Purism, please port Android (AOSP) to L5 (reasons why to do that)

The title of this post looks stupid, but it isn’t. This will benefit Purism financially and users by having more choice.

Reasons for users:
Phosh is (as of now) clunky and even the most essential basic features are missing (no apps on homescreen (huge time waster), no widgets, can’t slide down the top panel). Why not just port AOSP in the meanwhile? It is already ready and super polished. There is not a single Android device, which have hardware kill switches and open source software (drivers included) that work (Pinephone has Android support, but it is half assed and not usable).

Reasons for Purism:
Some months ago I came across of this - https://toughmobile2.bittium.com/
Basically it is some generic Android phone with “extreme privacy features”. Software, of course, is not open source, so it is impossible to check for backdoors. They are selling this phone for:
1550€ = $1856 (Bittium phone, with Google)
1650€ = $1974 (Bittium phone, without Google)
1,670€ = $2000 (L5 USA cost)
That Bittium phone is almost L5 USA price territory. At least they claim to manufacture the phone in Finland.
What I am wanting to say, is that there is a market for privacy focused Android phones. If they can sell Android phones for such price (with mid range specs), it means there is demand. If Purism would offer Android versions of the L5, Purism would make more money, because the L5 hardware is more privacy and security focused (Bittium phone doesn’t have kill switches, doesn’t have replaceable modem, wifi, doesn’t have open source software and drivers).

Purism, please. I already pre-ordered the Fir batch and donated 2 times. Give your customers more choices.


One thing they might lose from this option is being able to run standard (but adaptive) apps.

I doubt that Purism has the developer resources to continue to develop PureOS on the Librem5 and port AOSP.


Well, the choice is there: you can already buy an Android phone. If we give up control of the operating system, we couldn’t tailor the phone and OS to work well together. We would have to tailor the phone to be more Android-like, and the world already has enough of that.

The choice we’re giving people is having a decent experience without Google (through Android).


You are misunderstanding me.

Well, the choice is there: you can already buy an Android phone.

The thing is you CAN’T buy an Android phone with such features as L5 (killswitches, replaceble cards etc).

If we give up control of the operating system, we couldn’t tailor the phone and OS to work well together. We would have to tailor the phone to be more Android-like, and the world already has enough of that.

So, you are saying that L5 hardware is incapable of running Android in usable form? I don’t believe, L5 is just an regular full ARM64 computer in phone shape.

The choice we’re giving people is having a decent experience without Google (through Android).

The people constantly forgetting, that Android is free and open source software. AOSP doesn’t even have GAPPS. And when I am saying Android I am referring to AOSP without Google stuff. I really don’t understand the hate towards Android, which is seen as Google spyware in 100% cases without exception. You are referring Android as it is when big phone manufacturers takes the AOSP, ports to the phone, adds GAPPS and commercial bloatware, spyware.

Don’t you want extra customers (customers = money), who doesn’t care about the GNU/Linux part, but just want a regular Android phone with extreme privacy protection?

I care about GNU/Linux part, but I also want be able to run Android, if necessary.


No, I’m saying that Android is controlled by Google, and despite it being open source, a company like Purism would have to fork it to get the control we want, with proper mainline kernel support, PureBoot, etc. Following Google’s leadership is not a very interesting option, with how much effort it would take to not compromise our goals.

Income = revenue - cost, unfortunately.


If you want the usefulness of a proprietary phone, you may as well just build a lens cap and a faraday case. You can be done within the hour. Otherwise, we are several years behind starting an Android solution. Imagine how the distraction would go down for the people who just want what they envisioned.

I will go along with the lens cap, but I would strongly prefer the kill switches to a faraday case :slight_smile:
And I think that his arguments are quite reasonable, kind of an intermediate step towards a final privacy respecting version.

I am following the progress on a near daily basis and I think that there is still a long long way to go until the phone is really ready to be a daily driver (without the user needing to be a major linux geek).

As my current one broke down (literally) I will have to get myself a new phone, and I will most probably install lineage os along with afwall+ and xprivacylua on it, among others, as an android phone is my only option right now besides of buying a simple burner-style phone.

I have to admit, though, that I do not know how much effort it means to port Android AOSP to the Librem 5.

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Maybe ask on XDA to see if anybody is interested. Since the L5 is so open, all the resources should be there. I would rather Purism stay focused on the mobile linux ecosystem.


This is not an answer to the suggestion in the original post, but I’ll paste this here just to remind people of the Anbox option, and how to (currently) install it, in case some want the info:


Purism offered Anbox as a stretch goal during crowdfunding, but the amount was not reached. So clearly they don’t think they have the (monetary) ressources to put Android on the thing.

Even if they put AOSP on it they would jot even be allowed to call it Android, that trademark belongs to Google and they have a very onerous list of requirements and must-have installed apps to grant that trademark.

So, you say, they should pull off all of their … Like 8 people working on this to get Android running on it, abandoning the goal to create a real Linux mobile ecosystem? They might win a few customers willing to pay 900+ USD for a mid-level Android phone, but they would lose a whole bunch of enthusiasts wanting to run ‘apt’ on their phone natively. I am not convinced it were a net gain.

Not having icons in the phosh homescreen is by design, and so it would probably not even work if an Android foundation would be used.


Glodroid is doing the work for the PinePhone, look into them. Maybe they already have a port in the runnings.


In the meanwhile the average person…

  • …in front of a GNU/Linux phone user: “Woa! You are so cool to use that, dude!”
  • …in front of a “de-googled” android user: “Oh, you are such a looser! Why don’t you just use Android? Is that even a thing?”

I must be quite average, as those would be my reactions too.

I think @Bum112 has valid points, but Purism probably does not have any resources now to do that. You cannot sell it before the software is ready and AOSP is not ready for Librem 5 now.

Instead, I suggest to ask alternative AOSP projects to support Librem 5, which should be easier: Replicant (endorsed by FSF!) or /e/OS.
Even more projects: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_custom_Android_firmwares.


I disagree. This is a free phone, you can install anything you want, reinstall or have multiple operating systems. I would probably use AOSP as a second OS on my Librem 5, booting into it when I must use anything from Android ecosystem.

We are talking past each other. I am saying that if purism spent resources to put Android on this thing, they would have no resources to get a Linux mobile ecosystem going. And without that I would not have been interested in my L5. “Just” to be able to run Android with a mainline kernel on it, would not have been interesting for me.
I am not saying, there should not be multiple OSes, just not saying that purism needs to focus on one effort.


You are of course right and I already said that above (Purism probably does not have any resources now to do that). What I am trying to tell is that Purism nevertheless could recognize the importance of Android port and encourage the community to work on it. You know, just mention it somewhere in the posts and explain that Android can work too and even better than on any other phone.

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I think that anyone who wants to run Android on the Librem 5 is missing the point entirely of what the Librem product lines are all about.

We want to be free of anything that can contain us, restrict us, or spy on us. At this point in time (as of today), PureOS is better suited to accomplish all of this for us much more-so than any version of Android can do, also as of today. If you disagree, you’re free to port Android to run on the Librem 5 yourself. No one will try to stop you. Probably no one who is qualified to make such a port will help you either though. Most people with those qualifications understand the big picture better than most of the rest of us and they do not like making bad investments, nor serving causes that do not align with their personal values. And it’s not like Android is bad. It’s just that investing in Android does not serve the Linux/GNU crowd and their values in any way shape or form. Thanks to Todd’s foresight and planning, there is a solid way out of Android and any unhealthy paradigms that go with what others have done with Android. So Android becomes more irrelevant every day, to those who care about Linux/GNU values. Theoretically, Google could contribute and place good clean code under the GPL license. But they won’t, and we all know why. So why would we ever want to write code that can run on their platforms either? To try to make Librem hardware appear to have value to run non-Librem software (Librem by definition, not referring to any trademarks), is like a form of prostitution. We don’t need the money that badly, or would rather see the mission fail than to cater to the likes of Google.

I am just a Purism customer and do not represent Purism. This is just my opinion.


Purism is not meant to serve specifically the Linux crowd though. What we do is aimed at all those who are tired of the “big tech” and the way they treat their customers. The Linux crowd is the best ground to start from, but by no means the end.


Like this?

hehehe Purism I ain’t mad at ya . #NOMOREANDROID

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