But it’s a good starting point, which /e/ could modify or add to so that it better represents their target users
But yes, certainly an interesting starting point for understanding their audience.
I would submit that, at present, the audience for both Calyx and /e/ are fairly similar, and self-selecting.
By virtue of using either distribution, one can assume:
- The user has a smartphone.
- The owned smartphone isn’t an iPhone.
2b. The owned smartphone is on the relative short-list of flashable phones, or the user is willing to invest in such a phone.
- The user is dissatisfied with the software that shipped on their phone to the point of having a willingness to use different software and give up all OEM support and warranty claims in the process.
- The user is technical enough to implement this software change, or knows someone who is.
It’s not a long list, but it is pretty effective at narrowing down the total market for aftermarket ROMs in general. My former boss (who owns an IT company and used to flash aftermarket ROMs in the Windows Mobile era) is part of group 1, but considers Apple’s privacy tools to be ‘good enough’ and owns an iPhone. My fiancee is part of group 3, but is only part of group 4 because of me - she hates the Google-ness, but couldn’t flash a smartphone on her own. My friend Rob is part of group 4: he could absolutely flash Calyx or /e/ if he wanted to…but he actually really enjoys all the Google services and is perfectly fine with the tradeoff between the Google functionality and the data harvesting involved.
I’ll also note the ‘honorable mention’ group, the ones who fit all of those categories but have chosen other aftermarket ROMs that have a focus on something other than privacy. There are a number of Pixel Experience ROMs that emulate the Google-ness on non-pixel phones, there are “stock-plus” ROMs that attempt to stay close to the OEM release of a phone’s OS but make some tweaks or optimizations, and some are simply focused on FOSS purity (yes, I know /e/ fits this). Even the small group that fit all four of the qualifiers may prefer one of those alternatives, even further limiting the total user count.
So, I would submit this question: at what point is a group small enough to address their needs? In this particular case I know there are still some areas where this can be done - language and region is an easy example, with handset support being another.
The difficulty one will find, eventually, is that finite resources necessitate making some choices. The corollary to that is that having ‘too much democracy’ leads to conflicting goals and infighting. I run my own eCloud server, but most /e/OS users do not (you can basically copy/paste the above list for the server elements and add #5 “having somewhere to put it”, possibly with a few subheadings there, too). I have things that I want to see added to the server software, but I’m self-aware enough to understand that adding Z-Push or some other Activesync implementation to eCloud Server would benefit me personally more than the majority of /e/OS users. To attempt to apply the principles of CalyxOS to /e/, with its different group and overall mindset (support many phones, have a for-profit arm that sells support and handsets and cloud services) to the CalyxOS team (focus on Pixel phones and let end users figure out server storage, if any), isn’t going to readily translate.
Gael and Manoj and the rest of the team seem to do a pretty good job at listening to feedback, both directly and through the forums. There may be some wisdom in polling the user base for input on some a/b decision making to see what preferences end users would have, but on the whole, my opinion is that I’m not sure if subdividing the user base is a fruitful endeavor.