Mobian: everything you need to know about this mobile project

Mobian logo

Since i know smartphones popularized, many are the operating systems that have been launched trying to find a niche in the market. After those primitive systems, such as Nokia's SymbianOS, or Palm OS, and even those based on java that some mobiles had, newer systems arrived, such as webOS, Android, iOS, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, the failure of Windows Phone, Tizen OS, Fuchsia OS, Pure OS, Plasma Mobile, Ubuntu Touch, Mobian, MeeGo / Maemo / Moblin, and a long etc.

Proprietary, open source,… they come in all colors. Many of them have been shelved, others continue, but are not successful. And there are even some that have been "recycled" and are now used for other devices, such as Tizen OS or webOS. The first used in a multitude of wearable devices and Samsung smart TVs, and the second used in LG smart TVs. Just Google Android and Apple iOS have come to dominate in the mobile sector, especially the former.

What is Mobian?

Of all of them we are especially interested in one, Mobian. A very interesting project that you should know. And it is an open source operating system for mobile devices. The idea behind its developers is to be able to bring Debian GNU / Linux to your smartphone.

Its name comes from the contraction Mobile (mobile) and Debian. And it is already available for several compatible devices, As:

  • By 5
  • One Plus 6
  • pinephone
  • pinetab
  • Poco F1
  • Surface Pro 3

It thus joins other projects with similar characteristics such as PINE64, Volla Phone, UBPorts, postmarketOS, Plasma Mobile, etc., all of them with the aim of bring GNU / Linux to mobile devices too.

Mobian highlights

Mobian uses the entire Debian framework as a base, and also that of Phone Shell (Phosh). All this in a package that can work on the aforementioned devices at the moment, although it is expected to extend support for more models in the future. Currently supported features and functions include:

  • 3D acceleration: GLX 1.4, OpenGL 2.1 and GLES 2.0
  • Accelerometer / Compas / Rotation: low level sensors
  • Audio: complete
  • Battery: full
  • Bluetooth: works partially
  • Calls: works with exceptions
  • SMS: complete
  • Camera: works with exceptions
  • Flash: full
  • Touch screen: full
  • Storage encryption: -
  • GPS / GNSS: works with exceptions
  • Mobile data: full
  • WiFi: works with exceptions
  • Networking by USB: -
  • USB OTG: -
  • XWayland: complete

Little by little each of these points are improved, reducing problems and expanding their capabilities. Nowadays its functionality is quite good and it is very complete.

More information about the OS

Lastly, you should know other key points of Mobian:

  • Phosh is a graphical shell developed by Purism to adapt the GNOME desktop environment to mobile devices. It is the one that Mobian uses by default, and it works thanks to Wayland, together with a composer of his own called Phoc.
  • Applications such as Chromium, Firefox ESR, GNOME Web, Telegram Desktop for Linux, Google Maps, or the MPV multimedia player work, Chatty for chats, File as a file manager, Calls for calls, the gNote editor, ProtonVPN, Stellarium, Terminal, Weather, in addition to many others.

More information - Official Web


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