Replicant 4.2 kicks out!

We’ve been working very hard over the past few months to push Replicant to a newer Android version: the work started when CyanogenMod released version 10.1.3, based on the latest Android 4.2 code, back in September 2013. Bringing Replicant to a new Android version is a really big piece of work, especially given that the project only counts one active developer (however, we have hopes to see more people getting involved in the future)! The biggest motivation for the new version is to allow us to port Replicant to newer devices, that were not supported by Android 4.0, upon which Replicant 4.0 is based. Aside of that, Replicant 4.2 also brings the various improvements that come along with Android 4.2 and CyanogenMod 10.1.

All the devices that were supported by Replicant 4.0 were successfully ported to version 4.2, but some devices encounter serious slowness issues that are yet to be resolved. On the bright side of things, support for a new device was added, the Galaxy Note 2 N7100, which is mostly similar to the already supported Galaxy S 3. That was only made possible thanks to the generous donations that were made to the project, which enable us to buy devices for the current developer to work on. We are looking forward to adding support for even more devices in the future as well! Our wiki was updated to reflect the status of the supported devices as of the Replicant 4.2 release and features updated installation and usage guides. The Replicant SDK was also updated and is available for download.

The Replicant website and wiki were also cleaned up a bit during the preparation of this release. Our blog shall now only be used for posting updated on the project while our wiki holds the core informations about Replicant. As a reminder, please do not use the comment section of this blog to ask general-purpose questions, but use our forums or mailing-list instead!

This release also puts the emphasis on security: given the recent concerns that raised up concerning wide-scale surveillance from governments and certain companies, we though it would be good to make Replicant more bullet-proof. The Replicant 4.2 images for devices are now built in the userdebug fashion, which ensures a better level of security, the shipped system applications are signed with our own private keys, for which we provide the certificates and the releases are signed with our very own GPG release key. It is encouraged that you check the authenticity of the Replicant images or binaries before installing anything you downloaded!

As usual, you can checkout the complete changelog, download the images from the ReplicantImages page and find installation instructions as well as build guides on the Replicant wiki.

29 thoughts on “Replicant 4.2 kicks out!

  1. What is Replicant? There is no about us page or anything! Why would I put this OS on my phone vs cyanogen or such? You really need to work on your home page to make this clear rather then some blog about the latest version!

  2. Duly noted. Note that the comment section of the blog is not appropriate for such general remarks: use our forums or mailing list for that!

  3. Hello *,

    apparently this webpage features blog posts, but unfortunately it does not seem provide anything like an “about replicant” description to visitors that may be usefull to understand for newcomers.

    Maybe you could add a subtitle like “Making/re?correcting?/Distributing? Android for the Free Software World?” and maybe feature some short explanation, relations, and overview on the top of the homepage?

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  5. > Is there any chance that this will make it into the wiki (preferably by someone who actually tried it out) similar to WiFi (Missing without non-free firmwares)?

    I’m not sure you are suggesting we include the instructions to install these proprietary programs or just list GPS as “working with proprietary software”. Both cases are not going to happen. The first one, because Replicant is a free software project, hence we do not recommend the use of proprietary software, thus don’t provide any instructions to install any. The second case, it seems very irrelevant to mention that it doesn’t work without proprietary software install. For Replicant, it just means it doesn’t work. Firmwares are a bit different, because they are not running as part of the system, but instead run on other chips, which is why it makes sense to mention that the system-part is free software, but not the part running on the device. For GPS, both parts are currently proprietary.

    > I would much rather run Replicant with a bit of non-free software than running a completely non-free phone with few free software apps installed.

    At this point, it becomes more or less equivalent to using CyanogenMod/Omni directly.

    > If roll back is not possible to do, then make this very clear.

    Roll back is always possible: you can always install another community Android version, just like you would be able to install back Ubuntu after trying Trisquel. I don’t think it’s even relevant to mention this.

  6. The primary thing holding me back is the missing GPS support. I read on http://blog.josefsson.org/2013/11/11/using-replicant-on-samsung-s3/ that you can get GPS working with non-free software. Is there any chance that this will make it into the wiki (preferably by someone who actually tried it out) similar to WiFi (Missing without non-free firmwares)?

    I would much rather run Replicant with a bit of non-free software than running a completely non-free phone with few free software apps installed.

    Others have asked for a roll-back procedure, so if Replicant for some reason is not sufficient for the user, he can go back to what he came from. I would like to see this aswell: It is a big step to take installing a new OS with limitations that are not very clear to a new user without having the option to roll back. If roll back is not possible to do, then make this very clear.

  7. I suppose the modem can make a real difference as for the power consumption, but it’s strange that it affected the speed of the device, since the modem is a completely different CPU.

  8. “All the devices that were supported by Replicant 4.0 were successfully ported to version 4.2, but some devices encounter serious slowness issues that are yet to be resolved.”

    I have a i-9000, i noticed slowness (easier to notice because it’s a single core) when i upgraded from CM 7 to CM 10 (4.2) but i attributed it to the encryption i added. I live in Europe, and i went to Africa recently , i was surprised to see my phone be much more responsive again and using much less battery even while using data and 3g. When i came back to europe the phone was sluggish again and with data (3g) on the battery drain is unbearable (1% every 30s).

    Could it be something to do with the modem or the carrier ?
    The difference in performance was really evident.

  9. Please use the forums and/or mailing list for general-purpose questions!
    Short answer is that there aren’t any phone that completely respects your freedom currently.

  10. Hello,

    I would like to buy a mobile completely free.

    At present there is something (hardware and software) as a viable alternative to iphone and galaxy?

    Thank you!

  11. I’ve just flashed this ROM to my Nexus S and it’s working fabulously. Thanks for all the hard work you put into Replicant.

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  17. Oops, that was a mistake, the front camera still requires a non-distributed proprietary firmware. Aside of that, it works with free software (note that the back camera also uses a proprietary firmware, but it is already installed in the chip).

  18. Some other people are interested in contributing one way or another, but haven’t committed changes to our software. I am still the only one working on Replicant’s code.

  19. I wish I could have made it to this release with my port to the Optimus Black, but I’ve been quite busy lately (and I lost all the work I did because I had to reinstall my system).

    Who else is involved in the project? I’ve seen a few people over on the forums; has any of them officially tried to get involved as I have? Not that I’m jealous or anything; it’s great that even more people are trying to develop!

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