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[wlug] postmarketOS Pursues A Linux-Based, LTS OS For Android Phones

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Peter Reutemann fracpete@w...
Mon Aug 21 08:50:38 NZST 2017

'Buy an iPhone and you might get 4-5 years of official software
updates. Android phones typically get 1-3 years of updates... if they
get any updates at all. But there are ways to breathe new life into
some older Android phones. If you can unlock the bootloader, you may
be able to install a custom ROM like LineageOS and get unofficial
software updates for a few more years. The folks behind postmarketOS
want to go even further: they're developing a Linux-based alternative
to Android with the goal of providing up to 10 years of support for
old smartphones...

Right now postmarketOS is a touch-friendly operating system based on
Alpine Linux that runs on a handful of devices including the Samsung
Galaxy Nexus, Google Nexus 4, 5, and 7 (2012), and several other
Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, and Sony smartphones. There are also ports
for some non-Android phones such as the Nokia N900 and
work-in-progress builds for the BlackBerry Bolt Touch 9900 and Jolla
Phone. Note that when I say the operating system runs on those
devices, I basically mean it boots. Some phones only have network
access via a USB cable, for instance. None of the devices can actually
be used to make phone calls. But here's the cool thing: the developers
are hoping to create a single kernel that works with all supported
devices, which means that postmarketOS would work a lot like a desktop
operating system, allowing you to install the same OS on any
smartphone with the proper hardware.

One postmarketOS developer complains that Android's architecture "is
based on forking (one might as well say copy-pasting) the entire
code-base for each and every device and Android version. And then
working on that independent, basically instantly incompatible version.
Especially adding device-specific drivers plays an important role...
Here is the solution: Bend an existing Linux distribution to run on
smartphones. Apply all necessary changes as small patches and upstream
them, where it makes sense."'

-- source:

Cheers, Peter
Peter Reutemann
Dept. of Computer Science
University of Waikato, NZ
+64 (7) 858-5174

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