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Open Source Cellphones Linux

Fleeing Google's Apps and iOS, Mandrake Linux Creator Launches 'eelo' Project (hackernoon.com) 122

Open-source veteran Gaël Duval created Mandrake Linux in 1998. But in a new essay, he writes that "I realized that I had become lazy. Not only wasn't I using Linux anymore as my main operating system, but I was using a proprietary OS on my smartphone. And I was using Google more and more."

Long-time Slashdot reader nuand999 writes: He's creating a non-profit project called eelo.io that's going to release a "privacy-friendly" smartphone OS and associated web-services... eelo is going to be forked fromLineageOS, and will ship with the existing open source bricks put together into a consistent and privacy-enhanced, yet desirable, smartphone OS + web-services. A crowdfunding campaign has just started on Kickstarter to fuel early developments.
"iOS is proprietary and I prefer Open Source Software," Gaël writes on Hacker Noon, while also adding that "like millions of others, I'VE BECOME A PRODUCT OF GOOGLE... I'm not happy because Google has become too big and is tracking us by catching a lot of information about what we do. They want to know us as much as possible to sell advertising..."

"People are free to do what they want. They can choose to be volunteery slaves. But I do not want this situation for me anymore. I want to reconquer my privacy. My data is MY data. And I want to use Open Source software as much as possible."
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Fleeing Google's Apps and iOS, Mandrake Linux Creator Launches 'eelo' Project

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    and itâ(TM)s open source

    this will end well for all involved, especially the backers

  • by nimbius ( 983462 ) on Saturday December 23, 2017 @10:32PM (#55798479) Homepage

    eelo is going to be forked from LineageOS

    ...and thats where I stopped reading. Lineage is a stable, excellent fork of cyanogen that already supports everything Duval wants. fdroid provides floss apps and adblocking, and even access to Edward Snowdens Guardian repositories for things like secure browsers and newsreaders. As far as web services go, you choose to use them. there are decentralized alternatives to Facebook and Twitter already supported on smartphones tablets and PC. It sounds like this guy is too lazy to look for alternatives.
    https://mastodon.social/about [mastodon.social] for open source twitter
    https://joindiaspora.com/ [joindiaspora.com] for open source facebook
    https://prism-break.org/en/ [prism-break.org] for secure floss alternatives
    https://duckduckgo.com/ [duckduckgo.com] for a search that doesnt track

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      The guy built mandrake. You have to keep this in mind when making your judgements :)

      • by jon3k ( 691256 )
        Linus Pauling was a founder of the fields of quantum chemistry and molecular biology and then went on to tell everyone Vitamin C cured cancer. Expertise in one area doesn't necessarily transfer to another. And in fact, frequently, extremely bright people believe a previous success in one field would make them successful in other areas outside their area of expertise.
        • by dublin ( 31215 )

          The difference is that Linus Pauling was right, and was a Nobel Prize winner. FWIW, recent research (2017) at the University of Iowa (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231716302634) has confirmed that megadoses of Vitamin C do indeed kill cancer cells, but only when taken intravenously rather than orally, as Pauling, Klenner, et al always claimed was essential.

          That said, Gael Duval is probably a really nice guy, but I used Mandrake for several years, and based on the product, can say th

          • by jon3k ( 691256 )

            The difference is that Linus Pauling was right, and was a Nobel Prize winner. FWIW, recent research (2017) at the University of Iowa (http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S2213231716302634) has confirmed that megadoses of Vitamin C do indeed kill cancer cells, but only when taken intravenously rather than orally, as Pauling, Klenner, et al always claimed was essential.

            I'm not sure what your point was here. We both agree Pauling was incorrect and I think the fact that both he and his wife were taking massive doses for years and both still died of cancer kind of settles the issue.

      • >"The guy built mandrake. You have to keep this in mind when making your judgements :)"

        I am not sure what you mean by that, since Mandrake was wildly popular and, at the time, one of the best overall Linux distros. From Mandrake came Mandriva, and from that, Mageia... which is, itself, very impressive (in fact, I am using it right now).

        https://distrowatch.com/table.... [distrowatch.com]
        http://www.mageia.org/en/ [mageia.org]

        • by Reziac ( 43301 ) *

          Mandrake was the first distro that didn't make me want to hurt someone. And ever since, seems every distro that I find usable is some Mandrake descendant. There's gotta be a connection....

      • And Mandrake was originally a fork of RedHat...

    • by SumDog ( 466607 )

      Yea and even with this phone, people will still be able to install gapps. I'd be more impressed with the service architecture they plan on making, and actually replacing Google/Amazon services. Right now a lot of people don't want to give up their core apps (Dropbox, Gmaps, FB Messenger, Hangouts). It'd be better if we saw more F-droid/OSS clients that support FB/Hangouts via the libpurple system and that avoid sending excess data to either.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Camembert ( 2891457 )
      Open source projects are cool, buy how many people you know, outside open source zealots, are on diaspora or mastodon? Difficult to displace facebook and twitter if you like them - the community is the main part of the attraction. Also a phone without a popular messenging service would have limited appeal. I now live in Asia and almost everyone I meet is on Whatsapp.
    • LineageOS has already been forked.

      Apart from f-droid, to do anything terribly useful with Android it relies on Google services. MicroG re-implements those.

      https://lineage.microg.org/ [microg.org]

  • by sound+vision ( 884283 ) on Saturday December 23, 2017 @10:49PM (#55798523) Journal
    I do very much believe there is an untapped, privacy-focused market segment for this kind of thing. It has some overlap, but is not identical to, the target market for the Essential phone. I'm currently in the sub-$100 market when it comes to smart phones, but I would gladly pay many times that amount to have a phone free from Android/Google. It doesn't need to be modular, it doesn't need a huge-ass screen or an octo-core processor, facial recognition, or fingerprint reading... better, in fact, that it DOESN'T have those things. I don't need them, they compromise privacy, and increase the cost.

    It DOES need to work, out of the box. No weird reflashing routines, no kernel/driver issues, none of that janky CyanogenMod stuff. It does need to be compatible with Android apps, for most people. (For me, I'd be OK with using an open-source Telegram client, if the official Android one doesn't work for some reason. What few other apps I use can either be replaced or accessed through a browser.)

    Google really is one of the big reasons I'm hesitant to use my smartphone for anything non-trivial. They (and Apple) are two of the reasons I didn't even own one until a couple years ago. I couldn't bear to spend $500+ for that. I'm just sitting here waiting for someone to monetize me.
    • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Sunday December 24, 2017 @12:28AM (#55798759) Homepage

      I would gladly pay many times that amount to have a phone free from Android/Google. It doesn't need to be modular, it doesn't need a huge-ass screen or an octo-core processor, facial recognition, or fingerprint reading... better, in fact, that it DOESN'T have those things. I don't need them, they compromise privacy, and increase the cost.

      Sounds to me like you don't want a smartphone. More like a dumb phone with a browser. Except no "huge-ass" screen or good CPU, so a tiny and slow browser. That.... doesn't sound like a good product for anyone to me.

      It DOES need to work, out of the box. No weird reflashing routines, no kernel/driver issues, none of that janky CyanogenMod stuff.

      Unfortunately all those clunky, quirky bits is exactly what you get with low volume hardware. Hell, even Apple with their budget can run into "you're holding it wrong" problems.

      It does need to be compatible with Android apps, for most people.

      Which basically means it must run Android, give or take a few settings. How's that freeing people from Google when Google decides where it's going and you'd have to keep up to stay compatible?

      • You seem to be stuck in 2012 regarding the price/performance tradeoff in phone hardware. That tradeoff improving is what made it worthwhile for me to buy in. Whatever CPU they put in my $30 ZTE phone is plenty for web browsing, YouTube, messaging, torrenting, WiFi hotspot (worked well enough to game on), recording video, playing music (with DSPs active), real-time GPS navigation, checking the weather forecast -- everything I have ever seen anyone use a smartphone for. What do YOU think the general public do
    • I'm currently in the sub-$100 market when it comes to smart phones, but I would gladly pay many times that amount to have a phone free from Android/Google.

      Good news! [apple.com] It's Android/Google free, many times your sub-$100, works out of the box, and is compatible with Telegram.

      In seriousness, Apple (and until Win 10, Microsoft) used to at least have an upfront business plan. Here's something, pay me. No need for them to spy, they glot cash up front. Sadly, MS added ads and turned their Os into spyware. Ap

      • In seriousness, Apple (and until Win 10, Microsoft) used to at least have an upfront business plan. Here's something, pay me. No need for them to spy, they glot cash up front

        If Apple would only sell phones and nothing else, sure.
        But Apple also sells you apps and music and movies/TV shows and books and backup services and wants you to use theeir browser and their maps service and their email service and messenger and whatnot. If you think that Apple doesn't collect all kinds of information on you to better sell content to you, you're deluding yourself.

        • Well, you can buy an iPhone without buying apps/movies/TV/books/backup, and turn off their email/messenger/phoning home with statistics (it's a clear checkbox). But all those collections exist as a simple opt in/opt out switch.

          As for maps, any maps provider is going to spy on you, and I imagine Apple spies less than Google (because the only company that spies more may be Facebook).

          Their browser has some nice pro-privacy features built in, although I wish they had a plugin model.

    • none of that janky CyanogenMod stuff

      Longtime Cyanogen/LineageOS user here (4 years and counting), and I've never experienced anything I'd term "janky", care to elaborate?

  • by Baron_Yam ( 643147 ) on Saturday December 23, 2017 @11:10PM (#55798565)

    Is something that just WORKS, and they don't have to think about it or pay a lot for it.

    That's why Android is so popular, even tied to Google. You buy the phone, and it works. It's a little less 'walled garden' than iOS, which is nice.

    Would it be nicer to go to the store and get a completely unfettered phone? Yes. But I'd expect that to come with a lot of end-user requirements that are impractical for the vast majority of people who have trouble with a power button.

    • You nailed it here. It needs to be a smartphone / OS that just (mostly) works for people who aren't going to have any idea what "rooting their phones" is and cares about user privacy. Relying on Apple to be our only vendor who cares about privacy is not a good long term strategy (one CEO change away from seeing the enhanced profits of mining users personal data for $). This seems a long shot but when there isn't another shot around a long shot is better than nothing.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Android has long been crap on tablets. Target tablets business use.

    1) Fix the lifespan of activities, make a clear 'exit' on them, so the OS knows when they should be removed and when not. Stop unloading apps if the user hasn't exited them.
    2) Fix the GUI so that multiple apps run in multiple panes automatically, not twiddling with window size, then launching app into new window.... they should just run the app and it should sort itself out.
    3) Fix the compiler and other limits (heap size, limits on the size

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Also can you fix Android's crappy scroll bars?

      You drag a pane up, and the page changes p2,p3,p4,p5....
      If your finger is at the right edge, the same 'drag up' action will do something like page20, page19, page 18... in the other direction.

      These invisible scroll bars that appear when you operate them are unworkable for large documents. When you first place your finger you don't know where on the invisible bar your finger should be, so the page jumps, so first off it jumps to page 20, or 50 or whatever.

      Then th

  • The biggest way a cellphone invades my privacy is tracking everywhere I go. There is no way to fix that with software unfortunately.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Every time I read about the topic of tracking, companies like Google, facebook, etc. are positioned as the adversary. Everyone is so obsessed with being tracked for advertising purposes. Have we forgotten about the NSA? Snowden? Warrant-less wiretaps? FISA courts? We're all being tracked by forces much darker than that silly Alphabet company. All Google is trying to do is make sure dudes don't see tampon ads. Meanwhile, secret courts can approve tracking your every move, but nobody seems to care. They just

    • by Anonymous Coward

      No, lately Google is forcing men to see tampon ads, and saying that they can use them too...

    • I'm not really worried about the Government. They can already make me disappear whenever they want (they have guys with guns and my home address.) Google/Facebook wants to use ads to manipulate me into doing X. The difference in power from whether G/FB track me or the government is monumental.

      To say nothing of the fact that the government can just get all that data from FB/G (for money or under a warrant, or just with threats.) So, protecting from FB/G is protecting from the government.

      But, let me end o

  • Seriously, it's that freaking simple. Just use a different browser when surfing for porn. All you have to do is never sign in with your main user id in the alt browser, just make up an alt id for your porn sites. It's that freaking simple.
  • Eelo? Sounds like Ello... Which has almost the same goals in mind...

  • They want to know us as much as possible to sell advertising...

    People need to stop saying this. This makes a claim that is beyond the speaker's knowledge and likely to be untrue as well as misrepresentative. Not only do we not know why the organizations that collect information about us do this, the organizations don't know all the reasons for which they'll use that data. Some data collection might initially be ad-related but the information collected has multiple purposes like everything else in life, but

  • Will that new OS come with spellcheck?
    • And adjusts the language to spell check according to the chosen keyboard?
      Even has a 'switch keyboard button' on the keyboard?
      Or even better: simply recognizes the language even if you use a different keyboard?

  • Most people's top fear should be spying by cybercriminals. And although government spying has no practical effect on MOST people, it goes very badly for those it does affect. In comparison, what will smartphone vendors do to you with information they collect? Show you more useful ads? Fix bugs you are running into? Having said that, weirdos are useful. His unusual concerns are giving me an additional operating system that might one day be useful for something. Just like RMS couldn't bear to print things wit

  • I love the idea -- but I must say that using Mandriva Linux on my laptop (c. 2009) for a year turned me from being a dyed-in-the-wool Linux fanboy to a Windows/MacOS user.

    The final straw was trying to build the Arduino IDE from scratch (as there was no package available at the time) took me about 3 days -- including a compiler downgrade, etc. Of course, due to unstable hardware support, I spent 15 minutes each work session trying to connect to whatever network was available.

    After all that work, I was able t

    • Mandrake/Mandriva was (they are gone now) a great Linux distro. They created tools most other distros used for hardware detection. Mind you, it was still Linux - they were stuck with Gimp for a graphics program and so on. I still have Mageia (a fork of Mandriva before they closed down). Biggest problem currently is that it isn't *buntu, outside projects always target *buntu, and if you're not using that (or at least something based on Debian) you're out of luck.

      I'd love to see this project succeed, but the

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