Bonum Certa Men Certa

Liberating Devices From Android Using Replicant, Not CyanogenMod


Summary: Why Android is not enough and why CyanogenMod is not the solution, Replicant is

GOOGLE'S Android is Free/libre software, but the way it is set up (or bundled) by device makers, the system as a whole is far from free, both at the hardware level and the software level. Google's "Play" -- the anonymity-crushing 'app' store -- is dominated by proprietary software and there is a lot more to be said about lack of freedom on top of Android and around it. Android -- like Ubuntu -- is a good step towards freedom for those who previously used Apple/Microsoft, but there are further steps necessary.

CyanogenMod is the best known Android alternative and back in September it was said to be an Android unifier, not a forker [1]. A while later (when it was becoming a well-funded company, CyanogenMod Inc.) it made everything easier to set up [2] and later it got banned from Google's so-called 'app' store [3,4] (which can involve censorship, just like Apple's).

CyanogenMod, however, was never really about freedom, not in the same sense that Replicant is. Privately, in my 2.5-hour meeting with Stallman last Friday, he suggested that I embrace Replicant, but sadly enough very few devices are formally supported by Replicant (most of them are tracking devices that can also make phonecalls). Stallman is eager to see Replicant support extending and expanding to more gadgets and in order to make Replicant stronger we need to download and use it.

Related/contextual items from the news:

  1. Cyanogen: Helping to unify Android
    Far from helping to fragment Android, the new CyanogenMod company will help unify it for both users and developers.

  2. Android ROMs, the easy way: Testing the new CyanogenMod Installer
    CyanogenMod Inc.'s new installer makes trying out Android ROMs easier than ever.

  3. CyanogenMod Installer removed from Google Play Store

  4. Google removes CyanogenMod Installer from Play Store

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