In 2018, Gaël Duval created an operating system that does not depend on Google services. After 4 years, the operating system came out of beta to offer V1 which emphasizes privacy and control over personal data.
/e/OS, what is it?
/e/OS is an alternative French operating system created by Gaël Duval. Its first edition dates back to 2018, so it is very recent. This system open source It is based on Android, but does not integrate the popular Google Mobile Services – GMS that Huawei has been missing for 3 years now. The ambition of /e/ is to offer an operating system that respects privacy, that is, it does not include any tracker, unlike Android or iOS. /e/OS is developed by a non-profit organization, not by a company similar to GAFAM, and therefore does not seek profit by collecting your personal data.
There are several ways to access /e/OS on a smartphone. It is possible to buy a mobile phone Morena – The group of smartphones equipped with this operating system by default. There are a few of them and the /e/ Foundation partner with manufacturers like Samsung or Fairphone. However, if you are equipped with another terminal, you can install the operating system manually, using an installer – but there are few compatible models – or simply by downloading the package. In the spring of 2022, the operating system is based on Android 11 and finally signs its release from beta, which marks the emergence of /e/OS V1.
On the main lines
OS / e / “deGoogled”. So it does not integrate GMS, and even if it is based on Android, Google does not interfere with the phone. As a result, /e/OS offers its own apps as an alternative to Mountain View apps. Among them, an app store, a navigation app, or even a browser which, by default, obviously does not offer Google. For geolocation services, /e/ passes through Mozilla. As stated in the company’s statement: Keeping your data private does not mean giving up your digital data.. In fact, if /e/ OS adopts its property a storeThe latter still allows you to download your favorite apps. A large portion of what can be found is available in the Play Store, even if sometimes it is necessary to search hard to find an app. For example “Facebook” does not appear in the list when we type the name in the search bar; By typing “Meta”, the social network application appears, but not in the first results, and above all, after Messenger (Meta messenger). So it would be deceptive, but it must be admitted that /e/OS provides access to a good number of applications and remains fairly complete, even without Google.
What it offers /e/OS v1
- As a good protector of privacy, the operating system allows you to keep track of all the data collected by third parties, which can be seen privately in its alternative portal, called App Lounge. The Store assigns each app a privacy rating out of 10, which is automatically calculated from the permissions and trackers detected within the title. Below that note, a description titled “Confidentiality Analytics” allows you to refer to the required permissions from the app as well as the various trackers hidden there.
If Murena wants to offer almost the same Android experience without all the inconveniences, the result is not quite the same. In fact, a site that runs through Mozilla is a bit more fickle than a site that uses GMS. Same for App Lounge which hosts a good portion of Play Store apps, but its compatibility is (for some) a bit risky. The little things when taken separately, but when added together, can quickly become overwhelming.
The Photos app is still running slow. What we found while testing the operating system on the Redmi Note 8T is still valid today. The trigger takes time to respond, as does the button to change the optics. Also, what appears on the screen appears blurry and of very low quality. This is fortunately not the case when looking at the photo once it has been taken.
If you are a regular user of /e/OS, and would like to contribute to this article, provide tips, clarifications or corrections, feel free to contact us in the comments.
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