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PostmarketOS logo.svg
DeveloperpostmarketOS open-source community
OS familyUnix-like
Working stateActive
Source modelOpen source
Repository Edit this at Wikidata
Marketing targetOperating system replacement for Android and other mobile devices
Update methodapk-tools (package manager)
Package managerapk-tools (from Alpine Linux)
PlatformsARM, ARM64, x86, x86-64
Kernel typeMonolithic (Linux)

PostmarketOS (stylized as postmarketOS and abbreviated as pmOS) is a free and open-source operating system under development primarily for smartphones, based on the Alpine Linux distribution.[1][2][3][4]

PostmarketOS was launched on May 6, 2017 with the source code available on GitLab.[2][5] It is capable of running different X and Wayland based user interfaces, such as Plasma Mobile,[6][7] MATE, GNOME 3, and XFCE,;[8] later updates added support for Unity8 and Phosh.[9] It is also capable of running Docker, if the device specific kernel has cgroups and relevant configs enabled.[10] The project aims to provide a ten-year lifecycle for smartphones.[11]


Unlike many other projects porting conventional Linux distributions to Android phones, PostmarketOS does not use the Android build system or userspace. Each phone has only one unique package, and flashable installation images are generated using the pmbootstrap tool.[2] The project intends to support the mainline Linux kernel on all phones in the future, instead of the often outdated Android-specific fork, to reduce the potential for security exploits.[2] A few devices can boot into the mainline kernel already.[12][13] The project aims to support Android apps through the use of Anbox.[14]

Alpine Linux was chosen as the base distribution due to its low storage requirements, making it more suitable for older devices. Excluding the kernel, a base installation takes up approximately 6 MB.[15][2][16]

State of development[edit]


Different tools have been published by the project, including:

  • pmbootstrap,[17][18] a utility to help the process of development with cross compilation;
  • osk-sdl,[19][20] a virtual keyboard to allow decryption of a password during startup (on a device with full disk encryption);
  • charging-sdl,[21] an application contained in the initramfs to display an animation when the phone is charging while off.

Device support[edit]

As of May 2020, over two hundred devices are able to boot the operating system, including 92 with WiFi support.[22][23] This includes many smartphones and tablets that originally ran Android,[24][25] wearable devices such as Google Glass, smartwatches including the LG G Watch and some Linux-based Nokia smartphones, such as the N900[26] and N9.[27][12] After Corellium ported Linux to the iPhone, pmOS also gained support.[28]

In 2018, no devices were yet able to make phone calls with PostmarketOS,[29] although significant efforts were being made in this regard. By 2020, a number of devices were fully or mostly supported, including for phone calls, SMS messages and mobile data. These included the BQ Aquaris X5, Librem 5, Nokia N900, Motorola Moto G4 Play, Samsung Galaxy A3 (2015), Samsung Galaxy A5 (2015), and Wileyfox Swift.[30]

Furthermore, the device was launched as a first-party operating system for the PinePhone, with the postmarketOS Community Edition.[31]

Porting to a new device[edit]

The development process to make a new device compatible with the operating system consists of creating a phone-specific package using the pmbootstrap tool. For that, the use of the Linux kernel from the device's original manufacturer is often necessary. The source code of the original kernel is often made available by compliance with the requirements of the GPLv2 license, but some drivers necessary for the operation of the device may not be available, and must, therefore, be recreated.[32][17] Examples include GPU drivers such as Lima, which has a proprietary equivalent in userspace on Android that is not subject to the GPLv2 requirements.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff, OSNews. "100 days of postmarketOS".
  2. ^ a b c d e "Aiming for a 10 year life-cycle for smartphones".
  3. ^ "PostMarketOS Saves Old Smartphones". Hackaday. 2018-01-09. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  4. ^ DistroWatch. " Put the fun back into computing. Use Linux, BSD".
  5. ^ Ward, Craig. "PostmarketOS team makes progress towards goal of 10 year smartphone lifecycle - News". Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  6. ^ "Get Plasma Mobile".
  7. ^ Shah, Bhushan (20 November 2017). "14:00 Plasma Mobile". Akademy 2017.
  8. ^ Verma, Adarsh (2 January 2018). "postmarketOS--A Linux Distro For Smartphones--Now runs Plasma/Lune UI/Xfce On Real Devices".
  9. ^ "600 days of postmarketOS".
  10. ^ "User talk:Docker - postmarketOS". Retrieved 2020-11-18.
  11. ^ "Linux-based postmarketOS project aims to give smartphones a 10-year lifecycle". Linux Today. 2017-08-17. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  12. ^ a b "219 days of postmarketOS".
  13. ^ Brown, Eric (29 September 2017). "New mobile Linux contenders keep the dream alive".
  14. ^ "postmarketOS // in 2020-02". Retrieved 2020-04-07.
  15. ^ "Librem 5 Leads New Wave of Open Source Mobile Linux Contenders | | The source for Linux information". 2017-09-29. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  16. ^ "postmarketOS is a Touch-Optimized Linux Distro for Portable Devices". 2017-09-05. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  17. ^ a b Chapman, Christian (2017-08-17). "Porting PostmarketOS to the Motorola Photon Q". Archived from the original on 2017-10-28. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  18. ^ "pmbootstrap: Sophisticated chroot/build/flash tool to develop and install postmarketOS". postmarketOS. 2018-01-27. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  19. ^ "Mobile - Debian Wiki". 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  20. ^ "SDL2 On-screen Keyboard". postmarketOS. 2017-12-31. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  21. ^ "SDL2 charging application for the initramfs". postmarketOS. 2017-12-23. Retrieved 2018-01-27.
  22. ^ "Supported devices". 16 May 2020.
  23. ^ "postmarketOS now boots on over 200 phones and tablets". 16 May 2020.
  24. ^ "Why Mobile Linux Fails - Datamation".
  25. ^ "Weekly Linux News – January 2, 2018". Archived from the original on April 20, 2018. Retrieved January 29, 2018.
  26. ^ "Telefonni revoluce se blizi | OpenAlt 2017 - video zц║znamy a slajdy". 2017-11-05. Retrieved 2018-01-29.
  27. ^ "Devices - postmarketOS".
  28. ^ "Running postmarketOS on iPhone 7 –". Retrieved 2020-04-18.
  29. ^ "PostmarketOS can run on older gadgets but with limited features". 5 January 2018.
  30. ^
  31. ^
  32. ^ "Porting to a new device - postmarketOS". Retrieved 2018-01-27.

External links[edit]