Tehoetic and Qibre selling Replicant devices to consumers!

Replicant is a Free Software version of Android. For those that don’t “enjoy” building the “firmware” of their phone from scratch, the Replicant blog just posted a story about a vendor retrofiting Galaxy S, Galaxy S 2, and Galaxy Tab 2 devices with Replicant. This is roughly like how Ministry of Freedom installs Free Software (and firmware) onto old Thinkpads, but for Android-based devices. Excerpt of announcement:

Shops selling devices pre-installed with Replicant

A few months ago, we were contacted to discuss the endorsement of an online shop selling mobile devices pre-installed with Replicant: Qibre Computer Hardware. […] A few weeks ago, Tehnoetic also started selling devices pre-installed with Replicant and was featured on the FSF’s Ethical Tech Giving Guide. At this point, the following devices can be bought pre-installed with Replicant:

 * From Qibre: Galaxy S (I9000), Galaxy S 2 (I9100), Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 (P31xx)
 * From Tehnoetic: Galaxy S 2 (I9100)

Note that 2% of each Tehnoetic S2 phone sale will be donated monthly to the Replicant project and 1% of each Tehnoetic S2 phone sale will be donated monthly to the F-Droid project, so buying devices actually helps Replicant move forward! Buying from these shops rather than third-party resellers also helps them secure money to get stocks of Replicant-supported devices in large quantities, so that it remains possible to buy them for a long time!

More information:

Libreboot ported to modern ARM Chromebook

Earlier this month, Paul Kocialkowski announced some work of his: getting Libreboot running on an ARM-based Chromebook, the Asus C201 “veyron_speedy”). Paul is a developer on the Replicant project, a free-as-in-freedom Android distribution.

Some quotes from Paul’s announcement:

“It should require no proprietary code nor any proprietary firmware load or microcode update to boot, thus it would be a good fit for Libreboot, as a fully free distribution of Coreboot.”

“At this point, I’ve been able to boot up Debian on the device, and the xfce4 interface is quite usable. It even runs big programs like Iceweasel/Firefox and LibreOffice without inconveniences.”

“Overall, I truly hope this device creates an incentive to free the last remaining parts that can only work with proprietary software to this day. Its potential would be huge, especially since it’s a good fit for travellers. With the security model inherited from Chromium OS, this would be one of the safest laptops to be used by journalists or activists. If Tails was to be ported to it, it would become easy to have a secure and anonymous setup.”

See the below libreboot mailing list post for full announcement. It’s not perfect, there are some issues with the Mali T764 Mali, and free software support, and some other rough edged, but perhaps these can be worked out over time.

Also, as mentioned in an earlier post, Paul will be at Chaos Communications Camp (CCCamp) 2015 later this week:

“I’ll be at CCCamp 2015 to talk about Replicant (as well as other things that I’m working on, like porting Libreboot to the C201 Chromebook), starting tomorrow.”

Very nice work Paul!!


Replicant on mobile device security

The Replicant project is a Free Software-specific fork of Android, which focuses on users’ freedoms, and privacy/security. They try to get Android running without any firmware- or OS-level “blobs”, which gives them technical perspectives that most don’t have. They have a document which gives a decent introduction to mobile device security, including hardware, firmware, OS, and app issues, and about security issues of mobile baseband chips.. The advice is focused for someone using Replicant, but the app advice is applicable to most Android users.

More Information: