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In easy words what makes Replicant different to CM?

Added by Alexander Ofen about 6 years ago

Sorry for asking this. Maybe there is already some online-page that gives incredible good info.
Anyways... in easy words (for newbies) what makes Replicant different to CM?

As I understand it we still use many BLOB drivers, right?

Will Replicant be more GNU-Linux like (i.e. console command line enabled?)

Thank you


Replies (4)

RE: In easy words what makes Replicant different to CM? - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 6 years ago

We describe Replicant this way: "Replicant is a fully free Android distribution running on several devices." Given that the blobs are non-free software, you can assume that they are not included in Replicant, else we wouldn't call it "fully free".

Generally speaking, we replace the blobs with free software replacements we write. That's most of the changes we make to the CyanogenMod codebase. As for console command line, I think the Terminal Emulator is already included in CyanogenMod. It is included as well in Replicant.

RE: In easy words what makes Replicant different to CM? - Added by Alexander Ofen about 6 years ago

Thank you for the quick reply Paul.

I am very happy about the answer and I would (if I may get some improved understanding) buy replying and
maybe looking for some more details.

Starting from your given explanation, Replicant does not come with Blobs.
1) This means that CM (would come with BLOBS). ?
2) This means that the great Replicant developers (really like people into promoting Freedom), would for instance reverse engineere a Driver and consequently replace the binary BLOB with an Open Source Driver? [possible?]
3) This means taht CM would be using proprietary drivers and Replicant might already have more components as Open Source drivers? [yes?]

In the [[http://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/ReplicantStatus#Replicant-40]] Replicant State
it sometimes says * Wifi : Not working without non-free firmwares*, would this hence mean that (a step as indicated in question (3) has not yet happend)
would then
4) it be possible to use BLOBS in Replicant , or does it mean you will not get WIFI to work at all?
(i.e. having closed-source as a fallback)

Thank you, Alex

PS: What kind of experts work on the development (is there an info about the developers...?)

RE: In easy words what makes Replicant different to CM? - Added by Paul Kocialkowski about 6 years ago

1. Yes, CyanogenMod ships with many blobs installed. Most of these are libraries to support the hardware.
2. That's what we do: we write free software replacements for the proprietary parts that CyanogenMod ships with. When we don't succeed, the corresponding hardware feature doesn't work with Replicant (for instance, there is no free software for the GPS chips in the phones we support, so there is no GPS support with Replicant so far). Note that Replicant is not about open source but rather about free software. See: https://www.gnu.org/philosophy/open-source-misses-the-point.html
3. Indeed, but the CyanogenMod team uses the replacements we write once they are fully featured. They also contribute to them to some extent. They also write replacements by themselves when the task is trivial. As for the firmwares, we don't work on replacing them (the task is huge) and only replace system-side software. We don't ship them either because they are non-free.
4. We carefully make a distinction between:
  • drivers, which is kernel-side software that interacts with the hardware
  • blobs, which are user-space software that deals with the hardware
  • firmwares, which is software that runs in the hardware chips, not on the main processor
    The problem with WiFi is non-free firmwares. Even though we don't ship them, the software will load them to the chip if they are put in the right place.

We are not experts at all but enthusiastic free software developers. I am the main developer and do most of the work currently.

RE: In easy words what makes Replicant different to CM? - Added by Alexander Ofen about 6 years ago

Thank you for pointing out the background open-source distinction free software etc.
I applaud the idea and concept of free-freedom software much.

It is great to see "enthusiastic free software developers". I will have no time to answer more detailed as I already run late to class (for having read
so nice and informative replies, thank you!)
I will surely come back here later

Best Luck!

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