phone and maybe at some point, when the software is working to my needs, have a look again at FP. If I still need a phone then. Although, I don’t want to wait another 6 months to finally get to own a Fairphone. Probably it will be to hard for me to go for any other kind of phone, as I also would like to be an advocate of the hardware approach FP is standing for. Also, I do not always follow my emotions, otherwise I would have already got rid of the FP2.
That said, currently I am very disappointed and frustrated.