I have to say “I’m sorry”. The fact of the matter is that I’ve been holding back this secret too long and I have to share it. I was doing a search for ‘alternatives to ios’ and ‘alternatives to android’ and I was surprised to see that there are only super old articles and the content results from alternativeto.net (which is a great website, btw). I was surprised that a lot of abandoned operating systems were still being shown and not many people have done much writing on the topic. I thought – maybe I should write this, seeing that an alternative to these options has recently gone from ‘optional’ to ‘mandatory’ status. So, here we go. A super, duper fast article to tell you what’s out there these days and which one is best:
The next big mobile OS. Its not an alternative
Number 3 – Purism and Librem
So these guys are pretty cool both in philosophy and what they’re trying to do. The short version of the story is that they are making their own mobile OS called ‘Pure OS’ but they will also support a couple of other operating systems to be installed as well if you don’t want to stick with theirs. What’s unique about them is that they have a serious focus on free, transparent, and safe **hardware** with the Librem 5 (not available at the time of this blog). This is something that is completely missing from the current ‘accessible’ marketplace and a lot of people want it. They are also kind of neat because they started with a crowdfunding thing. But – they haven’t launched their device yet so this entire paragraph is of no value to you other than ‘Hey! You … might be able to access this cool stuff in 2019….maybe… hopefully…” If they succeed they will have ‘the most open and free’ hardware setup around based on today’s situation.
Number 2 – Postmarket OS
These guys are pretty cool too. They plan to keep phones alive longer and make them more free by means of free and open source software. They are not as ‘free and open’ as Purism plans to be, since they will still run ‘overtop Android’ (kind of a layer in between) but at least you could use your device without Google or Apple bothering you which is pretty awesome. Unfortunately, mom and grandpa won’t be installing it quite yet since it’s still … very hard. In fact, don’t bother trying yet unless you have a pretty skilled person nearby (who probably has a nice neck beard) who knows what the word ‘compile’ and ‘build’ means…
Number 1 – Ubuntu Touch
Just my opinion (blogs are allowed to have these these) but Ubuntu Touch is the **only** option available **right now**. Right now, on select devices (https://devices.ubuntu-touch.io/) (not all) you can, relatively easily and usually with a simple installer that you are already familar with – install Ubuntu Touch on your mobile phone. It’s quite common for people to be up and running in just a few hours. And if you have a snag, the UBports community is one of the most vibrant, active and fun communities in the world. You can check out their ‘fireside chats’ here( https://ubports.com/blog/ubports-blog-1/tag/ubuntu-touch-q-a-3) as an example, or, jump straight into their front door by joining their Telegram supergroup or their Matrix Supergroup. From there you’ll be pointed to places where volunteers will help you get started. I’ve been so impressed by this community and the lightening fast development that I have full confidence we will see something available to purchase out of the box within 2 years from the date of this post. Mark my words and you heard it first here. But, just think – free from Google’s spying eyes. Free from Apple’s rigid proprietary hardware. Right now. Not tomorrow.
Oh, and hey. If you are a developer (I’m not evidently), you can start building stuff for all of these projects above and make a difference. If I were a developer then I would be jumping on the opportunity to work with these guys, especially Ubuntu Touch since it’s very easy to find the code and the community is quite open.