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Funding procedure

Funding status

See TasksFunding for tasks that have been accepted by funding organizations. It also contains more background on such organizations.

Applicants criteria

When funding tasks with Replicant's money

In order to minimize the risk:

  • The applicants will need to already have Patches in Replicant to apply. So if you want to apply and don't have any patches in Replicant, the easiest way is just to send some useful patches.
  • The applicants will need to be able to demonstrate that they have the required skills by showing contributions in free and open source project in similar areas.
  • The applicants will need to be able to do contract work

Alternatively we could also handle it in a way that is similar to the NLnet foundation, where we would only pay once some useful part of the work has been done.

When funding tasks through other organizations

See TasksFunding.

Tasks that could be funded

Add support for more recent smartphones

The most recent smartphones that Replicant support are quite old (they were made around 2013). The goal here is to add support for more recent smartphones in Replicant.

Even if we think that it's at lot more important to support devices that are better for freedom (samsung devices usually have a nonfree bootloaders), adding supporting common (Samsung) phones and tablets is relatively easy and fast to do and could be a good way to get started in contributing to Replicant.

It's advised to pick a device that:
  • has an isolated modem (no shared memory between the modem and the processor running Android)
  • meets Android 9 HardwareRequirements to still be useful when Replicant will be ported to Android 9
  • has a modem that can easily be supported by samsung-ril and libsamsung-ipc
  • is or will be supported by lineageOS

Make sure to evaluate the device before starting to work on it. Some devices have been evaluated in the TargetsEvaluation wiki page. There is also a forum section for devices evaluation.

Hardware requirements:
In addition to the requirements for porting Replicant to a newer Android version:
  • One or more smartphones that are already well supported by LineageOS or the AOSP project and that can easily be added in Replicant.

Difficulty: Medium

Expected outcomes:
  • Basic features working (graphics, touchscreen, buttons, audio, and telephony if there is a modem) without requiring Replicant or the user to install or ship nonfree software or firmwares.

Support in-system upgrades

It would be useful for a Replicant device to be able to update itself to a new version of Replicant without requiring being connected to a PC. LineageOS already supports this; we suspect that it should be possible to adapt this LineageOS functionality to Replicant.

Whenever possible, it would be useful to complete and submit some of the code written for Replicant to LineageOS.

Difficulty: Medium

Expected outcomes:
  • In-system updates working without being connected to a PC

Implement the missing features of Samsung-RIL

Samsung-RIL is the RIL (Radio Interface Layer) that many Replicant devices use to communicate with the modem. It is a free, reverse-engineered replacement for the proprietary RIL that the Samsung phones ship with by default (which has been found to have backdoors).

Right now, Samsung-RIL mostly implements only the protocol features that are absolutely necessary for the phone to be operable. As a result, many more rarely used protocol features are unimplemented, which decreases functionality compared to the proprietary RIL. You can help by implementing the missing features of Samsung-RIL.

It would also be nice to fix most the reported bugs involving samsung-ril and libsamsung-ipc that are impacting users very seriously. This includes the bugs about the SIM card not being detected, and the issue about having metallic sound quality when doing voice calls over 3G (bug #1773). It would also be nice to be able to recover from EFS (the modem filesystem) corruptions (Bug #1869).

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. A smartphone or tablet supported by Samsung-RIL.

Difficulty: Medium to Hard

Requirements/Prerequisites: Knowledge of C.

Expected outcomes: Implement the missing features listed at Samsung-RIL. When all the features have been implemented, also ask usptream (LineageOS) if they want to use libsamsung-ipc and samsung-ril.

Dependencies: This task should be fairly independent as:
  • Libsamsung-ipc should already be independent of the Android version (it can even run on GNU/Linux)
  • Samsung-RIL can probably easily be adapted to newer Android version

Funding: We could apply to https://nlnet.nl/PET

"Complete libsamsung-ipc and libsamsung-ril" nlnet Grant application

Project name Complete libsamsung-ipc and libsamsung-ril
Website / wiki https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/Samsung-RIL

Abstract: Can you explain the whole project and its expected outcome(s).in 1200 characters

Replicant is a fully free Android distribution that is
approved by the FSF (http://gnu.org/distros). It supports
several Samsung smartphones tablets that have a modem.

The modem can be thought as a separate computer in a chip that
is dedicated for interfacing with the cellular network.

Many use custom protocols that are implemented by nonfree software
to communicate with the smartphone OS (Android). This has issues:
https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/SamsungGalaxyBackdoor

The Samsung IPC protocol is used by the modems of the devices
currently supported by Replicant, and in many other Samsung
smartphones and Tablets.

Replicant implemented it in:
- libsamsung-ipc: the low level protocol implementation
- libsamsung-ril: the interface between libsamsung-ipc and Android

The project consists in implementing their missing features, which
are known and documented in the RIL API. They are things like
"start a conference call".

When they are completed, we expect other Android and GNU/Linux
distributions to start using and contributing to these libraries.

This will also lower our maintenance burden and improve Replicant
usability and compatibility with networks.

Have you been involved with projects or organizations relevant to this project before?
And if so, can you tell us a bit about your contributions?
SEE TEMPLATE
Requested Amount (Between 5000 and 50000 Euros) 50000 Euros
Does the project have other funding sources, both past and present? SEE TEMPLATE

Explain what the requested budget will be used for?

The budget will only be used to fund this task through contract work.

We think it will take something between 3 and 4 month of work
for one full time developer.

If we take the cost of a Freelance developer in the USA (75$ to 150$
per hour) as a basis, to enable people living in Europe and the USA
to apply, we can fund a developer to work on it for a period that
is mostly equivalent to something between 2 to 4 months full
time.

The Replicant project will take care of ensuring that the
people who will work on this task have the necessary hardware to
do it, for instance by shipping or reimbursing the purchase of a
compatible smartphone with the Replicant project money.

Compare your own project with existing or historical efforts.

Here, implementing the missing features will be done in the same
way than before, which is running the proprietary implementation
and understanding the data format of the data going from/to the modem
that is gathered either with strace or by patching the kernel, and
implementing the feature in libsamsung-ipc and libsamsung-ril.

What are significant technical challenges you expect to solve during the project, if any?

There is currently no CDMA support at all in Replicant
and libsamsung-ril/libsamsung-ipc.
A lot of areas in the world don't have any CMDA coverage,
so testing the implementation could be challenging as it
would either require the contractor to live in an area
with CDMA coverage, or to be able to build a cheap CDMA
infrastructure to be able to test the implementation.

If we don't have good enough assurances that implementing
CDMA is doable, that will not be attempted.

Describe the ecosystem of the project, and how you will engage with relevant actors and promote the outcomes? SEE TEMPLATE
Attachments SEE TEMPLATE

Implement a fully-featured QMI-RIL

The LTE variants of the Samsung Galaxy S3 and Samsung Galaxy Note 2 use a different modem from the non-LTE variants that Replicant currently supports. You can help Replicant support those modems by implementing a QMI-RIL, which performs a similar role on the LTE variants as what Samsung-RIL performs on the currently-supported non-LTE variants. Wolfgang has done some preliminary work on this, so you'll probably be picking up where he left off.

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. A smartphone or tablet supported by QMI-RIL like the Galaxy SIII 4G (i9305).

Difficulty: Hard

Requirements/Prerequisites: Knowledge of C.

Expected outcomes: A QMI-RIL that supports voice calls, SMS, and data, with as complete a protocol implementation as possible.

Dependencies: This task should be fairly independent as:
  • The lower layers should already be independent of the Android version as they are used under GNU/Linux
  • QMI-RIL can probably easily be adapted to newer Android version

Funding: We could apply to https://nlnet.nl/PET

Finish to port the Galaxy S III (I9300) and the Galaxy Note 2 (N7100) to Mainline Linux

The the Galaxy S 2 (I9100), Galaxy S 3 (I9300) and Galaxy Note 2 (N7100) currently use a kernel based on a vendor fork of Linux, which poses a maintainability and security issue. Forkbomb has done some initial work on porting these devices to use mainline Linux. You can help by continuing this work. This would also enable these devices to use generic hardware abstraction layers (HAL) when abstractions layers are ready, and to do some research on whether the TrustZone operating system can be removed from such devices.

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. A Galaxy S 2 (I9100), Galaxy S 3 (I9300) or Galaxy Note 2 (N7100), and a serial port adapter to get the kernel boot logs.

Difficulty: Medium

Requirements/Prerequisites: C programming language, driver development

Expected outcomes: Audio working, modem working, and Replicant or LineageOS booting with mainline Linux.

"Finish to port the Galaxy S III (I9300) and the Galaxy Note 2 (N7100) to Mainline Linux" nlnet Grant application

Project name TODO
Website / wiki https://redmine.replicant.us/projects/replicant/wiki/Upstream#Replicant-supported-Samsung-Exynos-devices

Abstract: Can you explain the whole project and its expected outcome(s).in 1200 characters

Replicant is a fully free Android distribution that is
approved by the FSF (http://gnu.org/distros).

TODO

Have you been involved with projects or organizations relevant to this project before?
And if so, can you tell us a bit about your contributions?
SEE TEMPLATE
Requested Amount (Between 5000 and 50000 Euros) 50000 Euros
Does the project have other funding sources, both past and present? SEE TEMPLATE

Explain what the requested budget will be used for?

The budget will only be used to fund this task through contract work.

We think it will take something between 3 and 4 month of work
for one full time developer.

If we take the cost of a Freelance developer in the USA (75$ to 150$
per hour) as a basis, to enable people living in Europe and the USA
to apply, we can fund a developer to work on it for a period that
is mostly equivalent to something between 2 to 4 months full
time.

The Replicant project will take care of making sure that the
people that will work on this task have the necessary hardware to
do it, for instance by shipping or reimbursing the purchase of a
compatible smartphone with the Replicant project money.

Compare your own project with existing or historical efforts.

TODO

What are significant technical challenges you expect to solve during the project, if any?

TODO

Describe the ecosystem of the project, and how you will engage with relevant actors and promote the outcomes? SEE TEMPLATE
Attachments SEE TEMPLATE

Tasks that are being defined

Test infrastructure

Having an automated build and test infrastructure would be very beneficial for Replicant.

Issues:
  • Running costs of such infrastructure have to be kept low, not to depend on continuous flow of money

Documentation

A lot of time is spent on the wiki documentation, and a lot of information is redundant (for instance the installation guide)

TODO:
  • Research documentation systems
  • Research the technical knowledge required to use them
  • Look into communities like RockBox on the benefit of non-wiki documentation
  • Look if transitioning to non-wiki documentation would make the Replicant Project loose its contributors to the documentation

Devices with 512M of RAM or less

We might want to consider Android 9 HardwareRequirements before working on that

Advance the Optimus Black U-Boot and Linux mainline ports

The Optimus Black from LG is an interesting device from the perspective of freedom and privacy/security. It has the ability to run a free bootloader and uses an OMAP3 SoC that is well-documented and supported in upstream U-Boot (bootloader) and Linux (kernel). Its modem is well-isolated from the rest of the device, ensuring a sane base for privacy/security. Currently, the device-specific parts of the mainline U-Boot and Linux ports are still at an early stage, where they are functional with a very limited set of supported hardware.

Advancing the Optimus Black U-Boot and Linux mainline ports would allow using the device with free, up-to-date and maintainable software and would pave the way for support in GNU/Linux systems as well as Replicant. A list of priorities in hardware support will be defined, with the objective of tackling as many as possible.

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. An Optimus Black with u-boot and modified boot pins, a serial port adapter to get the kernel boot logs.

Difficulty: Medium to Hard

Requirements/Prerequisites: C programming language, driver development

Expected outcomes: Improved hardware support for the Optimus Black in U-Boot and Linux

Advance the Kindle Fire (first generation) U-Boot and Linux mainline ports

The Kindle Fire (first generation) from Amazon is an interesting device from the perspective of freedom and privacy/security. It has the ability to run a free bootloader and uses an OMAP4 SoC that is well-documented and supported in upstream U-Boot (bootloader) and Linux (kernel). It does not embed a modem, ensuring a sane base for privacy/security. Currently, the device-specific parts of the mainline U-Boot and Linux ports are still at an early stage, where they are functional with a very limited set of supported hardware.

Advancing the Kindle Fire (first generation) U-Boot and Linux mainline ports would allow using the device with free, up-to-date and maintainable software and would pave the way for support in GNU/Linux systems as well as Replicant. A list of priorities in hardware support will be defined, with the objective of tackling as many as possible.

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. A Kindle Fire first generation, a serial port adapter to get the kernel boot logs.

Difficulty: Medium

Requirements/Prerequisites: C programming language, driver development

Expected outcomes: Improved hardware support for the Kindle Fire (first generation) in U-Boot and Linux

Select and/or port a tablet with an Allwinner SOC to mainline Linux and U-boot, and Replicant

Tablets with Allwinner SOCs are an interesting targets because they do not use signed bootloaders and the SOCs and various devices using them have good Linux and u-boot mainline support. If not much work is required for that, once the code is merged, the candidate is also required to work on the generic abstraction layer project which is also documented in this page.

The chosen tablet should have:
  • A SOC that has good mainline support, see the Linux mainlining effort page on linux-sunxi for more details.
  • A Free software bootloader, or the ability to easily add support for the tablet to a free software bootloader.
  • The ability to power and use an USB WiFi card or chip that is compatible with the ath9k_htc driver.

It would be better if the chosen tablet doesn't use an AllWinner SOC with a PowerVR GPU, as MALI GPU have more probability to be usable with free software in the future.

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. An Allwinner tablet, a serial port adapter to get the kernel boot logs.

Difficulty: Medium

Requirements/Prerequisites: C programming language, driver development

Expected outcomes: Replicant support for a tablet using an Allwinner SOC, with free software bootloader and mainline based Linux kernel.

Tasks for Replicant 6.0

Tackle security issues in Replicant 6.0

Replicant is plagued by various security issues, that are mostly due to using a downstream codebase. One of the most crucial issues is that Replicant uses an old version of the Android WebView (from circa 2015), which is also a functionality drawback.
An initial evaluation of the security issues in Replicant should be conducted, followed by the integration or update of the concerned components of the system.

It would also be nice to do the same for privacy issues. Since Replicant indirectly depends on the "Android Open Source Project" and directly depends on LineageOS, not all privacy issues might have been found fixed by Replicant. Once security issues have been fixed, it would be nice to try to identify as many privacy issues as possible, and in a second time to fix them.

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. A smartphone or tablet that is supported by Replicant to be able to test the result.

Difficulty: Medium-Hard

Requirements/Prerequisites: Android build system, knowledge of system security, advanced git

Expected outcomes: Integration or update of components of Replicant to tackle security issues

Fix the Free software distribution guidelines issues and improve the build system in Replicant 6.0

Replicant has some issues with FSDG compliance: F-droid repository is not FSDG compliant anymore (Bug #1629), and Replicant can't be built from an FSDG distribution (Bug #1861). This ought to be fixed. Replicant should also be fixed to build without issue.

It would also be nice to have the build system not depend on pre-built dependencies anymore, and to document which FSDG compliant F-droid applications crash because Replicant's incomplete EGL implementation (#705) and tag such applications as incompatible (so they are greyed out) until the EGL implemetation is fixed. Ideally Replicant builds should also be made reproducible if they are not already.

Hardware requirements : A computer that is able to build Replicant. A smartphone or tablet that is supported by Replicant to be able to test the result.

Difficulty: Easy

Requirements/Prerequisites: Knowledge of shell scripts and the ability to learn the Android build system

Expected outcomes: The ability to compile Replicant from an FSDG distribution, F-droid only showing FSDG compliant software.

Research

Improve support for the free software compatible external WiFi adapter

All devices currently supported by Replicant have WiFi chips that requires a non-free firmware to work. So to have WiFi working with free software, users need to use external WiFi adapters. They typically use tiny ath9k_htc compatible USB WiFi adapter along with a tiny USB OTG Host adapter.

Such external USB WiFi adapters used with Replicant are originally intended for laptops, not phones. As a result, they tend to consume a lot of power. According to lsusb some ath9k_htc compatible devices can consume up to 500mA.

This poses several issues:
  • Some smartphones and tablets might not be compatible, at the hardware level, with such big power consumption.
  • They can adversely impact battery life

Such USB WiFi adapters can also randomly stop working completely on some devices (e.g. needing to unplug and replug the adapter periodically to keep it operational).

You will need to investigate reliability issues such as the one mentioned above and look how power consumption can be improved in the adapter firmware and/or kernel driver.

You will also need to investigate how much miliampers USB devices can use, at the hardware level, on the smartphones and tablets Replicant supports.

Hardware requirements : An ath9k_htc compatible WiFi card, the ability to measure the current usage, the ability to build the ath9k_htc firmware and driver.

Difficulty: Medium/Hard

Requirements/Prerequisites: Knowledge of C

Expected outcomes: Reliable WiFi with external WiFi adapter

Updated by dl lud 30 days ago · 6 revisions