In 2018, Gail Duval created an operating system that was not based on Google Services. After 4 years, the OS comes from its beta version to offer V1 which emphasizes on privacy and control of personal data.
/e/os, what is it?
/e/OS is a French alternative operating system created by Gail Duval. Its first version is from 2018, so it is very recent. this system open source Based on Android, but does not integrate Google Mobile Services – the famous GMS that Huawei has lacked for 3 years. The ambition of /e/ is to offer an OS that respects privacy, meaning it doesn’t embed any trackers, unlike Android or iOS. /e/OS is developed by a non-profit organization and not by a company other than GAFAM, and therefore does not seek profit with the collection of your personal data.
There are several ways to access /e/OS on a smartphone. It is possible to get Murena Mobile – the range of smartphones equipped with this operating system by default. There are a handful of them and /e/ Foundation is a partner of manufacturers like Samsung or Fairphone. However, if you’re equipped with another terminal, you can install the OS by hand using the installer – but some models are compatible – or by simply downloading the package. In the spring of 2022, the operating system is based on Android 11 and finally signs its release from beta, which is /e/OS V1.
on main lines
The operating system is /e/ “dgoogle”. So it doesn’t integrate GMS, and even though it’s based on Android, Google doesn’t interfere with the phone. As a result, /e/OS provides its own applications as an alternative to Mountain View. Among them, an application store, a navigation app, or even a browser that, by default, apparently doesn’t offer Google. For geolocation services, /e/ goes through Mozilla. As the Foundation’s manifesto says: “Keeping your data private doesn’t mean giving up your digital”, Indeed, if /e/OS is its own shop, the latter still allows you to download your favorite applications. A good chunk of what can be found is available on the Play Store, even though sometimes a hard search is necessary to find an application. For example, when we type a name in the search bar, “Facebook” does not appear in the list; By typing “meta”, the social network application appears, but not first in the results and, above all, after Messenger (Meta’s messenger). So it would be clever, but it must be considered that /e/OS provides access to a good number of applications and remains complete even without Google.
What does /e/OS v1 offer
- As a good keeper of privacy, the operating system allows you to track all data collected by third parties, which can be viewed exclusively on its alternative portal, App Lounge. The Store assigns each application a privacy rating out of 10, which is calculated automatically from the permissions and trackers found within the title. At the bottom of this note, a description under the heading “Privacy Analysis” allows you to consult the permissions required by the app, as well as the various trackers hidden out there.
If Murena’s desire is to provide a nearly identical Android experience without all the inconveniences, the result isn’t exactly the same. In fact, the location via Mozilla is a bit more appealing than the location using GMS. The same goes for App Lounge which hosts a fair share of Play Store applications, but whose (for some) compatibility is a bit risky. Small things when taken separately, but which can quickly become overwhelming when put together.
Photos app is still slow to run. What we found during our testing of the OS on the Redmi Note 8T unfortunately still applies today. It takes time for the trigger to react, as does the button for changing optics. Also, what appears on the screen appears blurry and of very low quality. Fortunately this is not the case when the photo is viewed once captured.
If you are a regular user of /e/OS, and would like to contribute to this article, provide suggestions, clarifications or improvements, don’t hesitate to contact us in the comments.
Prone to fits of apathy. Music specialist. Extreme food enthusiast. Amateur problem solver.