In 2018, Gaël Duval created an operating system that was not based on Google services. 4 years later, the OS came out in its beta version to offer a V1 that promotes privacy and control of personal data.
/e/OS, what is it?
/E /OS is a French alternative operating system developed by Gaël Duval. The first version of it is from 2018, so it’s only recent. This system open-source based on Android, but does not integrate with Google Mobile Services – the famous GMS that Huawei has lacked for 3 years now. The ambition of / e / is to offer an OS that respects privacy, meaning it doesn’t embed any tracker, unlike Android or iOS. /E /OS was created by a non-profit organization, and not by a company comparable to GAFAM, and therefore does not make a profit from collecting your personal data.
There are many ways to access /e /OS on a smartphone. It is possible to get a mobile Murena – the range of smartphones with this operating system by default. There are a few of them and the / e / Foundation is a partner of manufacturers like Samsung or Fairphone. However, if you are equipped with another terminal, you can install the OS by hand, using an installer – but some models are compatible – or by simply downloading the package. In the spring of 2022, the operating system was based on Android 11 and finally signed off on its release from beta, marking the arrival of /e /OS V1.
In the main lines
The operating system / e / is “deGoogled”. So it doesn’t integrate with GMS, and even if it’s Android-based, Google won’t interfere with the phone. As a result, /e /OS offers its own applications as an alternative to its Mountain View. These include, an application store, a navigation app or even a browser that, by default, is clearly not offered by Google. For geolocation services, / e / goes through Mozilla. As the foundation manifesto states: “Keeping your data private does not mean giving up your digital”. Basically, if the /e /OS adopts itself shop, the latter allows you to download your favorite applications. A good portion of what can be found in the Play Store is usable, even if sometimes you have to search hard to find an application. For example “Facebook” doesn’t appear in the list when we type the name in the search bar; by typing “Meta”, the application will appear on the social network, but not in the first results and, above all, after Messenger (Meta’s messenger). So it can be tricky, but it should be recognized that /e /OS provides access to many applications and remains complete, even without Google.
What /e /OS v1 offers
- As a good privacy protector, the operating system allows you to track all data collected by third parties, which can be found primarily on its alternative portal, called the App Lounge. The store gives each application a privacy rating out of 10, which is automatically calculated from the permissions and trackers found within the title. Under this note, a description under the title “Confidential analysis” allows you to consult the permissions required by the app as well as the various trackers stored there.
If Murena’s desire is to offer a nearly identical Android experience without all of its hassles, the result isn’t the same. Actually, the location that goes through Mozilla is a little more capricious than using GMS. Same thing for the App Lounge which hosts a good portion of Play Store applications, but whose (for some) compatibility is a bit risky. Small items if taken separately, but which, when added, can be easily overweight.
The photo application is still slow to run. What we found in our OS test on a Redmi Note 8T unfortunately still applies today. The trigger takes time to react, as does the optics change button. Also, what is seen on the screen seems blurry and very low quality. Which fortunately doesn’t happen when looking at the photo once it’s taken.
If you are a regular user of /e /OS, and would like to contribute to this article, provide tips, clarification or correction, do not hesitate to contact us in the comments.