The FSFE is running a campaign encouraging people to upcycle old Android devices with free code software. Totally agree with this in principle, but beyond installing F-Droid and using apps installed from there as much as possible, I've found it remarkably hard to do in practice.

@strypey I looked into upcycling old phones for a while too. If it was as easy as installing GNU/Linux on old machines... But you need specific machines for that ease I think, The old Nexus 5 and Nexus 7s that Ubuntu Touch works with. All the details seemed overwhelming for everything else. It's been a year or two since I looked into it though, maybe things are getting better?

@bsmall2 Similar for me. Researching how to hack the ancient mobile devices I have has been well down the priority stack for the last couple of years. It seems like the sort of thing where there's heaps that could be done, but minimal resources available for doing it. It takes hours of specialist work to reverse engineer the proprietary chipsets in most devices and write free code to make other OS work with them, let alone maintain that code over time. Who can afford to do that free of charge?

@bsmall2 Easy for me to carp from the sidelines I know. But the FSF/E seem to mostly work on convincing people it's a good idea to upcycle devices, and often end up preaching to the choir. It occurs to me they might achieve more if they helped coordinate (and get funding) for the work to get more devices supported, make installing replacement OS easier etc.

@strypey Agreed. I'm always willing to jump through some pretty crazy installation hurdles for #FOSS / #privacy, but every phone I've had for the last 7 years or so hasn't had images available from any of the major alt ROMS.It seems like you really have to choose the hardware for the ROM rather than the other way around, which kind of defeats the EFF's whole idea.

since it is usually not paid to port devices, it is in the hands of vounteers to do so. i think they would love to have their ROM be ported to every device if they just had access to it and enough money to work on it...

@chfkch indeed, so if your goal is extending the life of old devices using free code post-consumer OS, then gathering funding to pay people for porting work is a really empowering way to campaign for that. So is coordinating the growth of the libre device hardware database at H-Node.


@strypey Agreed. I try it with every old android phone people give me... I have around 10 of them, and although I've found tutorials for every one of them, ROMs are nowhere to be found, as they were hosted on "free" servers; after some time, they are gone.
And trying, at least, to install F-Droid in old versions of android is a pain.
I thank FSFE good intentions, but right now, I think a breaking point would be to host a permanent set of every ROM possible. Don't know the legal implications, and maybe that's why nobody has done it... Or maybe funding projects like Postmarket OS?
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