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Open source, privacy-enabled smartphone operating systems (e.foundation)
119 points by prince707 on July 14, 2018 | hide | past | web | favorite | 68 comments

If anyone from this project is reading this: please just contribute to the upstream projects your are building off of.

>We build desirable, open source, privacy-enabled smartphone operating systems.

No, the LineageOS team builds them, then you rebrand them. If you want to actually make a difference, contribute your changes directly to the LineageOS trees. Device support is paramount for custom ROMs and LineageOS already has an amazing amount of devices. All this will do is fragment the ecosystem.

>default email client (forked from K9-mail)

Please no. Just contribute to K9 directly. I get that you want to brand it to fit with your whole scheme, but you have the ability to actually improve the open source Android ecosystem.

>application repository: an independent alternative place where you will be able to choose from thousands of applications, including all well-known applications

FDroid. You're describing FDroid. Again, there is a good application out their already, why would you make your own? Oh, it's so you can add "an original mechanism for users to score applications". Why can't you add that to FDroid and help everyone out?

My main criticism boils down to this: why reinvent the wheel?

> No, the LineageOS team builds them, then you rebrand them. If you want to actually make a difference, contribute your changes directly to the LineageOS trees. Device support is paramount for custom ROMs and LineageOS already has an amazing amount of devices. All this will do is fragment the ecosystem.

The privacy orientation of LineageOS only goes so far. Yes, you can opt for Opengapps (that name...) or run your Android device without it but then you're stuck with F-Droid. LineageOS does not include microG; if you want LOS+microG you need that fork [1]

> Please no. Just contribute to K9 directly. I get that you want to brand it to fit with your whole scheme, but you have the ability to actually improve the open source Android ecosystem.

pEp is also a K-9 fork, with material design and opportunistic encryption.

Not that I disagree w/your points though. This unnecessary fragmentation of forks is harmful. Librem 5 and Sailfish are two interesting ecosystems which are unique though.

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

[2] https://www.pep.security/

Well put. Lately it feels like "open source" it's used more often as a buzz word to use when trying to market a product rather than a philosophy to be followed.

This article has a good summary, http://techpp.com/2018/06/28/eelo-profile-google-free-androi...

"Duval’s team made use of LineageOS ... [which] doesn’t ship with any Google apps ... To counter that, Eelo will come preloaded with a handful of services you would need out of the box such as an email client, a productivity suite for accessing documents, spreadsheets, a search engine that won’t track its users, and more. The one application which is being a bottleneck for Eelo’s potential success is navigation ...

Eelo will have a repository of both open-source as well as other Android apps. To ensure users don’t install one of the latter and ruin the purpose of using a privacy-focused operating system, each app in Eelo’s store will have a security score. Through that users can be more informed about how well a particular app treats personal data and based on that, decide whether they’d want to install it."

Navigation is really a bear... It's easily Google's killer product, and extremely difficult for the open source community to replicate in any meaningful sense just due to the difficulty in acquiring data; we lack the necessary resources. I'm not sure how to solve that properly.

For offline navigation there is data, the OpenStreetMap, for most places on the planet. There is no very good app though, which would have seemed to be the smaller problem.

For real time navigation, Waze type solution could work -- aggregation of real time data from users. Also, smart city projects have open traffic data APIs, although not sure wether there is something properly real time, or it something like hourly aggregates.

So that would be still a giant project, but data does not seem to be the bottleneck.

> aggregation of real time data from users

This seems like exactly the kind of thing that users who opt specifically for a privacy conscious OS are not going to readily share

Its an issue. But if all the code is open and audited, there should be a way to ensure only aggregates are used, and the reports are anonymous. There would also be a related issue of bot accounts who would try to sabotage the statistics for fun, but should also be reasonably solvable.

I still wouldn't provide that data for two reasons. Firstly, all the assurances in the world aren't going to convince me that there's no risk in transmitting my location to a random computer in the cloud. I'm not going to personally comb through an open source project to make sure my data is not being abused. I would have to ' trust' strangers that it is not. And if I'm trusting strangers with my location data well then we're back to square one.

Secondly, and this is really a different issue and perhaps not that widespread, I don't like turning on location on my devices simply because it reduces battery life. It's not a privacy issue but it's another roadblock (pun not intended) to gathering navigation data

I think some kind of privacy sandbox & data escape logging would suffice to allow data leaking apps, to run on a libre type OS.

The main thing an OS like this needs is the a ability for it's users to run their own "cloud" infrastructure and attach that to their own phone.

Company can offer this as a SAAS service paid, providing they to proper end to end encryption and are not able to read the data they store. Also a good way to fund future development.

Navigation? Really? I don't drive, so maybe I'm somewhat atypical in that sense, but on those rare occasions when I do use my phone to navigate, I find Osmand(+) to be extremely useful.

I drive but I never use navigation as the handful of times I have I've found it distracting and it's led me astray a couple of times. I prefer to just look at a map. Often that nap is on the phone, but I don't need it to tell me where I am or where to go

Navigation for public transit makes a huge difference. Hours every day are saved because of it. And you can "sidetrack" out of your plan thanks to that, while you couldn't do it if you left your bus map at home, or if there were deviations.

I can't really say since I don't use google maps so much but I expect search to be better than in osmand (while online).

Why did this project choose such an unsearchable name and cripple its own acceptability? Can't search for /e/, can't search for 'e', 'e os' refers to some entirely different OS...

It doesn't help that it shares the naming conventions of 4chan boards. In this case it leads to ecchi (which is very NSFW). Imagine if someone named their new phone OS /r/ecchi

Search for "eelo".

/e/ is what happens when you let hackers do the branding.

Please don't post duplicate comments to Hacker News. Those are signal-noise-ratio disasters.


This is off-topic and a violation of the site guidelines. Please don't do that either.

It's also a meaningless observation, btw, since the first-order bit of such things is randomness.

Or maybe some people don't like duplicates?

I did not think of that. Yes, we should not underestimate the fellow combinators in their ability to connect the dots ;-)

Or maybe you should stop posting the same comment multiple times.

Site seems down, here's the archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20180714103142/https://e.foundat...

And a non-scroll hijack full page screenshot: https://my.mixtape.moe/nrdfgf.jpg

Not trying to be a buzzkill, but how (from what I can see from the Google cache), is this different than LineageOS without Google Apps? Or the recently mentioned CopperheadOS which already has ROMs available and supports commercially available devices..? https://copperhead.co/android/

Copperhead is dead. See recent drama.

For reference: https://www.reddit.com/r/copperheados

Purism is next in line.

I really hope they succeed but the track record for these things is amazingly bad, the forces they are up against are not small.

The good thing is that Purism has a track record. They have been designing, manufacturing & shipping privacy focused, FOSS laptops for years now.

A full FOSS/FOSH phone is new territory. They're still allowing pre-orders on their website if interested.

I'm hopeful that it will be a good Linux phone when production is done in January.

> I really hope they succeed but the track record for these things is amazingly bad, the forces they are up against are not small.

- Linux Fan, 1993

Quite a distinction between hardware and software development.

Apart from commercial competitors, I'd imagine a few natsec types would probably try to rustle feathers, they certainly have past form in this field.

We need an open, PC-like phone standard? So far we have closed SoCs everywhere that end up as landfill every 1-2 years without any other possible use. With <5nm chips it should be trivial to have open SoCs in phone factors.

It's far from dead. The main developer is going to continue as open-source donation based. Which is great news, because Copperhead was only source-available:


While for the most part I agreed with strncat, the way he handled things was extremely poor. Especially the part where he deleted the signing keys. This isn't the first time he's done a "drama flameout" from a project, either. Most importantly, he has made public complaints about people using his work for free.

Frankly, he won't ever be in my web of trust. I'm not going to trust my critical infrastructure to him.

Rest of the drama aside, I feel that deleting the signing keys was perhaps the only viable choice. He was the one making the builds. What's the point in leaving the keys in the hands of the company ? It only leaves the door open for the company publishing questionable builds with the same signing key.

Agreed on the keys. His interpretation of open source licenses is weird, he feels cheated when people use his stuff in accordance to the license. He wants to stop people from accepting donations for example claiming it's "commercial use". In that regard he's out of touch with reality.

If I understand correctly, they're also trying to build a server/cloud thing, so that you have everything out of the box. I'd say they're trying to get LineageOS to the general public.

At first I thought this was a too-subtle satire of other projects that failed to get traction. But I guess this is an actual project with branding that almost feels like satire?

At least their mockup of a fantasy smartphone OS looks bright and attractive, if highly derivative of iOS.

How do you pronounce /e/?


That's the first pronunciation that came to my mind.


First thoughts: the branding looks like it came out of a PC Magazine from 1995. Also I’m put off with the constant donation requests and all I’ve seen thus far is a bad web site. Release something first, anything, then ask for money and fire your graphics designer and whoever is doing ya’ll marketing.

/e/, the phone for people who want to hide their ecchi, but let people know that they're into 2d.

If you don't know, /e/ is 4chan's ecchi board. Ecchi is softcore japanese cartoon porn.

Clarification request: Is this really a new privacy-enabled operating system, or is it yet another attempt to convert Android into a privacy-enabled operating system?

How is this better/different from https://lineage.microg.org/ ?

Many have tried and failed. I salute the attempt but I would take a bet against it. I have tried to get access to high end radios that don't have strange carrier modes and haven't found them. A usb modem goes a long way in terms of isolating things but the new tricks are way smarter than the old.

Could you recommend a known-good device, USB modem and OS version combo?

So, here's a project that wants to 100% focus on privacy (according to their crowdfunding campaign).

The first task they start with?

Write a new launcher, of course!

I wish people stopped messing around with scroll.. This website is a pain to navigate with javascript enabled and cannot be navigated at all with javascript disabled (overflow hidden, need to hack css too to make it bearable).

To see such poor UX on the website of someone developing an OS is a red flag for me.

https://www.linuxfoundation.org is mostly unusable with a touchpad on linux on chromium because they are using one of those smooth scrolling scripts.

Works for me in Firefox with a touchpad. Scroll does not seem hijacked.

also a wordpress theme ! (salient)

Equally with select dropdowns. Everyone and their mother reinvents them while covering maybe 50% of edge cases that a <select> tag does out of the box

I even have to do this to others as part of my latest project. I apologize, I have fought it and failed, and now I have no choice

We wouldn't have this problem if the <select> tag was easier to customize, and addressed the most common UI/UX issues that people (designers) have with it.

Anyway, given that this is not the case, the designers should have chosen a well-maintained library of UI components.

I agree, but given that it's such a reocurring problem, why is it not moving forward via the HTML5 living standard? We had this problem before with ES5 and while it was solved with jQuery, ES6 came along and solved a lot of these pain points. HTML doesn't seem to be moving in this direction (yet)

Is it that important? As a user I don't really care much how the select element looks. Standard one is totally fine for me. It allows to customize its size and colors and that is more than enough.

many wordpress themes do that, go figure why.

> Error establishing a database connection

That sums up the situation pretty well.

The penultimate privacy solution.

What's the ultimate one...?

Not running a site at all.



Currently displaying "Error establishing a database connection".

Even the database has given up on libre smartphones.

> data slavery

Tab closed.

/e/ is what happens when you let hackers do the branding.

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