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handmade.network»Forums»[Idea] Building a Mobile OS
James Sral
15 posts

Web Dev (JS/Ruby) interested in low-level development. Husband. Father. Drinker of coffees and teas.

[Idea] Building a Mobile OS
6 months, 1 week ago Edited by James Sral on Feb. 11, 2020, 9:45 p.m. Reason: (sounding less whiny on my part)
We all know that we need a mobile OS that is:
  • Simple
  • Performant
  • Secure
  • And actually values the user's privacy even a little bit


I am still a neophyte handmade-person, but I would love to learn while building and I bet there are others who want this very same thing.
Thoughts?
39 posts / 1 project
[Idea] Building a Mobile OS
3 weeks, 3 days ago Edited by Dawoodoz on July 19, 2020, 12:56 p.m.
If I would make a mobile operating system, I would make development easier by having a desktop mode enabled when connecting wireless mouse, keyboard and display. Want to edit a presentation in a hotel room? Just connect to the television and have a full desktop experience like with Raspbian. This is the opposite to running mobile software on a desktop, by having two distinct systems on the same device and actually adapting to the usability context rather than trying to force the design of one usability context to another device where it's not applicable.

Security should automatically find out which permissions are needed based on static analysis, so that the requirements can be made stricter on minor revisions and without breaking existing software. Always breaking shit is one of the reasons for why people don't write good software for Android, it's going to break with the next security update anyway. Having an application running (virally) in the background should put it in the same category as anti-virus and instant messaging applications, to prevent spam and addictions.

Child proofing should be optional. It's frustrating to be on a SE Linux system with lots of terminal commands and advanced features under the hood, but have to log in remotely into Android just to access the terminal and replace a few drivers.

Offline applications without ads should have a higher visibility, no matter if it's paid or free. Purchases in applications should always be banned, just go back to the store and take out the wallet before buying a DLC that will remain forever. Lootboxes, consumables and other casino tricks targeting children will give any platform a bad reputation.

I guess you could start off with Android's source code, remove all Google services, make a new store, add a desktop mode and make an IDE running on a television with mouse and keyboard.
John Tsiombikas
1 posts / 1 project
[Idea] Building a Mobile OS
3 weeks, 3 days ago
The tragedy about mobile devices, is that they're very unfriendly towards hackers. Proprietary bootloaders, made read-only by burned fuses in production models. Convoluted chains of trust in firmware. Signed binaries. It's very hard to override android and run your code on a mobile device to the metal. It can be done, but it will only ever work on very specific models oh phones and tablets. It can't be a universal operating system that someone can just download and install.

I gave up on hacking for smartphones a long time ago. It's clear that they don't like me, so in turn I don't like them :)
39 posts / 1 project
[Idea] Building a Mobile OS
3 weeks, 2 days ago
nuclear
I gave up on hacking for smartphones a long time ago. It's clear that they don't like me, so in turn I don't like them :)


This is because most phones are made cheaper using forced ads "pre-installed applications", rely on firmware hacks to get the hardware working, hold back updates so that you will buy a new phone, have to follow regulations on radio signals and should not be used for making free calls by hacking the SIM card. In my old job, I managed to hack the mDSP and see the wireless traffic being processed, but it took weeks to get the exploit working on a model built for firmware developers.

Making an operating system pretty much assumes that you're also designing own hardware. You need an SOC, a crystal oscillator, ceramic capacitors, a buck converter, a charging circuit, lithium-ion battery, a thouch screen, a CMOS sensor with Bayer filter, lens, shutter and ISP, a PWM or DAC controlled sound card, a speaker, a zener diode against voltage spikes, mini vibrators...
12 posts
[Idea] Building a Mobile OS
3 weeks, 2 days ago
I understand it's hard (maybe even impossible). But I can't agree more that it is something we desperately need. Phones suck. I hope this thread goes somewhere.