Why FP3 comes with an OS which is not privacy oriented?

Sure. I didn’t mean it as a bad thing. Just saying that the poll can’t be representative.

I don’t think FP will ship phones without an OS on them - every little modification for some phones is a lot of extra work for logistics. But that shouldn’t make a difference does it?

I don’t think FP will approve if you as a person contact them. This would be a business partnership, so obviously a company would have to contact FP.


But he could tell them of the idea, in case they did not consider it sofar. Maybe they pick it up; although this would be more likely, when done by a company.

Hi @juliengarrigue! :smile:

I think you already know that I think FP3 and /e/ would be a good fit for each other, but I agree with the majority opinion here - privacy is not Fairphone’s main mission, addressing supply chain issues is. I think /e/ has more work to do before Fairphone can seriously consider them a partner, but IMO /e/ is probably the most appropriate alternative OS for Fairphone to partner with.

And anyway, if Gael was really interested don’t you think he would already have called Eva and Bas? Maybe they’re already plotting something :wink:

TTFN :slight_smile:

Hi everyone!
I’m a new user really concerned about privacy and security, so i’d like to ask you if the company will adopt a TRULY fair os like postmarketOS (I know that, at the time of writing, a lot of things are not working, but i think that it could became a more reliable and secure choice than it is Android).
If the aswer to the previous question is no, i’d like to know if there is a possibility that the phone will be compatible with security focused Android ROMs such as GrapheneOS, or if the Fairphone official os is being developed with the less proprietary software as possible (like The Open GApps Project does with the Pico Package for example).
At the beginning of this topic i’ve proposed postmarketOS, becouse Android is being developed and maintained mostly by Google and the Open Handset Alliance) and both could have modified the os to fit their needs to collect data from users.

(English isn’t my mother tongue so corrections and constructive criticism are welcome!)

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If you’d update your first comment further up to highlight that this is outdated information, it would make reading this thread top to bottom a little less irritating :wink:

Not true. I have set up my FP3 now and while I can uninstall most Google Apps, it seems that the FP3 cannot receive SMS without GMS and GSF. So with Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram et al. I can decide whether I want them on my phone, but I cannot decide with Google Apps. (PS.: Many phones come with Facebook preinstalled, so my claim doesn’t even hold there. For FP3 it is true though.)

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I’d like to summarize the arguments a bit. Basically, most of your are saying Fairphone doesn’t provide a privacy oriented OS for their phones because:

  1. They are a small company and focuses on the ecological goal first
  2. There isn’t many people interested to buy a privacy focused phone

While this seems logical, I feel like the situation could be very different.

First of all, about the interest for a privacy-oriented phone. I think you’re really underestimating the number of persons which are looking for a smartphone like that. The current situation, with everybody being tracked every time, is not like that because people doesn’t care. It is like that because companies make money doing it, so they are going to do all they can to keep you in the cage. But people wants to be free. Maybe not teenagers with snapchat, but I’m sure more than 50% of the people over 40 are like this. And those are the one with the money to buy phones.

As already being said in that topic, the 5% number is wrong IMO, as it doesn’t count people who will never flash a new OS themselves, and more importantly all the persons looking for a privacy-oriented phone who never bought a Fairphone.

Now the important point: there is no privacy-respectful phone on the market at the moment. Fairphone isn’t marketed like this. See how the Librem and the PinePhone are exciting everybody: there is a huge demand, but those companies never created phones before, and will do a lot of mistakes before doing it right. It toke more than 6 years for FP to be where there are now. I’m spending hours everyday chatting with PinePhone and Ubuntu Touch people. There really is something going on for linux phones right now. This is a very big opportunity, does Fairphone want to be part of it, or on the side?

And to the argument “only geeks care about Linux and privacy on their phone”. Well, maybe. But geeks are the people who “knows about electronic stuff”. It’s the nerd nephew everyone in the family is going to ask for help when looking for a new phone. And he will ultimately be the one who will choose the phone the others will buy. So to have a good reputation in the linux / tech community is very important. This is how mozilla initially spread Firefox when Internet Explorer was 95% of the market, and it worked very well.

Now, to the “very limited resources / focus on the environment” part. There, I think you’re overestimating the cost for Fairphone to see the FP3 supporting other OSes. This is not the way free software communities work. Do you know that Pine64 is producing thousands of PinePhone without creating an OS for it at all?. I’m not saying the phones will ship without an OS, I’m saying they are selling the phones and give back to FOSS community the money they are making doing so (read more about that on their blog). Thanks to that money, communities are able to make their OS working well on the phone. And Pine64 can then ship the phone allowing the users to pick the OS of their choice. Exactly like computers, and this should be the situation for phones. There are already more that 5 OSes targeted for the first end-user batch of March 2020. They are estimating 50k devices sold in that first batch, thanks only to the people interested of running a real GNU/Linux on their smartphone. I have no idea how many phones FP is selling, but this number doesn’t seem small.

A summary, you ask? Building a ecological and privacy-oriented phone is possible in my opinion, even with the limited resources Fairphone has. This is a business strategy question, they are the ones who have to decide. But looking at the tech market, there is clearly a card to play.

What should they do if they wanted to go there? The phone bootloader is already unlocked, that is great. They are providing the kernel sources, this is very nice. Now, work with FOSS communities from the very beginning, when picking up components of the phone, to have as little of binary blobs as possible, and succeed to push in mainline kernel upstream as many patches as possible. Just doing that would make the interest of the tech community explodes. Then if you can, give some moneys to the communities, and you will find some shiny OSes on your phone. Also, hardware kill switches would be awesome.

Wow, that post was a long one.

I agree, but you also have to account that for FP to be where they are today they had to offer something of value from the beginning. I think the argument that FP doesn’t have the resources really is genuine since even making a fork of an OS is not a simple task, nevermind maintain it over time and make it compatible with non-mainstream hardware components.

more than 50% of the people over 40 are like this.

This I disagree with. Everybody’s experience is different for sure, but mine says that barely anyone is even remotely aware of the privacy implications of using any kind of software these days. And those who are, even tech-savvy people, including software engineers I know personally, don’t give a schnitzel about it.

Most people won’t buy a smartphone that doesn’t work properly by today’s standards. If you even mention werid and cryptic gecky stuff like Lineage, Sailfish or even “Linux” and you’ve already lost them as customers. Even more so if you charge 300EUR~450EUR for it. I could go on this topic, you get the idea: there’s no real alternative to Android today for a working, reliable and private OS on a smartphone.

People are not looking for a privacy oriented smartphone. If they were really looking they could just Google it (and be sure they would use Google) and this and other forums would be much, much larger. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure they’d take it but only after whatever company comes can prove it really works out of the box.

In conclusion, there are 2 reasons why I think FP can’t and shouldn’t get heavily involved in maintainig their own pre-installed OS:

  1. Earth’s resources are limited and we need to start making smart decisions fast. Climate change is already having consequences and they’re not going to wait for anyone.
  2. On a related note, even if it will become more difficult the longer we left this topic unaddressed, we can always fight back against privacy invasive practices and software. What I mean is, we can actually hold this front a little longer so it’s best to do things right.

Let them succeed first, then worry about them doing the right thing and improve on the their OS later, which again is no easy task and many others and more experienced have already failed in this task before.


You’re missing an important word. They are not yet providing such an OS.

I highly doubt that is true. Maybe 50% of people are aware that they are in a cage, but only like 20% are aware of alternatives and only 5% are willing to go through the trouble of freeing themselves.

No, but there are some phones that are as privacy-respectful as Fairphone would be. Even if FP released an Open OS for the FP3 it would still be proprietary hardware and have lots of proprietary firmware. So it wouldn’t really stand out among other phones where you can flash LOS for example.

No, it’s not. It’s unlockable. The FP2 was unlocked, but that meant they had to pay a fee for every FP2 sold to unlock it. With the FP3 you’ll have to pay to unlock it yourself if that is what you want. At least that is what they told us at the #efct19.


What does that mean?
I unlocked the bootloader, until now nobody wanted to collect any money :slight_smile: .


There is - unfortunately - proof out there, that this is not correct.
It is not just, that people out there do use Google to find somethint on the internet, while there are search engines like duckduckgo.com, around 4/5 of all people do it also using Chrome or Safari, while the marketshare of Firefox is under 5%.



Even if the percentage differs between the sources, Chrome is used by at least around 50%.
And that is, where people could chose and switch quite easily.

But, that would - in the end - mean, that they rely on the community for an OS.
I am not so sure, if that counts for a healthy business plan.
Whom to address, if the OS is not available on time or if it has serious issues.
While I really love what communities like the ones for LOS or Ubuntu touch are doing, that is nothing a company can rely on, there is noone, they could contract, even if they give money to those communities.


PinePhone and Librem 5 are iterations (e.g. proprietary firmware); they are by no means perfect, hardware or software-wise. Neither of them is fair, so you cannot compete with them on price. PinePhone costs only 150 EUR. That is a bargain price IMO. I’d even argue SFOS (Sailfish OS) is a step into the right direction, privacy-wise, even though the software is partly proprietary. SFOS users are certainly eating a cake of the pro-privacy/anti-Google and even anti-US mindsets.

I’d add Safari and Firefox together, as they are both mostly pro privacy. I’d even put Edge in there as well.

It is Google Chrome and Android System WebView which are privacy hazards by design, including a gimped functionality of ad blockers.

(Although I find Firefox the easiest to harden, privacy-wise.)

You’re missing my point. My point is, dell, HP or Asus don’t build or even support Windows. Microsoft is doing it. Fairphone is building a phone and they are doing it (mostly) right. They should focus on that and create a partnership with communities to let them provide the OS.

That’s exactly what I’m saying. They are aware, but because nobody provides them an easy way to be protected, they don’t do it. IMO the ideal situation would be going in a shop, and see the exact same smartphone offered twice, the seller saying “With this one, you can have full access to every app but you’re being tracked and with this one, you have some limitation on what you can do but your privacy is protected, which one do you want to buy?”. With that kind of deal, we could really see who wants to pick what. And I’m sure the privacy choice will be way higher than 5%.

See my answer above. Chrome is by default on Android, and are installed in opt-out with shit tons of software like CCleaner on windows thanks to crap partnership from Google. If people really had information and choice, the situation wouldn’t be like this. My previous post was about that: offering that choice to people.

This is the current weak point. But UBPorts developers are very motivated, and I’m quite sure they would set up a professional support if they make a deal with FP and are paid for it.

And that’s a good thing: the phones are not targeting the same user: PinePhone is a cheap phone to play with and flash fun OSes, it doesn’t target Joe Average. Librem5 is on the “very secure” segment, with hardware kill switches and such. Fairphone is a social and ecological phone. But now buyers have to choose between ecology and privacy, and that’s a shame. I keep thinking there is a huge opportunity to work with the linux community, everyone is excited about the PinePhone just because it will run a mainline linux kernel.

I see, yes I’m also wondering what steps are they taking to accomplish this given that there are interesting partnerships that go hand in hand with their philosophy. Personally I think the best candidate is /e/ given they are starting to show some serious progress and they are looking for a hardware manufacturer to partner with.

The idea of a phone made out of GNU/Linux is really attractive but for now I’m more inclined on a Android based, simply because it doesn’t change things too much and it’d be easier to sell and support.

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Don’t you think, that people are aware of Firefox? Changing the browser is just two clicks (or maybe four). So, it might be laziness, but it for sure is not availability of an easy option, that keeps people from switching.
Why would that be different with an OS for the phone, which would probably essentially even mean a totally new eco-system. New apps, with another feeling and different menus etc. might be effectively keeping people from switching (though i wish it would be that).
And I really wonder, why only 5% of FP2 users opted for Fairphone Open, although this was basically the same system, easy to install and the FP2 buyers were - most likely - on the more adventurous side.
From my perception, Faiphoners are to a high percentage privacy oriented and still did not take the chance. And I doubt you will get it any easier to get rid of Google, than it came with Fairphone Open on the FP1 and 2.

So, I am still not convinced, that you really will get a relevant percantage of consumers for community-driven operation systems.


Personally I think the discussion would benefit if people would stop calling the 5% of Open OS users a “wrong” number. I get it: under different circumstances the number might have been higher. But how on earth can you call this simple fact “wrong”? Words like “probably outdated”, “leaving out something”, “not painting the whole picture” etc. are fully ok. But I find it hard to argue with people who can’t acknowledge reality.

Other than that I find it hard to judge which side is over-/under-estimating the demand for privacy oriented phones. I guess it really depends on each person’s filter bubble. I had to smile a bit at things like “See how the Librem and the PinePhone are exciting everybody: there is a huge demand”. Well, I’m also following developments in the various Ubuntu Touch groups for example. And my impression there isn’t as “white” (as in “black and white”) as that. “everybody” and “huge” seem like a exaggeration to me.

I’ll keep donating to Ubports (plus contributions to documentation, testing and also a little code) because I, too, want to see alternatives on the phone OS market. But I’d rather have Fairphone focus on their niche as I doubt tackling all what’s wrong in the smartphone world at the same time is likely to succeed.


I agree with your whole post, this part included. My proposition was about asking the linux community when designing the phone which components to choose to be as friendly as possible with linux and free software, not supporting another OS. This, indeed, increases the work load a bit, but also join FP primary goal of doing a phone that last longer as a mainlined kernel would help to support the software stack and avoid hassle as we saw with the upgrade from Android 6 to Android 7.


My personal and professional experiences both tell me that no, people are not aware of what Firefox is, what a browser is and what an OS is. And honestly we can’t expect them to if they have no interest, at the end of the day a browser is just a tool that achieves a task and as long it does its job why would you look any further? This holds true even if they are aware of any alternatives.

For instance I have exactly zero interest in cars. To me they’re just a piece of metal bended in a funny way, pretty colors on top, and some rubber attached to it. I honestly, literally, couldn’t care less about the manufacturer, the type of engine or whatever. I don’t know anything about cars and I don’t want to know anything about cars.

Yet, I drive a car everyday because I have to. It’s a tool and if it works, I use it. Same with computers; and everything else really. If you want people to use another browser or a different car, etc, you have to make them want it.


That might vitally be true, but then all the discussion on a privacy oriented os is just academic stuff. And it evendently contradicts the statement, that lots of people care about privacy and would want an OS that is delivering on this aspect.

How do you want to sell this to people, making them want it.

Everyone is used to IOS or Android, which have come a long way regarding develpement and usability. Switching to something new would mean relearning how to use your phone, and, as you said regarding cars, a phone is just a tool that has to work.
Let’s take the broswer for example:

  • Firefox had a market share of more than 30% about ten years ago.
  • Nowadays - if you are right - it is hardly known, though they do lots of advertising and offer at least the same functionality.

How do I make people switching the OS, if they don’t even switch the browser for privacy reason. Especially, when they have to relearn the “how to” of all the basic handling.

While you can sell a car by design and emotions, I can’t imagine doing so with an OS.

Btw: You should care about your car and privacy issues as well, with all those connected functions nowadays build into them.


I think selling a OS is a terrible idea: most people don’t know anything about computers and they don’t want to know anything about computers. Even a relatively simple system recovery can be challenging for the average Joe.

Instead sell something that depends on the OS and the consumer is more comfortable with. A wrapper if you will, that will make the decision of the end consumer easier to make. For example /e/ is selling a smartphone and I recall a while back that some PC manufacturers gave (limited) video/audio software licences with their PC to compete against the MacBook. People these days however seem to buy Apple products simply because they are Apple products.

Browsers are different today than they were 10 years ago. Today they all have similar features and work great, so there’s little reason to look elsewhere other than personal interest or very particular edge cases where a particular extension is needed. I personally like how Vivaldi is the only one trying to bring something interesting in terms of UI customization, for example.

Google Chrome is the undisputed marketshare leader because, among other reasons, it integrates nicely with your smartphone and a lot of what people do online these days including Google Sheets, Google Drive, etc. Even if you use an iPhone you still download the Youtube app.

The only reason to use Firefox is a personal interest in technology or priv.acy. And people are quite happy with their current digital lifestyle as things are today.

Well not really we’re just talking about computers that are placed inside a car rather than sitting in an office desk. I’m aware of the privacy implications, however