Linux-based postmarketOS v24.06 supports over 250 devices, taking on Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS

A Linux penguin bashing broken Android and iOS characters.

The appeal of running Linux on personal devices lies in the freedom it offers. postmarketOS does not require account setups, does not push cloud storage, avoids pre-installed bloatware, and does not follow privacy-invasive AI trends. Instead, it focuses on free software, user control, and extending device usability beyond the original vendor’s support.

This release includes many device ports previously accessible only in the bleeding-edge version, now available in the stable release. While some devices may only boot Linux, they offer unique use cases, such as running a web server on an old phone powered by a portable solar charger.

Many supported devices are still in test, but they include many “ancient” phones as well as many Chromebook devices. It appears to have a choice between GNOME or KDE.

The only challenge I foresee, really, is going to be app support. Most users are used to millions of available Android or iOS apps to access gaming, banking, media streaming, etc. Whilst most of this will probably work fine, I foresee some challenges with some banks which still insist that you use their banking app on a non-rooted phone. For example, one of my banks will insist that I use biometric authentication on their Android app even if I want to log in with my desktop browser. Also, if you’re a smartwatch user who wants to track their exercising say with the Strava app, this may not be for you.

But there are very many users who may not have these requirements where this OS could work really well, especially from a privacy perspective, and providing support for older phones that no longer get any app updates.

postmarketOS is based on Alpine Linux, which is so tiny (less than 10 MB in size) that development of pmOS can be done quickly on any Linux distribution. Writing packages is easy, by the way: as long as you know how to write shell scripts, you are good to go.

The linked article brought this OS to my attention, and they do also provide a link to the OS’ main website.