[Replicant] Replicant 6.0 0004 RC1

Kurtis Hanna Kurtis at riseup.net
Sun Jan 12 05:11:00 UTC 2020


Here's the link to the Replicant 6.0 0004 rc1 images:

In Solidarity,

Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli:
> Hi,
> I've just pushed the 0004 RC1 images.
> The most important thing to know (copied from the release notes draft)
> is the following:
>> It will also not be possible to keep the data partition and a full re-
>> installation will be necessary. Users are advised to backup the
>> important data from the applications (contacts, SMS, etc) before
>> migrating to a this release. There are already [some tips][23] on how
>> to backup some applications. We didn’t have enough time to investigate
>> the precise cause of the issue.
> Since we use WordPress for the blog system, it's not easy to share
> drafts:
> - By default users need an account to see the drafts. The result of it
>   is that none of the drafts end up being public.
> - When the drafts are published they are not draft anymore.
> In addition to that the default web interface forces people wanting to
> work on articles to execute the JavaScript code coming from WordPress.
> While the code is probably fully free software it's still an issue to
> force people to run specific code. 
> So we will probably have to find another way to work on announcements in
> the future.
> In the meantime I've written a script to semi-manually extract the
> release notes from WordPress. The script has already been sent as a
> patch to the mailing list, and the result has been pasted at the end of
> this mail.
> I've also found a bug between after tagging the release, and a
> patch (modem: workaround silence not finding the SIM card when it is
> "launched")[1] has already been sent for it.
> References:
> -----------
> [1]https://lists.osuosl.org/pipermail/replicant/2020-January/002447.html
> Denis.
> == Release notes ==
> # Replicant 6.0 0004 release and Replicant 9 status.
> Posted on [January 9, 2020][1] by  [GNUtoo][2]
> Replicant is in the [list of distributions that are recommended by the
> FSF.][3] As such, Replicant needs to follow [strict criteria][4] that
> ensure that the distribution does its best not to violates its users’
> freedom.
> However fixing the issues and making new releases can sometime take a
> long time. The last Replicant 6.0 release was from December 2017.
> This new release fixes some very serious freedom and privacy issues:
>   * We found an issue within the phone application: it was leaking the
>     phone numbers of both inbound and outbound calls to third parties
>     as part of a feature called phone lookup providers. More details
>     are available in the [bug report][5]. Even if it was not trivial to
>     reproduce and find the bug it’s now fixed as the feature has been
>     completely disabled with 3 patches ([[1]][6], [[2]][7], [[3]][8]).  
>   * F-Droid has been removed as many applications shipped in it are not
>     compliant with the [guidelines][4] for distributions recommended by
>     the FSF. It was kept so long because we expected to get it fixed
>     upstream fast enough, but that didn’t happen for various reasons.
>     We have setup a [wiki page][9] and a [forum section][10] for more
>     information about the issue and how to deal with it.  
>   * Several nonfree firmwares related to the back and home “touch”
>     buttons were found and removed with 4 patches ([[1]][11],
>     [[2]][12], [[3]][13],[ [4]][14]). The firmwares seem to have only
>     been used for factory testing, so the buttons should still work on
>     the devices that have them.  
>   * On all the currently supported devices with a modem, when users set
>     the device in flight mode, the modem is only asked to go in low
>     power mode. Because of that the modem is probably still on and its
>     OS is probably still running. Because of that we fixed the wiki and
>     added [the scripts to disable (and enable back) the modem][15] to
>     the new Replicant images. They work by preventing Replicant to load
>     the modem OS.  
> This release may also fix [several bug(s) which made some SIM cards not
> recognizable by Replicant 6.0][16]: we have now merged a fix for one of
> the bug ([#1909][17]) but as we don’t know if all the “SIM card not
> recognized” bugs are related. We would highly appreciate if those that
> opened the original bug report could confirm if it also fixes their
> issues as well.
> Several issues still need to be fixed, but we didn’t want to delay even
> more this release, as that would prevent users from getting the fixes
> mentioned above:
>   * It’s still not possible to build Replicant 6.0 from a [distribution
>     that is recommended by the FSF][18] (bug [#1861][19])  
>   * While investigating if it was possible to upgrade WebView, the
>     Android builtin web browser component (bug [#1786][20]) we also
>     discovered that, because Android build system doesn’t use a package
>     manager, finding the license of each repository wasn’t trivial (bug
>     [#1973][21]).  
>   * More investigations are needed as well to replace WebView with a
>     free software and up to date implementation (bug [#1786][20]).  
>   * The bug related to a bad sound quality during calls in some
>     circumstances (bug [#1773][22]) is not fixed yet, but there is a
>     workaround that works for some use cases.  
> It will also not be possible to keep the data partition and a full re-
> installation will be necessary. Users are advised to backup the
> important data from the applications (contacts, SMS, etc) before
> migrating to a this release. There are already [some tips][23] on how
> to backup some applications. We didn’t have enough time to investigate
> the precise cause of the issue.
> As the internal WiFi doesn’t work with free software, some new network
> related features improving usability were merged :
>   * RepWiFi has been removed as it’s now possible to use the stock
>     Android menus to handle the WiFi. This was done by patching Android
>     to also accept external dongles. It is less reliable than with
>     RepWiFi because in some cases reboots are needed for the WiFi to be
>     recognized, and enabling the WiFi most probably also powers on the
>     Internal WiFi chip as well, increasing the power consumption.
>     However it should reduce the probability of applications like
>     F-Droid being broken in the future, as it’s better integrated in
>     Android. In the event that Replicant 6.0 stops being maintained and
>     that Replicant 9.0 doesn’t get support for all the Replicant 6.0
>     devices, this patch should increase the lifetime of the affected
>     devices.  
>   * Ethernet support has been added but it doesn’t work on all the
>     devices.  
>   * The USB networking scripts has also been added to the devices.  
>   * Support for some rt2500-usb dongles that don’t need the OS to load a
>     firmware [has been added to the Galaxy SIII 4G (i9305)][24], which
>     is an uncompleted device. Unfortunately it couldn’t be ported to
>     other devices in due time for this release.  
> Other improvements were also made:
>   * llvmpipe is now the default OpenGL renderer. This allows running
>     many applications that weren’t working before. Unfortunately
>     llvmpipe significantly slows down some system components used in
>     the graphical interface. This has been catered for by patching
>     Android to use the old libagl renderer for those system components.
>   * [Scripts to switch between OpenGL implementations globally][25]
>     have been added to the image as well. Thus, if you want to revert
>     back to the old behaviour, just run androidsw.sh in a root
>     terminal. To switch back to the new behavior you can instead use
>     llvmpipe.sh. Note that llvmpipe.sh will still keep the old OpenGL
>     implementation for the system components mentioned above, so there
>     is little risk in trying the scripts.  
>   * It’s now easier to build Replicant as there is a new script that
>     wraps part of the building process. It’s also more convenient as it
>     stores build logs. The script has been used to build the release,
>     and the build instructions also use it now.  
>   * It has became easier to modify the installation instructions as
>     they now apply to all devices, and were split into parts that are
>     reusable. This way a modification needs to be done only once and
>     not 10 or 30 times like before.  
>   * [Instructions to backup the modem data partition][26] have been
>     added. The modem partition can [become corrupted][27] in some
>     conditions. As it can be very difficult or impossible to recreate
>     that partition, and that it’s required for the modem to work, we
>     strongly advise users to do a backup.  
> Work on Replicant 9 has also been ongoing in parallel. As it will use a
> kernel closely based on upstream Linux, it has some implications:
>   * The work on Replicant 9 is made with the Galaxy SIII (i9300), so it
>     should be supported.  
>   * The Galaxy Note II (N7100) is very similar to the Galaxy SIII but
>     requires a bit more work to be supported.  
>   * The Galaxy SIII 4G (I9305) and Galaxy Note II 4G (N7105) could also
>     be added if work is done to add support for their modem in
>     Replicant.  
>   * We don’t know yet how much work is needed to add support for the
>     other devices that are currently supported by Replicant 6.0, so we
>     don’t know yet if they will be compatible with Replicant 9 or not.
>     We would need to find or get more information on the upstream
>     status of theses devices before having a rough idea.  
>   * It will be easier to add support for devices using a mainline
>     kernel.  
> We also take advantage of this release to announce some policies
> changes:
>   * As Replicant 6 only supports devices with isolated modems,
>     Replicant 9 and upward will also only support devices with isolated
>     modems.  
>   * Support for devices with non-isolated modems and upstream kernel
>     will need to be added in other Android distributions instead.  
>   * We are welcoming collaboration with various upstream projects and
>     other Android distributions to co-maintain the ability to run
>     Android with upstream kernels.  
> As Replicant 9 requires more work and working to upstream devices
> support in Linux takes more time than adding devices in Replicant 6, we
> also decided against supporting devices with batteries that cannot be
> replaced by users and developers.
> The issue is a very practical one: if we start adding support for a
> device, we want to be able to spend the time required to do it right
> and to work with upstream projects like Linux to add support for it in
> theses projects as well. The advantage is that it makes Replicant and
> the device being added more sustainable. However if the device has a
> battery that is not replaceable by experienced users, developers,
> repair shops, or [repair café][28], the device would have a very short
> lifetime which is incompatible with making Replicant sustainable:
>   * Users would need to buy the device new in order to make sure that
>     the battery lasts enough for a daily use. Buying the device second
>     hand would be way more complicated as users would need to make sure
>     that the battery last enough time.  
>   * Developers would still be able to work on the device for a very
>     long time, assuming that they are not users as well that want to
>     use the device. But their work would not be very useful without
>     usable devices.  
> If we look at the smartphones currently supported by Replicant 6.0:
>   * They all have removable batteries, so they are very easy to
>     replace.  
>   * Compatible batteries are easy enough to find in several countries.  
> And for the tablets supported by Replicant 6.0:
>   * They all have batteries that are not removable in the usual
>     meaning, but they can still be replaced by opening the device.  
>   * It is easy enough for experienced users, developers, repair shops,
>     and repair café to open the device and remove the battery, so it is
>     probably possible to replace it as well.  
>   * It would be interesting to know more about the availability of
>     compatible batteries.  
>   * It might also be possible to use tablets with batteries that last
>     way less than when the device is new, as many people have them off
>     most of the time. But even in that case it still shortens a lot the
>     lifetime of the device, as they probably still needs a working
>     battery to boot.  
> This entry was posted in [Replicant news][29] by [GNUtoo][30]. Bookmark
> the [permalink][31]. [Edit][32]
>    [1]: <https://blog.replicant.us/?p=4515> (4:30 pm)
>    [2]: <https://blog.replicant.us/author/gnutoo/> (View all posts by
>    GNUtoo)
>    [3]: <https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-non-gnu-distros.html>
>    [4]:
>    <https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-system-distribution-guidelines.html>
>    [5]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/issues/1827>
>    [6]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/vendor_cmsdk/commit/?id=de9e5b00e2a4072d2fd7e89e9abfc512a50d77e3>
>    [7]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/vendor_cmsdk/commit/?id=2d8ae47d9919f83cdf7244c3eeb34f919d83a33d>
>    [8]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/packages_apps_Dialer/commit/?id=c730399d4854875a76baa24ab653fbc049b8deef>
>    [9]:
> <https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/F-DroidAndApplications>
>    [10]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/boards/40>
>    [11]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/kernel_samsung_smdk4412/commit/?id=160424ba716cde87e4ff213972a03388e90bf75e>
>    [12]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/kernel_samsung_smdk4412/commit/?id=1fe39350b36767cc60ae58c2b2ea5fa29d484be0>
>    [13]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/kernel_samsung_smdk4412/commit/?id=0ee78af736ce947d286d21b5fdc2c0212b2f8d38>
>    [14]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/kernel_samsung_smdk4412/commit/?id=e40b2fa239e15c3ea8ea9407be704882916bcacc>
>    [15]:
>    <https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/ModemDisable>
>    [16]:
> <https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/SIMnotRecognized>
>    [17]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/issues/1909>
>    [18]: <https://www.gnu.org/distros/free-distros.html>
>    [19]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/issues/1861>
>    [20]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/issues/1786>
>    [21]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/issues/1973>
>    [22]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/issues/1773>
>    [23]:
> <https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/UsageNotes#Backups>
>    [24]:
> <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/kernel_samsung_smdk4412/commit/?id=a2ad1c05d8e609e3daf820deebf477c5f93d6f3e>
>    [25]: <https://git.replicant.us/replicant/vendor_replicant-
> scripts/tree/display/renderer/device-files>
>    [26]:
>    <https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/BackupTheEFS>
>    [27]: <https://redmine.replicant.us/issues/1869>
>    [28]: <https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Repair_caf%C3%A9>
>    [29]: <https://blog.replicant.us/category/replicant-news/>
>    [30]: <https://blog.replicant.us/author/gnutoo/>
>    [31]: <https://blog.replicant.us/?p=4515> (Permalink to Replicant
>    6.0 0004 release and Replicant 9 status.)
>    [32]:
>    <https://blog.replicant.us/wp-admin/post.php?post=4515&action=edit>
> This body part will be downloaded on demand.

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