The future looks grim. What smartphone am I supposed to have in the coming years? Even if my current one never breaks beyond repair, at a certain points all the apps I need will have become too slow or even incompatible. Personally, I can’t just use a 10 year-old version of my favourite web browser, messaging app, or the likes, and I need at least the basic freedom of having root privileges.

And by the way, this doesn’t only apply to smartphones, the situation has far worse implications. The PC transition from x86 to ARM will happen, slowly but it will happen. ARM has countless benefits which I advocate for, but the fact that it is a customizable architecture (there are countless ARM chip producers, every one of them making chips that are incompatible with competitor ones), mixed with the fact that OEMs don’t have to release sources for their SoC-specific blobs, is a recipe for the disaster of closed platforms.

You will be stuck using Windows on your shiny ARM “PC” with locked UEFI bootloader (and even if those remain unlocked, someone will have to spend time and effort to port other OSes to each specific computer, like you see today on smartphones with custom ROMs) and you WILL be happy. Unless you want to spend an high price on some low-end hardware sold by companies that unfortunately, to survive with selling open hardware, have to come to this compromise.

How about the PinePhone or another device supported by PostmarketOS?

The PinePhone is probably the only one I could ever buy, because all the other ones (unless there’s some new out there) are too costly, both phones that come without Android, and Android phones for which the community ported Linux (no one ports good ROMs for cheap phones).

But, at that point, since the experience isn’t really that smooth for a smartphone (never tried it, but the majority of people who did say so), might as will just build myself an UMPC with a cheap Linux SBC, and also have perks like a built-in phisical keyboard. Then I would just use a featurephone for calling, SMS, taking pictures, and WiFi hotspot for my UMPC.


Hey, there 's a manufacturer with mediatek chips that made a port for. You can check it at

I only heard of them but didn’t look into them before your comment, and they seem respectable but…

The devices are too expensive!
For my pocket, at least, considering that I buy a phone for no more than 150 euros and then change it when it breaks (this was 2.8 years for my first phone, 3.3 years for my second) or really starts to not be realistically usable anymore.

But keeping all the alternatives in mind is always good, obviously.

yes but there are finally some open hardware devices coming around


I don’t think this actually stops rooting, as some partitions have been read-only since Android 10 devices.

With the latest Android update, they removed iptables so that one cannot use a firewall. With the next update they are introducing read-only file system so that one cannot use a free operating system on Android anymore… Very heavy-handed moves from gevilcorp

AOSP has dropped iptables in favour of the far more efficient and powerful eBPF:

It completely breaks compatibility with decades of code that requires iptables, but there’s nothing stopping new work that embraces eBPF

eBPF is powerful for sure, is it yet mature enough to replace iptables?

Google must believe eBPF is mature enough (although they’ve been wrong before, see the Bluetooth stack rewrites and reverts in Chrome OS)

Note that desktop Linux distributions are working towards replacing iptables with nftables (added in kernel 3.13), so it seems as though there is some/broad consensus that we can do better than iptables these days

there is some/broad consensus that we can do better than iptables these days

oh yeah i have no doubt about that. just wondering what a healthy timeline looks like for the transition.

i don’t follow it especially closely, but had the impression bpf is still in the maturing phase regarding vulnerabilities. hopefully that is at least in part a sign it is being actively inspected and hardened with this purpose in mind - and i’m sure iptables still has many lurking vulns.

in summary, agree some form of transition is likely inevitable. wondering what the timeline will look like.


I will admit that I am not fully aware of how the current system is setup. But from what I am getting out of the linked article and a few other sites, it seems that this is just replacing the current Ext4 system partitions that are already read-only. Which seems to have been a thing starting with devices that shipped with Android 10. I am not currently messing around with custom ROMs, so I am not up on the scene these days. So again, I am not coming at this from a great in-depth knowledge and could be misunderstanding things.

What really sucks is they locked down /data/data/ no more changing databases for getting unlimited money in games. :(

This doesn’t have anything to do with rooting? It’s just a new filesystem.

how can you root a hardcoded read-only file system?

Magisk always worked without modifying the system. As long as /boot is still writable we’re good.

Ah right! I always put a new ROM immediately.

There might be ways around this with an overlay fs.

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