The Search for a FLOSS Mobile OS (Aug 2021)

This post is a summary of my experience using FLOSS mobile OSes and what my experience can tell us not only about phones, but Free/Open Source OSes in general.


That’s an excellent write-up. Thanks for sharing.

The author is wrong on a couple of points:

  1. You don’t have to create an account to use an Android. Sure, you won’t be able to use Googevil’s apps on the device, but if you’re someone who intends to use Android without an account, you likely don’t care about that, and will install F-Droid, OSMand, etc., instead. (Like me!)

  2. /e/ Foundation does in fact sell phones for the North American market now, as of a few months ago. (

Still, a great overview of the current state of alternative mobile solutions.


I wish they (/e/ Foundation) had more devices available in the USA store, but do like how the one phone they do offer has a removable battery.

Im not a huge fan of the spec sheet of the Teracube 2e but without having a googled android running on it I think it would do well. Worth noting that you can buy that device on it’s own directly here if you really like it and don’t want to wait for the /e/ store to get it in stock (you can load the OS on it yourself).

Some cellular band information for those interested:

I havent tried /e/ os myself but like the look of it.

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I’ve read that the Teracube’s camera is not very good, but otherwise I like the sustainability angle, not to mention the fact that they would partner directly with a 3rd party OS provider. :clap: [Fairphone did, too, for the European market.]

I’ve been using /e/ for a little over two months, and I love it. I installed it myself - first time I had ever installed a custom ROM - and it was surprisingly easy. (Depends on the OEM, though… Sony and Motorola make it easy to unlock the bootloader, while Samsung throws up obstacles…including proprietary IMS/VoLTE!) Runs great, too.

I will eventually transition to the L5 (or its successor?) when I feel that it covers all my use cases.


A nice article. Would one encounter and issues (beyond the obvious one of syncing) if one used the /e/ anonymously?

You can set up your own Nextcloud instance. /e/Cloud is built on that, and you don’t have to create an /e/Cloud account if you don’t want to.

And the phone will work just like any Android, just without all the connections to Google. You don’t need to create any account. Some proprietary apps that rely on Google “services” won’t work, because microG is already built into /e/. (Some will work, though. Others cause clashes.) No Google apps possible, either, I think, but then that would defeat the purpose.

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I have no desire to have google on my devices.

I have been using Magic Earth on my lineageOS phone. It works well in the US but less well in small towns in the south of Italy that a labyrinthine…

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I’ve never had issues with OSMand in my travels in that region. Aren’t they both based on OpenStreetMap? I always downloaded the detailed regional maps with OSMand.

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Yes, they are, but in the tiny villages whether streets are one-way or not is not always marked and so the directions are incorrect. In so far as I was able, I was trying to update the maps while I was in Italy.

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It’s optional in Italy anyway, isn’t it? :rofl:



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Long time OSM contributor here. Yes both based on OSM data.

Magic Earth adds a few other data sources beyond what OSMand+ has that are probably valuable to general end users like traffic data and from what I can tell, an address database(s) like the National Address Database. So even if the address isn’t in OSM it’ll show on Magic Earth. This is more noticeable in the USA where the OSM contributor count and and other things lead to less well mapped cities even if they’re in the top 5 most populated.

OSMand+'s biggest win IMO is that you can basically make adds/modifications shortly in advance of a trip and be guaranteed to have them reflected within an hour vs Magic Earth’s more nebulous update frequency


I bought the US one and used it in Italy this fall (it is dual sim) We had two problems with it: 1. for some reason some calls didn’t get through; and 2. the gps updating was very slow or flaky. Probably the hardest part of google to leave behind is maps; the search functions on the default map app (which is magic earth) is horrible.

@fsflover I thought that I would thank you for the post. I decided to try out calyx after having read it.

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