Category Archives: mobile

A thought on open source mobile OSes

I, like most of you, am trapped using a mobile OS that I hate. In this case, it’s Android. I loathe Android. Words cannot express my fury at its constant crashing and failure, although they’ve come close:

Smartphones and tablets have essentially become the new printers: things that do not work, and are not expected to work, and whose primary purpose is to inspire gothic conversations about the ultimate futility of the human condition.

You might be an iOS user, and hate that. Or a Windows Phone user (lol, I mean I did see this one guy on the bus once running the WP Tinder ripoff), and hate that. They’re all crap.

Sadly, so are the open source alternatives. FirefoxOS is crap; Ubuntu Phone is vaporware.

This isn’t to minimize the tons and tons of developer effort going into FirefoxOS and Ubuntu Phone. I cannot wait for them to get to be only as bad as Android so I can switch in a nanosecond. I just happened to have an idea – and maybe somebody’s already had it – as to how they can get there faster.

Why not pick an existing handset with an unlocked bootloader, high sales, high durability, and high hardware commonality with other devices, get major milestones done on that device only, and then leverage all the work across more devices much as CyanogenMod does?

It sure beats shipping 128MB phones that barely work as a flashlight, or in Ubuntu’s case, nothing at all. I see it like the “Scaffold” wiki pattern, in which people are far more likely to contribute when there’s a framework present in which they can fill in some blanks.

It’s 2013, yes? So, OTR encrypted SMS between Android and iOS?

Clearly this is worth a “long form” blog post where people can leave comments (and I can update the post if and when I get an answer).

By “I,” I really mean “we all” need encrypted SMS.

I need a method of exchanging OTR messages by SMS between Android and iOS devices.  I can’t find one.  Help?

Update, May 2014: Here’s an article which explains the options (which still don’t satisfy my requirement for SMS transport; I forgot why I had that requirement though). Fighting DISHFIRE: The State of Mobile, Cross-Platform, Encrypted Messaging


  • SMS transport is absolutely required.  I will be happy if I can also send messages via the intertubes, but the app(s) must support SMS.
  • OTR 3.1+ support for “socialist millionaire” authentication would be really nice.
  • Google Voice support (or avoidance) would be nice, but I can live without it.
    • By this, I mean it’d be nice if I could use my Google Voice number instead of the device’s native number, and have it work gracefully (or at all).
  • It really, really, truly needs to run on Android and iOS.

I’ll update the post with lots of details if and when I complete my quest for encrypted SMS between Android and iOS.