Website to unlock bootloader not working

Hello !
We currently are trying to flash /e/ OS on a Fairphone 4 during a “flash-party” we organized, and we can not obtain the code to unlock the boolader on the website : “An error occurred. Please try again later.”
So just posting about it (we have another flash-party tomorrow), if it’s possible to fix it, but I understand it’s the week-end.

Technical info from the browser dev tools:
The POST request to https://factory.fairphone.com/api/unlock-codes/{the_code}/{serial} returns the status code “504 gateway timeout”.

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It looks like the same happened last week

… and was solved on a Sunday. Maybe there is hope? :crossed_fingers:

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Hmm, after two days nothing happen till yet.
I wish that there whould be a status page.

I am sorry that your flash-party could not happen @poissonlibre .

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okay, it works now again

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Hi, I just wanted to let you know that a member of my family has bought the latest Fairphone 5, it was planned to install Lineage OS without Google services on the phone but to do this you need to unlock the bootloader by obtaining the code provided by the Fairphone website. Which doesn’t work at the time of writing and hasn’t worked for the last two days I’ve been trying.

I don’t understand this approach on the part of Fairphone and I find it unacceptable. It’s similar to what other manufacturers are already doing, it forces users to depend on the brand if they want to free their phone, it goes against the values that Fairphone promotes.

And as I’ve seen on the forum, it looks like this isn’t the first time it’s happened, it’s a recurring problem. I’d like it if, when I buy a product, it really belonged to me.

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The issue was reported as fixed. Just tested it 10 seconds ago on Windows 11 Firefox and it works. And a intermittend broken web page def does not go against FP values, such things can happen.

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It’s true that such things can happen on web APIs. And it’s certainly not intentional.

But there would be a way to be 100% sure it never happens: provide an offline way to unlock the bootloader, instead of the need to use this web page.

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I do wonder what prevents them from making an offline bootloader unlocking system.
Either way it’s not the end of the world if you have to wait a day or two to unlock your phone, as long as it’s possible.

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For what it’s worth …

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I would usually tend to agree with you. But there are many cases where it’s a much bigger problem.
The case of flash-parties is one of them. You have a time constraint, where people have gathered to flash devices. Some of them can have made a long travel for that.
Another one is if Fairphone company has been hacked, or simply goes bankrupt. We can hope the values of Fairphone would not be forgotten in this case, and they would release an offline tool. But no one can predict what would really happen in such extreme case

Thanks @AnotherElk for the reference.
I don’t understand what is the security reason here. Is it to make sure sales partners do not unlock the bootloader to sell devices with crafted ROMs?

Anyway, I complain about that procedure, but that depends on with which manufacturer you compare to:
Some other manufacturers (like Samsung) provide an offline way to unlock the bootloader (not for all models), but do not allow to lock it back afterwards. And many manufacturers do not allow to unlock at all, or have awful online procedures (like Xiaomi, which forces an arbitrary delay between the unlocking request and actual unlocking)

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This would mean a requirement of Fairphone, but the statement said “requirements of some sales partners”.

We can speculate endlessly, of course, but I rather read it as “some sales partners needed us to provide a way to ensure our phones distributed by them can’t get an unlocked bootloader ever”. Hence an online check of the IMEI.
I can at least imagine security requirements of this sort in certain sectors.

In the end …
This complicated procedure wasn’t there from the start. It was introduced somewhen after the start of the Fairphone 3 (I could unlock the bootloader of my Fairphone 3 early without this hassle). Introducing this procedure and providing and maintaining a 24/7 (ideally) online system for this must have had reasons, else a small company like Fairphone most probably wouldn’t have bothered.
So, most likely we are safe to assume it’s here to stay.

It’s a technical point of failure, it’s inconvenient for the users, but as you correctly point out, a number of other phone vendors put users in an even worse spot, and they, too, do this deliberately.
(I read in the /e/OS forum that on Samsung phones VoLTE only works with the stock OS, not with alternative OSes the user could install after unlocking the bootloader, so there’s “creativity” invested in other things apart from the bootloader situation, too.)

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This is a business decision which has clear technical consequences - FP sells phones which are “defective by design”. No majority but many users simply will not buy such defective phones.
Maybe FP should be clear about it’s faulty design - and split models into: defective FP5 (for business partners) and not defective FP5 Pro (for “consumers”). But until then - all new FP models are defective by design. I did considered buying FP but for me this is too much risk - so I will not buy FP5, FP4 nor FP3
FP2 is OK but this one too old and difficult to buy.

Also lack of offline bootloader unlocker brings privacy issues - when you send your IMEI along with IP adress which simply can be correlated with all your prior online activities, social media accounts, geographic location etc… I’m not saying FP is abusing analytics outcome from obtaining the code, but still this business approach is unacceptable for “consumers”

There are plenty of users which would like unlocking bootloader to be flawless, you can look through forums of different manufacturers, like ASUS and others:

Search ASUS forums: https://zentalk.asus.com/t5/forums/searchpage/tab/message?advanced=false&allow_punctuation=false&filter=location&location=category:en&q=bootloader

So what will you buy?

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go to lineageOS devices page and read for different devices about installation and unlock… for example many OnePlus models require only:

fastboot oem unlock

I know there are mostly old models, but still there is choice

What exactly is the ‚defect‘ you are talking about?