Tag Archives: gael duval

/e/ : A user Data Privacy respecting operating system

A lot has been written and discussed in the media about the unwelcome intrusion by big business houses into our private lives. Details about the Facebook data sharing scandal with Cambridge Analytic or leaks about the way Google has been ‘Googling’ our personal information and sharing it with its business partners are on news channels everywhere. If you have ever browsed to purchase a product on the internet, then you would have observed subtle hints of this intrusion in action. For days after you would be seeing advertisements from companies selling products similar to the one you were browsing. This happens when your browsing behavior is captured and shared with business houses. These business houses now attempt to coax you into buying their products which are of a similar kind. Welcome to the world of zero data privacy!

To understand the situation better, have a look at your smart phone and the applications you use on a daily basis. On android phones, almost every second application is in some way connected to Google. Gmail, Google maps, Google Assistant, Google Drive the list is endless. When you install these apps they ask you for your permission to access your contacts, your text messages, files, folders, images etc. While on the face these requests may look harmless, take some time and think about the issue seriously. What if the product or service you had browsed was of a personal nature? That information in the hands of a stranger could be dangerous for you in the long run. This pilfering of your personal data is happening through your smartphones and computers every single day, every minute. Google, Microsoft, Apple, Amazon everyone has a finger in this pie. What is even worse is that they are making billions out of your personal information! So now that I have scared you enough you might be wondering if there is a way out of this mess? Do not worry help is just round the corner.

gael-with-eelo

Introducing /e/. /e/ is the brain child of Gaël Duval – the man behind the popular linux distribution – Mandrake Linux. The popular Linux OS is still remembered for its extremely user friendly interface and smooth and efficient functioning. It helped introduce millions to linux. After moving out of mandrake Linux which was renamed to Mandriva in 2006 Gael was the Chairman and Chief Technology Officer at Ulteo. The company is bought by AZNetwork group in 2015.In 2016, he co-founded NFactory.io, an incubator-accelerator of “startups.

The rampant ‘data pilfering’ on smartphone devices by Google and Apple set Gaël thinking. The result was a series of three articles ‘Leaving Apple & Google: my eelo odyssey’. In these articles he announced his intention to come out with an alternate platform for devices. An operating system which would respect the individual and value his right to privacy. A Kickstarter campaign to fund the idea was launched. People from around the world contributed. This was a clear indication that the concept had popular support, all that it lacked was a clear direction.
Gaël has come out with a mission which declares the following as its objectives:

  • We make available independent and open source IT infrastructure products & services, with an emphasis on respect for user data privacy, for the benefit of all.
  • We think that /e/ can have a global, worldwide impact as a major open source project in the public interest. It will help by freeing users from personal data spying and advertising.
  • /e/ is about freedom and privacy in the digital world.

A copy of the manifest is attached below:

e manifesto

To set the record straight, Gaël’s team is not writing the code from scratch. It has picked up a branch from the Lineage code base and has started with it. The lineage code base is a free open source operating system based on the android platform which caters to smartphones and tablets. The code is accessible through GitHub. At present /e/ has a team of about fifteen developers working full time under the direction and guidance of Gaël developing the first release of the operating system. Gaël’s team is currently working on various elements in the operating system which he insists would have a great UI. Those who have used Mandriva earlier can definitely look forward to Gaël delivering on that promise! Various third party applications are currently being integrated . The base OS would have a “reasonable minimum” set of application to begin with. The idea being that a user could always add more applications as per his or her requirement. There would be no forceful installation of applications that sit there unused taking up space and sending back the users personal information!

The team target to release their first beta version of the OS by August end of 2018. The next step would be the opening up of the source code repository. This should be the trigger for developers from around the world to pitch in and add their code as well. Version 1.0 of /e/ is targeted for the end of 2018 or early 2019.

/e/ has come out with a road map for its development activities

  • June 2018: early access to /e/ email for /e/ backers
  • July 2018: early access to /e/ drive for /e/ backers
  • August 2018: /e/ OS beta (MVP) release with several web services (search, app store)
  • September 2018: /e/ OS source code release on /e/ GitLab
  • September 2018: /e/ email and drive open to more users
  • October 2018: smartphones with /e/ OS start shipping to /e/ backers
  • January 2019: smartphones with /e/ OS start selling
/e/ road map

For more information about /e/ go to the web site.

To read more about Gaël Duval

To contribute to /e/ financially

Announcing the birth of a mobile OS!!!

Logo of /e/ ROM currently in beta

There is a new operating system (OS) for smart phones in town. This new OS, currently in its beta version, goes by the name / e /. Project / e / is the brain child of Gaël Duval – the

A photo of Gaël Duval - the brain behind /e/

man who in a previous avatar scripted the popular Mandrake Linux Operating system.

The project team uses / e / as a temporary placeholder name while the product is in beta. The name for the finished product is yet to be announced.

What is a mobile OS?
To the uninitiated, a mobile OS is the soul behind your smart phone. The brain that runs the hardware. The hardware or the parts of a mobile that you get to touch and hold are the brawn part on your phone.

Who are the current players in the Mobile OS world?

Currently we have two major players in the Mobile OS market. Android (read Google) and iOS (read Apple). Between them they dominate the market. Check out the latest statistics as published by Gartner.

GartnerOSPercentages

Look at the figures for the 2nd quarter of 2018 or the numbers under the column heading 2Q18 Market Share (%).
The numbers show Google’s Android having an 88% share of the world smart phone market. The remaining 11.9 % is with Apple with its IOS. Now look at the numbers for the other OS’s….as expected the numbers are 0.0!!!!

What do these numbers mean?
The numbers mean that the world and we the end users are directly controlled by these two giant organizations viz Google and Apple. Also involved in filtering our web experience are organizations like Microsoft and Amazon.
The smart phone is now an essential part of our lives. From the minute we wake up to the sound alarm on our phones to the minute we go off to sleep after checking check our phones, our phones are our constant companions.

We use phones to check emails, read the news, chat, talk, take photos…. the list goes on and on. Apps like Facebook, Whats app and twitter have become a part of our vocabulary and lives. These social media accounts keep us in sync with our friends and foes from around the world.

While we are busy using these apps, what we do not realize is that we are also leaving a digital footprint behind us. Details of what we have typed, chatted, uploaded or downloaded are saved on servers at these organization. For example Gmail owns your email data and reads what ever you type. How else do we have auto complete and suggestions popping up while we are still typing out the sentences? While these organizations deny this manipulate it is common knowledge that a major source of their revenue is through selective exposure of our data to third party businesses. Ever wondered how ads from Amazon or Flipkart show up on the sidelines of you web pages, vending products you browsed couple of days back? That happens because browsers save our surfing history and then that data is used by these companies to makes sales pitches. Welcome to the world of targeted advertising! All this is done in the name of facilitating a smooth browsing and purchasing experience!
This is where / e / comes in. The idea behind Gaël Duval’s OS was to seal this data pilferage from the mobile OS. Changes are made at the code level and applications made more secure. The idea to is to prevent leakage of our data be if personal or browsing history.

What / e / brings to the table

In its current beta version the OS is forked from the Lineage OS 14.1. To explain further lineage OS is a free open source operating system for smartphones and tablet computers. It is based on the android source code. The current beta version of / e / is based on Nougat. Android has come out with Oreo and Pie two upgrades after Nougat. Development for the upgrade to Oreo or Lineage 15.1 is on at / e /.

Devices supported in the current version of / e /

There are about 25 plus phones which have ROM’s in the beta version. As mentioned before development for devices which work on oreo or Lineage 15.1 is underway and expected to be released soon.

A few screenshots of phones running / e / are given below

Main screen of /e/ ROM
Settings Page of /e/ ROM
eAppSuggestionScreen

For more details on the project take a look at the following sites

/ e / Web site : https://e.foundation/

/ e / forum : https://community.e.foundation/

Read about Gaël Duval https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ga%C3%ABl_Duval

Understand what Targeted Advertising is https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targeted_advertising

To check on the availability of devices and how to install them on your phone check out the web page here:

Interested in building the OS… well check out the details here https://gitlab.e.foundation/e/wiki/en/wikis/build