Why i think Fairphone OS should drop root and pre-install Google Apps

It is a big deal. It transports a philosophy against openness. These people like to use the term cognitive dissonance when talking about themselves buying Apple products, because the want the hardware which forced them to hack them. This is a big deal, and no mistake.

By the way, I forgot to mention one app which needs SU which I use so routinely that I even forgot about it. It’s called Orbot, and it protects my privacy in unencrypted public WiFi, to some extent.

I repeat: it is a big deal to drop root.


I agree you can make a big deal out of it. :stuck_out_tongue: . To be fair, i accept it is a big deal for you, but i do not follow your reasoning. You repeat it’s big deal because it would be a statement against openness. I say it is not.

If the fairphone is unlocked or easily unlockable and they tell their buyers how to get root access, this might be not as superuser-friendly as today, but still be a very strong statement towards openness. If people learn how to get privileged user rights, they are educated about how their and other androids work. They might be even able to apply this to other phones.

What i find interesting that i good almost no reaction to the idea that Fairphone provides tools / drivers to build AOSP for the FP2. Is that not of interest to all you “hackers” out there?

And you would be able to use it on the FP2 as soon as you installed a single ZIP that gives you superuser.


[quote=“ben, post:115, topic:5582”]You repeat […] it would be a statement against openness. I say it is not.
Ok, let’s analyze it logically:

  1. We compare the state of FP1 with announced FP2.
  2. There are 3 possibilities: “a statement against openness”, a statement for openness or an unchanged statement towards openness.
  3. FP1: shipped with opened (rooted) OS and opened (unlocked) bootloader.
  4. FP2: will be shipped without opened OS and with opened bootloader.
  5. It’s clear not a gain in openness.
  6. There is a change in openness.
  7. 5+6 = there is less openness in FP2 that in FP1.
  8. moving from a more opened product towards less openness makes a statement.
  9. which one would that be?

Regarding AOSP: Contrary to Sony phones (and most of the others), FP1 did not come with 30 installed and uninstallable Apps. The difference to AOSP seems quite low.


Why are these “the 3 possibilities”? Why don’t you take, for example, “more user-friendly for people who are no experts” into account?
I have my FP for one year. I still don’t really understand this “Root”-thing. And for sure, I don’t understand why it upsets you if this Root would be an easily installable option, instead of the standard. Because the only two things I know about Root are these:

  • I can’t install some apps because of it. And there is no option to stop Root, so I can install them. Think about it this way: you don’t want a “Root-option”, so you force me to have no “non-Root-option”! The Root-asking people are, mostly (IMHO), more experienced users. I think it will always be easier for them to install an option, than it will be for me to uninstall it.
  • It can cause security problems for users who are unaware of the possibilities and dangers (like me :slight_smile: )

So, why is the thought of having to install Root so upsetting? Why can’t you imagine many people (who are not even on this forum, like all FP-users I know) would like to install apps and use their FP as a normal phone without necessarily having this Root-thing?


It’s like in every democracy, too many of these people (who don’t want root) are not on the forum and do not make themselves heard. It lies in our responsibility to take the quiet minorities into account. Thank you @danielsjohan for reminding the community of this!

PS: There are ways to hide root from applications:


And all people who want root are on the forum? I don’t think so! I acually believe - since the current Fairphone is rooted - people who don’t want root have more reason to come to the forum. (like if you need an unrooted OS for a banking app.)
Also I believe the large and quiet majority doesn’t care.


These statements don’t report truly what Fairphone states: they WILL provide an “openable” OS by simply letting experienced users to flash a simple ZIP file.
I think users who want root (or need because of higher security sensibility) are sufficiently experienced to flash a simple ZIP file containing the “su” command, while people who simply don’t care/want/able to (add your preferred capability here :wink: ) having a rooted-system maybe are not as experienced on getting their phone unrooted…
And please, PLEASE don’t tell me it is easier for them to install XPosed+Rootcloak or something else than for YOU to flash a ZIP file :wink:

I definitely agree with @paulakreuzer:

About security and privacy I wrote many times my point of view so for me “being able” to root my phone in a legal way or having a rooted phone is exactly the same thing :smile:


[quote=“danielsjohan, post:117, topic:5582”]
Why don’t you take, for example, “more user-friendly for people who are no experts” into account?
[/quote]Because I was analyzing the openness and not user-friendliness.

[quote=“danielsjohan, post:117, topic:5582”]
I still don’t really understand this “Root”-thing.
[/quote]Without root you (and your Apps) are not allowed to make changes to the installed OS apart from the build-in settings. Like removing the symbol for 2nd SIM card if there is none. Without root, you can install Apps and change your own files only.

Actually, I think it’s quite easy to “stop” root. I’d make the OS rename or move su executable(s) upon deactivation of root. Why don’t the devs give that a try? :wink:

[quote=“danielsjohan, post:117, topic:5582”]
why is the thought of having to install Root so upsetting?
[/quote]Well, first because its a step in wrong direction. More important is the fact that with installation of root I lose support.

[quote=“DjDas, post:120, topic:5582”]
These statements don’t report truly what Fairphone states: they WILL provide an “openable” OS by simply letting experienced users to flash a simple ZIP file.
[/quote]“openable” OS is not “open” OS. The shipped OS is ‘closed’. If I’m to extend the analyze to “openable” OS, then quite a lot of phones out there are ‘openable’. The fact that the option to root the OS will be offered by the FP team itself, is only a small step as it’s not supported.

[quote=“DjDas, post:120, topic:5582”]
And please, PLEASE don’t tell me it is easier for them to install XPosed+Rootcloak or something else than for YOU to flash a ZIP file
[/quote]I wasn’t. I was simply analysing the quote:

As stated in my previous posts, my primary problem with the issue is not the installation of su, but the dropped support.


What would make it a big deal though, is if the price for this installation of su.zip would be to lose support and/or warranty. So I agree with you that some official statement from Fairphone is needed here.


Unroot your Fairphone is easy (at least that is what some people tell us here)

[quote=“ben, post:4, topic:214”]
The Xposed app which allows to modify your Android after boot with different modules ( for example GravityBox which can hide the second sim bar and other stuff). One of the modules is Root Cloak. This should allow to hide the root access from selected apps. There is some risk as Xposed can modify almost everything on Android so take care which modules you use. However Xposed is often used and amongst the module developers are a lot of well known developers.
[/quote] [Edit by @Stefan: Quote was not linked to the original post.]

Well, this is exactly something I dont want to do as I have not enough knowledge of this.

Stefan, this is no democracy.

If you want a comparison that is equally wrong, let’s talk about the benevolent dictator who wants to protect his subjects from themselves, and others who want them evil.

I repeat: It is the philosophy we are arguing about. So you want to attract people like me, who need to learn new stuff to understand what android does, and eg like to know which app apparently silently accessed location data and uploaded it somewhere, or do you want a majority who does not care?

I assume when we talk about tin, told, tantalum, lithium salts, you are all for the educational approach. I suggest we accept that software is a resource, too. And user data, come to think of it.

Why are you defending a walled garden?
If I don’t want to learn about how to cloak root, as is apparently possible, then I am a silent majority, and need to be protected? But if the silent majority does not want to learn about Ghana’s garbage children, they can screw themselves and switch to another product?

Sorry if this sounds evangelistic, or even rabulistic to you, but Übertreibung macht anschaulich. (This doesn’t sound half as good in English…)


We live and learn. And if you are not stupid, which I do not assume, you will grasp the concept, and learn a lot more about your device. I certainly do, every day. And I never would have if FP would have warned me that I would loose support if I applied root rights, and most probably also not if they would have put a disclaimer on top of an extra download zip I would need to install other software on my computer to to something called “flashing“ I never heard of before which could damage my device.

It’s small steps that make the journey. All I ask is that FP does not start to walk backwards.



This topic is now closed. New replies are no longer allowed. Sike!

In this case, I think that Fairphone should rather put off its customers by not rooting on default, but by changing anything in their educational approach. Miners and workers rights and the environment are the real issues in the world!

Let’s be honest, these are First World Problems we are arguing about.


I think the real issue is the ignorance. And I love to fight it anywhere I can :wink:

Thank you Stefan for the reminder. It’s really a small issue. I should stop arguing here. I am still interested in FP support and warranty clarification which could take a while I believe. I’ll wait for that before continuing here :-).


I am sorry, this just silly, not making anything clearer. Stefan, is in no way, defending a “walled garten”. And arguing the uses not wanting to “hide” root do not care while you think having manually installing “root” is destroying the philosophy of Fairphone is a simply wrong. This has nothing todo with walled gardens. Your argument feels like a personal attack against all those people that simply have another opionion towards root, like me. And somethink else: You constantly state you enjoy learning new stuff, you indicate you find it empowering for users. Installing root yourself, and let’s keep the warranty stuff asside, is exactly that. Still you argue against by telling it would not be comaptible with the Philosophy of Fairphone.

What really annoys me is that nobody of us thinking not “preinstalling superuse” might improve the experience we and/or others have with the Fairphone is making such threats like “We would never buy a rooted Fairphone”. I simple came to think that way i propose to handle root, which is by coincidence partly the current plan for FP2, is better for a wide group of users. I therefore started this discussion – i some of it was really valuable. I never made this a condition of my support for Fairphone. Let me tell you this: I would be sorry to see you and some others “go” because such a silly issue, but the Fairphone is not “the Hacker’s” phone. If you really feel you cannot buy an Android phone without root, fine. Good luck finding one you can buy! I care a lot more about the real issues Fairphone tries to address.

If you feel Workers Welfare, the regular transparency blogs, recycling electronic waste from Ghana and simply raising attention are worth nothing because you are on a personal mission to convince everybody that only a rooted and Google free phone can be a Fairphone, i will no longer try to convince you. Maybe you actually do care about something else then i do. And it may very well be that this is not the think Fairphone cares about.

Yes, this is an angry post, but i am sick getting accused of being ignorant or not caring by people i find posting very ignorant positions themselves.

Over and out :disappointed:


I also repeat: The FP filosophy is not the one you quote. You can read it here:

Fairphone is a social enterprise working to create a fairer economy and change how things are made. We open up supply chains, solve problems and use transparency to start debate about what’s truly fair.

FairPhone is about supply chains, fair trade and transparency. Not about people who want to learn new stuff to understand what Android does.
FairPhone wants to prove it is possible to make a fairer phone in the current economic model. So they choose to use minerals mined in Congo, production lines in China and… to create a phone that the average consumer could buy.
Proving you can make a niche phone, as you ask, is not hard: it could be quite expensive because you’re serving a niche. But trying to make an “average” phone, is much harder. Especially if you want to combine the philosophy above with a possibility to install SU, or even an other OS!

So, please consider what you are actually asking. You’re asking to forget about the main purpose of this social enterprise (fair trade) and focus much more on an other issue (user freedom). I don’t say this issue is more or less important, I’m just saying this is not the issue FairPhone choose to focus on. It is also not the issue I choose to support when buying this phone, to be honest.

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I’m quite tired to explain what my (and others) issue with planned FP2 is. You keep disregarding it. Should we make a competition who can repeat his arguments more? I’m not going to respond on any statement that is ignorant on the issue. You’re just trolling around without really responding to the posts.

For me, FP1 stands for more than just fair trade. And it was advertized that way, too. I’ve seen FP1 as a step in right direction. While I never assumed FP team could live up to their goals, some progress was made (a bit small for my taste, tbh) The major reason for me not to send the phone back was the fact that it was rooted. And now I see a step back in this direction. By paying for FP1 I was buying a better phone. If they try to build an average phone now, then it’s not for me. If FP teams goal is an environmentally friendly iPhone, go ahead. But not with me. I can find a lot of rootable phones on the market. Then I’ll just make a donation to some good environmental NGO.


@danielsjohan and @ben, I never said that FP should forget about fair trade, or the efforts so far are worth nothing. I was trying to get across that there is even more FP educated me about.

I knew about African mines before. I saw them. It was rather an important reason to support a start-up which wanted to make a difference.

I did not know what kind of data my phone would send to third parties. I knew it would happen, but I still surprised every effing time I check my filters. I learned about it precisely because FP came rooted.
And I argue that this will be less an option for customers in the future, and it should not be. ,

If my previous post offended you so that my arguments did not get across, then I must have exaggerated my point too far. But I maintain its validity. Software is intrinsically an integral part of the FP, and it is therefore a step backwards to remove root access &t (see above on disclaimers, and support).

We can agree to disagree on this, and call out each other being wrong, but it is probably not worth any more posts in this heated debate. I will take a break, not to piss you guys even more off.