What’s in /e/?
/e/ is an a mobile ecosystem (ROM + onlines services) that:
- is open source
- is pro-privacy
- is compatible with most existing Android applications
- cares about usability
- already exists!
It’s the alternative to the Apple/Google duopoly on the smartphone.
It consists of:
- an installable mobile operating system for smartphones, which is forked from Android and strongly “ungoogled”
- a set of sorted and improved default open source applications
- various online services that are linked to the mobile operating system, such as: a meta search engine for the web, drive (with synchronization), mail, calendar, notes, tasks.
1. Description of the /e/ ROM (installable mobile operating system)
The /e/ ROM is a fork of Android (and in particular the LineageOS flavor of Android). At the moment, two versions are supported: Android Nougat and Android Oreo. Android Pie will be supported in a near future.
The goal of “unGoogling” is to remove or disable any little or big feature that is sending any data to Google servers, and to offer non-Google default online services, including for search.
- Google default search engine is removed everywhere and replaced by other services (see below in default apps and services)
- Google Services are replaced by microG and alternative services (see below for more details)
- all Google apps are removed and replaced by good alternative applications
- Google servers are not used anymore to check connectivity
- NTP servers are not Google NTP servers anymore
- DNS default servers are not Google anymore, and their settings can be enforced by the user to a specific server
- Geolocation is using Mozilla Location Services in addition to GPS
- CalDAV/CardDAV management and synchronization application (DAVDroid) is fully integrated with the user account and calendar/contact application
- A new launcher “BlissLauncher” was developed to offer an attractive look & feel. It includes a set of icons that were designed for the project. It has application widget support and is using /e/ search engine by default.
- Changes have been done in settings to offer a better looking interface
- A specific file synchronization service has been developed for multimedia and file contents. It can use /e/ cloud services server at https://ecloud.global or self-hosted /e/ cloud services (beta).
- The weather provider is the LOS weather provider using data fetched from Open Weather Map
- Account Manager has been modified to support /e/ user accounts, with a single identity, thus providing /e/ email, /e/ sync, /e/ calendar, /e/ contacts, /e/ notes, /e/ tasks to users. /e/ cloud server is either at ecloud.global, or self-hosted by the user (ongoing)
2. Description of /e/ default applications
All pre-installed applications are open source applications but the Maps app (read details about this in the FAQ).
- Web-browser: an ungoogled fork of Chromium, built from Bromite patch-sets, with specific /e/ settings
- Mail: a fork of K9-mail for better user experience, some bugfixes and support for oauth, with OpenKeyChain for PGP encryption support
- SMS: a fork of QKSMS
- Camera: a fork of OpenCamera
- Dialer: default Android dialer application
- Calendar: a fork of Etar calendar, that fixes crashes with calendar invitations
- Contact: default Android contact application
- Clock: a fork of Android deskclock application
- Gallery: default Android gallery3d application
- Filemanager: Android documentsui application
- Sound recorder: default LineageOS sound recorder
- Calculator: default Android calculator2 application
- Keyboard: default Android keyboard
- Android application installer is /e/ application installer
Other preinstalled applications:
- Maps: MagicEarth (read the FAQ about its license)
- Weather: a fork of GoodWeather for a modified user interface, using data fetched from Open Weather Map
- PDF reader: PdfViewer Plus
- Notes: a fork of NextCloud Notes to support /e/ online accounts
- Tasks: OpenTasks
3. Description of /e/ online services at ecloud.global
- /e/ “spot” at https://spot.ecloud.global search engine is a fork of SearX meta-search engine, with major look&feel improvements and peformance improvements
- /e/ cloud (ecloud.global) includes drive, mail, calendar, contacts, notes, tasks and office. It’s built upon NextCloud, Postfix, Dovecot and OnlyOffice. It’s been integrated to offer a single login identity in /e/OS as well as online, where ysers can retrieve their data at https://ecloud.global services, or self-hosted on their own server
/e/ Development status
Next majors milestones:
- in the future /e/ will be available in two versions:
- standard /e/ with default applications
- /e/ with minimal number of default/pre-installed applications
Status of ungoogling & pro-privacy features
In 2019, we have addressed a number of issues with ungoogling.
This includes among others:
- removed connectivity check against Google servers
- replaced Google NTP servers by pool.ntp.org servers
- replaced Google DNS servers by 184.108.40.206 by default and offer users to set the DNS servers of their choice
What to expect in futher releases?
In 2020 we plan to:
- introduce an “easy installer” for Linux, MacOS and Windows. It will let users install /e/ OS without using obscure tools and the command line
- introduce more pro-privacy features such as a “privacy dashboard”
- add more supported smartphones (FairPhone 3, PinePhone…)
- add more features such as “my SMS to cloud” and “my geolocation to cloud”
- add the capability to uninstall most pre-installed applications (if feasable)
- add several user profile to impact the choice of default applications installed during first-time usage wizard
- add Progressive Web Apps to the application installer V2
- offer corresponding Google-free SDKs for app publishers, because we believe that web apps is the future for most mobile applications.