Linux on Mobile Devices

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12/2/2014 Linux Class

Stephen Mahood teaches us about Free Software for mobile devices.

F-Droid is a catalog of free software that can be installed on Android phones.

The Guardian Project develops a set of security and privacy oriented applications for Android. Some of these applications can be deployed via F-droid; a few have to be downloaded directly.

Facebook makes a chat application, and they track all messages you send via their chat application. Chat secure is a replacement for facebook chat, which allows you to encrypt chat communications. It's XMPP with OTR (off the record messaging). Chat Secure also supports cleartext (unencrypted) chat messaging.

ObscuraCam is a photo and video application. When you take a photo (or video) with your phone, your phone typically adds a lot of metadata to the image. This can even include the GPS coordinates of where the image was taken. ObscuraCam erases this metadata. It also allows you to selectively blur portions of the photo.

Sailfish is a mostly-free operating system for mobile phones. It's Debian-based, rather than Android-based. Jolla is the official phone for Sailfish OS.

Orbot is a Tor proxy for Android. Orbot runs a private tor relay on your phone, and changes the phone's network settings so that network traffic is proxied through Tor. OrWeb is a Tor browser for Android.

Ostel is an app for encrypted voice communications. It's generally used for VoIP over wireless.

Panic is an android app that installs a `panic button'. The panic button erases all of the sensitive information on your phone.

Replicant is a free (as in libre) version of the Android operating system. It's well developed, but doesn't work with all devices (it works with the devices that replicant developers have access to). Replicant removes many of the "phone home to Google" pieces that come with the standard Android distribution.

Cyanogen mod is another free version of Android. It allows you to root your phone, and tweak many aspects of the operating system. Cyanogen mod also allows you to remove some carrier-specific applications from the device.

Firefox OS is another free operating system for mobile devices.

FB Reader is a free software epub reader. It runs on Android and GNU/Linux.

At the end of the class, Dana passed around two Linux-oriented magazines: Linux Pro and Linux Voice. Both are British publications, and have a lot of useful how-to information. Linux Voice donates 50% of their profits to the free software community.