Should we have /e/ Flashing Stations?

Recently we had a user on the forum ask us if we provided support to flash smartphones in his area.
He mentioned he was not comfortable following the instructions on the wiki or posts in the forum.
Unfortunately w/e/ do not have such Flashing stations or support centers for /e/ at present in any part of the world.
Our Smartphone by post service is still to be setup…you send in your smartphone and we flash /e/ on it. Even when it is established there would be some geographical limitations to such a service.

This brings us to a subject we feel we would eventually have to take up.

Should we set up /e/ flashing centers in different locations?

Lineage has been in existence for over a decade and has millions of users across countries. They seem to be doing just fine without any service…at least none that I am aware of.
Having said that does that mean we should also not have Flashing stations across locations?

We would like to check if users would like to volunteer to set up such services in their area or get some feedback on this.

Off course there would be some ground rules for such /e/ Flashing Support Volunteers:

  • they will have to publicly share details of the location where the service will be offered

…cannot have anonymous support :slight_smile: those who already are running smartphone repair / setup shops are more than welcome

  • the volunteers can charge a nominal fee for the service offered…this is entire between the volunteer and the user . /e/ will not be looking for commissions here

…expect the charges should be reasonable

  • Volunteers are not bound to only flash /e/ in that they can flash other custom ROM’s as well if the user so requests.

…that again is between the user and the volunteers

  • Volunteers will be taking the risk of flashing the device in case of hardware issues post the flash

…. this would be a tough point . Ideally devices flashed with official builds do not brick but then there is always the exception to the rule.

  • We are developing some flashing tools which we will be happy to share with such volunteers.

It would be good to get some feedback suggestions on this from YOU our user.

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Too many grandiose plans. So far, there is just no such thing as the high quality and demanded eOS that we could make such plans about. Before conquering the world, lets first defeat all these BUGS.

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I wholeheartedly support this idea!
Have several questions…
@manoj how much anonymity would the /e/ flasher have to lose?
Obviously geographical location, maybe name as well?
Thanks!

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I believe the flashing should be done for free of charge/cost & /e/ should actively support the volunteers. The flashing tools should be made available for anyone like /e/ OS can be had by anyone ie it shouldn’t be limited to volunteers. The place where I see sort of a problem is that different phones have different procedures & one might not be well versed in all of them so I think it’d be better to have the volunteer flash only on devices that they know about unless the flashing tool solves this or the volunteer has a PhD in flashing every device that can be flashed upon. Realistically writing, I’d volunteer to offer this service for free of charge/cost & the location I believe should be a public place like library or somewhere. I’d take up flashing only devices which I know to flash. The flashing tool should be made available for as many OS as possible like Debian, Windows, macOS, etc & it should be Free as in Freedom as well as the cost/charge.

Right. No one will be comfortable handing over their phone to flash to someone who is anonymous.
You can imagine something similar to a smartphone repair shop where a person comes in to repair his / her phone. He sees the shop keeper / mechanic and hands over the device and gets it repaired and pays for the service. Now just add the installation part to the story.
To charge or not to charge for the service is for the volunteer to decide. After all the OS is available for free download from our site. But I leave that to the volunteer to decide.
If users are willing to offer such services to other users they can advertise their service on this forum. So a search of say Paris will display 5 such stores where phone can be flashed and so on.
Name, geographical location will have to be disclosed.
You can provide details such as the device and OS types that can be flashed. Timings and days when you can provide your service. This information should be enough.

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I agree that ideally this should be a free service. That is entirely up to the volunteers to decide how they want to do this after all they will be dedicating their time in this effort.

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I think there are a lit of other things to do before put resources to this idea.
And I think with the wiki’s EVERYONE who can read is able to flash e on his device.
The issue for users and such a flashing station is the unlocking of the bootloader. That’s not so easy on several devices and needs a lot if time, for 72 hours at xiaomi.

And, this flashing station will get a lot if visitors with other issues as flashing e. It will used as a ‘service station’

From my site of view, e.foundation don’t need a flashing station

I’m not sure what’s a wise thing to do… I’m sure some users need help. We also could offer TeamViewer sessions to remote install /e/.

One point that I think is being missed out is this would be an initiative by users who know how to flash customs ROM’s. This is not organized by /e/ . The user who wants to volunteer this service can flash /e/ ROM’s if required.

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I think it is a great idea to have the possibility of going to a shop and asking them to install /e/ on your android device. It is exactly the kind of service the non-tech average guy would seek if the process of shipping the phone to have /e/ installed is too long for them. My mom for example would be pleased if that service existed !

The main goal here is to facilitate access to /e/ for the non-tech saavy people. Stop me @Manoj if I misunderstood your point of view !

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Hi @Cricoo making /e/ accessible to the the non-tech saavy folks is exactly what is the idea behind this. To give all users the right to choose what they want as the OS on their smartphones.

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Non-tech average guy doesn’t know about the existence of eOS and probably doesn’t even understand how it can be useful for him.

Let’s face it: the Huawei smartphones are among the best selling in the world even despite the fact that they don’t allow custom ROM flashing (locked bootloader). But who cares?

People like us? I believe we’re the person people come to when they need tech related advice & If I’d the opportunity to recommend a phone to buy to someone I know then I’d recommend a phone which is used & has /e/ preinstalled every single time everyday of the year. Its another thing that as of right now I don’t have /e/ phones available to buy where I reside but if they were…

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And in that case, of course, I’ll land them my hand with flashing for free, and no need in flashing station again.

I think there’s a correlation here: If you’re concerned about all these custom ROM things, then you’re probably capable of managing it yourself. On the other hand, if you can’t — then you most likely won’t even come up with that idea at all.

I am the perfect counter example :smile: I am interested in custom ROMs for privacy matters but I preferred buying a refurbished smartphone with /e/ preinstalled. I didn’t want to spend hours learning how to install a custom ROM !

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If you have a flashing-friendly device (OnePlus, Google, Xiaomi Mi A etc.) and slightly above average computer skill, then you actually don’t have to spend a single hour studying — just proceed straight to the action and carefully follow the step-by-step instructions.

The main thing is to choose a right device. If you make a mistake at this step, even a professional may not be able to help you with the custom ROM installation.

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I like the concept and would gladly help anyone in my area flash their device, though I think ‘most’ who actively seek alternatives like /e/ would be ok doing it themselves. I feel like I will be doing a lot more flashing for the non-techy people who I personally tell and recommend /e/ too.

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Actually that is the idea behind this Topic. Only users who are willing to flash devices for other non-techy users will have to share their coordinates.
Which means if someone in say London or LA wants to find out who can help him / her locality they should have a list of names and addresses. A directory of techy users in my area.
It goes a bit against the principles of anonymity though…

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I know, for this reason could we maybe have /e/ certified flashers in an area, who aren’t anonymous to /e/, known to the public by their /e/ usernames? Maybe a video chat with /e/ team for 15 minutes or something like that, /e/ can monitor all flashing transactions?

As I mentioned above this is not an /e/ certified or organized effort. If users feel they are confident enough to flash a particular set of devices they can volunteer their services. They can advertise their service on this forum. The name and address will have to be correct.
Anonymity will not work in this business. The end user will never feel comfortable handing his / her phone to an unknown entity. Personally I would also not feel comfortable if I have to use such services and would prefer to see the person who is doing it.

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