In my recent discussion in one of the GrapheneOS forum threads I was reminded not to encourage people to use that system on devices which aren’t supported anymore, like for instance our Pixel 3a. My follow-up question on how to best preserve such older but perfectly working hardware from becoming landfills, one of the suggestions were that if your tasks don’t really need the highest security, one should probably have a look at DivestOS instead.
And yes, I have read good things about it already, both in the German-speaking blog of Mike Kuketz, and also on the blog of a photographer friend from Florida, US of A. Mike pointed to the About page which states:
DivestOS is a full-time passion project (not a company) maintained solely by Tad (SkewedZeppelin) since 2014. It has many goals, but primarily: prolonging the life-span of discontinued devices, enhancing user privacy, and providing a modest increase of security where/when possible. The devices DivestOS supports are not fully free (as-in-freedom) and there are many security issues we cannot solve such as insecure proprietary blobs, insecure firmware, insecure bootloaders, and insecure ancient kernels. We are also fully aware of our “off-the-rails” approach, however mostly attribute it to the sheer effectiveness provided by “80%” solutions instead of mulling around and not doing anything. We genuinely believe that what DivestOS offers is something unlike any other project, especially with regards to the project scope and our persistence. We hope you find some benefit in our fruits, and remind you to have fun!
And just like the guys from GrapheneOS recommended DivestOS, Tad also writes in the Patch Levely page:
If you want a reasonably secure and well-maintained device, please acquire a newer Pixel (6/6a/7) that is fully supported by GrapheneOS and use it instead.
And that is true. GrapheneOS is probably the most secure system I’ve seen so far, and DivestOS does all they can to provide system updates for devices which aren’t even supported by the hardware vendors (and therefore, also by GrapheneOS) anymore. They even have monthly updates for our 11 year old Google Nexus 10 (Codename “manta”) tablet and its Android version 7 “Nougat”, can you believe that? So it’s this 80% effort Tad writes about which goes a long way, and which helps us all a lot – thanks man!
I’ve made three screenshots of the Pixel 3a running it, still unaltered by me (that came later). Looks like this out of the proverbial box:
So that seems to be the system for older devices. For newer ones, it depends on you or me: stock Android with all its AI goodies like Live Translate from the Google Assistant, or a much more spartan but really more secure GrapheneOS? Only you can decide. At least the Graphene web installer makes it easy in case you want to have a look…
So it’s a big “Thank You!” to people like Daniel and Tad. And like always, thanks to you for reading.
Update, from Sun 20 Aug: here’s an updated version of my home screen on the Google Pixel 3a with DivestOS as the operating system, Lawnchair as an alternative system launcher, itself being updated by Obtainium and directly through GitHub. So it now looks like this:
Themed icons and all, very cool. Almost like a stock Android, but better.
Like always, thanks for viewing, and for reading.