Downsides of /e/

Hi all,

This is my first post here! I was reading an interesting thread regarding /e/ over on the Fairphone forum and was wondering what people thought about some of the points made there. A lot of it went over my head to be honest but what I did understand seemed worth discussing.

I’d just like to point out that I use and donate to /e/, this is not an attack.


Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone


I have only read the short overview here and that’s bulls…t.
all this is finding here or in faq or in documentation


Mainly according to his experience and what he is using (lineage without gapps, his own nextcloud etc), it makes sense he is not tempted, /e/ is targeting especially non tech people.
Even though his critics about the lastest apps version can be easily solved by uninstalling /e/ default apps and installing them from fdroid, exactly how he did for lineageos. No difference.

But it makes no difference to me to use and customise either lineageos, /e/, mokee etc and still have the latest apps versions as soon as they are published

He is not completely off either though and /e/ is not beyond criticism and has its issues obviously

I acknowledge that my way is not for everyone and a easy plug&play solution is tempting,
Compared to other choices it can be a alternative.
I don’t think they are /evil/ and don’t criticize anyone’s decision to use it.

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It shows.


A few quick searches show there’s plenty of information that answers some of the questions posted in that thread: about security of, self-hosting /e/cloud, how to build the /e/ ROM and a huge list of how-to made by the community.

This is some information about the /e/ app store, which according to this post is one day behind F-Droid and Google Play.

But there are still no independent audits, only reviews made by others and not all of them very technical. This is also one of the things that I would really love to see, an official audit of the service assessing if it’s fully un-Googled and also how secure it is.

Overall I agee there are many downsides to /e/ to this day, as with any project, but nothing that I personally find a deal breaker. There are many things to improve, but it works and is fully usable. It’s still a very young project and as far as I’m aware none has tried to do this before (bring the whole ecosystem experience out of the box) so kudos for that.


Thank you for the links. The problem for me, using the post on the security of as an example, is that I don’t really understand what is being said. So an official “for dummies” style document regarding this would be ideal.

I trust /e/ primarily through their partnership with Fairphone but greater transparency regarding app sourcing, MicroG, security etc through official idiot-proof explainers of the type suggested above, in addition to the independent audits you suggested, would solve some issues with the naysayers and hopefully persuade others to join in.

The other thing people tend to complain about is the repackaging of opensource community driven projects to turn a profit, yet /e/ is a non-profit. Support at an organisational level of some of the projects whose work underpins /e/ does seem fair though, despite the fact that there is probably considerable crossover within the community.

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With regards to the repackaged default apps, I think it is logical for an OS that it provides its own repackaged LTS versions of the apps. The reason for this is that if the developers of the default apps make a change, and it automatically is pushed to all /e/ phones, that it might break the OS or something else in the /e/ecosystem (cloud sync etc). So while I agree fast patches would be good, it is logical imo that any OS has its own default apps with longer support /testing cycles .


I do agree that it would be good for /e/ to be as transparent as possible and to invite independent audit before v1 comes out

An infographic would be good. A phone in the centre with a flow chart describing how /e/ gives users control over their data; where their data goes and how it is secured if they use the /e/ cloud; how apps are chosen and updated etc. I would happily write copy if someone explained all the ins and outs to me. I don’t really have time to learn about said ins and outs myself, that is why /e/ is appealing, but I am quite good at summarising and explaining things to others if given the specifics.

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Unfortunately, playing well with others and transparency are e foundation weaknesses.

Unfortunately, /e/ never replied to any of our e-mails and we didn’t want to create an account on their GitLab instance, so we didn’t communicate with /e/ directly. Therefore, some findings were “closed” by them without really being fixed from our perspective.

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Oof! That last one is a bit unsettling. Can we put that down to a bad day? It’s a somewhat disproportionate response. Surely this is the exact space for such discussion, someone might have a solution or at least a step towards a solution. This is a community project after all. And I’m not sure I follow the logic of transparency being a form of totalitarianism, I would have said the opposite…


Maybe /e/ should remove the App Store.

It doesn’t work well anyway. It only brings headaches and raise concerns among users.

Since the goal is to be google free, I believe that the phone shouldn’t come with anything that do or may come near their servers.

The v1 should come with no default App Store and the capability to uninstall the default apps which should be few, just enough to allow the user to customize the phone the way he/she wants.

Everything that runs automatically makes the user trust the other part so, instead, let people make their own choices.

Just my two cents :slight_smile:


The goal is not just about being Google free, is also about bringing the whole “smartphone experience” out of the box so that it’s easy to use for all users. Most people expect a store of some sort to install apps, including popular ones such as WhatsApp, Instagram, Youtube, etc.

But I agree that providing an easy way to customize and choose whatever apps you want installed in your phone. This is the reason LineageOS and other ROM exists, same as with Linux distros. It’s just that none of them are actually focused on the average user as /e/ tries to be.


/e/ made the choice to be an AOSP system in order to give people access to the services they are used to. Are you saying they should change their whole concept at this stage?

What ‘concept’ does it change to ship F-Droid app with the rom, and promote usage of aurora store and such for those who really want to get apps from the play store ?

What does Apps allows that Aurora store doesnt ?

I think i can guess and understand why the decision was made to make and use Apps, but this also is very much not satisfaying to me.

On the other hand it’s beyond my understanding why F-Droid privileged extension and F-Droid are not there by default.


Aurora isn’t reliable and Google can easily break something. And of course it’s one more link toward Google.

Yes, the Apps installer has issues too, but in the long term it has to be reliable.

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Apps should work ok, /e/ can’t rely on a 3rd party service (Aurora).


For users that the app store bothers they can surely do this anyway no? I read somewhere about flashing f-droid during the install such that it is the default. For the average user, I think most are content to consider the app store a work in progress. I think it would be good if someone could just say exactly how the app store works, where the apps are sourced etc because that seems to be the font of most of the bad will against this project.


I know Aurora isnt always reliable and that’s a tie to google also. I understand the need and why the choice was made to make Apps.

But i still dont get why F-Droid is totally absent here, when it should be the obvious base for apps, even though F-Droid miss lot of apps

Nothing is perfect for apps for us at the moment, but i’m very much not happy with Apps.
(Sorry for those who probably spent lots of time on it, that’s my honest opinion)

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The idea is that Apps also contains all f-droid apps. I think the “only” problem is Apps, does not work as it should, missing a lot of apps (banking), that’s why people go to F-droid and Aurora. The main reason is for missing apps is probably legal stuff.

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