Community competition for porting open-source OSes to HMD phones

Hi HMD, I have a fun idea inspired by the suggestion to port Sailfish to the new Nokias which would show HMD engaging with the community and promoting the new Nokia phones as the spiritual successors to the Google Nexus phones.

Community competition for porting open-source OSes to HMD phones

madbilly madbilly
Super User  / 


I have a fun idea inspired by the suggestion to port Sailfish to the new Nokias which would show HMD engaging with the community and promoting the new Nokia phones as the spiritual successors to the Google Nexus phones.

HMD/Nokia could seed a few projects to port other open-source OSes to the new Nokia phones.

HMD could even make it a bit like a competition, for example provide free phones to the first team to port one of the following OSes to an HMD/Nokia phones:

  • Sailfish
  • Firefox/B2G OS
  • Ubuntu Touch/UBPorts
  • Plasma Mobile (KDE)
  • LuneOS (webOS)

  • Replicant
  • Tizen (although this one may not be popular for old fans of Nokia!)

and just for fun since I think old Nokia fans may like this:

  • Nemo
  • QtMoko
  • Stable Hybrid Release.

Or, instead of it being a race, HMD could set a points system; each feature implemented would be worth some points, and the team that gets the most points (according to HMD judges) would win. All other teams would get Nokia goodie bags.

HMD could advertise the competition on
(obvious place), set a deadline for entries. Entries would need to name
the people in each team (max 10? 20?) and the OS that they were going to

It would probably be better to exclude OSes that are nothing more than "custom Android ROMs" like LineageOS. HMD could set requirements about which parts of the AOSP stack could be used and which couldn't.

I think this would be fun, and I'm sure you'd get loads of interest from the XDA community, lots of others too, and it would help promote your phones in those circles and also help HMD/Nokia learn more about what those people want, AND help find bugs with your software/hardware ;)

I hope this idea sparks a few of your own and inspires HMD and Nokia to think beyond the "pure Android" experience.

Cheers :)


  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    I should add that HMD would need to make the binary blobs for drivers etc AND their APIS available to the competitors under a suitable licence. I know this may be considered risky from an IP point of view, however these communities are quite capable of extracting the binary blobs anyway. The only thing they really lack is the APIs. If HMD don't want to provide the APIs then this will make the competition harder but not impossible.

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    I still think this would be a cool thing for HMD to do. Is there one of your upcoming phones which you can prep so it has unlockable bootloader, source code and device tree from release?
  • Manus Manus
    ✭✭✭  / 
    Perfect idea, sticking only 2 platforms is terrible. We should have more alternatives.
    I wish Stephen elop was never have been made that burning platform speech, we could have not only 3 but up to 5 or 6 alternative platforms; Apple, Android, windows phone, meego, symbian, and meltemi.

    Tizen is actually just the contuinity of moblin part of meego. İts not good option;its filled with back doors and flaws.
    Most of the other options above are a part of the Android family however qt platform is more popular than Android, sure we didn't get any new qt based mobile product soccer 2012 however that platform is still alive, VERY alive.

    As a fan of symbian and meego I'd prefer a new meego version over any of they current platforms.

    I'm getting a feeling of you actually don't like the pure Android passion of hmd global.
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    I think it's important to distinguish between Android variants which are all based on the same Android Runtime (LineageOS, Replicant), and other OSes which only use the very low level of Android - the Linux kernel, drivers and a few other things (Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, Ubuntu touch, plasma mobile, LuneOS). The third list above are others which don't use any parts of Android and build upon the conventional glibc for stack instead of Android's bionic libc stack. For the most part the latter two types can be interchanged, with some work.

    I was originally hopeful that HMD would make it easier for developers but that hasn't happened. There isn't even a LineageOS build for any HMD phone and that should be the easiest one to do.
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    I forgot to mention /e/. This project was very young when I started this topic but now it's got a lot of momentum and in many ways is more interesting than LineageOS - certainly harder, though not quite as hard as Replicant.

    Almost all the projects above need some sort of Android custom ROM as their base, so either LineageOS or /e/ would be the best place to start development.

    Does anyone know of an Android custom ROM for any HMD Nokia phone ?
  • mohan reddy mohan reddy
    ✭✭✭  / 
    madbilly said:
    Does anyone know of an Android custom ROM for any HMD Nokia phone ?
    I don't think there are any custom ROMs but there are GSIs for Nokia phones though.
  • mohan reddy mohan reddy
    ✭✭✭  / 
    To add to this, I would love to see someone working on porting Symbian for Nokia phones. 
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  /  edited March 2019
    @mohan reddy Yes me too! Unfortunately it's a virtual certainty that it won't happen, for many reasons.

    1. No chipset vendor has provided a board support package since Texas Instruments for the OMAP3 - they didn't even do it for the OMAP4 AFAIK
    2. Symbian was incredibly difficult to port - the community project which set up to use the Symbian^3 open source code to get it running on OMAP3 never succeeded AFAIK
    3. Symbian was very difficult to adapt to different resolutions, which is why almost every Symbian phone for 5 years had max 640x480ish pixels

    So, whilst I would like it, it almost certainly won't happen. :(

    PS - thanks for the info about the GSIs - you mean the base AOSP builds which can be used with phones with are compliant with project treble?
  • mohan reddy mohan reddy
    ✭✭✭  / 
    @madbilly Thanks for the educational information on the Symbian, I didn't know most of that before.

    Yeah, GSIs are meant to be the base AOSP builds without bells and whistles that the manufacturer adds or customises. XDA thread for Nokia 7 Plus has 3 or 4 GSI builds, some are said to be working with more than one Nokia phone.

    I haven't tried any because my phone's bootloader is unlocked, waiting for official support for it.
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    Okay well before you try any of those GSI images make sure you know what you're doing. Maybe that was a typo you wrote you need your bootloader to be unlocked to be able to flash a new image, not locked to flash a new image. Also, some Nokias use A/B partitioning so you need to be sure you're flashing the right one and not killing your recovery path.
  • mohan reddy mohan reddy
    ✭✭✭  / 
    I checked the XDA threads of the GSIs, one mentioned that it is only for unlocked users and one says that you have to flash TWRP Recovery before flashing the GSI, in the instructions. So, I assumed that bootloader unlock is necessary, may be I'm wrong.

    I can't try now anyway because Nokia 7 Plus is my daily driver now, it's bit risky to try something on your daily driver.
  • Halamix2 Halamix2
    ✭✭  /  edited March 2019
    > @madbilly said:
    > Does anyone know of an Android custom ROM for any HMD Nokia phone ?

    This is not Android, but there is basic port of postmarketOS (Linux) for Nokia 1:
    Kernel source code was missing symlinks, but other than that compiled without applying many patches. Some small touch ups were needed on defconfig file, but that is to be expected when using the source code to build regular Linux instead of Android.

    As for alternative OSes for smartphones, have you heard about Maemo Leste? It requires mainlined kernel though.
  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 
    @Halamix2 pmOS on the Nokia 1? Wow! That's impressive.

    Yes I heard about Maemo Leste, it didn't really exist when I started this topic (and Nemo has changed since I started the topic too). I didn't know it used mainline, I presumed it was based on libhybris like Sailfish, Ubuntu, etc.

    Whilst I would love to have fully functioning pmOS on Nokias, that is probably the most unrealistic option at present (in terms of getting everything functioning). More realistic is something based on the bionic stack, and from there other options will open up.
  • TW1920 TW1920
    ✭✭  / 
    SailfishOS would be great. A Nokia 9 or Nokia 7 with Sailfish OS would be very awesome. And SailfishOS is working Feature Phone since one year, so there would it be possible one OS for all.
  • Kartik Gada Kartik Gada
    Super User  /  edited April 2020

    For this to happen they first need to allow bootloader unlocking. And till now HMD has shown no interest in this area. If they had, SFOS would have already been ported by now. Also, some members of SFOS community do not even care about this new Nokia. They laugh at it. Sad reality

    EDIT: I got so triggered about bootloader unlock policy that i forgot to appreciate your idea. This is a really nice plan and competition will give better end reaults. I hope that day comes in 2020.😃

    Enough of this bad side of 2020. We need good news. 😅

  • user123 user123
    ✭✭✭  / 

    Atleast let them provide BOOTLOADER UNLOCK and Recovery tool first

  • Feature_OS Feature_OS
    ✭✭  /  edited April 2020

    Sarvikas be like-

    Sarvikas might get a hert attack. His plan of keeping Nokia phones Pure,Secure and Up to date would be compromised.

  • SirFaceFone SirFaceFone
    ✭✭✭✭  /  edited April 2020

    Those sound amazing! (I'm late, I know) Too bad HMD is still sticking with their totalitarian bootloader policy after all these years. Developer interest in Nokia is fading fast as time goes by. Shame.

  • madbilly madbilly
    Super User  / 

    Hi all,

    Thanks for reminding me about this! I made this suggestions in the days before Android One and before I realised that HMD was so in love with beige Android.

    More optimistic times back then 😉

    Cheers 🙂

  • DibyaXP DibyaXP
    ✭✭✭  / 

    First ask those ediots to unlock bootloader.

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