|Developer||PostmarketOS open-source community|
|Source model||Open source|
|Marketing target||Operating system replacement for Android and other mobile devices|
|Update method||apk-tools (package manager)|
|Package manager||apk-tools (from Alpine Linux)|
|Platforms||ARM, ARM64, x86, x86-64|
|Kernel type||Monolithic (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.
PostmarketOS was officially launched on May 6, 2017 with the source code available on GitLab. It is capable of running different X and Wayland based user interfaces, such as Plasma Mobile, Hildon, MATE, GNOME 3, XFCE, and later updates added support for Unity8 and Phosh. The project aims to provide a ten year lifecycle for smartphones.
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. The project intends to support the mainline Linux kernel on all phones in the future, instead of the often outdated Android-specific fork, to reduce the potential for security exploits. A few devices can boot into the mainline kernel already.
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.
State of development
As of January 2018[update] the project was under development; and no devices were yet able to make phone calls with PostmarketOS, although significant efforts were being made in this regard. Different tools have been published by the project, including:
pmbootstrap, a utility to help the process of development with cross compilation;
osk-sdl, a virtual keyboard to allow decryption of a password during startup (on a device with full disk encryption);
charging-sdl, a application contained in the initramfs to display an animation when the phone is charging while off.
As of March 2019, over one hundred devices are able to boot the operating system, including 41 with WiFi support. This includes many Android smartphones and tablets, wearable devices such as Google Glass, smartwatches including the LG G Watch and some Linux-based Nokia smartphones, such as the N900 and N9. The PostmarketOS community continues to add devices, and the progression is documented on the wiki.
Porting to a new device
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.
Resources for development
The project publishes its code on GitLab, and co-ordinates via Matrix and IRC. A wiki is available for documentation of the project. The project migrated its source code from GitHub to GitLab following Microsoft's acquisition and due to the proprietary and closed nature of GitHub. It is now moving to Sourcehut.
LuneOS UI running on a generic x86 tablet
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