This post documents my first experience with installing and using /e/. Some suggestions, some random notes.
I already had unofficial LineageOS 16 (Pie) and TWRP (3.2.3-0) on the device and installed
a) I found a typo in the installation manual but can’t fix it because I don’t have the permissions.
b) The installation seems normal for Android but it’s too hard for the target audience. That’s no problem in beta but are there plans to create a GUI client that helps users install the system? I think that would help a lot.
c) The manual does not mention that you should verify the sha256sum.
d) First boot works without problems.
e) Impression of the desktop: too much stuff there (for my taste). I’m used to disable stuff but I hoped /e/ would have more sensible defaults.
- F-Droid missing. How am I supposed to get updates?
- two keyboards (AnySoftKeyboard and AOSP Keyboard)
- two flashlights (“Lights” App and System Feature)
- “Magic Earth” instead of OsmAnd? I assumed /e/ would be a Free Software project. Am I mistaken?
- Signal is the only SMS-client. I like it and use it that way but I don’t think it should be the default. You can’t use it without registering and agreeing to their TOS.
- Telegram is nice but I see no reason to have it preinstalled.
- Even worse than having too many things installed: some things can’t even be disabled (e.g. the Flashlight, Mail, Notes).
f) /e/ forked some apps (io.eelo.browser, io.eelo.mail, foundation.e.weather). Are there particular reasons for forking instead of contributing to upstream?
g) Account Integration: after entering the /e/-Account tasks, notes, mail, calendar and contacts work fine. I think the “/e/ Address book” menu entry when adding an Account is not needed. Even photos get synced automatically.
h) The Dialer App has “Phone number lookup” enabled and uses Google as lookup provider.
i) FM Radio works.
j) I didn’t test: Infrared, Bluetooth, MiraCast
k) Encryption does not work. I had the same problem on LOS 16 and had to manually shrink a partition to make it work.
It’s a promising start. I wouldn’t recommend it as a daily driver yet, but neither does the project (it’s beta).
The inclusion of a proprietary application makes me worry about the direction of the project. To me Free Software is a precondition for safe, privacy respecting and empowering computing.
edit: picture sync works.