Fairphone lessons (Re: Shiftphones details)

Carsten Agger agger at modspil.dk
Tue May 14 15:41:35 UTC 2019

On 5/14/19 8:52 AM, Bernhard E. Reiter wrote:

> When trying to get a product out of the doors, you face a large number of
> small and larger decisions. First of all, the product has to "work" for the
> expected usage. Fairphone 1 was good in this regard, but Fairphone 2 a bit
> less so. Backing up and taking more time may have not been possible, without
> risking to not have a product at all. Which would have been the worst result.
> So to me your criticism is too harsh. After all they produced two phones that
> were significant steps forward.
> If we had more manufactures trying to go in the Fairphone direction, it would
> foster much more Free Software usages on mobile devices. It is fine to point
> out how they could do better, but I think we should even more applaude them
> for the advances.
Actually, from a free software perspective I was disappointed with the 
Fairphone 2. Fairphone 1 came with almost entirely free software, with 
the OS based on AOSP and no Google apps in its default configuration.  
Fairphone 2 came with proprietary Android and Google Apps and no way to 
get rid of them without reflashing your phone (something I haven't 
gotten around to yet, in part because of a perception of risk in doing so).

This also goes to show that the Fairphone project doesn't seem to focus 
a lot on the free software issue, or even understand it very well. I 
suspect that the Fairphone 1 had AOSP not because of a preference for 
free software, but because they didn't have  a deal with Google for 
proprietary Android yet.

And that's not what I would expect, or at least want, from a fair phone. 
Regarding sourcing, working conditions and repairability, I find the 
project quite admirable in its goals.


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