Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby LE_746F6D617A7A69 » 2020-07-24 08:19

Deb-fan wrote:Any project seriously attempting gnu/Linux proper aimed at mobile would have to involve using a highly modified custom Linux kernel for it, just like the techno-ninjas at Google Inc
Right, so f.e. Google have modified the Linux kernel 2.6.x around year 2007 by contributing the cgroups code - and since then they are using it as core component for sandboxing apps on Android... ;)
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-24 08:47

^ Hey cool and thanks, of course didn't know such. Started to edit last post and add some stuff about Google contributing to the kernel and gawds know what all other open source too. Like to believe it's for altruistic reasons and think to some degree it actually is, though key motivator is almost surely looking out for their own best interests and ambitions. Wondering how much infuence/control they must have amassed over what happens with the Linux kernel by now? In ways that's kind of concerning to me, not that there's a dam thing I can do about it, whatever the situation and no matter what ... Google does contribute likely A LOT to open source.

Ah Google surely wouldn't hire me either, I'd be-get mad about it but honestly can't blame them, so whatcha gonna do? The people behind Google clearly don't just know how to maximize leverage and benefit from open source, friggers know how to cherry pick the best stuff from it and have the talent and resources to improve on whatever from it they've chosen. Generate massive interest among open sourcers to improve and expand on their projects seemingly at will. I can't help but admire them. Crushing competitors, left, right and center. :)

Score card:

Internet search: Google dominates.
Web browerage: Google Chrome dominates.
Mobile: Google Android DOMINATES!
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby LE_746F6D617A7A69 » 2020-07-24 12:04

My point of view on Google is definitely not as optimistic as Yours... but that would deserve to start another thread...

The most fundamental problem with Android is that all user-accessible applications are written in Java and are running in customized JavaVM.
This is the main reason why Apple is kicking Google' ass in terms of performance and power consumption.

Google have realized that there's a lot Java code monkeys around, so from business point of view, the implementation of Dalvik was just excellent move - who cares about the end-users anyway? (or who cares about quality of code in Android apps?)
A 100MB application needed to connect the smartwatch? -> obviously a trojan/malware/spyware -> but of course, it is sandboxed :lol:

I really would like to have a mobile phone powered by some free distribution like Debian.
Having such an option, it would be easy to implement native support for touch navigation and optimize the GUIs for small screens.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-24 14:18

Appreciate you sharing some insights. I admire how Google operates but don't approve of everything they elect. Don't believe there's a whole lot I can do about the maneuvers tech-gaints like Google make. At least when it comes to Android for that matter ChromeOs and the Chrome browser, they're all tied to apparently thriving open source projects/communities + the kernel too. Not to mention gnu/Linux has to be powering overwhelming amounts of their backend tech. So think in ways Google is intimately joined to open source. Will protect it and has a vested interest in nurturing it(at least parts), if only out of self interest. Of course they want to make money too and are transparent about that fact.

Can see both pro's and cons surely. Am also sure efforts will continue in gnu/Linux on mobile, badly stunted by Android though. On both ends, oem's have pretty much zero motivation to bother giving any support to gnu/Linux with Android around and same for open source devs too now. At this point my veiw goes as follows, production environments or desktop, gnu/Linux. Mobile(for many types of consumer electronics, my own), Android.

Things like crappy power management-etc, hopefully the Android community continues making innovations, they surely will. Also am certain much can be done by anyone who gets familiar with the Os, I've drastically increased battery life, even on un-rooted Android devices and much better via rooting. That was only really basic poking around in Android, there were clearly A LOT more performance gains to be had fiddling around under it's hood but lost interest in it at the time. Only ever got to the point of scratching around on the surface of what's possible with it.

My prediction, think obviously Android's here to stay and will continue to dominate mobile from now until forevermore.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-07-25 16:26

LE_746F6D617A7A69 wrote:Apparently, this guy has a serious problem:
The Linux kernel is a security disaster
When people tell you that Debian is secure, it's like someone trying to claim that Windows XP with partial security updates (via their extended support) would be secure.

Well the current upstream LTS kernel version is on 4.19.132 but Debian stable is still stuck on 4.19.118 so it does seem to be lagging behind somewhat.

LE_746F6D617A7A69 wrote:I'm guessing that he have forked grsecurity kernel and now he is disappointed that Google didn't hired him...

He did manage to port the PaX kernel patches to Android and also port OpenBSD's malloc so he seems fairly capable to me :)

LE_746F6D617A7A69 wrote:The Linux kernel implements 3 basic interfaces for full sandboxing of the applications (the "sandboxing" term is modern, but stupid) :
seccomp, cgroups and namespaces

The Android sandboxing framework is based on those kernel interfaces - there's no magic in it.

Yes, thank you, I am familiar with seccomp, cgroups and namespaces but my point is that Android uses those frameworks on a per-application level. Linux distributions only do that for a few discrete applications (like Chromium) and even then the separation is not complete.

As I said in my earlier post there really doesn't seem to be any point in porting Debian (or whatever) to Android when that already has it's own open source versions.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby LE_746F6D617A7A69 » 2020-07-25 20:32

I was referring to this statement:
Head_on_a_Stick wrote:(...) Linux lacks coherent per-application sandboxing (and no, firejail doesn't count, user namespaces are a gaping wide hole in the system).

1. Linux is the kernel, not a distribution, and the kernel supports per-application sandboxing.
2. I'm sure You know that it's trivially easy to sandbox every single application f.e. by simply modifying its startup script/launcher.

Now, the question is why sandboxing is needed at all?
You have mentioned Chromium - this is a very good example, because it explains the need for sandboxing applications on Android:
The reason for sandboxing web browsers is that they are executing unknown, untested, possibly unreliable and possibly harmful code -> the web pages code.
In a normal system (like Debian) there are only 2 kinds of applications which can execute code from unknown sources: web browsers and e-mail readers. Every other program (application) has a constant code, and if it comes from Debian repositories, You can be sure that it's not a virus/malware.

So, It is completely OK that Debian is not sanboxing every single application -> that would make no sense, since 100% application on Debian are proven to not be a malware. Sandboxing is not a cost-free -> it causes serious performance drop and higher power consumption (much more code has to be executed during simple task switching - thousands of times per second)

But this is not the case in Android woirld: 99% of the applications are using external sources f.e.. for displaying advertisements (there are other reasons too...) -> so every application behaves similarly to a web browser -> it can download and execute unknown/dangerous code.
Another problem is, that many of the Android apps are coming from untrusted sources -> f.e. if You new shiny smartwatch requires to download some app for activation, from completely untrusted/non-verified web site...

Yet another thing is, that sandboxing does not defend the users from applications intentionally created for spying/collecting unwanted informations about the user - because formally they are "normal" applications ;)

Yet another thing is, that sandboxing does not prevent the applications to use security holes in underlying system services...
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-25 22:10

Lots of interesting technical tidbits, thanks for sharing/arguing fellas. :)

The damn gnu/Linux is lacking security thing again?!?? Saying nix isn't ready for mobile because of some innate security concern is like saying it's not ready for laptop/desktop. Which is clearly ridiculous.

An operating system security on any form factor is directly proportional to the amount of users control. If the end-user has admin privileges, they can implode and/or compromise anything in the push of a few buttons. Think gnu/Linux and the open source model has long been more secure than say Windows but also know MS intentionally left users exposed(more exposed), simple things like separating admin/user accts are a big jump forward in terms of PC security alone.

Brilliant brainfart edit: In terms of Android a huge % of users aren't given root, they're using un-rooted devices, thus yep that also must confer a security advantage to the Android operating system. Though for more technically savvy users, rooting is possible too. Not having root on any personal device tends to drive me bonkers. In terms of less proficient users it's a big advantage for stability and security though.


More I've thought about it and researched this n that to confirm or clarify, more I'm blown away by what Google Inc managed in harnessing open source, esp the situation with Android and mobile, topic is awe inspiring and stuff of legend at this point. Honestly think with Android around gnu/nix and mobile is pointless. Though is bound to start getting some long due recognition on desktop and others. At least gaining a nice chunk of users anyway. Don't see why anything could ever be able to displace nix in production/Enterprise, same should be for desktop but with Android, including an apparent massive open source community interest around it in one fell swoop Google pretty much decapitated conventional gnu/Linux prospects of moving into consumer electronics mobile.

PS, brainfart:

Google's also a premiere champion in supporting and promoting open source by developing these projects too, there's ungoogled Android, ChromiumOs vs ChromeOs and Chromium browser vs Chrome. Think it's ingenius how they set things up, open source communities do a huge chunk of the development and testing, Google sits back, shines the end product up a bit, packages it for shipment and WHAM, waits for the money to come rolling in.

A LOT of people are bound to hear about open source (and gnu/Linux) due to Google's projects.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby kedaha » 2020-07-26 00:18

To quote the Free Software Foundation:
Most mobile devices are not controlled by the users, but by the manufacturer and the operator. The software that runs on them is not Free Software.[ ...]
Our mobile devices contain more personal information than most private diaries. But proprietary systems, even most Android phones, are designed to hand over this data to companies like Google or Apple.

My mobile has, for example a nice weather app but also quite a lot of of preinstalled stuff which I have no intention of using but some often prompt me to enable them like, for example using voice commands or sending SMS via some proprietary app.
Finally, with Covid contact tracing coming down the pipeline, they could try and compel everyone to use devices loaded with proprietary apps with or without user consent. Like the telescreen in George Orwell's 1984 book.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-26 02:12

Dammit!

One more dorkish observation on gnu/nix and Android, specifically on desktop. Noted some potential application of installing/using Android or ChromeOs to get access to Android apps on desktop. Virtual machines and emulators tech has clearly come a mind boggling long way. Android due to it's ridiculous popularity has natively supported apps for things even conventional gnu/Linux desktop might never develop. So for people in that situation or the I have to keep Windows cause xyz isn't available in nix or whatever, this could have potential.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Deb-fan » 2020-07-26 07:53

Another observation on Android + security. Clearly another thing on the gnu/Linux platform which has tended to confer increased security, often users get and install software from trusted repositories. Google/Android also takes advantage of this, the Google play store. They do vet and police apps allowed there. Devs cannot just upload malicious apps on to the GPStore. Also Google makes a buttload of money from apps. However as with gnu/Linux of course there are alternative sources for apk's that users can install software from. If they so choose but why could they need to, there's like 1gazillion apps there to choose from!?

More I consider this stuff, more I'm forced to say, if-when I ever grow up, I wanna be like Google. :)
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Head_on_a_Stick » 2020-07-26 16:52

kedaha wrote:To quote the Free Software Foundation:
Most mobile devices are not controlled by the users, but by the manufacturer and the operator. The software that runs on them is not Free Software.[ ...]
Our mobile devices contain more personal information than most private diaries. But proprietary systems, even most Android phones, are designed to hand over this data to companies like Google or Apple.

Both LineageOS and GrapheneOS do not include any Google applications, they must be installed separately if the user wants them.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby kedaha » 2020-07-26 17:38

Head_on_a_Stick wrote:Both LineageOS and GrapheneOS do not include any Google applications, they must be installed separately if the user wants them.

I think I'd gladly use either of them if I had a supported device.
I've made some progress with Maemo Leste on my Nokia n900. I've been able to install it to a 32GB Micro SD card and boot it and everything works as summarised in this status link. The wifi works well and I can connect to it easily by ssh too but making phone calls with a UI for contacts and sending SMS seem to be some way off. So acquiring another, second-hand device looks like the best option for the time being.

Edit: Readers of this topic might find this video interesting:
FOSDEM 2020 postmarketOS and Maemo Leste: Status of Linux on the smartphone
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby Palomino » 2020-07-27 15:56

I also think LineageOS is a better OS than any other OS out there. Maybe I am just biased since I only use this OS. And with this OS, I am able to use my Launch Scan tool https://bestobd2scanners.com/launch/.
Last edited by Palomino on 2020-08-31 07:24, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby pylkko » 2020-07-27 19:39

kedaha wrote:I think I'd gladly use either of them if I had a supported device.

You need to buy a device that has support to begin with (or that will likely have support).
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Re: Does anyone here use, or intend to use, a Linux Phone?

Postby kedaha » 2020-07-27 23:18

pylkko wrote:You need to buy a device that has support to begin with (or that will likely have support).

I bought my latest Android device back in March so I'll think twice about buying something else any time soon.

The librem5 would be a good choice since it not only has its own debian-like system but it also runs on free hardware. However, it is a bit on the pricey side. :( I started this topic when I saw that development of Maemo Leste was progressing and as I mentioned, I've installed the development image of this OS on my old Nokia n900. Old? Not really because it is as good as new and even the battery keeps it going quite a long time but I didn't use it very much after I bought it back in 2013. So I will probably wait for Maemo Leste to mature further.

Meanwhile I've reinstalled my android mobile to the factory defaults and proceeded to do without most of the Google stuff like the "Playstore" so as to use free f-droid apps instead. I installed quite a lot of free stuff including, notably, the IceCatMobile Web browser, which is lightning fast.

Having thought about this subject, or rather mulled over it for some time, I've come to the conclusion that the development of 100% free Gnu/Linux operating systems for mobile phones is of paramount importance. Why? For the reasons given on the FSF page, Free Your Android! for a start.
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