Replicant vs. Android
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Android generally enjoys a good reputation. Why then does the Free Software Foundation (FSF) waste time with a project named Replicant, aimed at eventually replacing Android? The small developing team behind Replicant emphasizes that while Android is open source, there is still a considerable amount of proprietary software (such as drivers or libraries). With this software protected by copyrights, users cannot freely share or modify it and thus are not able to share their operating system despite its official state as open source software.
Replicant wants to use free software without exceptions, giving the user total control over every aspect. This also means being in charge when it comes to deciding what may and may not be tracked by any given application, something that isn't always the case with Android (or any other operating system for that matter). The current version is Replicant 4.0 - it runs on 10 mobile devices, including the Nexus One, Nexus S, HTC Dream and Galaxy S3. The level of implementation varies from device to device, but the developers keep updated lists for each model which lets everyone view the progress being made.
Instead of the Google Play Store, users may download free applications from F-Droid. Luckily, this is not restricted to Replicant users; the offer extends to regular Android devices as well. In order to fuel development and the porting of Replicant to more devices, FSF has just launched a fundraising initiative on their website. They are currently looking for donations and additional developers.
Free Software Foundation: https://www.fsf.org/blogs/community/donate-to-replicant-and-support-free-software-on-mobile-devices