Long-Lasting Design

Opening up Fairphone to the community: Open source Fairphone 2

Long-Lasting Design

What operating system fits Fairphone? In this post, I’d like to explain Fairphone’s next step to fairer software, discussing how we’re working to give our community more control of the Fairphone 2.

As I discussed in my previous blog, Fairphone has a commitment to longevity on its devices and providing long-term security updates. On Fairphone 1, we have obtained access to the source code ourselves to deliver updates for the years to come. However, the next step in that direction would be to open up development to our entire community which I’ll outline below.

Our ambitions for fair software

Fairphone’s high-level ambition for our phones‘ software is to bring more fairness to software. To us, that means focusing on the following key principles: transparency, longevity and ownership. Transparency is about building trust with our community. Longevity means keeping the software up-to-date and secure long after the product was sold, and ownership is about putting the user in control over what happens on their phone.

In the coming months we are going to launch several programs that address different aspects of creating fairer software. For now, one of the best tools for us to reach these goals is to embrace open source principles. With this in mind and without further ado, we’re excited to announce that we are going to release the complete build environment for Fairphone OS on Fairphone 2, which contains the full open source code, all the tools and the binary blobs that will allow users to build their own Fairphone OS.

Fairphone is going to release all the tools needed for users to build their own Fairphone OS on Fairphone 2.

Community contributions to Fairphone OS

Fairphone is eager to create a path for developers to contribute to the software of the Fairphone 2, and we want to engage with the community so they can help us improve on our core values of longevity and transparency. We also want our owners to feel that they can open up and control their software. The open source version of Fairphone OS will allow more flexibility for the user, for instance allowing him or her to root their phone while remaining focused on a pleasant user experience that is provided by our version of Android.


Take part in one of our community meetups. This Sunday, we’ll have an open source software kickoff in London.
As a first step, we will publish the Fairphone 2 code together with instructions on how to build Fairphone OS. This will give the community more ownership and allow to kickstart the work on alternative operating systems. We are currently working on a system to accept community contributions (yes, there will be a public Gerrit for code review), so stay tuned.

As a first step, we will publish the Fairphone 2 code to kickstart the work on alternative operating systems.

Our goal is to encourage the community to make proposals so that we can incorporate feedback from the community. For example, we could collaborate on a translation project to improve language on some of our apps or widgets. We’ve been enjoying a lively discussion with our community over the last years, and now we’re ready to take the next step and incorporate your feedback directly into software development. We’re looking forward to hearing your ideas and forming this collaboration.

Join our open source kickoff in London

For those community members who are already excited to get involved – we want to invite you to an event this weekend in London. During our pop-up space at the London Design Festival, we’re hosting a workshop for developers and open source enthusiasts where we walk you through our approach to software sustainability. Register now to learn about our plans to open up the Fairphone 2 software supply chain.

To conclude, I wanted to run through a few common questions we get regarding Fairphone 2 software:

  • We’re shipping with Fairphone OS, a unique Fairphone flavor of Android™ 5.1 (Lollipop)
  • Fairphone will release the complete build environment for Fairphone OS, which contains the full open source code, all the tools and the binary blobs that will allow users to build their own Fairphone OS.
  • Unlocking your phone will NOT void your warranty, unless you do things which can cause havoc or damage to the hardware, in which case you’re not covered. We can only provide support and service to official builds that we shipped to Fairphone owners.

Thank you to our community of Fairphone 1 owners, interested members, and new Fairphone 2 owners for supporting us this far. We hope we can make this next important step with the help of the developer community to make Fairphone 2 open, awesome and long-lasting.

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