I want FreeBSD on a smart phone ...


Active Member

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What sort of hurdles are there to this as it seems like driver support for some phones is there. Take Nexus 5X for example.

CPU: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 808 processor
GPU: Qualcomm® Adreno™ 418 GPU
MODEM: Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ X10 LTE modem

From this alone it's possible to get a working phone with FreeBSD Arm 64. The GPU is supported by the Freedreno Gallium Driver and the Modem will work under UCOM and U3G kernel modules.
Xorg will handle the touch screen and KDE has a Enviroment for mobile phone and tablet devices.

Of course you'd need to create a MFS with FreeBSD and ship a stripped out kernel, and the desktop enviroment but sure enough the tools are there.

Plasma Mobile has all the software needed for phonecalls, wireless, contacts, messaging and web browsing.

Of course that still leaves stuff such as fingerprint scanner, webcam, audio and other drivers, but there is at least something to work with. I might give it ago in the next few weeks after I research on it more, and uncover other hurdles.


Aspiring Daemon

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Plasma Mobile has all the software needed for phonecalls, wireless, contacts, messaging and web browsing.
KDE on a phone?.... What a madness :D It is very slow on high-end PCs,
it's terrifying to imagine, what kinds of glitches you'll see, when you'll try to use it on your phone.
It'll start to call to the police and all of your photos will be sent to your local migration service,
also, all your web browser history will be sent to your relatives :) but don't worry, it won't be very big,
because all qt browsers are pretty unusable.


Aspiring Daemon

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I prefer non-smart Nokia (S40 platform). Unfortunately they are discontinued.
Finnish Nokia symbian smartphones were pretty good too, IMO.
But after iPhones appeared, all phones design started to be very similar, unfortunately.
I'll never like those similar bricks, like I used to like some symbian smartphones when I was kid,
also touchscreen is very ugly and annoying thing IMO.

Also it's not only "discontinued", Nokia was sold to M$ first, I don't know who owns it for now.


Well-Known Member

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I've had several Nokia phones over the years I've been using a basic phone. Always thought they were well designed. This last one I got is a real disappointment, horribly designed user interface. That was kind of my last ditch effort to find a good basic phone. Next time it's probably going to be an LG or Samsung job and they quit making basic phones, all unwieldy big screen internet things now. Not looking forward to using one of those clumsy turds, can't even put it in a pocket, not to mention what it's going to do to my monthly bill.

Seeing as how I'll be forced into using one of these internet phones, it would nice to run something other than Android on one. Android is a pig so I'm sure FreeBSD could do a better job, just have to keep the software more lightweight compared to a desktop system.


Well-Known Member

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unitrunker, yes, it sounds interesting. I think there are other projects in that direction.

I think, smartphones exploit a good idea that was not new, but it is bad implemented because of the business interest behind.

Having a normal PC, we can install the OS we want, and select the pieces of hardware supported by the OS. Unfortunately
this is not supported by the smartphones you may buy. Hence, the best is to begin with android, ungoogle it keeping the
drivers, and make the OS you want. Perhaps can also be done with iOS?

I see smartphones not as phones, but as very portable computers. As terminals in Plan9 sense. Hence, you have an OS
in the phone and OS in servers. In servers you can put FreeBSD or what you want, the ungoogled android in the phone
must work in harmony with the server, and there is a field for a lot of development, at client and server side.

Since this portable computer does not have a normal keyboard, the GUI plays a big role. There is also a field for development,
and perhaps we get a better alternative Desktop and applications for normal desktops.

I would like a more unix like smartphone, but smartphones are used because of the apps that third parties offer: compatibility
with android can be also an issue.

And of course, the best would be to exploit standards. Why to use dropbox, google drive or photos if we can use scp, sftp,
rsync? One can begin writing appropriate apps for normal android.

And must be the smartphone a powerful computer? Why not to have, like in Plan9, not only file servers, but also CPU