[GLLUG] Debian mobile phone

Matt Copperwaite mattcopp at gmail.com
Mon Apr 18 15:57:44 UTC 2022

On Sat, 16 Apr 2022, 12:57 Alain D D Williams via GLLUG, <
gllug at mailman.lug.org.uk> wrote:

> I am going to have to get a new 'phone as my current on is 2G/3G only and
> they
> are going to be switched off. I am with Giffgaff (which uses the O2
> network).

The first thing I would note is that this likely won't happen for a long
while yet. BBC are reporting 2033 for the government mandated switch off,
and while it's likely mobile networks will start this work sooner than
that, I expect by that time the smartphone landscape will look quite
different from what it is now. For one thing 5G would likely be much more
common and 4G devices will be significantly cheaper.

However if you are looking at this now I have some ideas.

> I would like to run Debian on what I get - something that I can trust -
> unlike
> Android which uploads stuff to google.

> Does anyone have any experience with this ? What should I look for ? What
> avoid ?
> I do not have big needs for a 'phone: voice, SMS, camera (high resolution
> not
> needed), Internet (to tether my laptop & occasional web browsing) is about
> it.
> If running a trusted OS then I might add ssh.

One thing to consider giving your requirements is a Chromebook with a 4G
module. They generally can run any Linux distro given some work. Check out
John Lewis (the Chromebook guy not the shop). They're also often cheaper
than high end smart phones.

Although this option is very unlikely to fit in to your pocket.

Another thing is to look for Android phones that can be flashed with custom
firmware. I've been out of this community for a while. One I know that is
still continuing is the Sony Android Open Source Project that lets you
build your own images and flash them. Definitely would be possible to
create an image with better privacy, given work.

I still think XDA Developers is the best place to keep on top of this stuff.

> --
> Alain Williams
> Linux/GNU Consultant - Mail systems, Web sites, Networking, Programmer, IT
> Lecturer.
> +44 (0) 787 668 0256  https://www.phcomp.co.uk/
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