FP3 : Fairphone Open OS?

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Hello, will there be a version of Fairphone Open OS for the FP3 ?
If so, when can we expect it ?
For me it is of the utmost importance, I’ll recommend the FP3 only if it can come without Google !
Thank you.


Same here! I’m hoping LineageOS will be available, but I’m not placing an order on any device where I can’t be sure that it will run well without Google. BTW, is the modem a hardware module or can it be disabled somehow without removing the battery?


Same here.
But I can testify this did happen on both the FP1 and FP2 (we have a couple of them in the family), and for instance the FP2 GAPPs-free OS version gets regular updates, the last one some months ago.
So I would say they should proceed the same, probably with some delay…
(and because of this, I’ll wait and not jump-start :wink: but I’m definitely confident)


In the press conference(45’50’’) they were asked about alternatives OSs (Sailfish). They replied that “at launch” they won’t be available but they are in the roadmap. Moreover they say the bootloader would be locked but unlockable.


There’s a TechCrunch article that says:

Out of the box the phone comes with Android 9 preloaded. A post-launch update will make it easy for buyers to wipe Google services off their slate and install the Android Open Source Project instead.


The handset comes preloaded with a vanilla implementation of Android 9 (Pie). But as noted above buyers will be able to switch for a non-Google alternative — via an updater that will let them wipe and install the Android Open Source Project flavor of the OS. (The updater will come post-launch, according to van Abel, who notes that around 5% of Fairphone users opt to go full open source.)


Thanks for pointing that out.
I guess the percentage will drop, once they sell the FP3 in larger quantities and as a business model.

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Indeed up to know you have to be a geek to

  • be aware that the Open OS exists
  • be able to install it

This is why I’d like to suggest to the Fairphone team that the Open OS should be an option when buying the product.
Thus :

  • a lot more people will know about this alternative OS ;
  • and more people will choose it if is pre-installed.

To be honest, you have to be kind of a geek just to use it. So if you’re unable to install it, you’ll probably have a hard time using it. Joe Average ordering a phone without Google services would cause countless support requests along the lines of “how do I install games” and so on.


Yes, I forgot to say that pre-installed Open OS must come with replacements at least for Google Play Store (F-Droid + Yalp Store), Google search (DuckduckGo), Google Maps (OsmAnd) and Google Drive for sync and backup (Nextcloud on an ethical server).

I noticed that the two companies that are starting to distribute phones with an free/open source OS pre-installed, i.e. the e.foundation (/e/OS) and Puri.sm (PureOS on Librem) have had the good idea to integrate an ecosystem of services (just like Google does) that includes - or will include - at least a mail ID and a sync-backup app (and more see https://librem.one/).
I think that is the way to go to offer to the general public an OS that “just works out of the box” as they expect it.


There are no hardware kill switches on the device. If that is important for you, I recommend the Librem 5 instead. Although it isn’t a fair phone, it is a FOSS phone. The software is all FOSS, even the firmware. It has its pros and cons compared to Fairphone 3. Because they’re using NXP i.MX I expect it not be a quick smartphone. I see it more as a successor of the Nokia Maemo world, as they go for a Linux desktop-esque environment with full FOSS stack and such.


This official support article is a little less optimistic:

The Fairphone 3 enables the possibility to install alternative operating systems, so we are currently investigating if we can bring back FP Open.

Given Fairphone’s track record of things they have been “investigating”, you might want to wait for a FP Open release before ordering a FP3 (if a GMS-free phone is important to you)…


Indeed it would be quite disappointing if there would be no Fairphone Open. I am still happy with my FP2 with Fairphone Open and beside being the fairest phone available the opensource option would be a strong reason to choose FP3 as a successor in one or two years.


Whilst I like the idea of FPOOS (or whatever the acronym is) it won’t be taken up by many people if it’s not easy to use and if it doesn’t come pre-installed. Therefore, is it really worth FP putting effort into making this for the FP3, or should they focus their efforts somewhere they can make more impact and partner with other organisations which specialise in non-Google OSes?

I think that’s where /e/OS is such an intriguing possibility. It’s still Android, so is still able to run almost all of the apps that people will want, but it has been de-Googled - even more so than FPOOS, which just doesn’t have GApps (as far as I am aware). /e/ are going deep into the Android code and removing anything which does any communication with Google services of any kind. In addition /e/ is being designed from the beginning as easy to use for the general public - I think Gael Duval (who you may remember from Mandrake Linux) says he wants his parents or grandparents to be able to use it! /e/OS also comes with privacy-respecting and FLOSS online services - email, storage, etc. So it really is a full replacement for Google Android.

I’m sure that /e/ would take on the development of official support for the FP3 if it could be available as an option at checkout to buy with /e/OS ready installed. Whatever FP currently pays to Google for the licence to ship with GApps will probably be happily accepted by /e/ to provide the same services! Maybe /e/ could even rebrand /e/OS with FP branding? “Fairphone Open OS by /e/”?

Other options like Sailfish, UT, etc are all very interesting as well, and I’m sure that some people would buy the FP3 with one of these preloaded, but it would be a lot harder sell to the most of the public than /e/OS.

However, the OS which I would like to see /e/ work most closely with is postmarketOS (pmOS), the OS that aims for a 10 year life for a phone. This is much more in line with FP’s goals than any of the above options. However, to get pmOS support will be much harder as it really needs open source drivers, which I highly doubt the FP3 will have…

…but then what exactly did FP mean by posting this article? https://medium.com/@Fairphone/beyond-software-the-open-source-mentality-b23ba8bc8e34

Hmmm :thinking:


@madbilly You are spot on.

A Fairphone can only be really Fair, if they can (and actually do) provide AT LEAST an option to have only software installed that is open and free, instead of what is happening now: Buyers are, once again, kept ignorant and forced into the trap of that commercial spying company, and not motivated or even informed of the option that today’s life, with the number one ‘Basic Need’, can be lived comfortably without Goolag - or Apple, for that matter, but that’s obviously besides the point of a Fairphone/Android.

Sure, a phone should work conveniently for the average user, and even for my mother - who isn’t even close, the sweetheart… And therefore, /e/ is indeed a good idea. GrapheneOS, Copperhead, even LineageOS would be alright, too. As long as those unwanted, hateful and unnecessary GApps are completely gone.

Me too, I have no illusion that the drivers of the Fairphone 3 will be open source. If they were, Replicant and the Free Software Foundation would be dancing non-stop for a week, right now, and probably much longer. Wishful thinking…

As far as I am concerned, the Fairphone 3 is only Fair regarding the hardware. Ethically, the software also must be Fair. Until then, indeed:


Speaking of pmOS, someone is porting nixOS (via postmarketOS code) to mobile phone:

(Bonus points for avatar :smiley: )

The reason this is interesting, is that nixOS is an interesting and different OS. I’ll quote from Wikipedia

This allows you to easily: have multiple versions of the same software package installed, rollback versions or parts of the OS. If you use it on a PC with say Grub, you get all these entries like snapshots in your Grub boot manager (akin to ZFS snapshots, I suppose).

In my opinion one of the more interesting advancements in the Linux / FOSS ecosystem.

Now, as for /e/, the way I see it is just an alternative for LineageOS + microG. The latter isn’t an official project by LineageOS; it isn’t even hosted on their website.


IMHO an “alternative”, but also different. It comes with a preinstalled app store and as mentioned by @madbilly some tweaks in the code have been done to reduce google communication…


I just read their FAQ and it said there is only one proprietary application (I don’t know which one?). Their website is currently down for me though, so its a bit difficult to quote from it.

Edited to add:

Yes – all source code is available and you can compile it, fork it… Some prebuilt applications are used in the system; they are built separately from source code available here, or synced from open-source repositories such as F-Droid. We ship one proprietary application though (read the statement).


Last I heard that was the maps app.


I think it would be better to not bring back FP Open but instead support Lineage OS with similar or even a bit less person power and knowledge.

I really like the idea of free (open source) software, but i still don’t think it is a good idea to mix the terms fairness and open source. I don’t think fairness necessary requires open source.



Fair enough, you’re entitled to your own opinion, by all means. Thank you for adding it to the discussion.

But my point is not so much about fairness as a requirement for open source, as it is about the UNfairness of forcing buyers into the trap of bloody Goolag - forgive me, I can’t help myself calling the company by its proper name…

What I do mean to point out: If it would offer a more ethical OS with free and open software immediately at launch date, preferably as a default even, Fairphone (claiming to be an ethical organisation, after all) wouldn’t be missing out on a great opportunity to set itself truly apart from the mainstream phone companies by advertising/informing their clients in advance, of course with the obvious reasoning for such a necessity/choice, and by suggesting very viable alternatives to what should be considered one of the causes of the end of our former Free World with its illusion of Democracy. No less. A shame and a missed, rare chance.