Replicant

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Replicant is a free and open source operating system based on the Android mobile platform, which aims to replace all proprietary Android components with their free software counterparts. This also makes it a security focused operating system as it closes discovered Android backdoors. It is available for several smartphones and tablet computers.

The name Replicant is drawn from the fictional replicant androids in the Blade Runner movie. Replicant is sponsored and supported by the Free Software Foundation.

Contents

[edit] History

The Replicant project started in mid-2010 with an effort to consolidate various initiatives attempting to produce a fully free-as-in-freedom Android derivative for the HTC Dream. The original team consisted of Bradley M. Kuhn, Aaron Williamson, Graziano Sorbaioli and Denis ‘GNUtoo’ Carikli. The project quickly led to the writing of replacement code for the non-free parts that were required to make the HTC Dream functional. The first component to be replaced permitted audio to work without a proprietary library. Replicant originally provided its own FOSS application repository, which was later replaced by F-Droid.

The software that was in charge of handling the communication with the modem (which is called Radio Interface Layer – RIL) was then replaced by free code, thus making the telephony part usable. A library handling the GPS was then adapted from free code that was originally written for another phone and permitted the HTC Dream to have GPS working with Replicant.

Early versions of Replicant were based on the Android Open Source Project code, while versions 2.2 (April 2011) and later use CyanogenMod as their base, in order to make supporting more devices easier.

As development continued, many members of the original Replicant team retired from the project, making Denis "GNUtoo" Carikli the only remaining member from the original team still actively working on the project. In April 2011, Paul Kocialkowski decided to get involved with the project and gradually became the main Replicant developer, after successfully porting it to the Nexus S and Galaxy S devices.

Replicant is sponsored and supported by the Free Software Foundation.

[edit] Releases

The following table lists major releases of Replicant:

Version Release date Based on Notes
o |2.2 2011-04-26 n/a n/a
o |4.0 2012-11-16 Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" Five updates of Replicant 4.0 were released; the last one, 0005, was released on October 1, 2013.
c |4.2 2014-01-22 CyanogenMod 10.1 One update of Replicant 4.2 has been released; the most recent, 0002, was released on July 8, 2014.
Version |l |show=10100

[edit] Security

See also|Security focused operating systems

In March 2014, Replicant developers found and closed a backdoor present in a wide range of Samsung Galaxy products that allows the baseband processor to read and write the device's storage, sometimes with normal user privileges and sometimes as the root user depending on device model. It is unknown whether Samsung's proprietary firmware for the radio chip can be remotely instructed to use these access features and whether the vulnerability was introduced with legitimate uses in mind.

[edit] Anchor|SDKDevelopment

On January 3, 2013, the project released Replicant 4.0 SDK as a fully libre replacement to Android SDK.

[edit] Supported devices

Scope of the Replicant project has been gradually expanded to include support for new devices, starting with the Nexus One, Nexus S and Galaxy S. Replicant developers are continually working to add support for new devices. As of January 2014, the following devices are supported, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth requiring proprietary firmware in order to work:

Device Device Class Codename Replicant Version 2D Graphics 3D Graphics Sound Telephony Mobile Data NFC GPS Sensors Camera Wi-Fi Bluetooth
Nexus S Smartphone crespo 4.2 yes (slow) no yes yes yes no no yes yes proprietary proprietary
Samsung Galaxy SIII Smartphone i9300 4.2 yes no yes yes yes no no yes yes (back) / proprietary (front) proprietary proprietary
Samsung Galaxy SII Smartphone galaxys2 4.2 yes no yes yes yes no no yes yes proprietary proprietary
Samsung Galaxy S Smartphone galaxysmtd 4.2 yes (slow) no yes yes yes no no yes yes proprietary proprietary
Galaxy Nexus Smartphone maguro 4.2 yes no yes yes yes no no yes no proprietary proprietary
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (10.1) Tablet computer p5100 4.2 yes (slow) no yes yes yes no no yes no proprietary proprietary
Samsung Galaxy Tab 2 (7.0) Tablet computer p3100 4.2 yes no yes yes yes no no yes no proprietary proprietary
Samsung Galaxy Note 2 Smartphone n7100 4.2 yes no yes yes yes no no yes yes (back) / proprietary (front) proprietary proprietary
Samsung Galaxy Note Smartphone n7000 4.2 yes no yes yes yes no no yes no proprietary proprietary
Goldelico OpenPhoenux GTA04 Smartphone gta04 4.2 yes no yes Work in progress Work in progress n/a yes Work in progress Work in progress proprietary proprietary
Nexus One Smartphone passion 2.3 yes no proprietary yes yes n/a yes (no AGPS) no no proprietary proprietary
HTC Dream / HTC Magic Smartphone dream_sapphire 2.2 yes no yes yes no n/a yes (no AGPS) n/a no proprietary proprietary

[edit] Likely additions

Additional target devices are evaluated, based on the suitability of their hardware plaftorms and required device drivers; as of January 2014, devices listed below are not yet supported, and porting Replicant to them is only in consideration.

Device Codename Replicant Version
Nexus 10 manta 4.2

[edit] Rejected devices

Based on either the unsuitability of their hardware plaftorms, or the lack of available free software drivers, porting Replicant to the devices listed below has been considered and rejected.

Device Possibility Reason
Galaxy Tab 8.9 Unlikely Tegra slowness
Nexus 7 Possible but unlikely Unspecified
Nexus 4 Very unlikely Too many proprietary drivers
Motorola Defy Impossible Kernel is signed

[edit] See also

[edit] External links

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