All about / e / OS V1, Murena’s mobile interface (/ e / Foundation)

In 2018, Gaël Duval created an operating system that was not based on Google services. 4 years later, the operating system comes out of its beta version to offer a V1 that emphasizes privacy and control over personal data.

/ e / OS, what is it?

/ e / OS is a French alternative operating system created by Gaël Duval. Its first version dates from 2018, so it is very new. This system open source is based on Android, but does not integrate Google Mobile Services – the famous GMS that Huawei has been missing for 3 years now. The ambition with / e / is to offer an OS that respects privacy, that is, does not embed any tracker, unlike Android or iOS. / e / OS is developed by a non-profit organization, and not by a company comparable to GAFAM, and therefore does not seek profit from the collection of your personal data.

There are several ways to access / e / OS on a smartphone. It is possible to acquire a Murena mobile – the range of smartphones equipped with this operating system as standard. There are a handful of them, and / e / Foundation is partnering with manufacturers like Samsung or Fairphone. However, if you are equipped with another terminal, you can install the operating system manually using an installer – but few models are compatible – or by simply downloading the package. In the spring of 2022, the operating system is based on Android 11 and finally signs its release from beta, which marks the advent of / e / OS V1.

On the main lines

The operating system (s) is “deGoogled”. It therefore does not integrate GMS, and even though it is based on Android, Google does not intervene in the phone. As a result, / e / OS offers its own applications as an alternative to Mountain Views. Among them an application store, a navigation app or even a browser which by default apparently does not offer Google. For geolocation services, / e / goes through Mozilla. As the fund’s manifesto says: “Keeping your data private does not mean giving up your digital”. In fact, if / e / OS adopts its own Store, the latter still allows you to download your favorite applications. A good deal of what is to be found in the Play Store is available, although it will sometimes be necessary to search well to find an application. For example, “Facebook” does not appear in the list when we type the name in the search field; by typing “Meta”, the social networking application is displayed, but not in the first results and above all after Messenger (Metas messenger). It would therefore be cunning, but it must be acknowledged that / e / OS provides access to a wide range of applications and remains quite complete, even without Google.

What / e / OS v1 offers

  • As a good protector of privacy, the operating system allows you to track all data collected by third parties, which can be seen in particular in its alternative portal, called the App Lounge. The store assigns each application a privacy rating out of 10, which is calculated automatically based on the permissions and trackers registered in the title. Below this note, a description titled “Privacy Analytics” allows you to consult the permissions required by the app, as well as the various trackers stored there.
  • If Murena’s desire is to offer almost the same Android experience without all its inconveniences, the result is not quite the same. In fact, the location that goes through Mozilla is a little more whimsical than the one that uses GMS. Same thing for the App Lounge, which hosts a good portion of the Play Store applications, but whose (for some) compatibility is a bit risky. Small things when taken separately, but which, when put together, can quickly become overwhelming.

  • The photo application is still running slowly. What we found during our test of the operating system on a Redmi Note 8T unfortunately still applies today. The shutter release takes time to respond, as does the optics switch button. Also what is visible on the screen seems blurry and of very low quality. Which fortunately is not the case when looking at the picture once it is taken.

If you are a regular user of / e / OS and would like to contribute to this article, give tips, clarifications or corrections, do not hesitate to contact us in the comments.

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