About /e/

Is /e/ open source?

Yes - all source code is available and you can compile it, fork it… Some prebuilt applications are used in the system; they are built separately from source code available here, or synced from open source repositories such as F-Droid. We ship one proprietary application though (read the statement).

Cool, /e/ is open source - how can I contribute?

If you have any suggestions, feel free to contact us! Send an email to join@e.email, with a clear subject line (like: ROM Developer Mediatek).

Is /e/ LineageOS + microG?

/e/ is forked from LineageOS. That being said we have made several changes to the code. Some of which are:

  • We have modified several parts of the system installation procedure, settings organization, default settings.
  • We have disabled and/or removed any software or services that were sending personal data to Google (for instance, the default search engine is no longer Google).
  • We have integrated microG by default, have replaced some of the default applications, and modified others.
  • We have added a synchronization background software service that syncs multimedia contents (pictures, videos, audio, files…) and settings to a cloud drive, when activated.
  • Also, we have replaced the LineageOS launcher with our own launcher. Written from scratch, the Bliss Launcher has a totally different look and feel from default LineageOS.
  • We have implemented several /e/ online services, with a single /e/ user identity (user@e.email). This infrastructure will be offered as docker images for self hosting: drive, email, calendar… to those who prefer self-hosting.
  • We have added an account manager within the system with support for the single identity. It allows users to log only once, with a simple “user@e.email” identity, for getting access to /e/’s various online services (drive, email, calendar, notes, tasks).

Read the /e/ product description here

Why should I use /e/? I can customize the ROM myself…

Absolutely! /e/ was not made for geeks or power users. It is designed to offer a credible and attractive alternative to the average user, with more freedom and a better respect of user’s data privacy compared to mobile operating systems offered by the worldwide duopoly in place.

We really appreciate your involvement though. Your beta-testing and valuable feedback will help to make this alternative available to many more people who can’t do this sort of thing for themselves.

Feel free to share your unofficial or customized /e/ ROM’s on our forum

I’m a geek and I love the default AOSP/LineageOS look

In that case, you probably won’t be very happy with /e/, don’t use it!

Aren’t you stealing the work of LineageOS developers?

To say that /e/OS is “Stealing the LOS ROM” is incorrect. It’s just like if someone says that LineageOS is stealing AOSP, or that AOSP is stealing the Linux kernel source code. The code base is open source and /e/OS of course respects all licensing terms.

We are using the rules of open source software. Just like AOSP-Android is forking the Linux kernel work, just like LineageOS is forking AOSP work, /e/OS is forking the LineageOS code base. When thinking about LineageOS vs /e/OS, think about Debian vs Ubuntu.

/e/’s focus is on the final end-user experience, and less on the hardware.

/e/ and LineageOS’s purposes and target users are different.

We strongly encourage core developers to contribute upstream to LineageOS.

Does /e/ have a simple way for updating the system regularly?

Yes - a simple 1-click (well, that may be 2 or 3!) “over the air” update feature is available in settings.

If you already have /e/OS on your phone you can check for updates by going to

Settings » system Updates » Tap the circular arrow icon to manually trigger a refresh.

If there are any system updates it will immediately show up on the screen.

Is my XYZ123 device supported?

Look at the device list. We are adding new devices regularly.

From which version of Android is /e/ forked?

  • Android 10 (Q)/LOS 17 (/e/-0.x-Q branch).
  • Android 9 (Pie)/LOS 16 (/e/-0.x-P branch).
  • Android 8 (Oreo)/LOS 15 (/e/-0.x-O branch).
  • Android 7 (Nougat)/LOS 14 (/e/-0.x-N branch). ### Is /e/ stable?

No - we’re in beta stage at the moment. The system is pretty usable , but we would still suggest you use it at your own risk!

Why this weird, inconvenient /e/ name? Have you considered a name change for the sake of recognizability.

We had to change our name for legal reasons as explained here.

/e/ is a textual representation of our “e” symbol which means “my data is MY data”.

/e/ is not that bad: it is singular, so it stays in mind. If you look for “/e/OS” or “/e/ OS” in search engines you find us immediately.

However it’s true that if you type /e/ in the browser search bar, it searches for a file called “e” in your root filesystem!

Most probably we will stick with /e/OS for the operating system itself, at least for a while, but we will probably introduce a new and more convenient name for the products built on /e/OS.

So it will be a “new name”, powered by /e/OS or something like that.

De Googlisation

What is the current state of De- googlisation on /e/ ?

For a detailed response please go through the document given here

How do you make sure your OS is installed without any “unwanted” code loading before yours?

We do not make sure about this, for a simple reason: /e/’s primary focus is deGoogling and improving Privacy related to the industrial collection of personal data by the big techs.

To make the point absolutely clear, /e/OS is not intended for users with strong security needs, like people who can be targeted by organizations like governments, intelligence agencies, criminal organizations etc.

The more common “real life” security issue for /e/ users is the case where the device is stolen or lost.

That is why we encourage users to use the encryption mode.

We are thinking about introducing a way by which /e/OS users can safely do a complete device wipe from the user account at ecloud.global.

At /e/ we are always interested in improving the product, but we also have to focus given the small size of our development team.

We are looking out for some community contributors who can help us to enhance security aspects. If you think you can help us with this send us your details on contact@e.email

Since you forked AOSP code to remove Google calls, what did you find out about Google’s data collection?

Can you tell us about some examples of data collection that can’t be disabled in privacy options and that we’re not made aware of?

I didn’t know stock LineageOS still phoned home to Google, I thought it removed all closed-source components and telemetry.

Please refer to these documents for more details

MicroG , LineageOS both provide their own distribution with their local emulation of the service API and location provider by network strength triangulation. What does /e/ do different ?

To understand more about /e/ please read these documents:

Why is an Apple phone not a good choice for someone who is privacy-conscious

  • First of all iPhone should drop Google search for a more pro-privacy search engine - a meta-search engine like Qwant or DuckDuckGo. The reason is their phones give away a lot of personal data because of this Google dependent search…6 MB per day to be precise read more

  • This Apple - Google deal is a $12 billion per year deal, so not sure the users are the real winners here.

  • Last but not the least, Apple claims that they are acting in favor of privacy. That is claimed privacy. /e/ supports auditable privacy

ePhones

Do you offer /e/-preloaded phones?

Yes - New and refurbished smartphones flashed with /e/OS, are available now.

Can I purchase your pre installed phones in the United States?

Do you plan on releasing more phones in the US? I would like to get my hands on a Fairphone, I have heard they don’t work very well on US carriers.

We have just started sales to the US, with prices in USD. We have limited quantities of high-grade refurbished /e/-Galaxy S9 and S9+ for now.

We are looking for partners to help us source in large quantities. Specifically we are looking for devices that are compatible with US networks (LTE bands, CDMA…)

This becomes important as some carriers like Verizon are not supported as yet .

You can also browse the eShop site. There on the top navigation bar select US region to get the list of pre installed /e/ devices that are available in the US.

Is it possible to see the list of nations where you sell your pre installed /e/ phones?

Yes, you can see a list of nations where we sell our pre installed /e/ phones. To see this list :

  • Browse to our eShop website
  • On the navigation bar you would see a drop down as shown in the screenshot below

The nation wise drop-down list displays the following information

  • Latest list of nations we sell our devices in

On selecting a particular nation you would be able to see

  • Devices available for sale in that particular country.

Is it possible to change the language of the eShop site

Yes, this is possible. On the navigation bar you will see the option to change the language

At present we support the following languages

  • English
  • French
  • German

If I purchase a deGoogled phone, can I use Play apps ?

We want to retain maximal compatibility with existing apps. It is needed as we want to get some adoption in the “normal world”.

That being said not all application may work. Applications that require the complete Google code base to function may not work on /e/OS.

You can check this list of apps that work or do not work on /e/OS. We are working on improving the application coverage.

Troubleshooting

If I find a bug, should I send you an email?

No - please report bugs and send suggestions as explained here.

Please avoid using email or IM for reporting issues, it’s not an efficient process.

If I have suggestion, how should I contact you?

We welcome you suggestion or feature requests. You can create a topic here. On the forum other users can go through your suggestions and provide their feedback. Based on a large number or user requests and also by evaluating if the suggestion is technically possible we can plan to include it in our device roadmap.

If you have suggestions related to improve privacy, you can also send an email to privacychallenge@e.email

Apps Store

I have some questions about the Apps Store ?

We have a dedicated FAQ to answers to all your queries on the Apps Store.

Applications

Why not Open source all your pre-installed apps?

They all are except for the Maps app (Magic Earth) as explained here

Where can we see the code of the open source apps that you’re forking?

You can browse through the projects on our gitlab and check out the source code.

For example to find the code for the Mail app you can look here

Why do you not contribute upstream?

We contribute upstream when it’s possible, when the project accepts it and also when it makes sense.

However the reality of open source is that, unless for trivial bugfixes, 99% of time when you push a proposal or a merge request to an existing project, it’s going to be rejected because the product maintainers have their own agenda about the features, the colors etc.

This is one of the reasons why forking happens in open source.

Are there still any efforts ongoing to get Magic Earth to open source their app?

Our plans to discuss with Magic Earth got postponed due to the pandemic. We hope to discuss with them and make some progress on this topic this year.

Support

My device is no longer supported by LineageOS. Will /e/ also stop support?

/e/ is not dependent on LineageOS in deciding which devices to support or stop supporting. We already have several devices which are not on the LineageOS supported list. We plan to port more devices to work with /e/ code.

If my device is not supported by LineageOS will I still get the security patches on time?

Yes. We will download and apply the security patches for devices if they are available for download from the source.

Any chance we will get /e/ ROM for keyboard-enabled smartphones ?

Porting on any device depends on:

  • Is it possible to unlock the bootloader
  • Do we have access to some reference source code tree to build Android on it
  • Bandwidth of the developer (porting a new device with all features working, takes between 2 and 3 months for an expert developer)

My device is almost ten years old. Will you continue support?

We will have to stop support for some older Android version like Nougat. The reason behind this is

  • It is very difficult to support multiple OS versions at the same time
  • Security updates cannot be back-ported forever.

Please note the /e/ experience is similar whatever version of Android is running in the background. You can check the list of supported devices here

Would you recommend a phone for me ?

The decision to select a phone should be based on

  • It being on the /e/OS supported list (if you plan to flash /e/OS )
  • Availability in your location
  • Easy access to hardware service centers
  • Last but not the least if it suits your budget

Does /e/ allow for the bootloader to be locked on phones that support verified boot

We lock the bootloader only on preinstalled Fairphone 3/3+ at the moment. It is on the development roadmap.

How do you tackle with binary blobs ?

A lot of Android phones have a half-libre OS. Binary blobs are part of the OS (radio, fingerprinting devices, camera .. )

As a fork of LineageOS, do you use latest LineageOS source code when building your ROM

Yes we first sync with latest LOS branches before major builds. Then we merge with our branches.

Does /e/ OS allow root features. Is it rooted, or can apps that require root be used?

You can root, but it’s not really in the scope of our projects. We want something ready to use for anyone, not for geeks who already have a lot of choices.

Services

Is there a way to easily check if the services offered by /e/ are online

This url lists the status of servers on which /e/ services are hosted

Is my data on the /e/ servers encrypted?

  • All ecloud files are encrypted by server side encryption.
  • All backup are encrypted
  • True E2E (end to end) encryption for ecloud files, full databases encryption, and encryption for mails is in our plans as a long-term feature.

How can I delete my /e/ ID?

  • Log in to your ecloud account using the ID you want to delete
  • Take a backup of your data and emails (if required) before proceeding
  • Click on your profile image
  • This will open up a menu
  • Click on Settings
  • This will display the Setting options as shown in the screenshot below

  • Click on ‘Delete Account’
  • This will open up a screen with the text “Check this to confirm the deletion request”
  • Select the check box
  • Click ‘Delete my Account’ button
  • The operation could take up to a minute. Please wait

    This action will remove your /e/ ID and ecloud account , data stored on the ecloud if any and all emails.

  • You will be logged out of ecloud.global
  • The /e/ account deletion is complete

    In case of any issues please send in the details to support@e.email

What can I do if I lost my phone?

For users who had an /e/ ID registered on the phone you lost

The steps to be taken are as under:

  • Request an account deactivation by sending a mail to support@e.email
  • For the request use your /e/ mail ID or the recovery email you used when you created the /e/ ID we have both email ID’s in our database and will be able to help you deactivate your ID
  • To explain further here you request for an account deactivation. Do not Delete your account as that will disable your access to your account data on the eCloud as well.

    Some additional information if you lost your phone

    As you may be aware eCloud is forked from NextCloud.

Next cloud has two features which help in such situations

  • Revoke Session

The Revoke Session feature is done from the server. You can view this in your ecloud under settings/user/security >devices & sessions

  • Wipe Device

This implementation has not been added as yet into the OS.

Can the eCloud admin access my data

On any Nextcloud instance, an administrator can see your files and all the information in the database. Not only NextCloud admins, Server admins (ie root) have this access. The only way to make files inaccessible is by using end-to-end encryption.

Nextcloud has no plans for database encryption as per our understanding. We are planning to provide an additional service down the line, maybe based on EteSync. The team needs to investigate its feasibility and UX (normally it would mean losing the ability to access that info from the web interface).

Our eCloud admins need to make backups, perform upgrades, reset passwords, etc. We have implemented Nextcloud’s server side encryption on our servers. We are planning to enable end to end encryption (E2EE) plugin in the second half of the year 2021 .

This will allow you to store files secured with a key only you would possess, while still letting our eCloud admins do the work of maintaining the platform.

You can also host your own ecloud or a plain Nextcloud (no e-mail server included in that case).

I want to know more about the security on eCloud

Since this is a common query from /e/ users, we would like to clarify a few points:

  • ecloud.global is a modified version of ecloud-selfhosting, which is based upon several open source projects.
  • We have implemented Nextcloud’s server side encryption on our servers. As you maybe aware SSE is a requirement for E2EE.
  • We have a long-standing relationship with a security expert in charge of hardening and monitoring our systems, including ecloud.global.
  • Read more about it on your eCloud instance

A few of the improvements applied to ecloud.global in regards to the base ecloud-selfhosting instance:

  • Performance tuning adapted to the scale of the service (number of users, storage size, etc).
  • High availability for all core services: nextcloud, mariadb and redis, behind a HAProxy load balancer.
  • We try to always keep the infrastructure and applications in compliance with the best available security hardening guidelines available such as DevSec Hardening Framework and CIS Benchmark for Ubuntu.
  • We apply process confinement techniques and mitigation provided by AppArmor and systemd.
  • We use Wazuh monitoring for threat detection.

If you think (or can prove) that there is a security vulnerability in ecloud.global or the ecloud-selfhosting project, please contact us directly: security@e.email

Kindly use the following key to encrypt any sensitive disclosure: https://keys.openpgp.org/vks/v1/by-fingerprint/F242DB4B0F002ED0AB73A5D06E25E121E5939DAF

Any chance to integrate a custom Nextcloud for e accounts instead of the cloud service? I don’t mind paying but already have a setup that works well for me.

You can configure /e/OS to talk to another Nextcloud instance, though you won’t get all the features like common username for all services including mail etc. You can also selfhost ecloud on your own servers if you want.

Updates coming to eCloud

Besides the Wipe Device feature the Find my phone feature is planned for implementation in Q3 of 2021

I’m using the /e/cloud /Nextcloud paid service. If you go to settings->privacy, there’s no location set for the server. Why is it not set and why is /e/ not clearer, where my data actually is stored (in the Nextcloud web application)?

There is always some room for improvement. The ecloud servers are located in Finland, running on renewable energy. We will add some documentation around this.

Builds

Is debug mode still enabled on /e/? If so, how do you feel about that in general from a security perspective ? (Regarding non specifically targeted citizens )

UserDebug is a heritage from LineageOS - that we are forking - which is needed on many older devices to boot and work properly.

From a security perspective, it’s probably safer to have user mode instead of debug mode, though an attacker can also decompile an APK to understand how it works. So the real benefit might not be that huge.

However, we plan to enable user mode for newer devices on stable builds.

eRoadMap

Have you ever considered working with other privacy focussed companies like Purism or Pine?

We know both those project for a long time. So far we failed to work with Purism (we were very interested in having a /e/-Librem available).

We are also in touch with Pine, we even have a post of /e/OS to the PineBook.

We considered porting to the PinePhone, but the current hardware is too slow to offer a decent experience with an Android fork like /e/OS

Any plans on building a smartphone of your own?

We have this option in mind yes.

We would probably go with something that would add some value about privacy, like some physical kill switches for camera, microphone…, a good battery that can be changed for better sustainability, and also maybe a smaller form factor because it seems that many of us miss 5” screens :)

However we have to find the right partner for this, because with custom products there can be many issues with quality (you know what you pay, not what you get…)

Also there is obviously a question of cost: this is a lot to invest: we’ll have to order at least 30K pcs (“MOQ=Minimum Order Quantities”). If we want to do something from scratch that would be worse: AFAIK the Essential PH1 development costed $100M…

What about partnering with something like raspberry pi or go the Linux route and use things like Anbox to run android apps?

We are not sure Anbox is already a viable option for the real life.

I noticed you sell models such as the S8/S9, any plans in the future to expand on what devices you offer?

We currently have three ranges of products:

  • /e/OS on brand new Fairphone 3/3+ devices and sold in EU only because of incompatibility with certain US networks
  • /e/OS on brand new GS290 (Gigaset) devices and sold in EU only because of incompatibility with certain US networks
  • /e/OS on high grade refurbished smartphones (Galaxy S8, S9, S9+) We have two new models in mind for the US but it needs to be confirmed. You can subscribe to our newsletterfor the announcement!

What about compatibility with Asiapac networks? For instance Australia or New Zealand…

You can ask our partner in Australia

Is it possible to see /e/OS on tablets that you make?

It is possible to install /e/OS on tablets. You can check some of the device builds here.

This is not in our short-term scope unfortunately.

Some tablets like diskiopi, evistore, pine64, pinetab are working with Android/Linux. A tablet with a big SSD, a good webcam/microphone/sound/screen and /e/ would be nice.

Feel free to contact them to suggest them to work with us on a special version that we will be happy to push, including commercially speaking. We cannot do everything on our own.

It could be even more beneficial for the environment if you offered a desktop mode like Samsung Dex

That’s something we have in mind since the beginning of the /e/ story. It is also regularly requested by some users and potential business partners.

The issue with this at the moment is that we have quite limited resources in term of development, so we cannot do everything at the same time. We have to focus on the core project first. It is something we have in mind and on our roadmap.

Is there any chance to see e-ink support in /e/ for such smartphones or do you see it as too much of a niche market.

For sure we’d love to support “slower experience devices” with e-ink. Again it’s a matter of focus and means…

What about installation wizard different levels (default, intermediate, expert ….)? I read on /e/ community forum that you plane to introduce such features during installation wizard to allow users to choose the default apps, the work is on progress or aborted ?

Yes that was a nice plan, but now we are more into offering the ability to uninstall default apps. That is on our roadmap.

Will there be more phone models added to the Easy Installer in the future? Also is that something you devote a lot of attention too?

Yes we are going to add more models to the Easy Installer, but given the size of the development team, this would not be a lot of time. We welcome community members to step forward and contribute too!

I work on a product which is doing work that is very much aligned with what /e/ is up to. Do you think we could explore how we might help each other?

Congrats for your project, and feel free to get in touch. Send your details using our contact@e.email ID and we will get back to you.

Will /e/ project launch more web services, such as Spot?

First we have to improve Spot (our default search engine, meta-search engine forked from Searx) because it is too slow. We have other services and products in mind, and you can subscribe to our newsletterfor the announcement when we launch them!

For the sake of transparency and trust would you make details of the calculation method of the privacy score integrated into /e/ os public.

It is in the roadmap for future releases

Does /e/ have ASHA support for hearing aids?

Not yet unfortunately

microG

How is microG development going on?

microG development is ongoing. We discuss with its mainainer regularly and also support him financially to work on microG.

Improvements and updates are going on. Recently FCM support was added and improved.

The contact-tracing API has been added too (it is not enabled by default on /e/OS though).

There are more updates in the pipeline.

We think the project needs more contributors, as it is a very complex piece.

What do you think about the future of Linux phones?

How about Linux on hardware like Snapdragon 865 and 888?

Google’s monopoly with Chrome as they make their services more integrated into their open source projects. How does this affect custom Roms and various front-ends like NewPipe for YouTube, Aurora store for Play store, etc. ?

We like Linux-based phones. But Android is a Linux distribution actually, and it’s open source. The big question is apps. Do we want apps that rely on a SDK that is controlled by Google? We do not. We all have to work to offer an alternative that doesn’t depend on this. We think PWAs could be an answer for this.

/e/OS vs ???

How does /e/OS stand in comparison to others like graphene OS or Calyx OS?

How does /e/ compare with Graphene OS in terms of privacy and security ?

Do you see e.g. CalyxOS specifically as a competitor?

If you say that /e/ focuses more on privacy then security - cannot it be argued that without security there is no privacy?

I understand /e/ focuses heavily on privacy, but are there plans for the future to increase security too? Eg, ability to lock bootloaders and still allow updates to be applied, similar to Graphene OS.

How does /e/ differ from other custom ROMs that help privacy (Lineage, Graphene, Calyx, etc)? And how can I as a user know what is right for me? Thanks

If you want something with hardened security, use Graphene, if you want something that helps you keep your data safe from Google, use /e/ It depends on your needs…

The postman generally won’t open and read your mail before it gets into your mailbox. Your phone company generally won’t listen to your calls.

The reason why is that there are some laws, some regulation, that prevent this, because personal privacy is a commonly accepted need.

And you can have the most secure device, it won’t change the fact that your data is continuously streaming to Google, Facebook etc. 0-privacy can be achieved in a very secure way.

However in some case, security obviously supports privacy, like if your device gets stolen, if you are targeted by an organization etc.

So the ideal world is a mix of security and privacy.

Other questions

Some more technical questions & answers are available in a specific FAQ