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Free Your Android!

Android is an operating system mainly developed by Google. This page collects information related to FSFE's Free Your Android Campaign. Please start there to get an overview.

While "Android Open Source Project(AOSP)" is Free software,mostly under the Apache 2.0 license it is mostly incomplete and cannot provide a decent user experience on devices without the addition of proprietary libraries(without them you will be unable to use you phone as a phone, the GUI will be slow,GPS and camera won't work etc...), and is nearly never shipped as-is on devices:

vendors usually uses non-free libraries with on top their modified version of Android, which they usually don't release the source code of(because they are not required to do so by the Apache 2.0 license) with on top non-free applications such as the Android market (the only thing they are required to release is the source of the linux kernel they ship),and sometimes the device is even tivoized. As a consequences most devices sold are running non-free software and must be liberated to give the user the freedom he/she requires.

Beside, due to the hardware architecture of some devices using qualcomm System on a chip,liberating may have a very limited effect since the hardware can still spy on you: the modem which is a device which interfaces with the GSM towers always runs non-free software has too much control over the phone.

More information is available In the Article written by Richard Stallman

The Operating Systems

Replicant with the Nexus S

If you have a nexus S the more efficient way to free your device is to install Replicant on it. Replicant takes cyanogenmod and replace or remove the non-free libraries, and ship an android market alternative(named Fdroid) permitting to install only free applications.

The Nexus S is currently the Android phone that respects the most your freedom if used with Replicant(There are other phones that are even better freedom wise(like the openmoko freerunner) but they are not meant for running Android).

The good

The Bad

Replicant with the htc dream or the nexus one

If you have a qualcomm device you should consider buying a Nexus S, but if you can't you should install Replicant on it: The non-free libraries present on theses phones contains spying. Installing replicant which replaces or remove theses libraries ensure that you don't get spyed by theses libraries, however the modem(which is the device that interface with the GSM towers) runs non-free software and controls your "sound card" (think about the implications of non-free software controlling your microphone), your GPS, and can read/write on the main CPU memory. That's why it's a second-choice solution.

Note that the Nexus One requires firmwares for making phone calls while the htc dream doesn't.

The nexus one is compatible with replicant 2.2 and 2.3 while the htc dream is compatible only with replicant 2.2 and below.


If you cannot buy a nexus S and that your phone is not supported by Replicant but is supported by cyanogenmod you should consider installing cyanogenmod, but without installing the google applications and installing FDroid instead. That will ensure that only free software applications will run on top of cyanogenMod which is partially free(it ships non-free libraries).

Note that here is a DRM provider app that you can remove.

Non-Free Parts

If you know about non-free software (except drivers and firmware) added to CyanogenMod, please let us know about it! Currently we suspect that the ClockworkMod App that ships with CyanogenMod is not free.

The Apps


FDroid is easy to install and provides free applications. Note that it doesn't require root permissions and is very easy to install, even without the command line.

Apps That Still Need To Be Liberated

Please add apps here that have no free counterpart, but are important to have on a free system. People can contact the authors of those apps and ask them why they are not Free Software.

Responses to Objections We've Heard from App Developers

We already collected objections and responses on FSFE's Free Your Android Campaign. If you know more, please add them here.

Portions of this page are modifications based on work created and shared by Google and used according to terms described in the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution License. Android is a trademark of Google Inc.