"The Proprietarization of Android – Google Play Services and Apps"

Nico Rikken nico.rikken at fsfe.org
Tue Jun 21 12:34:38 UTC 2016

Hi Paul,

Indeed, binary blobs are still present. I was aware of this upfront, as
the Replicant folks were already warning that Qualcomm was not going to
be a suitable partner for avoiding binary blobs. (always good to talk
to the other camps) The purist route would be the GTA04, but André
wasn't satisfied with his. So I've settled on the blobs, in order to
allow freedom on the top of the OS stack, and support these efforts of

Indeed the strong free software supporters seem to be in the minority,
but developing long-lasting hardware without the complementary software
stack is pointless for a device with software as its primary feature,
whilst being exposed to the internet.

Time will tell how this will pan out. The FP2 hardware is awesome in
that I've taken it apart on multiple occasions already. Always good for
a round-table at the local LUG ;) And a production flaw was replaced at
their office by swapping out the screen. Projecting such a view and
attention to detail onto the software stack, I have high hopes.

The referred Sony forum post doesn't seem to be available any more. But
if I understand correctly, Sony was trying to do the right thing, but
were eventually screwed over by one of their subcrontracters?

Kind regards,

On di, 2016-06-21 at 14:02 +0200, Paul Boddie wrote:
> On Tuesday 21. June 2016 12.48.13 Nico Rikken wrote:
> > Nice read!
> > 
> > I agree. Now a happy owner of the Fairphone 2 with Open Source
> > Android
> > build http://code.fairphone.com/, the app-ecosystem is still a
> > struggle.
> I was going to ask you whether you got your Fairphone, and so this is
> really 
> good timing!
> I don't have an opinion about the services, but I did wonder about
> the 
> "Fairphone Open Source OS" that came up in their blog:
> https://www.fairphone.com/2016/04/28/releasing-the-fairphone-2-open-o
> perating-
> system/
> It appears that despite Qualcomm's apparent helpfulness there are
> still opaque 
> proprietary binaries involved. And attempts to exclude them didn't
> seem to 
> lead anywhere:
> https://forum.fairphone.com/t/fp2-compiling-a-blob-free-variant-of-fa
> irphone-
> os/13717
> Maybe I have failed to navigate the horrible forum interface
> correctly and 
> that there is a build without the blobs.
> It's interesting that companies like Sony also claim to support the
> Android 
> Open Source Project stuff, although that leads to interesting
> consequences:
> "There is an DMCA filled by Qualcomm for the device amami(z1 compact)
> hence 
> the repository has been shutdown and sources cant be synced."
> https://talk.sonymobile.com/t5/General-Discussion/DMCA-Amami/m-p/1100
> 403
> (This was subsequently resolved in some fashion.)
> It's good that Fairphone have taken the software sustainability side
> of things 
> a lot more seriously, even though there appear to be people (in
> evidence 
> amongst the comments on the Fairphone blog post) who don't see the
> connection 
> between making sure that a device has viable software and how long
> that device 
> lasts, not to mention all the freedom-related aspects of choosing
> what 
> software one runs and, relevant to the topic, what services it
> depends on.
> Of course, service availability also affects device longevity, as
> people whose 
> Apple products no longer talk to Google services can attest.
> Paul
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