libre os for samsung smartphone?

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aeLiXihr
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Joined: 05/28/2013

Dear all,
we got a Samsung (older)smartphone as a gift. Since my old cellphone died i consider to try and start using it.

Is there any libre os for samsung smartphones? (Openmoko?)
I have no clue what type it is is says only Samsung and Google...

Thank you!
Cheers

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

You need to know. It must be written somewhere in the configuration menus.

If you are very lucky, Replicant (100% free software) supports it: http://www.replicant.us/supported-devices.php

Otherwise CyanogenMod will be the best choice (with proprietary software): https://wiki.cyanogenmod.org/w/Devices

Well, the best choice actually is to not use any cell phone (I don't for instance).

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

It really depends on the model. Doesn't it show anything on startup?
A lot of Samsung models are supported by replicant, see
http://www.replicant.us/supported-devices.php

//edit
banana was faster...

aeLiXihr
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Joined: 05/28/2013

Hi Banana,
thank you for the input!

Does this make sence?

Nexus S
android 4.1.2
build number JZ054K

aeLiXihr
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Joined: 05/28/2013

Thank you too Quantumgravity!
mine looks like the first one on the page...

aeLiXihr
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aeLiXihr
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...i did not yet get a lot further, my simCard seems to be not working with the phone.
Also i have no clue how this ¨Replicant release key to your GPG keyring¨ thing works.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Please let us know how it went :)
Also, did you got the proprietary bits for wifi and gps, or you choose to go without those?
Do those samsung models allow to use internet through cable somehow? Maybe connecting to a computer with GNU/Linux and using an internet connection, can it "share" the connection to the smartphone?

Calinou
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Joined: 03/08/2014

It is only possible to share the phone's connection to the PC, not the other way around.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

I remember a video that the guys at replicant did using a smartphone (GT4 or something) and it had cabled internet connection. Tethered internet or something....?

tomlukeywood
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Joined: 12/05/2014
GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Don't fully understand everything, but yeah that seems to be the "solution".

Hey tom, you have experience with Replicant... some questions:

1. Can Replicant support VLC to play videos? Only in some smartphone models, or all of them? No acceleration right? But CPU decoding works well?
2. Can Replicant play games? I mean, no 3d acceleration, right, but can it play something? Would it support emulators for example? Or just plain, native, 2d games? Any F-Droid games you have tried?
3. Can a Replicant device output to HDMI? Resolution support?

Sorry to place such an "inquiry" but I am really curious and I know you have experience with Replicant :)
thank you in advance for your insight.

tomlukeywood
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Joined: 12/05/2014

1.
without non-free gpu blobs no video can be played or at least not a a decent resolution
but music and images work well
2.
the galaxy S2(and a few other models) can play 2D games very well and can even run the minetest fork freeminer (just about) but for some reason minetest crashes

it can play some light 3d games like doom, Tux rider and i assume quake

NES and GB/GBA emulators work very well
but I tired mupen64plus and DeSmuME both ran at about 1-2 FPS

"Any F-Droid games you have tried?"

here are a few good ones i have tried (all tested on Galaxy S2 running Replicant 4.2 0004)

Liquid wars OS

2048

Gloomy Dungeons 3D - Hardcore

Blockinger

Hex

Tux rider

Vector Pinball

Replica Island

3.
i dont know of any Replicant supported devices that have a built in HDMI port so you would have to find a way to output via the usb cable
which is definitely possible to do but i am not sure how you would do it
it would be best to ask here:
http://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/boards/9

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Thanks a bunch for the info!

So, no videos? That sucks! :( I really wish it would at least work, even if only SD videos.
Don't understand why games work (both 2d and light 3d) but videos don't. ???

As for gaming, that is a small but nice collection of games! Native games look good, and the emulated games would add something to that. Too bad that, again, higher end consoles are out of question. Like onpon said, without proprietary graphics the tablet/smartphone world is even worse than computer/laptop.

Is the video problem common to all devices supported by Replicant?

Thanks again.

tomlukeywood
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Joined: 12/05/2014

"Is the video problem common to all devices supported by Replicant?"
yes some run faster than others but non can play video yet

you can find a compatibility table here:
https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/ReplicantStatus

you may beable to play some video at 128x128 resoultuion though which may work for cartoons
if someone can get decent video on the game boy color
then you should beable to get decent video on a Galaxy S2
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c5HfmaDCVsY

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

After watching that I discovered this http://www.caimans.net/gbavideo/demos2.shtml

It could be just me... but we could just need a more "efficient" program to have video on Replicant. A much more efficient video player, and maybe an encoder that would find the right balance.
But I disgress... people want HD and accept nothing less than that. Which is not a totally wrong thing. Just, I think I would accept some compromises between quality and the freedom to use a machine to it's full potential without any f*****ng blobs.

Still enjoyed watching a trailer of X-Men in my gba emulator :P

tdlnx

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Hopefully you can use Replicant, I've been very happy with it on my Galaxy S2! It's missing some features for sure, but for making/receiving calls and texts as well as some light web browsing it it very good.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

I also own an S2 with replicant (proprietary wifi firmware though) and I agree with tdlnx.
The things you can do with this phone are quite limited and surely can't compare to a normal smartphone, but it's pretty stable and usable, and it's way more useful than just an ordinary cell phone (non-smartphone).

@GNUser
I think what you want to do is called "reverse tethering" and I tried to do it some time ago.
It's not possible "the ordinary way", but as far as I recall, there was some script, maybe even by guys from the replicant project.
So yeah, i think it's possible though not so simple...

You could also get a mobile-internet flatrate, if this is affordable in your country.
The mobile internet doesn't need proprietary firmware blobs to work.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

What you mean "limited"? As, I know you need proprietary blobs for wifi and gps, but other than that is there something else not working right?

I didn't even think about the possibility of using 3G internet. That's good (even if not inexpensive, though acceptable).
How well does Replicant isolates the proprietary modem stuff from the rest of the system? Because, the modem DOES use it's own code running inside, right? It's just not part of Replicant AFAIK.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

For starters, playing videos is not working at all.
I personally don't mind, but still.
The rest of the limitations are due to a limited offer in the f-droid store.
Comparing to a android system running tons of proprietary apps, there are just way, way less options available.
For instance, i didn't manage so far to find a decent navigation app; afaik there are two apps trying to do that, but i still couldn't manage to do anything useful with them.

The default music player (appollo) works buggy for me. If i want to navigate to, let's say, the tenth minute of a song, it's impossible for me to do so. Once i let go of the "fast forward" button, the player jumps back to the beginning of the song. There are a few other music players in f-droid, but all of them share the same problem for me.

The "Galery" app (don't know how it's called in english, i mean the app that is supposed to show your pictures) does not show any thumbnails, which is, to be quite frank, a problem if you want to browse through your photos.

I personally like to browse deviantart.com, and there are quite good proprietary apps for that, but no free one.

So yeah, it's mainly due to limited amount of apps.

About the modem software: i don't know much about technical details, but afaik replicant isolates the modem so that it can't control the operating system. But you better ask tom for that.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Thanks for all the info.
Yeah, that sounds like a buggy machine, not very reliable... Didn't think it would be as bad.
I don't think it's just the amount of apps, you have good apps, but they simply don't work/don't work correctly.

Thanks for the info. Hey, it's still nice that you are getting freer, with Replicant and Thinkpad ;) have installed libreboot yet?

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

Sadly no, my thinkpad is still not flashed.
It's just, i don't have so much time to dig deeper into this issue, and i really can't afford breaking my machine at the moment.
But I think sooner or later, i'll give it a try, especially when I have more money.
I mean, I payed 80 bucks for this machine...bricking it would not be a complete disaster.

And no, I think there is no replicant device that supports video at the moment :/ at least this was the case when i last did some research on the topic.
So yeah, the situation for smartphones is not very good, that's true.
But I think the situation for tablets is even worse.
There is just one single 10" tablet supported afaik and it also does not play any videos.
And the wifi issue is way worse for a tablet, right?
I mean, at least i don't intend to use it with a simcard that so there is no way i can use the mobile internet.
This sucks :/

But at least now i cherrish more what's possible nowadays in the free world when it comes to ordinary computers ;)

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

I totally understand you want to be sure what you are gonna do, I am just like that too :)
I hope you get around to it and it works well.

Yes, Android is in a worse situation than I thought, didn't know Replicant was so "limited".
One question, when you install Replicant on a device, it's the same as installing Trisquel in a computer, you have a free OS but you are still left with a proprietary BIOS, right?
Maybe the best is to install Trisquel in a tablet with x86 and use it that way...?

tomlukeywood
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Joined: 12/05/2014

"you have a free OS but you are still left with a proprietary BIOS, right?"
I don't think these devices have a BIOS they have a Bootrom
but that seems to be more or less the same thing and its non-free

you can find a list of the current freedom/privacy issues in Replicant here:
https://www.replicant.us/freedom-privacy-security-issues.php

"Maybe the best is to install Trisquel in a tablet with x86 and use it that way...?"

i have seen somones raspberry pi tablet
at a Gnu Linux user group and it worked very well and the screen was very accurate and responsive and high resolution

https://shop.pimoroni.com/products/raspberry-pi-7-touchscreen-display-with-frame
https://andrehitchman.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/raspberry-pi-tablet-tutorial/
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GKwRCDt2vWo

and all it is is a raspberry pi connected with some very basic cables to a touch screen if you could just replace the pi with a beaglenbone so its a free machine
the only issue I can think of is whether the drivers required to work with the monitor would be free

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Yes, I meant the BIOS as an analogy for the bootloader. Which is non-free apparently :(

Actually, I have thought about using an AllWinner board (similar to raspberry, but more free-ish, with free bootloader) and build a laptop of my own. Even had an interesting discussion with people here in the forum about which board to choose and so on.... Banana Pi seems to be a good choice, or an Olimex board.
Replicant is being ported to these boards, but let's see what comes out of there.
I really think these homemade devices could be a step forward to get a free machine. If only I would get the "funding" loool.
Thanks for those links, very interesting reading.

Magic Banana

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A laptop with a Wifi card but connected to the network by Ethernet can act as hotspot. It is very easy (at least it used to be). The window of the "Network" utility (in the "System settings") has a button "Use as Hotspot...". Choose the name of the Wifi network and connect the smartphone to it.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

How should that help getting a cabled internet connection on the phone?
The problem is precisely that there is no working wifi, so a pc acting as a hotspot will be of no use.

Magic Banana

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Indeed. I did not understand the problem.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Hey everyone!
Great news, Replicant CAN indeed play videos. Tom and I discussed it a little and he asked about it in Replicant forums, here is the solution:
https://redmine.replicant.us/boards/9/topics/11505
Thank Tom because he is the one who actually tested it and asked in the right place.

I will also suggest (for the Gallery problem quantumgravity mentioned) an app called Photo Manager (https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdid=de.k3b.android.androFotoFinder)
It may be able to solve the issues you mention.

In my humble opinion, the Replicant guys are too busy doing something very hard and very important (reverse engineering devices) to be able to solve "minor" issues that other apps can maybe solve (like VLC for example). Maybe we should actually give a help finding apps that can replace the stock ones?

quantumgravity
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Thanks a lot, i tried it and vlc indeed works!
However, my youtube-dl is somehow broken, so i can't really get any videos :/
But i also did some research and found that a navigation software called "osmand" _is_ usable, however the interface is not so intuitive (at least that's what i think).
It takes some time to figure out how to do it, but then it works. And I think it's actually pretty capable.
You can download the whole map and do the navigation offline.

I agree that we should try to find the best apps and share our experience. Very often, there is a way how to do it, it's just difficult to find out about it.

tomlukeywood
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Joined: 12/05/2014

you can always just download the videos on a pc and manually copy them on

but there are python interpreters for android:
https://code.google.com/p/python-for-android/

so as youtube-dl is written in python it should not be too hard to run it well on android

"https://code.google.com/p/python-for-android/"
how are you currently running youtube-dl

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

I'm not sure it's as easy as you suggest. Python on Android seems to be severely lacking. That interpreter you linked to hasn't been updated in two years, and the rest of the ones I've found are proprietary. I do wonder why this is the case. Is getting CPython to work on Android just too difficult?

GNUser
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Well, I used to just get videos from my pc to my smartphone back when I had one (these days I run with an old cell-phone) and used vlc to play them.

As for the navigation app, OSMAnd is great! I used it a lot and it worked very well. You have the chance to download everything and install in the phone, this way even a phone with no internet can use GPS apps.
Another one that has been developing a lot is Zanavi (or something like that). I remember when the original software was almost unusable, these days it seems pretty good. Never tried it though...

Hey, how about the photo manager, did it gave you thumbnails?

https://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdcategory=Navigation&fdid=com.zoffcc.applications.zanavi&fdpage=5
here is the navigation app I mentioned. Never tried it, if you guys try it let me know. would love a comparison between OSMAnd and zanavi.