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Jun 18, 2019 6:45 AM ET

eelo, a mobile OS and web-services, in the public interest

eelo, a mobile OS and web-services, in the public interest

iCrowd Newswire - Jun 18, 2019


eelo, a mobile OS and web-services, in the public interest project video thumbnail


eelo, a mobile OS and web-services, in the public interest



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Prototype Gallery

These photos and videos provide a detailed look at this project’s development.

What is a prototype?

eelo was featured on a number of news sites including:

Note about languages: you can read the whole story translated: auf Deutsch,  en Françaisen Españolin Italiano

 Your data is YOUR data!

eelo recognises the need shared by everyone for better data privacy. The eelo project will provide an alternative mobile operating system and associated web-services, including email, cloud storage, and online office tools. eelo is an open source, non-profit project, in the public interest.

In 1998, I created Mandrake Linux, because I was both a Linux fan and didn’t like Windows. It’s been a long time, and I’m very pleased to have been one of the actors who contributed to make the Linux desktop a credible option.

Since then, the smartphone has emerged. And it’s now a “companion of life” for many of us. But I realized this year that I was using an iPhone, a Mac and Google services more and more. I realized that I had become lazy and that my data privacy had vanished.

And I’m definitely not happy with that situation. I’m not happy with this situation because iOS is proprietary and I prefer open-source Software. I’m not happy because Apple is going crazy with their latest products. They are more and more expensive, and not really exciting. 

I’m also not happy with Google and others like them. They have become too big and are tracking us by capturing a lot of information about what we do. They want to know us as much as possible to sell advertising. Like millions of others, I’VE BECOME A PRODUCT OF GOOGLE.

I want to stop that, at least for myself. People are free to do what they want. They can choose to be voluntary slaves. But I do not want this situation for me anymore. 

I want to reconquer my privacy. My data is MY data. And I want to use Open Source software as much as possible.

But at the same time, the alternatives that exist at the moment don’t exactly fit my needs. First of all, I don’t want to use stock Android: it’s Google everywhere and I don’t like its default user interface. There are other initiatives too that fall short of what I’m after. I want something consistent and comfortable to use, like iOS or MacOS are. I want something I could recommend to my parents or my children. And I want something that respects my privacy. 

What I want could be built from existing bricks in a reasonable amount of time and it would come along with nice online tools such as office, cloud storage and email services.

This “new thing” will be – as much as possible – open source. And for me and others to enjoy using it, it needs to be attractively designed.

At its foundation, it will be forked from LineageOS which is open source and can run mainstream Android applications. On top of that will be layered great open source modules to form a consistent mobile and web system.

I’ve called the project “eelo” because eels are small fishes that can hide in the sea. That’s perfect for my quest for more privacy. And we have a nice logo:

I want eelo to be a non-profit project, a project “in the public interest”. I strongly believe operating systems and web services should be a shared resource: as I explained a few years ago, they are infrastructure – just like phone networks, rail tracks, and roads.

Non-profit doesn’t mean nothing will be for sale. We envisage selling preloaded eelo smartphones, and providing premium services for corporates. But profit won’t be eelo’s primary focus.

And as a community project, eelo will welcome contributors.

The eelo project will release attractive-designed “privacy-enabled” smartphone ROMs and smartphones for the average user, with associated web-services.

Our first positive results at proof-of-concept stage are  described on this page.

First eelo prototype smartphone OS
First eelo prototype smartphone OS

We have also started to review alternative web-services that would be compatible with the eelo project and that we would be able to customize and integrate with the eelo mobile operating system.

eelo vision: devices and web services with privacy respect
eelo vision: devices and web services with privacy respect

We need to bootstrap the project and pay developers for initial development work to reach a first viable “privacy-enabled” eelo product that users will be able to install on their own phones or order on quantity-limited pre-installed eelo smartphones.

This functioning product would include:

– a mobile operating system with new default applications and new user interface

– integrated basic web services (search, cloud storage, settings recovery)

– updates for 3 years or more, with full respect of user privacy. 

Then we will be able to attract more contributors and the project will become naturally sustainable as it iterates to new releases.

– If we just reach the low-limit, about 10% will go to Kickstarter (service fee), 60% will be used to pay the development team for a few months until we reach the first minimum viable product, and to pay servers. The remaining 30% will pay all the goodies and services that we offer in return for the user’s contributions. Note: 20% VAT may be deducted from the real amount of available money.

– If we reach 100 000 € / $120 000, we’ll be able to put more effort into the development team and reach our goal more quickly, and with more first-release features.

– If we reach 500 000 € / $600 000, we’ll be able to hire more people and set up a full non-profit organization that will be fully operating before the end of 2018. We’ll also start to develop a Linux-based eelo operating system for PCs.

– If we reach 1 000 000€ / $1 200 000, we’ll be able to do all the above plus quickly gain the status of “organization in the public interest”. This status will help to attract more money to fuel the project as donations from institutions, states, corporates and individuals will allow some fiscal benefits for donators.

– If we reach 2 000 000€ / $2 400 000, we’ll be able to design and release our own eelo smartphone by partnering with a hardware maker, and launch new projects such as a “voice pod” home assistant.

And we’ll get a great bezel-less eelo smartphone.

Gaël Duval is the project founder, and lives in Europe. Gaël is an open source advocate and has created two significant open source products: the Mandrake Linux distribution and Ulteo, an application and desktop delivery platform. 

Hathibelagal Ashraff is eelo’s lead developer, and lives in India. Hathibelagal is a programmer, writer, and inventor. His interests include mobile app and ROM development, machine learning, and data mining. 

Rhandros Dembicky is eelo’s artist in chief, and lives in Brazil. Rhandros is a UI/UX Designer with a solid background in mobile products. For more than 10 years he has worked with big players in the market creating digital products such as PlayKids, one of the world’s most famous apps in the kids category.

Véronique Loquet is eelo’s head of communication and she lives in Europe. For twenty years Véronique has been helping hackers and IT doers in the open source and security fields to organize their media relations and events, all over the world.

And we’re helped by several advisors on various aspects of the project.

We think that eelo can have a global, worldwide impact as a major open source project in the public interest. It will help freeing users from personal data spying and advertising. 

eelo is about freedom and privacy in the digital world.

Contributing to this crowdfunding campaign is a great way to support eelo’s first stages of development. You are encouraged to share this campaign as much as possible, to friends, on internet forums and on social medias.

You can also register at our website or contact us as a potential contributor. We’ll need engineers, testers, translators, and people who can spread the word everywhere.

Find more information about eelo and ways to contact us at eelo.io

By contributing to the eelo crowdfunding campaign, you help fuel early development and increase our chances of releasing software and services that will be made available to all. The biggest reward for all of us is the benefits the eelo project can bring to the world. 

But at the same time we have worked on some cool rewards. Depending on your level of commitment, you’ll get stickers, t-shirts, and as a eelo official community member, you will be better connected to us and we’ll listen to your voice carefully. Last but not least, there will be a few early “eelo smartphones” available for the biggest contributors!

Since the beginning of the eelo campaign, we have received an awesome amount of support from people who like the project and who want to contribute. We also started to get some media coverage! We hope to soon be in the Washington Post, Elle and Vanity Fair, but meanwhile you can find us on a number of IT news sites, including ZDNet, Wired.it, Slashdot, HackerNoon and AndroidHeadlines.


Risks and challenges

If there is not enough money to bootstrap the eelo project, it may be difficult to set up a virtuous circle for developing the project. It may progress too slowly and possibly will not attract as many contributors as needed to be sustainable.

As we’re forking the Android open source project that is maintained by Google, we may face a situation where we are not able to overcome technical difficulties implied by changes in the code. That could lead to a critical situation that slows or stops the project.

As eelo is going to use an alternative application repository, it’s possible that Google will find technical or legal ways to prevent installation or use of mainstream applications on the eelo mobile operating system. This could be a showstopper for the project as many users like to use mainstream applications.

There are other risks associated with management, human resources, operational situations. These are common risks in any venture.

Contact Information:


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