[Replicant] Replicant funds usage, Handshake donation, and nlnet funding.

Nick replicant at njw.me.uk
Tue Jan 15 20:12:38 UTC 2019

Hi GNUtoo,

I'm just a daily user of Replicant, not a developer, but figured it 
would be good to join in the discussion nonetheless. Weigh my words 
appropriately ;)

Firstly, congratulations all for getting the donation from 
Handshake, it's an exciting time.

Quoth Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli: 
> The general consensus was that we could use the fund mainly to fix some
> pressing issues and to lower the amount of work required to maintain
> Replicant.

I agree that lowering the amount of work to maintain replicant, to 
the point that you can easily and quickly apply security patches, is 
vital. After all, Replicant is great for software freedom, but 
modern phones are a very efficient attack vector, and a free phone 
which is insecure can be used to take away even more important 

> Pressing issues:
> ----------------
> Replicant has some urgent bugs to fix, for instance:
> - We have several freedom issues to fix (for instance the build depends
>   on Debian which is not compliant with the Free Software Distribution
>   Guidelines(FSDG))
> - Some SIM cards are not recognized
> - Under some conditions, the call audio is garbled.
> - Adding support for devices that can still easily be found new or
>   second hand. The devices currently supported by Replicant already
>   cannot be found in local second hand shop (in Paris, France) anymore,
>   but can still be found online.

These all sound very reasonable to me. With the exception of the 
Debian dependency for building - so long as it only depends on the
'main' repository I really don't see the problem.

> Longer term tasks:
> ------------------
> The most important tasks we could want to fund would be the ones that
> lower the amount of work required to maintain Replicant. For instance:
> - Finishing libsamsung-ipc and samsung-ril, and upstreaming them in
>   LineageOS.

Would this mean other (more modern) phones could be much more easily 
ported to Replicant?

> - Making Replicant work with upstream kernels.

Would this task reduce the maintenance burden significantly? If not, 
my opinion is that this is not an important enough problem to spend 
the resources on.

> - Find a way to lower the amount of maintenance required to keep
>   Replicant up to date with security fixes. We could for instance make
>   it easier to update the Android version in Replicant, and lower the
>   attack surface by bundling applications coming straight from
>   f-droid instead of shipping applications that comes from Replicant
>   source code. 

Sounds good.

Another possible task could be adding free software graphics 
acceleration drivers, if there are any candidates that could use it.  
I know there have been various efforts to create drivers for some 
chips used for ARM stuff, but I don't know if they're relevant to 
any phones Replicant could target. But if so, that would be cool - 
the latency of my screen responding to stuff is the thing that most 
annoys me about my S3 running Replicant (really this shows how great 
Replicant is) - I'm sure it would feel much snappier with hardware 

> Volunteers:
> -----------
> So far, most of Replicant contributions were done by volunteers.
> So the Replicant project could also not want to fund work that people
> want to as Volunteers but but instead fund important work that no one
> want to do.

I may be mistaken, but it looks from the outside like there aren't 
many volunteers to the project in general. Therefore I don't think 
it makes sense to ensure any paid work is "unsexy", frankly all work 
is much needed as far as I can see.
> Several people (me included) are already interested in being funded to
> work on Replicant. It is very uncomfortable for me to be at the same
> time the only person that would decide on what to use the funds for,
> and a candidate to work on some of the tasks.

You are the best placed to decide on what to use the funds for, and 
a very good candidate to work on them. As long as you're open and 
transparent and participate in discussions about the tasks, I don't 
think it's a problem. I for one would be very happy indeed for you 
to be funded to work on Replicant.

Congratulations again, to everyone involved in the project, and I 
look forward to using an ever-greater Replicant in the years to 


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