Project eelo is an attempt at a non-Google smartphone OS for privacy’s sake

Another year, another stab at taking on Google with an alternative operating system. Project eelo is a new open-source OS that will have its own web services and shun Google for the sake of privacy. Why is it named eelo? “Because eels are small fishes that can hide into the sea,” says Gaël Duval, French founder of Project eelo. His Kickstarter page has already surpassed its $30,000 goal with almost $50,000 and there’s over two weeks left. Can Duval succeed where well established companies like Firefox have failed?


“We’re 7.6 billion people on Earth and I don’t see a good reason why they would all accept to have their private data cached by Google, Apple and a few others,” said Duval. He’s taking a realistic approach, however, admitting that an OS can’t survive without mainstream apps. “That’s why Firefox OS died,” he said. That’s also why BlackBerry 10 and Amazon’s Fire Phone died.

Duval, who created Mandrake Linux twenty years ago, understands that there have been a lot of “high-secure” smartphone attempts in the past with 100% open source ROMs. “I want to offer something better, something that goes to the right direction, while educating people and while knowing that we are not going to change the world in one day.”

Duval took on Microsoft’s Windows in the 1990’s and is now taking on Google in 2018. “What is driving me and is going to drive eelo is the same as what drove me when I started Mandrake Linux. What would be an acceptable, attractive system for my close friends and family, for Mum and Dad, for children? So by default there won’t be apps that are bad for privacy in eelo, and we’ll provide as many alternatives as possible for web services,” he said. “People will be able to install Facebook on eelo if they want, in the meantime we will talk to them about Mastodon.” Mastodon is a relatively new Twitter alternative.

The first priority of this new privacy-enabled phone OS will be the avoidance of Google. “Google is absolutely everywhere,” he said. “Even in Chromium there are low-level code that is sending what the user is doing to Google. Apple is catching your data and using it for their business, and also they have a deal with Google to have their search engine by default for the user.”

Duval is also thinking globally from the get-go as he did two decades ago. “Mandrake Linux was the first Linux distro to consider that English was not the only language in the world. We had the distro in a dozen languages, even the website.”

Duval’s long-term goal is to design a 100% open-source eelo phone by partnering with Fairphone or other open hardware projects. It’s an ambitious yet exciting prospect.

Source: The Indian Express


About the Author: Erik Slaven

He was born and raised in Virginia, but escaped to Southern CA. Started out as a BlackBerry addict until he bought HTC’s Droid Eris and never looked back. He's owned dozens of Android devices and can rarely settle on a daily driver for more than a few months. He's currently using a Galaxy S8 and BlackBerry KEYone. He rides motorcycles for fun and would live on the beach if it was legal. Marketing and freelance pr help keep the lights on.


  • Draken Blackknight

    We’ll see. Sailfish is still being worked on

  • Darcy

    Good luck, shall have to wait and see how it goes. Pity it didn’t have a better name, though the logo is quite good. Eels by the way aren’t always little fishes, some are quite large frightful creatures. Like the idea of a Fairphone sort of device.