/e/ OS, the “open-source, pro-privacy, and absolutely degoogled” fork of Android, is coming to Canada and the USA. In fact, you’ve got at all times been capable of obtain the software program in any area, however now (as first noticed by It is Foss Information) the e Basis will begin promoting preloaded telephones in North America. Beforehand, /e/ solely did enterprise in Europe.
Like regular, the e Basis’s smartphone technique is to promote refurbished Samsung units with /e/ pre-loaded. Within the US, there are solely two telephones proper now: the Galaxy S9 for $379.99 or a Galaxy S9+ for $429.99. North People nonetheless have purpose to be jealous of Europe, the place you will get /e/ preloaded on a Fairphone, which can be Europe-exclusive.
These Samsung telephones are used units, however the web site says the units have “been checked and reconditioned to be absolutely working at our accomplice’s services.” The telephones have a one-year guarantee and are described as “Good-as-New” with “no surprises.” An /e/ system means you will be getting a fork of Android 10, and for ongoing assist, the e Basis says, “We purpose to assist with a minimum of 3 years of software program updates and safety patches.”
/e/ OS was based by Gaël Duval, the creator of Mandrake Linux, and the undertaking describes itself as a “non-profit undertaking within the public curiosity.” /e/ is constructed rather a lot like a Linux distribution, in that it takes a curated assortment of different open supply initiatives, merges them right into a single product, and does its finest to fill within the remaining gaps. On this case, /e/ relies on LineageOS, the Android group’s open supply, device-ready model of Google’s Android supply code. The first contribution of /e/ is filling in all of the gaps left by the dearth of Google apps, so there’s an /e/ app retailer, an /e/ cloud storage and account system, and varied Google-replacement apps like a Chromium-based browser, an electronic mail fork known as Ok-9 Mail, contacts, search, images, and so on. The corporate is even making an attempt to construct a Google Assistant substitute.
Really getting common Android apps to run on a forked model of Android is a problem. Google Play Companies is constructed into many apps for issues like push notifications, and there is a good likelihood that performance will not work on /e/ OS. These apps will a minimum of run on /e/ OS as a substitute of exiting outright, due to the inclusion of MicroG, an open supply undertaking that hijacks Google API calls.
/e/’s communication issues
This can be a slight digression, however I can not seem to discover a first-party supply for this information, which is simply one other instance of how extremely irritating it may be to attempt to observe or cowl /e/ OS. The title “/e/ OS” does not actually work on search engines like google and yahoo—slashes are normally not a sound character for a search, and also you’re left trying to find a single-letter OS, which works very poorly. You may nail the official residence web page of the e Basis, however search engines like google and yahoo shortly transfer on to different issues that comprise the letter “e,” so it is tougher than it must be to convey up information or different ancillary details about the OS.
The e Basis webpage does not present any information or have a weblog (there’s a lifeless information part right here), and the official /e/ Twitter by no means introduced US gross sales. The “Observe us” footer on the e Basis web page lists a Medium weblog, however the icon goes to the unsuitable hyperlink: this empty weblog as a substitute of this lively weblog, however the lively /e/ weblog does not point out this information, both.
Clearly a part of what the e Basis desires to perform is constructing a wider motion of respecting privateness and pushing again towards information assortment corporations, however step certainly one of a motion like this must be communication, and /e/ appears very unhealthy at communication. How is anybody supposed to seek out these things out?
There’s an opportunity you do not have to really purchase a telephone to run /e/ OS. Identical to with Lineage, you may set up the OS at residence, without cost, if in case you have a appropriate system. There are 138 units formally supported by /e/ OS (oddly no Pixel telephones, that are in all probability the most well-liked unlocked units), though solely about 60 are on the newest model. There may be even an “Simple Installer” for some Samsung Exynos units.
Itemizing picture by e Basis