Test-driving the Android free software alternative Replicant

Conclusions

Replicant is a system for people who doggedly embrace the open source spirit. Unfortunately, the reality doesn't quite live up to the lofty vision – starting with the hardware, which includes several proprietary components. Even though it is old and only partly usable, Freerunner, by OpenMoko, actually does a better job of supporting the hardware with minimal proprietary components. The Galaxy Nexus is only half the fun with Replicant as it is with Android 4.2, or even a custom ROM based on Android KitKat or Lollipop. I will certainly revert my Nexus back to CyanogenMod or some other custom ROM in the near future.

The Author

Marcel Hilzinger has used Linux since the early days and still works on the open source system today. He runs the Android blog http://android-user.de and also produces digital magazines for Google Play Newsstand. He has long become accustomed to cohabitation of open source and proprietary components.

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