On pine64's forum I wrote this post


These post is about if the pinephone is a match
for getting
a replicant version?

I am not technical skilled to investigate the
matter but I got some pieces of
information from replicant's email list.

The replicant team will not make a version of
replicant for a phone, if the phone does not
have modem isolation.
Does the pinephone have modem isolation?

The replicant team does only have few resources.
Therefore a
replicant version for the pinephone will only get
if the pinephone resembles already replicant
compatible phones because it cuts down the effort to
modify replicant.

Does the pinephone get a EC25 modem?

Is the modem connected by usb?

What chip will it use for the WiFi, Bluetooth?

What is the modem protocol?

Is the bootloader free software for the A64? Thank

I got this answer

PinePhone has the EG25 modem, which is the Global
LTE version of EC25.

The LTE modem connected by USB bus.

The Wifi/BT chip is RTL8723BS.

Modem protocol is AT command set.

The A64 bootloader is open source and maintained
by Sunxi.

Does it make the pinephone suitable for replicant?


> > My understanding is replicant can run on any
android phone.
> > Correct?
> Add support for a device in Replicant requires
to have the very basic
> features working in Replicant without Replicant
having to ship nonfree
> software.

> So for many Android phones, getting to that
point would require a lot
> of work, whereas for some other phones that are
not very different from
> the ones already supported by Replicant it's
probably not a huge amount
> of work.

> > The reason why replicant is only available for a
> > few old phones is because you have a modem
isolation requirement
> > about replicant.
> It's because the project tried to add support
for phones like the
> GTA04 that have free software booloaders.

> This port was to use a kernel that is closely
based on upstream
> Linux, and at the time the Replicant port failed
because it required
> more time than we had at the time. Now, the
amount of work to use an
> upstream kernel is way lower.

> After that there was also an attempt to first
port the LG Optimus black
> to the upstream kernel and u-boot, for then
adding support for it in
> Replicant but that also took quite a lot of
time, so that device was
> still added upstream in u-boot with some support
in Linux but, it
> probably still lacks an upstream display driver
for instance.

> So as everybody were busy working in that
direction, nobody worked to
> add support for more recent devices.

> > Does the pinephone meet the modem
> > isolation requirement about replicant?
> Assuming that they will also use an EC25 modem,
like they did in the
> prototypes, I think it could easily meet such

> On the prototypes, the modem was connected
through USB.

> So, good modem isolation here is probably just a
matter of
> configuration either within the kernel, or
through something like
> usbguard, if it's possible to run it on Android,
to make sure that the
> modem cannot become a keyboard and take control
of Replicant.

> > If that is the case and the pinephone becomes
a functioning phone of
> > quality, I see no reason why replicant should
not make the pinephone
> > a priority.
> What I was pointing out was that we are working
to port Replicant to
> Android 9, with some of the phones we currently
support on Replicant 6.

> So if that goes well, that work would most
probably be reusable
> with the PinePhone with minimal effort. However
since the PinePhone
> modem is different, we will need to look into it
to understand how much
> work would be required to add support for that

> Some preliminary work has already been done to
support the Galaxy SIII
> 4G modem, which uses the QMI protocol.

> I've not looked deep enough into it to know what
is the best approach
> in supporting that modem protocol, but if that
work is advanced enough,
> adding support for that protocol might also be
done faster by using the
> Galaxy SIII 4G to do it.

> It's also very difficult to know in advance if
we will be able to add
> support for a given device. To do that:
> - We would need to be able to predict that some
developers will have
> the time to work on it.
> - We would need to make sure that the hardware
doesn't have issues
> preventing it from being easily supported by

> To understand better what is possible or
desirable we would need to get
> more information on the PinePhone, for instance:
> - What chip will it use for the WiFi, Bluetooth?
> - What is the modem protocol?
> - Is the bootloader fully free software for the A64?
> In u-boot, board/sunxi/README.sunxi64 has more
information about
> that but we also need to look into it.

> And as I understand, the PinePhone is not yet
released, so some things
> may change between the prototypes and the final
device. I think it's
> important for the Replicant project to review
the PinePhone once it's
> released.

> The Replicant project is looking forward since
quite some time to
> support devices with free software bootloaders,
as nonfree bootloaders
> are a huge issue for users freedom.

> As devices with free software bootloader often
use kernels that are
> closely based on upstream Linux, adding support
for any device with a
> kernel closely based on upstream Linux is
already a very big step in
> that direction, and we are working on that.

> Denis.

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