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Android Handhelds Open Source Operating Systems

Chief Replicant Dev On Building a Truly Free Android 113

Posted by timothy
from the if-you-love-something-set-it-free dept.
angry tapir writes "While Android is open source, it won't work on a phone without software that generally isn't open source. The Replicant project is an attempt to build a version of Android that doesn't rely on binary blobs for which the source code isn't available to end users, and the software currently works on a handful of handsets. I caught up with the project's lead developer to talk about their efforts to make a completely open source version of Android."
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Chief Replicant Dev On Building a Truly Free Android

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  • I think it's time for someone to define Android.

    • I think it's time for someone to define Android.

      Ask Opper [wikipedia.org]. After all, he was an android [wikipedia.org] 30 years ago (or maybe 24 years in the future)...

      • "Max 404"? Now people sometimes get a quaint name at birth that becomes funny in the future; it's kind of comforting to know that our robotic brothers aren't immune to this. ;)
    • What more definitions you want? This project alone is a testament that Android is not an open OS, or at least not fully open.
    • Android is a Mobile OS that operates the mobile. Android is a open source but only for mobile. Because when we buy a mobile, we also have the OS. But we didn't find any opensource android as a software.
    • by x1r8a3k (1170111)
      I was under the impression that Android itself is fully open, but drivers are not. So while you could load a free copy of android on your handset, nothing will work without a binary provided by the manufacturer of the component.

      Obviously the extent of this will vary from handset to handset, but this can include such things as wi-fi, phone radio, touch sensor, display adapter, and audio. So this is really more about making an open way for Android to work with hardware.

      This could all be very wrong though.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    Making a full featured open source build would require Broadcom, TI, Samsumg, and Qualcomm, etc. to release their specs or drivers for video co-processors.

    This will not happen.

    • by itsenrique (846636) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:43PM (#39289395)
      If you read the article it goes into detail about said issue. Basically, the project will not itself distribute any non-free materials, but you can load your own (and people do, it seems, for full functionality). So for example you may have to use the binary blob to get your WiFi working on your phone. I wouldn't be so dismissive about the possibility of drivers being developed for certain handsets that are fully open sourced, via some stab at reverse engineering. Now as far as quality....
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        How is "use the binary blob to get your WiFi working" any different than taking the AOSP code and the binary blobs there?

        From the article:

        The Replicant team is composed by people who are going one step further: in addition to agreeing with these principles, we fully reject anything non-free running on the main CPU."

        They don't want that. Sadly, they are doomed to failure and don't even go for RMS's goal of no "non free binary blobs" running on the phone (at least if you want the phone to be a phone) with the "main CPU" limitation.

        Even if they manage to reverse engineer all of the Samsung RIL layer and get voice calls working, they still haven't touched any of the code that runs on t

        • by gl4ss (559668)

          I got one combined word for these guys. OpenMoko.

          • Yes, I am sure they are already aware of that clusterfuck failed attempt at producing an open phone. While OpenMoko was standing around holding their dicks, the rest of the industry moved in a completely different direction. I mean, take one look at the OpenMoko and tell me one person NOT fluent in any programming languages who would use that phone.

            • by gl4ss (559668)

              I don't know anyone fluent with any programming language who would use OpenMoko, it's that bad - and really why would they, they can go N9 or N950 or just androids, symbian or whatever(most of them don't care about open, they care what they can do with it). I know couple of who aren't fluent but are just conspiracy nutjobs who would if they had the money though! not that it would do much good ..

        • by Anonymous Coward

          "Samsung RIL layer and get voice calls working"

          Yeah, we have that working since quite a few months now. It's even pretty stable.

          Of course we don't rewrite software running on the modem: the time it would take would make the phone obsolete (see the kind of phones OsmocomBB supports: it's often 2G-only and the OS is running on the same chip as the modem code
          --
          PaulK

      • by jonwil (467024)

        Given the success of the open source noveau drivers for the nvidia GPUs, I see no reason why a similar project to reverse engineer e.g. PowerVR GPUs or Qualcomm Adreno GPUs could not succeed in the same way.

        If I had the skills required, I would have a go at that myself for the PowerVR GPU in my Nokia N900 but I dont have the skills necessary to reverse engineer ARM software (especially ARM drivers)

        • by cynyr (703126)

          wait it is succeeding? news to me if you want 3d performance or at least in gentoo the ability to use openGL from both 64bot and 32 bit apps. Not really a fault of nouveau, just a failing in general.

    • Ive always said its those guys fault. They should have implemented an open standard from day 0.
    • Re: (Score:2, Redundant)

      by houstonbofh (602064)

      This will not happen.

      I love statements like that. So certain of the future... But, there are a few projects now looking at fully open source ARM based systems. (for example, http://rhombus-tech.net/ [rhombus-tech.net] ) This means all specs out there, and drivers. As they come out and get popular, the cost will fall, and more closed companies will use them as they are cheaper. As this continues, they will end up with a competitive advantage over the closed hardware, which will open, or perish. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        As they come out and get popular,

        That's the rub, though. How are they going to get popular? And don't say because they're open, because the amount of people who care about that is not significant enough to make something popular.

      • Won't happen in the phone business. Its nice that Rhombus-Tech want to make an open source ARM SoC. It'll still be covered by licensing and patents though. Its not like you could take their silicon design and make your own. ARM will sue you. I very much doubt them or anyone else getting in to the business is making open source gsm/cdma/lte chipsets. I personally have no use for a cellphone that has no cellphone functionality. May as we buy an ipod touch.
      • As this continues, they will end up with a competitive advantage over the closed hardware, which will open, or perish. I could be wrong, but I doubt it.

        Yeah, that's what they said about Linux too.

        It is clear from a single glance at this web site that who's ever behind this effort doesn't have the first CLUE about anything except engineering. If I have to scroll and down your web page a few times and dig through four or five paragraphs just to figure out what your device IS, you are doomed. I still don't eve

    • by NuShrike (561140) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:57PM (#39289575)

      Ah, young idealism, trying to be the Debian. I was there, once. It is true that it's better to have open-source drivers, but you need a stable, open, documented hardware platform. PCs are, Android is neither.

      You will spend your entire life rebuilding "plumbing" after which the hardware you've built it for is long dead while its descendents -- you cannot support. A life where you didn't actually build anything useful, the next iPhone nor next game-changing piece of software-engineering, but just ran in a mouse-wheel.

      Reality is we just have to bend-over a little and suck up buying new hardware; accept the respective new binary blobs. Just try to stay above it. CyanogenMod is doing a good job there.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by FrozenFOXX (1048276)

        Ah, young idealism, trying to be the Debian. I was there, once. It is true that it's better to have open-source drivers, but you need a stable, open, documented hardware platform. PCs are, Android is neither.

        You will spend your entire life rebuilding "plumbing" after which the hardware you've built it for is long dead while its descendents -- you cannot support. A life where you didn't actually build anything useful, the next iPhone nor next game-changing piece of software-engineering, but just ran in a mouse-wheel.

        Reality is we just have to bend-over a little and suck up buying new hardware; accept the respective new binary blobs. Just try to stay above it. CyanogenMod is doing a good job there.

        You're absolutely right, no good will ever come of trying to replicate and eventually surpass closed-source efforts. I'm definitely glad nobody ever decided to reverse-engineer UNIX or even implement his own version of of it. I mean that'd just be craziness!

        • Surpass closed-source efforts? Please enlighten me on how a 3rd party with no access to any official documentation relying on reverse engineering is going to surpass the efforts of those who actually designed and produced the thing you're trying to make it work on.
          • by Anonymous Coward

            Well, for example, the Linux driver for the wireless USB dongles using the RT73 chipset from Ralink is a hundred times better than the ones from the manufacturer. Note I said 'ones', plural. It's better than the official Linux driver and the Windows driver. Gives much better reception and range.

            It's so good I even set up a mini-router in VirtualBox for Windows to connect to, inside Windows itself.

          • by oakgrove (845019) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @03:35PM (#39292047)
            I've had some reversed engineered drivers in Linux that stomped the closed source Windows counterparts. A USB cellular data dongle I got from Verizon years ago took over a minute to connect in windows and would disconnect constantly. In Linux with the free driver it connected in about 5 seconds and never disconnected unless I explicitly told it to. I'm sure there's more to it than just the driver itself but just because something is a reverse engineered piece of code doesn't mean it's going to be worse especially if the OEM intentionally puts some bullshit in their drivers to please their real customers, e.g., Verizon et al.
            • Was that Verizon bloatware drivers or ones from the actual manufacture of the device? When you say free to you actually mean full open source? Because I'm pretty sure you didn't get charged to download the Windows drivers. That makes them free too.
              • by oakgrove (845019)

                Was that Verizon bloatware drivers or ones from the actual manufacture of the device?

                I really couldn't tell you. It's just what came with the device. I do know that you could dial up with it without opening the application and it still took a minute or so to get a connection and it would still drop so I'm inclined to believe that the driver was what caused it and I don't think Verizon writes actual drivers.

                When you say free to you actually mean full open source?

                Yes, the linux driver is Free as in RMS.

        • by fliptout (9217)

          Recreating all this low level software that drives hardware is completely non-trivial when you have no documentation. Expect much frustration if you decide to waste away your life going this route.

        • Uh, Unix means many things these days, but back in the day one thing it wasn't was closed source. The source was out there. Where did you think BSD came from?

      • Ah, young idealism, trying to be the Debian. I was there, once. It is true that it's better to have open-source drivers, but you need a stable, open, documented hardware platform. PCs are, Android is neither.

        Debian includes access to a "non-free" official repository that his non-open-source drivers. Please don't refer to the Debian Foundation as "young ideal[ists]." They've done a great job balancing idealism and pragmatism.

        PCs are not an "open, documented hardware platform." Here's an interesting thread from 2004 about this same issue debated at Debian http://lists.debian.org/debian-vote/2004/02/msg00136.html [debian.org]

      • You will spend your entire life rebuilding "plumbing" after which the hardware you've built it for is long dead while its descendents -- you cannot support.

        You say this as this is a bad thing. All the developers working on OpenMoko for instance got recruited by Nokia, Palm, and eventually Android. It doesn't matter if their original vision didn't succeed. For many of them, they wouldn't have gotten that kind of unique development experience any other way.

      • Reality is we just have to bend-over a little and suck up buying new hardware...

        OK, you bend over. Luckily for you, some of the rest of us will continue to pursue their dreams.

    • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:03PM (#39289645)

      Making a full featured open source build would require Broadcom, TI, Samsumg, and Qualcomm, etc. to release their specs or drivers for video co-processors.

      This will not happen.

      Why would it matter? It's not like there's a free, open MPEG 4 decoder (hardware or software) that doesn't infringe on patents.
      There are a ton of free and open codecs, but they're all infringing. If anyone tried to ship a (physical) device with that implementation, they'd be sued by everyone under the sun. Even if you believe a particular implementation is not infringing, there's exactly zero chance of the little guy winning in court.

      Replicant is a software project. You can download a build (or baked ROM) and throw it on your device. You have to play the revision / sku / country / network lottery. Replicant Build 1.0 works on Phone Brand X, Model Y, SKU ending in ZZZ, with a manufacture date of W or later, in country V, on network U, with features T working.
      It won't ever receive the attention from lawyers that a physical device would. But due to the work involved in maintaining it and running it, it won't ever receive the attention from regular people that a physical device would, either.

      The people who care about an open Android and are willing to jump through hoops to run Replicant won't give a shit about hardware video decoding or the DSP behind the camera not doing it's shit right. They care about not being locked down and not being tracked.

      • in country V, on network U,

        That at least is not a problem in most of the world. If it does GSM, then it will work more or less in any country on eny network.

        • In most of the world sure.
          In the most important market in the world, nope.

          • In the most important market in the world, nope.

            Er, the USA is the single biggest national market, but the entire rest of the world is the market for GSM phones. The EU alone is slightly bigger. Even the USA has a significant amount of GSM. So, I would contend that GSM is the most important market by far.

            • In the most important market in the world, nope.

              Er, the USA is the single biggest national market, but the entire rest of the world is the market for GSM phones. The EU alone is slightly bigger. Even the USA has a significant amount of GSM. So, I would contend that GSM is the most important market by far.

              Except different countries within the "GSM market" still get different hardware variations, so in terms of guaranteeing shit will run on a given device, you still have to account for country AND network.

              • Except different countries within the "GSM market" still get different hardware variations, so in terms of guaranteeing shit will run on a given device, you still have to account for country AND network.

                I think we are talking at cross purposes here. I mean to say, that once you have some very specific model of GSM phone working, you can take it to any other GSM network in any other country and it will still work.

                • Except different countries within the "GSM market" still get different hardware variations, so in terms of guaranteeing shit will run on a given device, you still have to account for country AND network.

                  I think we are talking at cross purposes here. I mean to say, that once you have some very specific model of GSM phone working, you can take it to any other GSM network in any other country and it will still work.

                  But when you're developing a ROM for someone to load onto their phone, you have to target the phones they have, or the phones they could go out and buy at the local store, not the phones they could get in some other country and run locally.

                  Those phones have differences that the ROM has to account for, despite them working on any GSM network. Everything from actual hardware (hard) to default language to brand/model/sku naming (confusing for someone trying to find out what ROM to grab).

  • Wrong focus (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pr0nbot (313417) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @12:50PM (#39289507)

    While all the attempts to work around proprietary obstacles (rooting, homebrew, emulation etc) undoubtedly have their merits and utility, I think the real focus ought to be on getting hold of open, documented, standards-based, royalty-free hardware.

    Maybe it's a pipe dream, but thousands of man-hours will be spunked off trying to reverse engineer radio chipsets or whatever, which could more fruitfully be spent writing or improving software.

    I appreciate that folks are free to spend their time however they like, pursuing whatever floats their boat, that's not the point I'm making. Just that getting one vendor to make one decent fully-open handset would represent such a huge step forwards compared to coercing stuff to half run on the handset of some company whose goals are diametrically opposed to yours.

    • While all the attempts to work around proprietary obstacles (rooting, homebrew, emulation etc) undoubtedly have their merits and utility, I think the real focus ought to be on getting hold of open, documented, standards-based, royalty-free hardware.

      There are people working on that, but why does that have to be the real focus rather than a real focus? You seem to suggest that there ought to be only one area of effort, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

      • by s73v3r (963317)

        Because that one area of effort is the most likely to actually affect anything. The others, while free to be pursued, won't amount to much.

        • Because that one area of effort is the most likely to actually affect anything.

          The claim that only open mobile hardware will is likely to "affect anything", while open mobile software is unlikely to, ought to have some evidence presented to support it if it is to be taken seriously. Both open mobile hardware and open mobile software exist, and the latter seems to have had some notable impact already.

          Further, even if it was the area most likely to have impact, the people with the skills to pursue it aren't

          • Further, even if it was the area most likely to have impact, the people with the skills to pursue it aren't necessarily the same people with the skills to pursue better and more complete open mobile software, so it wouldn't be an real "either/or" situation, since the resources available for each effort aren't freely convertible.

            You don't think those software people spending all that time and energy hacking into someone else's shit, couldn't instead better utilize their resources writing a new (and possibly

            • You don't think those software people spending all that time and energy hacking into someone else's shit, couldn't instead better utilize their resources writing a new (and possibly better) implementation from scratch?

              Insofar as it makes a difference to the open-hardware vs. open-software discussion, that really only makes a difference to the very small share of the people working on open software that would be writing low-level device drivers and the like, And the quality of low-level software isn't the bi

      • You're overgeneralizing. It's quite clear that in this specific instance, it is a much smarter allocation of scarce resources to a) develop ACTUAL open silicon, thus also building an owned ASSET (knowledge of how to produce said silicon, and improve/upgrade it and spin off as a business committed to your open ideals), or b) form some kind of an alliance with a company who is willing to supply you with open hardware, rather than the worse choice which is c) spending 10x the effort trying to hack into, unders

    • by TBerben (1061176)
      You mean like Openmoko [openmoko.org]?
    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      I think the real focus ought to be on getting hold of open, documented, standards-based, royalty-free hardware.

      That's a lot harder than you think.

      All you have to do is rewind to Nokia, Samsung and Motorola's patent lawsuits over 3G and mobile technology against Apple. Apple buys the chips from Infineon (now Intel) or Qualcomm and sticks it in their phones and gets sued for not licensing the technology (which apparently aren't conveyed by purchasing hte chips). Which means the only products we can use would

    • by jonwil (467024)

      It may not be perfect but the new GTA04 hardware is the closest thing you can get to a truly open phone. Right now you need to obtain a case yourself from a GTA02 phone as they dont have a way to produce cases cheaply enough (there are people working on ways to order cases from 3d printing services though).

      You get full schematics for the hardware (including a board layout diagram). The only closed source user-space bits that exist are 3D drivers for the GPU (which are only required if you need 3D) and a bin

    • Maybe it's a pipe dream, but thousands of man-hours will be spunked off trying to reverse engineer radio chipsets or whatever, which could more fruitfully be spent writing or improving software.

      Oh true, so it's really lucky there are literally millions of manhours out there just looking for challenging problems like this to get involved in, isn't it?

  • I'd welcome the day that I can block google from my Internet experience. Their insistence on wanting your personal data just because you want to use a smart phone with features and services that are provided by several other parties is annoying me highly. Not to the point that I'd step over to Apple, because they essentially do the same, but to the point that I choose not to use smart phones. If an alternative to android would become available, I'd be more than happy to try it out.
    • by glop (181086) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:02PM (#39289639)

      There is cyanogenmod which is a distribution of Android with more freedom.
      After that you can choose not to install the Google Apps, not configure any Google accounts (or have a dummy one).

      Avoiding Google on Cyanogenmod means:
      - no Google market for apps. You can download packages for Open Source apps, you can use somebody else's market (say Amazon if you don't feel like they are bad for your privacy)
      - no gmail, you can use another mail service, choose a non Google mail client
      - no Google maps. There is an Open Street Map application but it's not lightweight and seamless (not used it in 6 months though)

      I do that on my Nook Color but I actually have a dummy Google account and I use Google books and other Google apps as it's easier. And I got the Google market too as I mostly use the machine for entertainment (i.e read books, listen to music) and development so it's not really a very private device...

       

    • That's why I have a Nokia N900. A Nokia N9 might be of interest to you as well.

      • by c.r.o.c.o (123083)

        I had both the N900 and the N9, and they are completely different. On the N900 everything was customizable and open, with regular Linux repositories that did not require any authentication. Also the kernel was open, and many people modified it without any impact to functionality. Basically a factory rooted device.

        The N9 in contrast has a very nice yet completely locked down interface. It depends on the Ovi store which requires authentication, or on community repositories which as of two weeks ago ha

        • I've a friend who purchased the phone from his carrier. He's not a computer geek even remotely, and I saw him using apt-get to install packages, and downloading ".deb" files and installing them with no problem on the phone he bought from his carrier.

    • by s73v3r (963317)

      If an alternative to android would become available, I'd be more than happy to try it out.

      WP7? WebOS? MeeGo?

      These alternatives exist.

      Further, there is nothing requiring you to give them your personal data.

  • Great tld for an open source project.
  • Redundancy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rydia (556444)

    While I appreciate the thought that all software should be open-source, I can't shake the feeling that FOSS advocates are wasting their time and talent attempting to endlessly reinvent the wheel. I'm sure that avoiding proprietary blobs would be great, but it is worth all this effort with so little gain? You'll have a (very) small audience that will download it and put up with the inevitable incompatibilities, but why is so much effort being thrown at projects like this and nouveau; projects whose ideal res

    • Re:Redundancy (Score:4, Insightful)

      by PhilHibbs (4537) <snarks@gmail.com> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:22PM (#39289871) Homepage Journal

      I'd like to see people who give their money to the charities that they support stop doing so and give it to the charities that I support instead.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        It's almost as if the people who voluntarily work on open source projects do so out of self-interest, and don't consider the demands of third parties at all. It's almost as if volunteering requires self-interest.

        What the hell else did he expect? You can't make demands on open source. If you want something done, you can (A) offer money, or (B) do it yourself. This isn't an insult to anybody; this is simply reality.

        • by shiftless (410350)

          What the hell else did he expect? You can't make demands on open source. If you want something done, you can (A) offer money, or (B) do it yourself. This isn't an insult to anybody; this is simply reality.

          As you touched upon, the whole purpose of doing things and giving them away "free" is to flatter one's ego (stating factually, not judging) which has a need to feel as if one is contributing to society. And yet our ego also tends to become defensive at criticism, shouting things like "well if you don't lik

      • by shiftless (410350)

        Agreed

    • Since ideal results are never possible, you are inevitably left making the excuse "sure, it's not as good, but it's more ideologically pure!" which is only really convincing for the most hardline ideologues.

      But [the obsessive compulsive pursuit of] ideological purity is the whole point of FOSS.

      It won't get you chicks. It won't make (except for a lucky handful) you enough money to get you a latte. It won't amount to more than a subsidiary bullet point on any resume worth reviewing. If you're reall

    • by kruhft (323362)

      The point of creating an open source alternative to a proprietary system is not to make something that is almost the same but not quite as good, it is to create something that will continue to live on after the proprietary company dies. Or something that allows you to modify and fix the code if you find a bug and the proprietary company is non-responsive to a legacy product.

      RMS started his crusade when he couldn't get the manufacturer to fix a binary printer driver. This project aims to give that option t

    • by mrmeval (662166)

      Samsung's proprietary processor and other proprietary chips in it's Vibrant phones means I'm unlikely to see a fully working Gingerbread release anytime soon. I will deal with this as is but won't trust Samsung since they dropped support for this one. I picked them based on wow and got walloped.

      Hardware is hard, the open hardware phones I've seen are weak and underwhelming though a valiant attempt I saw no point in getting one.

  • by Microlith (54737) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:22PM (#39289877)

    The part that will cause problems for Replicant is that they cannot be an upstream. They will forever trail Google as the platform goes where Google desires and nowhere else. All of the components, Dalvik, Bionic, the GUI and rendering subsystem, all remain exclusively developed behind closed doors by Google.

    Until they can fully fork it, there's no more reason to use Replicant rather than CyanogenMod. If you're interested in a truly Free mobile platform, take a look and put some weight behind the other projects out there like Tizen or, for a really open platform, Mer. Letting Google lead everyone by the nose won't get those interested in mobile FOSS anywhere.

    • I disagree. The blobs are the root problem (at least with ARM chips). Without acceleration, ARM systems are unusable. ARM partitions the system into compute units and optimizes for lots of units cooperating through a shared memory. This is in contrast to Intel which is optimized for centralized processing. This fundamental is why ARM systems use 1/10th the power. Got a little video about it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y1WDrhL-vUI [youtube.com]
      • by Microlith (54737)

        No, blobs are an obvious problem. The real problem here is Google distracting people from creating truly open and Free platforms by drawing them on to the platform whose direction and technology they control and develop behind closed doors, and sees no use outside of Android.

        I wouldn't make this point if Dalvik, Bionic, et. al. were each their own open source project funded by Google, and others, but instead they're ALL contained and directed by Google's desires for their platform.

  • This is really awesome. People are welcome to take a look Linaro's Android builds, which are aimed at the development boards that most of the SoC manufactures are creating. The builds are easy to try. Insert an SD card into your computer, run one command and bingo! There even easy to build from source. See http://www.linaro.org/engineering/getting-started/low-cost-development-boards [linaro.org] for the complete list of boards.

    We've got:

    AOSP clone (Panda): [linaro.org]
    AOSP with 4.6 (Panda) [linaro.org]
    Snowball [linaro.org]
    iMX6 [linaro.org]
    iMX53 [linaro.org]
    Origen [linaro.org]
  • B^2LOB ?
  • by Artifex (18308) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @02:58PM (#39291485) Journal

    I don't expect many current smartphones to still be in use 4 years later.
    In fact, I might rename my phone "Roy," if that's not too Batty.

  • by PAPPP (546666) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @03:34PM (#39292039) Homepage
    It's much easier to sell vendors on "Hey, use this, you don't have to develop your own" than "Open up that code you wrote because it's the right thing to do." Good, working, open solutions trickling in upstream because they are established and convenient is the best way to make a platform open, even if the fully open versions are never quite as friendly. The strictly Free systems, like Debian and Replicant, are how the open solutions get developed, improved, and established as standard so that everyone benefits.
    I'd love it if the SoC vendors were on board, but that would require a very large external disruption. Making open (preferably GPL-style so it stays open) code the standard will win out by attrition.

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