Android with as little closed source as possible
Android seemed like an OpenMoko.org that could work. A phone running free software. Linux, and all the goodies that goes with it. However it took a bad turn. Not only was it just linux (no GNU), but Google seems to be locking it down. Replacing every app with a closed source one: Googles iron grip on Android.
See follow-up: Android with as little closed source as possible 2.
This problem can be broken into three:
Hardware (closed drivers).
Possible solution: FairPhone?
Android is not GNU/linux
Android missing GNU tools, crontab, rsync, mosh, apt and other components making Linux fun to use. Possible solution: I don’t have one for this. Perhaps Sailfish OS or Firefox OS? This isn’t a big problem, though.
Software (closed source, reliant on Google services).
Possible solution: Replicant is “a fully free Android distribution running on several devices”. It can be a long-term solution for this, but has some issues. It doesn’t have access to source for drivers (camera, GPS, modem ++) on most phones, and there are lots of apps that one only can find in Google Play. I don’t understand why companies allow Google to control all of their business and push apps to Google Play only. However, I’m reliant on a few of these apps (Spotify, RuterBillett, etc.), so I’ll have to keep Play for now.
I’ve made a list of how I’m keeping as little closed source on my phone as possible. As of 2013 this is my setup:
- Rom: CyanogenMod with Privacy Guard enabled.
- Anything from AOSP is OK. That includes the default app for calendar, messages, calling.
- App store: F-droid
- E-mail: K-9
- Podcast: AntennaPod
- Browser: Default is OK, but there are several good alternatives including Firefox and Lightning
- Task sync: aCal
- Reddit: RedReader
- Facebook if you must: Tinfoil for Facebook
These are some good, open source apps, but unfortunately only available through Play:
- TextSecure - SMS encryption
- RedPhone - VOIP encryption
Apps/services I’ve yet to find a replacement for:
- Google maps
- TinyCam monitor free
Other problems to be handled: * Google (and Apple) can circumvent the disk encryption: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NjuhdKUH6U4
Edit 20140103: updated apps list.