Fairphone should officially sell FP3 with a Free Software Only option

I just received my FP3, and it’s a lovely device, following suit on FP1 and FP2, both of which I’ve owned (the FP1 is bricked, the FP2 reboots randomly and needs a new mike - I suppose the mike could be fixed, but I dont know abt the restarts).

Anyway, I really like the device and the work Fairphone is doing for a fairer production cycle and a fairer product in terms of repairability.

However, in one respect I believe the phone is not fair: It comes preloaded with Google’s Android including the full Google Apps suite - i.e., with a proprietary OS and a set of proprietary and very surveillance-heavy apps. Negatively, one might say it by default comes loaded with spyware. I don’t get how that is fair. As a long-standing free software activist and current member of the General Assembly of Free Software Foundation Europe (talking here, though, solely in my private capacity) I think that “fair” software is free - as in freedom, i.e. with all source code available.

On the other hand, I get that many users want the comfort and efficiency in the Google App suite. The FP1 came with only free software from the AOSP project and a link to install Google Apps. I thought that was fair.

Alternatively, you - Fairphone the organization - could sell FP3s preloaded with LineageOS or Sailfish OS or one of the other Google-free alternatives.

I do realize that I can install one of those on the phone myself and will probably also end up doing so. But honestly, I don’t think it is reasonable by the standards of a project that declares itelf to be the fair phone - to put it like that, I don’t think it is FAIR - that the general, non-tech-savvy public can’t buy a fair and ethical phone that doesn’t by default opt them in to Google’s global surveillance circus.

All the best and congratulations with all the cool things in the project,


I think that’s all Fairphone set out to do, and the rest is up to the user. Inconvenient and annoying for someone who wants more :slight_smile:


This is a community forum, not the company. Fairphone staff might read along and engage occasionally, or not.

Fairphone have an official partnership with the e foundation, who directly sell Fairphones preinstalled with /e/, a degoogled LineageOS fork.


And also keep in mind that it is not done with selling only. You also have to support it. And support is already quite busy with the current tasks…


I cannot emphasize Carsten Agger’s point enough.

Julian Oliver, artist, technologist and Extinction Rebellion (XR) activist calls it Mission Coherence when designing and deploying XR IT communications. From not only using carbon neutral data center providers running on renewable resources but also to using only open source systems and where possible decentralized or directly peer to peer in nature.

I am a founder of Europe’s first self-owned Community Wireless Network and cofounder of the United Nations IGF Internet Commons Forum.

Currently a Thinker and Doer at Dyne.org in the Reflow project for developing urban circular economies, I appreciate the depth and coherence of Fairphone’s story so far - I am also a proud owner of the OpenMoko Neo Freerunner - a remarkable ancestor of inspiration and aspiration to Fairphone.

Fairphone owners are activists. They are very aware of the current extraction inequity of smartphone hardware design, manufacturing and distribution. Their end-to-end phone ecosystem usage extraction is of just as much concern. After all, their search use and data exploitation directly impacts them.

For solidarity with the very activists that support Fairphone, I urge Fairphone to embrace further commitment to Mission Coherence throughout the Fairphone end-to-end product and service user experience chains.

I urge Fairphone to continue the journey and commit to establishing and maintaining transparency and accountability in:

  • Open Resourcing, Manufacturing & Recycling

  • Open Source Firmware & Software

  • Open Spectrum and Protocol Support

  • Open Decentralized Service Architectures

  • Open Human-centered Ethical Design & Deployment

and of course to promote Open Governance regulatory and legislative environments across all these sectors.

In Sincere Solidarity with Fairphone,



Thanks, Adam, for the input - I agree completely!!

Makes sense but software is not the strongest suit of fairphone. If the open os is not developed by the them they cannot provide support for it, but then again they can provide the open os option at the user discretion, if the user is capable of his/her own troubleshooting. All you will have to do is to read and consent the terms of agreement.

I am not an activist. Maybe conspirator against conspirators… maybe a mad man, would a mad man know he is mad?

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I am not an activist. Maybe conspirator against conspirators… maybe a mad man, would a mad man know he is mad?

i’m not qualified to tell you whether you should believe a mad man who says they are not an activist.

Yes… and no. Fairphone owners were mainly activists and techies before, to support the FP1, and also the FP2, but the FP3 was intended to be a phone that not only techies and activists would buy, but a phone that anyone would buy, anyone who cares at least a little. And fortunately, not anyone who cares is an activist. Fortunately, you don’t have to be an activist to care.
Also keep in mind that for the FP2, around 5% of the users installed Fairphone Open OS. The rest would keep FPOS with Google on it. I can’t tell you the proportion for the FP3, but I don’t think it’s higher.

That would be really good. Sadly, I believe this would make Fairphone sink. They can’t fight on all borders. They are striving to use ethical materials and to improve the workers’ conditions, to produce modular phones, to bring some change in the industry,and to encourage as much open source as they can. Open firmware would mean they have to produce their own chipset, which may mean no android. That would put them apart, and I don’t think it’s currently a good idea. Hopefully one day.
And as others said higher, there is a partnership between /e/OS and Fairphone. You can’t ignore this.


I understand the aspirations of Fairphone to manufacture millions or billions of extremely complex, resource heavy devices. But what I do not understand is whether Fairphone understands the gravity and expense of the responsibility that comes with the manufacturing of every one of these devices over their entire lifecycle. What measures are in place to optimize the longevity of all these devices?

You might want to do some research on the Fairphone homepage.
They have quite a lot of information on that topic; including external scientific reports.

And from what I know, they do not aspire to sell millions or even billions of phones, but to influence the market. And as I understood it, they would be fine, when all the manufacturers produce fair phones, that are repairable and treat workers and the environment fair.

For starters ake a look at the story:

and at the impact report


Well, I’m not against FP giving the option of installing the full Google suite on its phones.

But, imagine what the numbers would be if Fairphone Open OS had been the default on all handsets, with an option (as simple as pressing a link) to install Google’s proprietary suite - and some (unpolemical, matter-of-fact) cautionary information as to the consequences of that?

Then more than 5% would probably opt to keep the free OS, and these handsets would be much fairer.

Because, as someone who spent some hours in frustration (till now maybe unsuccesfully - I still get nagged from time to time) attempting to turn off every trace of the infernal Google Assistant - the Pantopticon-like surveillance that comes with Google Apps is not fair.

This is actually the exact setup that Fairphone had with the FP1 in 2014. The device came with a bare bones Android 4.2.2 and a home screen widget to install Google if you wanted it.

While I found this the perfect option for myself (once I knew how to, I just removed the widget from the home screen and am still using the FP1 like that, without any Google stuff), it turned out many Fairphoners really regarded adding Google as indispensable. I remember with every small OS update Fairphone provided for the FP1, Google services needed to be reinstalled – something that kept giving a shock to many users (“OMG all my apps are gone!”, “Where’s my Google Play Store?”) and made them think erroneously something catastrophic had happened to their devices and the update had been a failure. As a consequence, Fairphone changed the initial setup of the FP2 and delivered it with GMS out of the box.

From my own local experience, I find that many Fairphoners are actually not tech-savvy. Many either come from an iPhone or haven’t had a smartphone before at all. It cost me some weeks recently to help a Fairphone user to migrate his FP2 to /e/OS and compared to other Fairphoners here, he had at least a basic ability (and willingness!) to look up information by himself (read: most of my Fairphoners here are less capable of doing these things on their own). Others demand that I give them a full basic introduction to Android.

I think Fairphone’s co-operation with /e/ is a good first step, although /e/OS probably doesn’t meet your expectations. As others here have hinted at, Fairphone needs to make a living (it’s already quite dependent of idealistic donors) and from my own experience, lots and lots of buyers’ knowledge about how to migrate to and handle a smartphone with an alternative OS is actually below average, not above. Especially banking apps seem to become an ever-growing obstacle to make people drop Google.


Who are they?

Good point. The smartphone isn’t really smart if you can’t use an app of your bank. Might as well get a dumb-phone.


the people of /e/ have an option like the one you want: the Fairphone 3 and 3+ with a degoogled version of android: https://esolutions.shop/


/e/ is not free but open source and without Google so it cannot be a solution here.

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@Alain So what is your interpretation of free software?

I sent you to Wikipedia : Free software - Wikipedia since even if I use Linux on my computers I am not an expert.

Open source is different from free and I imagine Carsten means the second one when I read his demand (the will of free software installed by default).

Hi Again.

I meant that as you say /e/ is not free software I wondered what software alternative you considered free, not what Wikipedia’s views are?

Free can mean two things to me a) Free as in open source which means you can do what you like if you have enough patience or b) Free from a burden as in not having to need skills to remove unwanted apps and be able to customise the look of the interface.

I originally meant Free as in Freedom, as we say in the free software movement - the freedom to use, study, improve and share the software we use.

This usually requires the software to be under a free software license, either permissive or copyleft.

Without getting into details, even though the movements are quite different, for most practical purposes all free software is open source and vice versa. Hence the abbreviation FOSS, Free/Open Source Software.

So the FP1 came mostly with free software, since it was based on the Android Open Source Project.

I believe /e/ is probably mostly free software in that regard, excepting firmware blobs I guess.

However, I did not notice an option to get the phone with /e/ when I bought my phone from the official Fairphone shop. I think this option should be right there for every customer to see.

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