English

Support for PureOS

Since the OS is usable and is (one of) the only real full convergence smartphone OS on the market, this would hopefully extend the Fairphone 4 to be desktop usable.

Meaning in general we would have a reasonably powerfull linux phone and finally a dream come true for some users and a sustainable and fair alternative with less environmental impact for others because they can truly replace their pc with their phone.

This should be a rather nice match, but would require BLOBless open source drivers for the hardware.
Even if we can’t have it, talking about it, publicly listing the hardware and the manufacturers that are not FOSS and Libre compatible and openly discussing wether a strategic partnership on the next fairphone to make it happen would probably only further the goal.

Even if it’s just a blog post about all the difficulties and why it can’t happen yet, would create positive news.

So please, let us know what all of your thoughts are on this.

3 Likes

Linux on phones isn’t one of the priorities of the Fairphone project from what I gather - sustainability and fair sourcing of components is.

When it comes to smartphones, there isn’t really any open source solution that’s consumer ready. I personally believe it will be at least 4-5 years until we have something that is usable for people besides enthusiasts.

Hi Welcome to the forum Thrass

Yes the idea of a fully functional OS that has PC Desktop convergence would be useful/interesting

However Windows tried it
I don’t think Apple ever did
and of course there is Ubuntu Touch

so maybe phone users are asking too much from the makers of the phones as their concern is business. i.e. money from a max of customers.

Given Fairphone’s focus on fair wages and better working conditions especially for miners I don’t see they have the resources to do much else, which leaves it down to you and me.

I don’t want to spend my energy of software development and although there no doubt people who do like and want to do that could anyone realistically keep such an OS afloat.

Let’s face it, the lack of and past failures were not just down to finances after all we are sending people to Mars etc.

It maybe that it is not such a big consumer have as it was.

I’m fine with my Fairphone as is, my Raspberry Pi server and desktop so if there was one I’d only be using it out of interest. Actually I happy there is a separation between my phone and my computer. I even want the separation between my server and desktop and no mic or camera on my desktop.

I’m not saying I need to use the phone for everything but the IoT is not the way I’m going.

By the way as this titles Support for PureOS what do envisage as needed to get what it is you want. Can you provide some detail?

Maybe some users of PureOS can provide their experience here. I’m becoming more interested as I write :slight_smile:

I saw something quite interesting the other day:

This is basically Linux running on top of Android, which could possibly set up via Tasker when you insert/remove an HDMI cable.

Another example here, but running on the Raspberry Pi 4

Going to be testing this out myself in a VM on Androidx86. You can find the image and install instructions here:

A mobile SoC is not designed for desktop workloads.

Best wishes,
Thomas

2 Likes

Generally I agree, but with UFS storage it should be somewhat better.

They are getting closer and closer just look at Apple’s A13 and M1 (Apple devices have convergence via sidecar).

The main issue is that mobile uses capacitive touch, gestures, and OSK whereas a PC does not use such and uses instead physical keyboard, mouse as pointer, and non-touch screen.

As for running Android on a desktop there are tools for that:

And various other.

While that may be true overall, it really says more about the inner workings and quality of nowadays desktop software than about the computing performance of mobile SoCs. Common desktop usage was possible without a problem in the past with a fraction of modern SoC computing performance.

3 Likes

Just look at the Raspberry Pi. Even the very first one is capable of playing games like Quake 3, for which you needed a far more expensive PC to play in 1999/2000. When it comes to desktop performance that isn’t so much the case, since desktop environments havce become considerably more feature rich or bloated depending on who you ask. If you run Linux with something like XFCE or LXDE, which look a lot like Windows in those days, then it performs quite well.

Even the Raspberry Pi 4, which is much more powerful in almost every way, is far weaker than the SoC on the Fairphone 4. The memory, CPU, GPU, UFS 2.1 in the phone etc.

On the first video I posted earlier there’s a Moto G7 (Snapdragon 632) running Debian Bullseye XFCE on top of Android 11, and KDE running nested in that as well. It needs root though, so a a simpler option would be something like this Easily Run Linux On Android With AndroNix - Linux Distro on Android without root - YouTube

I agree though, it’s currently more work and overhead than it’s really worth at the moment. A better solution would be to use something like Taskbar or Sentio Desktop which can be downloaded from the app store… then use either a USB-C to HDMI to connect to a monitor or mirror your phone via something like scrcpy. I’ll probably test out both of these in conjunction with Tasker, so that the launcher switches when connected/disconnected to HDMI.

2 Likes

Maybe PostmarketOS or Mobian could be the answer here. I’m wiling to test, when my FP4 arrives in theend of January.

I mostly agree with nado_x.
Modern phone SOCs are more than capable of running desktop workloads.
There are enough desktop setups that are sold with them (running Android as a desktop environment).

I don’t want Fairphone to develop an OS at all, it’s not their forte I presume.

I do think that PureOs is capable of running on the phone but what’s necessary to have the phone working as intended (making calls, using data, gps, …) It will need drivers.

PureOs will not accept blobs (~binary drivers in this case) from the manufacturers but Fairphone makers could maybe create a phone for which hardware is used where free libre oss drivers exist or maybe get the manufacturers to release them as such.

This is the critical part of making it happen.

Btw. I am a power user / developer and nowadays all my office workloads as well as the programming could easily be done on a phone, while compiling etc. Is already running in the cloud for most of my heavy workloads.

I can do all of this with the hardware speeds of a librem 5 I presume, using it only as a thin client to a virtualized DE in the cloud, but that’s not what I want.

The specs of the FP4 would suffice me, the PureOs software is not exactly perfect but it’ll only get better.

What I’ld wish on top of that would be support for a thunderbolt docking station, but that’s gonna be a wild dream untill SOCs will propperly support this i presume.

What is not necessarily a wild dream is Fairphone and PureOs working together on the next generation, too truly deliver a liberating phone without compromise at neither end.

The pine phone can run PureOs, it’s not that librem isn’t open about this.

Make it 2 years from now and make it cost another 100 dollars or euros more compared to the standard Fairphone 5 that’ll release then.
I would buy it and finally live the dream.

My current problems are:

  • no other Linux phone that I know of is specced as good as the FP4
  • no other phone is so light on the consciousness as the FP4
  • no other phone currently gives the freedom of a PureOs phone (librem or pine phone)
  • truly being free of both the shackles that none Software even in drivers and all the untrustworthy supply chains create is hardly possible today

My current problems are not (but might be very sizeable problems for others):

  • hardware specs of the FP4
  • desktop apps not being able to run on a phone
  • Android apps not running on Linux
  • security issues with Google or Android
  • battery life of such a theoretical phone
  • price of such a theoretical phone
  • waiting for another 2 years
1 Like

I fear that things with ARM are likely to get worse if the EU approve the sale to NVIDIA. I don’t know of any SBC or SoC from ARM that is fully open, the closest would be the Raspberry Pi maybe. The Librem 5 is using off the shelf components to accomplish their goals, which means they have made a very heavy/bulky phone that is probably using some components designed for a laptop. I don’t personally mind if some devices use blobs, it is fine until they can reverse engineer and open source the drivers.

I think that in maybe 2 years the current Linux efforts will produce a usable system that can be used as a daily driver by enthusiast/power users - take this with a grain of salt as this is just my opinion. A Linux phone may be closer than we think, if we were to take the Ubuntu Touch OS as a base, but this depends on the interest of community and developers.

To sum things up though, I am very optimistic about the future. The Fairphone 4 has reignited my interest in phones and alternative OS, maybe this will be a device that helps us get there!