Firefox OS is the way to go!

Dear Fairphonies,

as we apparently aren’t able to switch OS anytime soon I’d like to propose to consider Firefox OS for the future. Mozilla is putting a lot of effort into getting the web as a platform ready so that the often cited next billion will be able to afford access to what we already use everyday.
Firefox OS isn’t only completely open source it is also developed openly. Everyone can trace their roadmap for future plans and future releases and contribute.
Here’s my point: To be really sustsainable and fair we need not only open hardware (otherwise we’re stuck on the same OS version) but also completely open software. Software that pushes a platform from which everyone in this world we’ll be able to take advantage from in the future. This platform won’t be Jolla’s Sailfish (which is partly closed source), Ubuntu, Android (which relies more and more on proprietary Google services) or iOS (closed source). It can only be the open web. Mozilla has understood this point and they are therefore pushing hard to make it happen: Firefox OS is basically the web’s OS. Mozilla’s rendering engine Gecko runs on top of the Linux kernel so that everything (native apps, installable apps etc.) that runs on such a device is written in Javascript, HTML and CSS (languages that every browser can intrepret freely). The platform is open because all apps will run on every other platform too. Nobody is locked out!
To me Firefox OS is the only logical step that has to follow software-wise for the Fairphone project. I strongly believe that this decision will also lead to a positive ecological aftermath.

What do you think?


In my opinion the concept of Fairphone only works out, if it uses an OS, which is wide-spread and features a huge mass of apps. At the moment Firefox OS is neither and thus would be a big counterargument against the Fairphone (apart from slightly higher price than comparable phones) for the average user.

Personally I would like to test Firefox OS, but I wouldn’t do it on my current Fairphone as it is my primary phone. If there is an official and supported build for the Fairphone I might install Firefox OS because the app I use the most is Firefox for Android.
But in that case Firefox OS should also provide the following features:

  • synchronization with cloud calendars and contacts
  • A WhatsApp and Twitter client would be nice
  • probably a lot more, which comes with Android and is used unconsciously…

I already downloaded some Apps from Firefox Marketplace and they work okey-ish, as long as they don’t depend on the Web APIs of Firefox phones.

Btw: Porting of Firefox OS doesn’t seem too hard, at least Mozilla says it should be possible for any Android phone. @marco_mu Can you review the link and comment on that?


I think we have to talk about the aim of the Fairphone project then. I understood that Fairphone is planning to be a role model for the industry. Why does it have to appeal to the absolute mainstream user then? The absolute mainstream user doesn’t give a damn about ethics anyway. See I would argue that shipping less than 100.000 devices makes it quite a niche product compared to the mass production world of Apple, Samsung & Co. Huge mass of apps isn’t really anything else than marketing buzz moreover. How many of those apps is the average user using actively? Still I have to agree that there are some key apps missing for now while the user experience could be better for others. However:

  • synchronization with cloud calendars works already over webdav
  • Official Twitter client is availabe. Unofficial WhatsApp client too.
  • synchronization with contacts should be implemented soon

I’d like to stress that I wanted to propose the switch to Fos with the new Fairphone model coming up next year. That will give also Firefox OS more time to mature and make it more appealing to the mainstream user. E.g. Web DRM API will give us access to Netflix and hopefully also Spotify and similar services. WebRTC/ORTC will grant access to Skype and similar services. And so on…

P.S. I’ll look into the link soon. Little time now, sorry! :frowning:

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Right now the FirefoxOS eco system is not mature enough for a serious smartdevice IMO.

I think that especially because FairPhone requires some explaining about what is the appeal of this phone, having to convince people about using FirefoxOS as well is a battle on two fronts, where I expect especially the FirefoxOS discussion is an uphill one.

Additionally, there are quite a few first time smartphone buyers among the FP crowd. Something like FirefoxOS might scare them away. Friends and relatives of those people, who do have a bit of smartphone experience, might advise them not to go with a phone they don’t understand themselves.


Would it be hard to implement a “chose you os” option on ordering? :stuck_out_tongue:


@ZoidbergForPresident: I think this should go into the FP2-Wishlist or the thread about future OS development.

An interesting thought, but probably not a viable one.

The thing is that it’s already enough work to keep one OS working and bug-free for the FairPhone. If you could run Ubuntu or Firefox OS on the phone, and FairPhone would offer the option to get those OSes pre-installed, then that’d mean they would have to fully support and maintain those OSes for the FP as well, which is probably going to take way too much time, resources and money.

I think FP should just stick with a single OS and simply support developers who want to run other OSes on their phone where possible.


Yeah, users should be allowed to install other OSes, that was my point really.

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Well there already is a recovery file for the fp1 + fp1u by chrmhoffmann up and running. The MTK6589 source code is kind of released and there has been a lot of work on the android code by the omnirom project, which might come in handy.

Should be definitely manageable to build and try out Firefox OS on the FP1. UnfortunatelyI’ll just don’t have the time to really dig into that. Maybe someone with a bit more experience can give it a shot. I’d love to see and try out the result…

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I disagree. To be a role model for the industry, FP has to appeal to the mainstream user. How else are you going to prove it is possible to build a (as) fair (as possible) phone in an economically sustainable way? Because “sustainable” does not only mean “people” and “planet”. It’s also about “profit”!
FP is a niche product now, because it’s not well known. But once you explain, people are interested. Why? Because it’s a normal phone. But an ethical phone as well! If you explain it’s an ethical phone that works on a very different OS and without many of the apps you are used to now, how many people will still be interested? How long would it take FP to go bankrupt because they can’t sell enough phones anymore?


I agree on everything else @danielsjohan , but I would like to argue on that because I think that not everything is about profit. What if Fairphone would stop every development for the FP2 right now and just keep on working until all FP1s are dead? Of course FP’s mission would not have been fulfilled, but if done smartly, some people would have their income and livelihood for some years. No harm would be done.

Also Mozilla is non profit isn’t it? (It was heavily dependent from Google though and now is from Yahoo, which also definitely is not the way to go.) The Phone Co-op is interesting: A company owned by its customers?

Bottom-line: I think non-profit definitely is possible.

@madde Thank’s for your comment! I would love to be the one with “a bit more experience”. Unfortunately I do not know anything about Android programming… I really hope, there is someone out there, who can give it a try!

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phew - just give it a try. You’ll learn a lot on the way and the instructions seem pretty straightforward to me.
Xda Dev forums or people in this forum could help you out. Maybe some guys in a local hacking-space may provide some help as well.
After all just make sure to have a backup file to use :smile:
and well - don’t blame me if your phone is in pieces :wink:


Ok, I am halfway through a backup with MTK Droid Root & Tools. This was already hard and I had to read a bit until I found myself able to do it. However, I guess the really hard stuff is still ahead… :rocket: One grows with his/her tasks…

If I can motivate myself, I will write a forum post explaining my way of proceeding.

Edit: Managed to get CWM by chrmhoffmann running :smiley:

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Good luck then! Give us a shout if you run into any issues!

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For the need of existing application, couldn’t it be possible for Firefox or Fairphone to create some kind of supported “suite” of most useful apps to advert with its OS?

Why are you worried about software so much? Developers are not those that we need to help. A lot of the unfairness of a phone is due to the hardware. Mining workers, assembly workers, logistics workers, … are those that profit the very least and have to work very hard.

With Firefox OS over Android you are not making much of a fairer world. FP gave you the option to NOT install Google Play if you want to feel extra and fancy. Fact is, the hardware is much more unfair than the software and should receive most attention.


I agree with @TheDon
Sometimes I feel people are forgetting what FP is about. People put all kinds of labels to the term “fair” (the software is not fair because Google, the phone is not fair because it contains proprietary software, the phone is not fair because I cannot run my own OS). The problem here is that FairPhone itself has been putting different labels to “fair”, or at least prioritized those labels they deem most important. If you cannot find yourself in the course FairPhone is steering in, then that’s a shame. Maybe some other phone is a better alternative then.


Yes, we should not forget the initial goals of Fairphone.
On the other hand: I think wondering about the Software goes in line with on of the 5 main areas, FP is addressing, namely Design.

So what I am trying to say is, that I think it is important to know what you can do with a phone, to explore all the features and go beyond making calls and writing texts. Only then you can value your smart phone. If you only make calls and write SMS, you do not need a smart phone.

Fairness in this sense is to value and make appropriate use of this mini-pocket-computer, which was produced by hard working people. Or have you ever valued a screw driver and thought about the people producing it?


I ran into troubles and posted my question at xda:


There are a lot of companys, which are not respecting copyright, especially the software license of the Linux Kernel (GNU GPL v2). MediaTek is one of them and Fairphone uses their software, which infringes copyright (they published some parts of the source, but never something complete). It is okay to bundle Linux with proprietary software, but the Linux kernel itself has to be published with complete source (including a “build environment”, which allows to modify this kernel without any problems and run the modified kernel). Do you really consider software "piracy¨ done by smartphone producers to be fair? The copyright holders would be allowed to go to court and probably could disallow selling the Fairphone, but I do not see how that would be a good solution.

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