Some thoughts on the history of GNU/Linux phones.
There should be a foundation that collects old compatible phones and flashes them for inexpensive resale or donation to developing communities. That seems like a partial ewaste solution right there.
Some of these phones would make great low cost servers for self hosted web apps and games, appliances such as network cameras, wallclocks and desk calendars and entertainment devices.
If you are interested in developing on a Ubuntu Touch compatible device or improve a port then you can ask on the ubports forums if the Ubports foundation or some regulars have a left-over device. There have been some recent efforts to provide devices to developers.
I sure hope they do, and while it would be nice to turn my existing Android device into something more open I’m pretty happy with the concept of using unique hardware instead.
I really like what Ubuntu Touch has done with their installer and their app availability, but since I don’t own a device that I want to run it on (my Nexus 5 is in need of a battery replacement) I’m happy we have options line the PinePhone, Volla and F(x)Tec depending on my needs (not including the Librem 5 due to shipping issues, though there are a handful of users with that device too).
Not forgetting Sailfish, they (Jolla) have been around awhile but in my market the device feature set may soon not be viable depending on VoLTE options.
I like more the idea behind UBPorts as touch existing phones that are out-of-life in most cases.
I think that could have more possibilities. Maybe LuneOS and PostmarketOS too.
Yes, in general I agree. But it comes with a huge downside of outdated Android based kernels and all sorts of compatibility issues around that. In theory a true Linux phone that runs on a mainline kernel would free up a lot of development resources to actually improve the system instead off trying to patch around various libhybrid related issues all the time.
Note that on postmarketOS, we don’t support libhybris (anymore) and are instead actively working on porting as many devices as we can to use the mainline kernel. Our latest stable release (v21.03) actually has 7 Android devices running mainline kernels as can be seen here.
with the development of more powerful arm phones, I think it will come the day that even an old android phone will have enough processing power to run fruidly any linux distro.
The issue is that the old Android phone has a locked bootloader, is not x86, and may not have any development of a direct mobile distro for the phone
Yes, but the issue is wether you will have a decent repository of touch friendly apps to use.
For example, Signal is the App I use the most on my phone, however it is not possible to use it without an Android or IOs phone.
It is possible to use Signal on Ubuntu Touch phones, a while ago I did successfully test with this app. (And I read that the real Signal is apparently not hostile versus this app, unlike against LibreSignal years ago)
The way I get around this is by running a signal bridge on my matrix server and using a matrix client to talk to my signal contacts and groups. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than I expected.
axolotl should work as a client for Signal. I’m still missing a Matrix client as complete as element.io that would work on a gnu/linux phone
With regard to Matrix clients:
We will be getting there. Currently the best options are Nheko 0.8.2 (older releases don’t work well, and scale-to-fit nheko on is still recommended), Mirage or Fluffychat. Fractal is in progress of being rewritten, Chatty is in progress of getting Matrix support with end2end-encryption enabled; and NeoChat continues to be actively developed, too.
Community about running GNU/Linux on phones. Projects like Ubuntu Touch, Plasma Mobile, PostmarketOS, Mobian etc. Either on former Android phones or hardware like the PinePhone.