[Report] Investigating alternative, mobile OSes

[Story time, jump to the strong part that sums everything if you don’t want to read it]

Hello Sailors !

As often read here (and in any forum about something running on linux) there is a need to promote SFOS, open source or/and even alternative/sovereign solutions.
But many times when doing so in a professional environment, someone requires proof, a study about it, something more than just your word.
So as a student I thought it would be a good idea to write about “why a company or a state should adopt SFOS”

My primary goal here was to be able, in case I have a discussion with someone about the strategic importance of mobile OS (trust me it happens quite often for me), to have a study/article to back up my ideas.

During the redaction I talked with a few people about it (ENISA and the German Ministry of Interior), and asked why wouldn’t they talk about alternative mobile OS ? And they answered me that it was not in the scope of their study/they didn’t know their existence. Well now they do (well at least the people I mailed…).

If I’m posting it here it’s for three reasons :

  • Some here definitely know more about me on this topic and to them I ask if they can correct my mistakes (like the current investors of Jolla)
  • I mostly took sources from Germany and France, which during my research seemed to be the most active countries in the EU on the digital sovereignty topic, but if you know an other EU country (and have the sources) that talked about, even in an other language, please tell me, so I can add it
  • It talks about SFOS so it’s kinda the best place to share it

Feel free to reach me out, even if it’s to say it’s a shitty work, at least i will improve the next one, it is still in beta.

You can’t paste a document on the forum so I have to use a hosting service (SwissTransfer) which has a download limit, so if the link is broken tell it and I’ll update a new one

to summarize :

I wrote an article about why countries and companies need to adopt alternative mobile OS. Feel free to reach me out if something bugs you or if you have ideas. Download link below, it’s about 40 pages long, don’t worry 10 are for bibliography


The file’s SHA512 sum

098fe3d4b852b55e96cd63cb31afc8d43f314a9863b38a32655968604c82d3aa1e49c1db2745f486143468ec9d2ad8140df66260a5017c43634aca062c9523f5  eu_mobile_os_digital_sovereignty.pdf

Hello Jojo,
So far I have only read your work sideways, but I believe that it is an interesting analysis.

I’ve been wondering for years why governments have so extremely little interest in alternative operating systems.
I remember that a few years ago there was a discussion in Germany about equipping various authorities with Linux systems. At some point you heard nothing more about the topic.

However, I think this topic should not only be of interest to businesses and governments, but to all of us.
The question of what effects the presence of e.g. Google has in our everyday lives on the individual and society is one of the forcing issues.

For me personally, the decisive argument has always been the control over the things that I have acquired and that they surround me in everyday life.
I actually have a problem with the fact that my devices dictate what I can do with them and what I have to do.
For example, I get annoyed when my car tells me when to have an inspection.
In the past, I have told my car when to do an inspection.
The main danger that I see in development is a subtle external control that the user is no longer consciously aware of. Of course, I also consider the collection of data of any kind by private companies to be very questionable.
(Fortunately, “Alexa” does not switch the oven on and off for me yet and Google is not yet accompanying me into the shower).

For these reasons, I think it is very important to keep the discussion about alternatives alive.

Thank you for the analysis - I think it is informative and worth reading.

(Translated with Google translator!) :innocent:


Thank you for your reply Nolos, the translation was just fine,

I do agree that there is a need for more users to “let gafam/batx go” and adopt more data respectful solution, but that’s a societal issue and some actually like it.

Financially speaking, investing in end user adoption (your neighbor adopting SFOS) would cost a lot of money in communication, development (to port major apps to SFOS), stocks and supply (because people want things here and now), whereas companies and states/countries ask for a specific number of stocks for a specific date and use limited applications.
In the document I used the example of Snapchat, a very common and used app among teens. The app is not supposed to work on rooted phones or forked editions of Android which could lead an user to avoiding adoption of SFOS on its day-to-day personal phone.
But in the professional environment there is no need to have this app installed on the professional mobile phone, so there is no barrier to adopting SFOS.

I hope with this document to show companies the social/security advantage of adopting SFOS (I lack numbers to convince them on the economical side)


Thanks for your explanations.
I’m just an interested end user and of course I don’t spend too much money on the use of various apps.
However, I only need a few things.
Nevertheless, I believe that states, authorities and also companies should have a greater interest in independent operating systems and programs.
If there were a little more support from these Institutions, normal users could benefit from it too.
Of course, a certain willingness to make a contribution to good products is also beneficial.
But I think that many are willing to pay a fair price for a good and independent product if the information is given.
If you are interested in a product like Sailfish, you have to search hard to find information.
A little more advertising (in a positive sense) would be desirable.

With that in mind, I wish all the best for Sailfish’s future!
(Unfortunately, these translations make it easy to see that Google just works way too well ).

I often ask developers of mobile apps to port their apps for Sailfish. I always get some kind of negative answer but I use it mostly for them to learn that there is something else out there.

For the translation part, depending on the language your are most comfortable with, you can also use deepl


Thanks for the link. From now on: No more Google! :+1:


Hi @jojo, could you update the link? It does not work anymore. Thanks!

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@circuit : please try again! From my computer the link is working OK.

Hi @Seven.of.nine , thanks for trying! However, I still cannot get it to work. I see a “Transfer is no longer available” message. I allowed all javascript to run on the page, but still no luck.

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But the deepl.com homepage works normal both on my computer and on my SF Phone. Maybe some prepaid or monthly data volume consumed? Try to access the address without Infomaniak (Do you have a VPN or some filtering from Infomaniak?)

@Seven.of.nine : I tried several computers and no luck. No filtering active either that I know of. And no data limit. Strange that it still works for you. Maybe you downloaded it before the download limit was reached and the site somehow remembers you…

Given the fact that @jojo mentioned the download limit in his initial post, I guess that is the case right now.

Hey, sorry for the delay, here is the new link :


I don’t seem to be able to edit the original post, this is an update version from the original one (without the spelling mistakes) so the signature won’t be the same.

If you still can’t download it MP me I’ll send you the document by mail or so. And please feel free to share your point of view.

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No, the site surely doesn’t remember me. It was my first visit there. I read from this site in your post the first time in my life. Download limit? maybe. I did not download anything from this site, was only checking if it’s reachable because of your question.

EDIT: Some homepages lock their services to the bigger VPN providers. They say this is because of spam protection or to protection against some misuse… they say…

there is indeed a download limit of 1000 (not set by me) and a time limit of 30 days (also not set by me), the website has some issues with some add ons, at least on firefox.

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The new link did the trick. Looking forward to read the paper. Thank you @jojo and @Seven.of.nine for your quick help!


As I get it, you and @circuit were referring to two different links…

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This is longer than anticipated and turned into some kind of mini-review, but anyway, here are my notes :slight_smile: :

  • Bill Gates citation doesn’t sound like English (for me as non-native speaker).
    see: Bill Gates says his ‘greatest mistake ever’ was Microsoft losing to Android - The Verge

  • Spelling of Google Fuchsia - Wikipedia

  • Kudos for using $\LaTeX$!

  • Multiple times, there is the assumption that services from a single company are better than services combined from multiple companies/3rd parties.
    (Or that people prefer one-stop shops because their easier/superior)

    Although this reflects the current situation with iOS/Android, I think that this assumption is not (entirely) true:
    In my opinion, the crucial point are well-defined, open interfaces. iOS/Android are missing these, thus the vendor lock-in seems to be the easiest route for users (which is of course desired by Apple/Google).

    Using Sailfish, for example, I can SSH from an arbitrary (not only Linux) machine into my Sailfish device to do stuff (and the other way around).
    Also, Sailfish itself syncs calendar/contacts via CalDav/CardDav to whatever provider I chose, and can backup to an Nextcloud instance run be me or a friend.

    The key for a good service quality/“user experience” (I hate this word btw) is an open interface, not having a single company providing everything.


Thank you very much for your feedback ! I appreciate it.

I corrected my mistakes (the citation and Fuchsia albeit I had the link with the proper name right below the mistake…)

For the LaTeX part, thank you for the tips, I will correct those for the later correction (I had hyperref commented but I can’t remember why I did so…) But indeed there are no clickable URLs in the document and it was voluntary (I just realized that I had a stupid reason for that).

For the analysis part, could you provide me an example of this assumption please ?

It must be the wrong idea I’m giving, since, I do agree with you that some times multiple companies > a single one.
Unless you are speaking about the part 3.3.3 where I interpret Alan Kay’s quote, where he says that: “if you own the product, you control things better”.
I agree with him, when you own the hardware and the software of a device, controlling the interactions third parties may have is a piece of cake and you can then promote your own service/device.
For example the Apple AirTag, not something new, there are plenty of companies that had a similar product. But they all had software limitations. Now that Apple released it’s own AirTag, without opening an API for other companies to offer a similar service, it gained an undeniable advantage over third party products.

This may be, in this case it was a misunderstanding from my side and I apologize for meddling.

It happens with written words… No need to apologize, i saw a misunderstanding and just wanted to help you two clarifiy. This is a nice place - most of the times :wink:

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