/e/ versus other privacy-focused Android distibutions

I’m a long-time user of stock Android seeking a more private distribution that would run on a readily available phone (e.g., Google or Samsung). Of the Android distros listed by Wikipedia, I see several that might fit the bill and appear to be active:

LineageOS -- uses GSF
/e/ -- uses microG
[CalyxOS](https://calyxos.org/) -- optionally uses microG
[GrapheneOS](https://grapheneos.org/) -- neither GSF nor microG, but sandboxed GSF is possible.

I had been leaning toward /e/, because it seems more private than LineageOS and more mainstream, i.e., benefiting from a bigger community, than CalyxOS or GrapheneOS. But then I noticed, that unlike CalyxOS and GrapheneOS, /e/ is only partially open source (that’s what Wikipedia says, anyway). No I’m unsure.

I’ll bet most people here are very keen on /e/. So, let me ask, why should I choose /e/ over CalyxOS and GrapheneOS? Is my understanding of the differences between the alternatives even correct? Is there likely to be much difference in the ease of installing the various OSes (it’s not something I’ve ever done before)?

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All these options are good and all are great for privacy over stock Android. I’ve used them all and like them all. I’ve gone with /e/os because I like the look and the feel the best. The eco-system is nice and I’m really liking the new Advanced Privacy features (although some people don’t like it). Personally, I would start with whatever you personal phone is compatible, if it’s compatible with any.

Check this out, if you haven’t already, especially the part about degoogling: /e/OS product description - a pro-privacy mobile operating system and cloud services

I don’t have any personal experience with the other ROMs, so can’t comment on them.

Not really. It’s more private the LineageOS with GApps installed, but pretty much the same as LineageOS without GApps or LineageOS for MicroG (which is what /e/OS is built on.

Nope - all of /e/ OS is Open Source. It does include a third party maps app - Magic Earth - that is not, but it’s easy to install a different app and not use Magic Earth

After a year or two using /e/, I have reverted to using LineageOS for microG, because the privacy is “good enough” for me, I’m not interested in /e/'s Bliss Launcher or “consistent UI”, and I would rather have the original, upstream versions of /e/'s apps (K-9 Mail, NextCloud Notes etc.) than /e/'s forks, which lag behind the upstreams in terms of new features and bug fixes.

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With Calyx and Graphene you have very few devices you can use it with!

After about 2 years using /e/, I also have replaced almost all of the pre-installed (and uninstallable) apps with other versions (many from Simple Mobile Tools). I do use the default mail and calendar app, because they are good enough for my purposes, and I haven’t yet had a problem with them. I also use the default Tasks app, because there is not a good alternative.

Nevertheless, I do find it annoying that you can’t uninstall the default apps. I also feel that the team is wasting precious resources on maintaining these apps, when they could instead be fixing major bugs in other parts of the /e/ (like the flagship Bliss launcher: Icons moved without user action (#4841) · Issues · e / Backlog · GitLab).

Another OS not mentioned is DivestOS by @SkewedZeppelin who has been active in this forum. So that’s one more to consider before making a choice in the Google-free / privacy / security arena.

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