POLL: Should there be Free Fairphones for Developers?

The following posting by @explit inspired me to creating this topic.

As - understandably - someone who would like to support the community by developing stuff for the FP2 might lack the funds to buy a phone just for that purpose, I thought about an idea to overcome that obstacle.
What do you think?

Maybe there could be started a program to give phones to developers like explit, so they can continue their great work for the community without having to pay for it in money as well as in time?
I at least would be willing to support such a program financially, as I would not expect Fairphone to do the funding all by itself, employing developers already.

  • Yes, free phones for developers, but FP should pay
  • Yes, free phones for developers, I am willing to pay a share
  • No free phones for developers
  • I have no opinion on this topic or I don’t care

0 voters

The share the community would have to pay could be preselected to be 10.- € with the opportunity to give as much as you like (less or more).

If you answered “Yes,…, I am willing to pay a share” please answer some follow up questions here.

Seems, that Fairphone already has a kind of support-prorgram for developers.
Still great to see, that the community is so much in support of the project! Thanks, from me for that.


Thats a great idea, ideed!

Great idea, but how do you determine whether one qualifies as a developer or not at the time of giving the phone, and over time? Quantity, quality and overall impact of a developer’s output might be hard to judge from the start and then those criteria might develop very differently for different developers over time … and judging that might be a bit subjective, too.

Perhaps developers could be registered with some Fairphone support program, get a little help and insider info from Fairphone developers if necessary, and would get a free phone from Fairphone as long as Fairphone somehow deems them worthy of it? Something like the free community phones floating around …


I like the idea too and I too think it could work like the #cfp2.
I.e: The devs don’t get the phones as presents but as a loan. E.g. if one phone was financed for PostmarketOS and only one dev works on it they can keep it for long, but if there’s only one phone for Lineage OS the Lineage Devs have to share.

I’d suggest some follow up questiosn for those who answered they are willing to pay a share:

###Do you want to specify which OS you support with your share?

  • Yes, I want to support a specific OS development or two
  • No, I’ll support any OS

0 voters

###Should a group of devs working on one OS get more than one phone to share if they get enough support?

  • Yes, they should get as many phones as we finance for them
  • Yes, but max 1 phone per dev
  • Yes, but only a limited number of phones even if it’s a big group
  • No, only one phone per OS

0 voters

###Should a dev who works on more than one OS be able to get more than one phone?

  • Yes
  • Yes, but only a limited number
  • No

0 voters

1 Like

Sounds like a good idea.
There already is a community-group (badge-wise) of developers (9 so far).
I have no idea about the criteria for this badge, but maybe something like that could be a start. The admins or moderators should have an idea.
Of course the status as developer for receiving a fair phone has to be “renewed” over time. Maybe as a commitment in exchange for a free phone developers will have to give a (short) report on their work and progress in regular intervals (e.g. 3 months?).

Didn’t know about them. So it would be just an old idea used for a slightly different target.

Yay, EU-funded-project-style-burocracy FTW! :smiley: [quote=“BertG, post:5, topic:32298”]
There already is a community-group (badge-wise) of developers (9 so far).

I think the idea of the badge was to give only developers write-access to the #software:dev category. Since that category is open for everyone now, the badge practically is obsolete.

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I have rather seen it as the natural exchange, that’s supposed to happen anyway, as the developers need to know what direction Fairphone is taking and Fairphone needs to know what’s developing :wink: what problems occur they have to tackle (e.g. hardwarewise).
You know, “report” needn’t be a written thesis; a meeting, forum posting, phone call with Fairphone etc would suffice as far as I’m concerned.

But hey, if you have any idea, how we could get the phones EU funded; I would be fine with that too FTW! :grinning:

Sure, as some others too. But those getting that badge must have qualified in a way or was it enough to just state, that you are a developer?


I’ve looked through the group and found:
Ubuntu Touch: @wouterx @ oli.sax
FirefoxOS: @erotavlas @ oli.sax
Misc (didn’t find any specifics quickly): @sjjh @ben
(only) Fairphone 1 stuff: @danxuliu
CyanogenMod: @NicoM
Fairphone employee: @MaartenD
Me: @z3ntu (too many projects that kill my freetime)

Additionally there’s @chrmhoffmann with Lineage (maybe @snevas because he’s running the OTA server (hopefully that’s soon unneccessary, sorry :smiley: ) , mal (don’t know his forum username) with SailfishOS and more ubports/Ubuntu Touch people but they get financed by ubports directly afaik

And sorry for all the mentions ^^

And yes, developing postmarketOS would be much more convenient as I have to flash the system partition for doing anything and then I obviously can’t use my phone normally anymore until I restore it.


Thanks for that listing.
I guess, the mentioning is a good way to get the attention of those developers, so they can share their view of my idea.

Maybe some frequent posters in the category “software:developing” could count as developers as well. Unfortunately do I lack the expertise to judge this.



I can only speak for myself: I do own a FP2 (which I bought to use as daily phone) and I won’t consider myself as a developer (rather as a tech-savvy user, thus got the badge to post somewhere).
tl;dr: I don’t need a sponsored phone for myself. :slight_smile:

My 2ct regarding sponsoring phones: If FP/the community wants to support developers why not ask them what they would want most (maybe cash for a computer to develop on would be preferred by someone over a free phone…?).



I don’t agree with this. Fairphone shouldn’t pay out any money but only give the developers the phone they need. For other uses, the developers can set up a donation page if they need more money where people donate directly but not via Fairphone.


I would agree to that.
As a FP2 right now comes at a price of 529.00 Euros, a developer - imho - should neither have to use his everyday phone for tinkering nor should he need to buy a second phone to do the work lots of others and hopefully Fairphone itself will profit from. My uneducated guess would be, that in the process of working on an OS the phone oftentimes is offline due to bugs and breaks in the middle of work in progress.
So the phone is a necessity for the task as well as a tool and therefore the natural choice to provide developers with. As much as I agree, that some developers might need something else more than a phone, without a phone the developing is virtually impossible. :slight_smile:

(Besides that all else would (to me) seem way more problematic. Cash for a computer for example; how much money, what specs would such a computer need, should the need for a computer be checked; if yes and if there is an old one, how old is too old? Or should developers get the cash just on a basis of trust? Will they have to present a receipt for the purchase? Will they have to give money back (how much?), should they drop out and lots of other questions.)

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I am software developer, but I do not do any development on the FP/FP2. I also lack the knowledge in Android specifics.

I do own a Fairphone 2 since some weeks :slight_smile:.


Thank you for this message.
I’m not a developer, I can consider myself a computer scientist and a great supporter of FOSS. The latter was the reason for which I tried to port firefox OS (in my opinion one of the best idea of mobile OS) into fairphone 2 in order to get fair, quite modular and open source smartphone.
Unfortunately, mozilla decided to stop the firefox OS project at the beginning of 2016.

At the end of November 2016, I was contacted by @wouterx about helping the port of ubuntu touch (which is died for canonical, but fortunately supported by UBports) on fairphone 2. Since I did not own any fairphone 2, I received it in order to try to help the community.

At the moment, I think that the best and simple solution in order to extend the life support to fairphone 2 is to go on with lineageOS. In the long term, it could be very interesting plasma mobile OS).

I consider myself as a developer (actually it is half of my daily-job). And I tried to make cyanogenMOD works for FP2, but I didn’t succeed until Lineage arrived :slight_smile:

I am speaking for myself and only for myself, I don’t want to pretend to know the needs of other dev but I don’t like the idea of a “free” phone for dev, for different reasons.

First, who is going to judge which one needs a phone or not? As we can see on this thread, some person don’t have the “dev” badge (hi @Roboe) when they are actually doing incredible dev work, other person don’t consider themselves as “dev” while actually working hard to debug, test, etc… And imho, the part where you need a phone is not while developing, but while testing and debugging.

Developing is time consuming. But the real issue is “compiling” or “cooking” a ROM, basically waiting 4h to get a new build after you did your modifications. Flashing the ROM needs like 5 minutes and if it crashed, you can put your old backup (the one you daily-use and that is working).
Installing the requirement on Linux, download all Android files to be able to cook, etc, this is very long. Flashing is actually the quick and fun part for me, and for this my phone is enough.

It also could be seen as a kind of “reward”, and I am definitely not doing this for this. It can also be a bit stressful and lead to a kind of “obligation of results”, or at least people will want justifications (report). I can imagine someone finishing a build and don’t try it during few weeks because he (she) has other thing to do. If he (she) has a “free” FP2, I think people will ask him (her) to test, because “we give you a phone for this”… Maybe I am wrong, but I am sure it can be like this… I don’t think it is a good way to encourage FOOS (Free and open-source software) for FP2 or speed in development.

What I would prefer is for example more collaboration with Fairphone dev team (even if it is really complex to do) and most important, access to a cluster (or a big computer) to compile ROM quickly. Once again, this is the bottleneck imho.

Finally, most of people developing for FP2 have a FP2. There is exceptions, I agree, and for those exceptions we can maybe do something, but for most dev, I don’t think it is needed or productive. For testing, yes, for developing, no.
I stop developing for FP2 for almost a year, because I don’t find time right now. If I had a free phone, I would feel obliged to “work” for the community and it is not how I want to spend my free time :slight_smile:


I would suggest to start with one developer community FP2 (like the #cfp2, but for developers) first and then see how it works and if there is a need for more phones.

And maybe ask Fairphone first if they would support such a developer FP2 (offer one for a reduced price or even for free), then ask the community for support.

I didn’t answer the poll (the answers didn’t match), but I am willing to pay a share.

That already exists. There is one #cfp2 for community meetunps/events/etc and one for devs. Both are so far sponsored by FP. But there is only so little you can do as a dev if you have a phone for a few weeks before you have to pass it on.


That’s why I suggested to add another developer phone. I am not sure how much the community would pay for it and if it would be enough to buy more than one phone. Also I think it is better to do one step after the other.

What I would need/want is a spare phone for developing plus the different hardware revisions of parts (eg old camera & new camera, new display & old display (I know there’s a slightly newer core module but I don’t think the change is important for anything I am doing)). That would make things easier to 1. test and 2. develop depending on what “project” it is. For example right now @chrmhoffmann and I have no idea if the new camera module works with LineageOS or not, if swapping it works, if a new install with the new one works etc.


I can tell you from experience it does not work.

By the way, Fairphone has given/lent/sold phones to numerous developers to develop #software:alternative-oses for the Fairphone 2. Ubuntu, Sailfish, FirefoxOS, UhuruOS all had or have access to multiple Fairphones. I also reached out to you @z3ntu, @snevas and to @chrmhoffmann with an offer to lend a FP2 for sometime to develop, but none of you seemed to need one. If that has changed, please let me know!

Other then these projects, I have so far not heard of other devs/projects needing devices for testing purposes. If you are a dev making an OS for the Fairphone 2, please get in touch and we can always discuss what is possible!

One last thing; if you want to get more community backing for a project and maybe have them even pay for hardware, I think that Patreon.com is a great way to explain why you need money and allow people to contribute to your project in a sustainable way. UBPorts has a successful Patreon page you can look at for inspiration.