Fairphone 2 “Ethical” Smartphone Gets a Ubuntu Port

Fairphone aims to “create positive social and environmental impact from the beginning to the end of a phone’s life cycle”by designing easy to repair and long lasting phones that can be recycled and reused, and manufactured in good working conditions using conflicts-free materials. Their latest model is the Fairphone 2  5” Android 5.1 smartphone with a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 processor, but you can now install Ubuntu on the device as UBports Ubuntu community has released a port for the phone.

Let’s go through Fairphone 2 hardware specifications first:

  • SoC- Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 (MSM8974AB) quad core Krait 400 processor @ up to 2.26 GHz with Adreno 330 GPU
  • System Memory – 2 GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot with support for SDHC, SDXC, UHS cards
  • Display – 5″ Full HD (1920 x 1080) LCD TFT IPS touchscreen display with Gorilla Glass 3
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • 2x micro SIM (3FF) Dual-SIM, Dual-Standby (DSDS); Not shared with micro SD slot
    • GSM/GPRS/EDGE Quad-band: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
    • WCDMA Bands 1 (2100 MHz), 2 (1900 MHz), 8 (900 MHz)
    • 3G Max Downlink Speed Cat. 24 – 42.2 Mbps
    • 3G Max Uplink Speed Cat. 6 – 5.76 Mbps (Cat. 7 capable)
    • LTE Bands 3 (1800 MHz), 7 (2600 MHz), 20 (800 MHz)
    • 4G Max Downlink Speed Cat. 4 – 150 Mbps
    • 4G Max Uplink Speed Cat. 4 – 50 Mbps
  • Wireless  Connectivity –  Dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac WiFi up to 433 Mpbs, Bluetooth 4.0 LE, GPS with A-GPS, Glonass, FM radio
  • Camera – 8MP rear camera with flash, 2MP front-facing camera
  • Audio – Rear facing speaker, 3.5mm headset jack, dual microphones
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Sensors – Ambient Light, Proximity, 3-axis Compass, 3D Accelerometer, 3D Gyroscope
  • Misc – Vibration Motor with Haptics Feedback; Power, Volume & Camera buttons; 3 color LED
  • Expansion – Backside expansion port for external case with USB 2.0 device interface and power input
  • Battery – Removable 2,420 mAh battery
  • Dimensions & Weight – N/A

You’ll also be able to buy spare parts in case you need to repair the phone with the display, camera, battery, core, top and bottom modules sold separately if you need a replacement. Fairphone 2 sells with Android 5.1 exclusively, so if you want to run Ubuntu Touch LTS, you’ll need to install it yourself with Magic Device tool. The installation procedure looks very easy as shown in the video below.

If you are interested you can pre-order a Fairphone 2 for about 524 Euros including 21% VAT.

Via Ubuntu Insights

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19 Comments
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Willy
Willy
4 years ago

Well, it seems from https://github.com/ubports/android_kernel_fairphone_fp2 that they’re using a completely outdated 3.4.0 kernel into which they backport their own fixes 🙁 When will hardware vendors understand that these dangerous practices are putting *all* of their customers at risk of getting their private data stolen and their device being rooted and remotely exploited ? There’s a reason LTS kernel branches exist and a reason why they have a (reasonably) limited lifetime… 3.4 was released almost 5 years ago. In the mean time we’ve had 3.10, 3.14, 4.4 and now 4.9 (just to count the official ones). In 5 years they didn’t… Read more »

Fossxplorer
Fossxplorer
4 years ago

Price…

Sander
Sander
4 years ago

Fossxplorer :
Price…

The port is free.

If you mean the phone: it’s 523 Euro. The Fairphone is not meant to be cheap, but to be honest.

Sander
Sander
4 years ago

Willy :

Well said!

blu
blu
4 years ago

Good. We need more actual linuxes on mobiles.

peter
peter
4 years ago

@Sander

Thats right, but the relatively high price has much more to do with low order numbers. If such a device would be build in millions, it would be way cheaper.

peter
peter
4 years ago

Willy : Well, it seems from https://github.com/ubports/android_kernel_fairphone_fp2 that they’re using a completely outdated 3.4.0 kernel into which they backport their own fixes When will hardware vendors understand that these dangerous practices are putting *all* of their customers at risk of getting their private data stolen and their device being rooted and remotely exploited ? There’s a reason LTS kernel branches exist and a reason why they have a (reasonably) limited lifetime… 3.4 was released almost 5 years ago. In the mean time we’ve had 3.10, 3.14, 4.4 and now 4.9 (just to count the official ones). In 5 years they… Read more »

Linuxium
4 years ago

Old out-dated EOL unsupported kernel? Greg K-H has just the solution for you: http://lkml.iu.edu/hypermail/linux/kernel/1702.1/00296.html

willy
willy
4 years ago

@peter I’m not asking for mainline-only kernels, I’m well placed to know that we all have our patches and I’m perfectly fine with this. What I’m saying is that any vendor kernel should be based on top of a *maintained* stable tree on top of which they apply their own patches. Their closed-source drivers need to be adapted to recent kernels, and if the chip makers don’t do it, simply don’t use these chips. As long as consumers will continue eat such crap, there will be no incentive for hardware makers to take bugfixes and security seriously. The claim that… Read more »

willy
willy
4 years ago

@Ian W MORRISON (Linuxium) Ian, I’m well aware of this email. And you can bet that if Greg had to issue another 3.18 after it was dead, it must precisely be because of such people not properly doing their rebasing job but maybe at least considering updating within the same branch. 3.4 was already supposed to be EOLed by end of 2016 and Li postponed its death for a few months. But by the time these phones arrive in the first customers’ hands there will be no more 3.4 fix at all, ever. And anyway the kernel in it doesn’t… Read more »

willy
willy
4 years ago

So for those still doubting, I made the exercise of applying the missing patches from 3.4.113 on top of this kernel… No less that 5687 commits applied without any human intervention, indicating they were never backported there. Others failed due to conflicts with other changes and sometimes because they were already applied. Among the missing patches, 119 are fixes for the ARM subsystem, 302 for the core kernel, 254 for the network, 583 for filesystems, 56 for crypto and security stuff, 2788 for drivers. For sure not all of them are relevant to this device. But a number of them… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
4 years ago

@willy Thanks for taking the efforts. We (Armbian team) made the same experiences when dealing with ‘legacy kernels’ for a couple of dev boards, eg. patching HW manufacturer’s ‘port and forget’ kernel version always up to latest LTS version (currently dealing with 3.4, 3.10, 3.14, 4.4 and otherwise latest and greatest mainline kernel mostly on Allwinner devices). On most of these Android kernels ‘Dirty COW’ and friends are also not fixed and this most probably applies to the whole ‘Internet of shitty things’ running with vendor kernels too. Unfortunately users don’t pay (much) attention. Do you know of a smartphone/tablet… Read more »

peter
peter
4 years ago

@willy
I understand… Too few people care about this. I do not have a ‘smart’-phone, because I decided to wait for a GNU/Linux-phone.

blu
blu
4 years ago

I’m as much for kernel version hygiene as the next guy, but let’s get realistic here: how many SoCs can you think off the top of your head that have steady kernel support *and* steady GPU stack support? Because you know, that’s what it takes for a functional mobile. In practice the GPU stack vendor pins a kernel version, and from there on it’s on the good will of the SoC vendor to backport kernel patches for as long as possible. But SoC vendors are traditionally in fire-and-forget mode – they always are, as they have little incentive for a… Read more »

Willy
Willy
4 years ago

@blu Hardware support has nothing to do here with using an unpatched 3.4 kernel. There are two issues : – using and end-of-life kernel branch : this is indeed often dictated by the SoC vendor’s BSP, but can sometimes be solved by better communication between the SoC vendors and the stable maintainers. We still have too many LTS kernels but by joining efforts on less branches we can ensure having longer support on certain branches if that helps shipping still supported kernels. For example, 3.4 is dead in 2 months but it was still acceptable to sell 3.4-based devices 3… Read more »

blu
blu
4 years ago

@Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft) I haven’t been following win10 closely enough, so I cannot really comment on them. But even if we assume they reached apple level of delivery one day – that would not really change the picture much, would it? @Willy I concur with your remark about end-product vendors having certain fault in the grand scheme. We should expect them to make the best of the LTS they’re given, and sometimes (more often than not) they don’t even do that. Luckily there are counter-examples as well – BQ launched with 3.10.93 last year. But it needs emphasizing how virtually… Read more »

Blah
Blah
4 years ago

@Willy – please provide a short tutorial on how someone would patch the 3.4 kernel, on their phone

Paul Geraedts
Paul Geraedts
4 years ago

@Willy
What if Fairphone defines upstream as Google? If they follow the monthly Google security updates closely, I would say they act well defined. Maybe not optimal from a security point of view, but well defined. I value well defined.
My personal struggle is to see why -apparently- Google is not following upstream closely when it comes to the kernel. Could you please help me understand this better? Thank you in advance.

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