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I want to buy an Android phone.

However, with everything that is happenning in the IT world today (all the backdoors, "Carrier IQ" stuff and so on), I am more and more convinced I want a trully open OS - that means, without proprietary applications, without proprietary drivers/"binary blobs" - or, at least, with at least of this as possible. (Stallman-style!)

I know that one fully open phone is OpenMoko phone, but that's not an Android and it has very outdated hardware. Is there another possibility?

(I see that this question on Android SE was marked as unconstrictive for some reason; I hope this won't be too)

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  • Have you looked into CyanogenMod? It's a ROM that has versions for most phones. It doesn't unlock the device but has a version of Android without all the bloatware and model/carrier specific software.
    – Chance
    Jan 12, 2012 at 17:19
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    I have to admit, I don't really know that much about Android and I thought you have to root your phone to install CyanogenMod, possibly breaking various warranties and such. If it's possible to install without any fuss on mobile phones, my problem is solved. EDIT: oh yeah, it voids the warranty on almost any phone. Well, I will think twice about that. Jan 12, 2012 at 17:38
  • It voids your warranty, but is easy to install, and awesome. I've done it before, and it's easy to revert back if needed, too. It also meets all your requirements. I'd consider it.
    – Eric Mill
    Jan 17, 2012 at 18:38

2 Answers 2

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Geeksphone started off with the premise of a completely open software and hardware stack. So far they released two handsets, One and Zero. Although both models are severely outdated specifications-wise compared to today's high-end models, the "Zero" model is quite comparable to current mid-range devices.

The company provides source code for the kernel and drivers of their "One" model on the web site. I couldn't find the sources for the "Zero" model, but I'm sure they will if you reach out to them.

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    That doesn't look that bad; however, the site seems a bit abandoned until 2009 and the wiki - wiki.geeksphone.com/en/index.php?title=Main_Page - is quite spammy. But thanks anyway! I will think about that Jan 12, 2012 at 16:04
  • Yeah, their wiki has been defaced quite regularly according to the history. I haven't heard a peep out of them since they released the Zero model, which most likely didn't do so well in sales figures.
    – Chahk
    Jan 12, 2012 at 16:07
  • According to this thread - forum.geeksphone.com/index.php?topic=1767.390 - and poor Google Translate, they plan another model maybe in march 2012. It would be good if it happenned. Jan 12, 2012 at 16:13
  • Geeksphone is making a new phone now, as you can see on their site.
    – NoBugs
    Jun 4, 2014 at 6:12
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There are at least 2 different free OSes aimed at smartphones - the replicant project and the SHR project - both of which are aimed at bringing free-as-in-Stallman software to smartphones. I haven't used either of these yet, but it looks like Replicant is more strict about their definition of free software. Both of them appear to be actively under development:

http://replicant.us/

http://shr-project.org/trac

Your choice of free OS will have a list of recommended hardware devices, so it may be useful to check out their supported hardware lists before making a decision. It looks like the Nokia N900 and the Geeksphones are listed in both, and the Nexus series from google is at least partly supported.

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