Love the idea - still a bit too googly for my taste

About 4 years ago I bought my first Android phone after being used to iPhones for years. It was a Fairphone 1 which came without G%§$e services. The very first thing I loved about Android over iOS was the personalization possibilities of the launcher. I always felt patronized by Apple with their there-is-only-one-way-to-use-a-phone philosophy.
I soon learned about F-Droid and microg and started migrating more and more to FLOSS software.
Right now I have Lineage OS 15.1 on my Fairphone 2 and have only 3 apps that have F-Droid anti-features and 2 more apps that are not on F-Droid at all.

First contact:
When I heard about /e/ at first I wasn’t very impressed - why would I downgrade to a fork of Lineage OS 14.1 with microg (which I don’t need anymore, because none of my apps need it and GPS works impeccably even without network location), with a proprietary map app preinstalled and with a very G%§$e-inspired design?
But then I heard that /e/ is planning to use or as DNS instead of and I was intrigued. Currently I’m blocking and all the G%§$e stuff with Adaway on my FP2 - so the system always tells me I have no internet connection even though I do.

First tests:
So a few days ago I installed /e/ on a demo FP2 and I’m quite positively surprised. I’m not going to use it for my main device for now as I do believe I have more freedom on standard Lineage OS, but I can see how this is appealing to users who want to wean off Apple, G%§$e & Co.

So here are my observations:

  • apart from the map app (which I disabled right away) lots of 1st choice FLOSS apps preinstalled instead of the useless vanilla android apps. :heart:
  • microg sends data to G%§$e by default as discussed here. :broken_heart:
  • /e/ cloud sync. :heart: If this works well and is as free and privacy friendly as I’m hoping then this is awesome.
  • iPhone-like launcher which forces all apps on the homescreen, with no widgets.:broken_heart: No way to install Catapult/Trebuchet - installed the Fairphone launcher instead.

I love the idea, will keep testing and following the project and will definitely recommend it to Fairphoners who compromise between comfort and freedom, but for me its too googly and would be a regression in my freedom. Maybe one day I’ll use a fork without microg (or just the location services), without a proprietary maps app and without such a proprietary-alike launcher.


As alpha I think /e/ is a great start but yes it does have a way to go. As mentioned microG is on by default, but it can be turned off. I suggested in the linked discussion that during the initial Android setup wizard the user should be presented with the options to turn the microG features on or off. That way /e/ can be useful to the widest range of people, those who do want the microG features and those that want nothing Google at all.

I use Evie for my launcher, it works very well.


Thanks @PaulaFairphone for your feedback. MicroG is there for folks who want to use app’s which require the Google Play store infrastructure. If you do not want to use it you can always disable it. Also on the launcher you can try and install an apk of your choice and choose it as the default under Settings >> App and Notifications >> Advanced >Default Apps> Home App


@Tycho I completely agree. :slight_smile: /e/ is a great start.

This would indeed be a good idea. For now the best option for very anti-G%§$e people would be to skip wifi and SIM setup during the setup wizard and then turn off the not needed microG features before connecting to the internet.

I know that, thanks. Like I said I installed and now use the Fairphone launcher.

Thank you for your report. I am interested in the development of this alternative. Hopefully more reports about experiences with /e/ will follow.
Concerning DNS Resolver I doubt if this can be entirely free of Google. Cloudflare uses this and Cloudflare partnered with Google.

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Yeah I guess cloudflare is not great either. We had a heated discussion about it on the Fairphone forum: