fsfe

Looking for a functional and secure smartphone that runs only free software? Be patient!

Motivation On many occasions, I have seen myself and other free software enthusiasts being asked which smartphones and mobile operating systems they can recommend to users who are looking for a free (owner-controlled) and secure smartphone that respects their freedom and privacy. I would like to share some of my thoughts about this complex topic. However, please be warned, that it might be disappointing for those who might expect to get clear recommendations in the conclusion.

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Site relaunch

Around three years ago, I started a blog using the FSFE’s member services. Last year in May, I took it down for various reasons. I am happy to announce that large parts of its content are now back online - in a fresh format!

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How a single unprivileged app can brick the whole Android system

This article is highly subjective and only states the author’s opinion based on actual observations and “wild” assumptions. Unlike stated in the title, it might apply only to LineageOS and not to the original AOSP. Better explanations and corrections are warmly welcome! Motivation After updating an App from the F-Droid store (OpenCamera), my Android device was completely unusable. In this state, the only feasible option for a typical end-user to recover the device (who does not know how to get to safe mode in order to remove or downgrade the app [5]) would have been to wipe data in recovery, loosing all data.

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Benchmarking microSD cards and more

Motivation If you ever tried using a flash drive (such a SD, microSD, USB drive or CF) for your root or home filesystem on a small computing device or smartphone, you probably have noticed that flash cards are in most cases a lot slower than integreted eMMC flash. Since most filesystems use 4k blocks, the random write/read performance using 4k blocks is what matters most in such scenarios. And while flash cards don’t come close to internal flash in these disciplines, there are significant differences between the models.

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Backing up and restoring data on Android devices directly via USB

Motivation I was looking for a simple way to backup data on rooted Android devices directly to a device running GNU/Linux connected over a USB cable (in my case, a desktop computer). In the following, I describe two ways how this can be accomplished.

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