/e/Operating system review: This operating system is better than Android. You should to try it

Screenshot from a mobile phone app that controls privacy settings including how or whether users are being tracked

Photo: Scott Gilbertson

While I like the security features of /e/OS and have even spoofed my geodata on a regular basis, the real killer feature for me is the /e/OS app store, which is named App Lounge. When using LineageOS, I installed apps from various app stores. Have F-Droidwhere open source applications and Up then downSome apps I use support (Vivaldi is the main one), and then I have a few that I can only get through the Google Play Store. As anyone who uses LineageOS can tell you, there’s a lot to keep track of.

/e/OS App Lounge combines apps from a variety of sources, including the Play Store and F-Droid, among others, making them all available in one place. (You can also choose to show only open source apps.)

Also nice is the option to stay anonymous when connecting to any app store, although you’ll need to log in to download apps you’ve paid for because those are tied to a user ID. use yours. I also encountered the anonymous login error a few times, causing token errors. This is one of the few places where I’ve had problems with /e/OS.

App Lounge uses a familiar design that looks similar to Google Play but adds some features. The first is App Lounge, which provides information about each app’s privacy, scoring it on a scale of 1 to 10, where 1 is terrible for privacy and 10 generally means no trackers. App Lounge also ranks apps according to the permissions they request. The fewer permissions (like access to your photos or geographic data), the higher the rating. It’s a great way to provide complex information in a way that anyone can easily parse.

To win over the larger Android-alt community, /e/OS claims to be working on offering App Lounge as an app that can be installed anywhere. (Meanwhile, Aurora Store is a close replacement.)

What doesn’t work?

As much as I love /e/OS, it’s not perfect. I have some minor problems with geodata. I live on the road so my location changes every few weeks. Sometimes /e/OS is slow to handle this, and the Maps app will show me search results based on my location last week. The accompanying Maps app itself is still rough around the edges (and uses some proprietary code). It’s better and more accurate than every other map app I’ve tried, but it’s not as good as Google Maps. I don’t care what you think about Google; Its Maps app is unmatched. I still use it as a backup when the default /e/OS application doesn’t find what I need.

The other big missing feature for me is voice-to-text. Currently, /e/OS does not have a speech-to-text feature at all. There is one good thing Summary of available options in the /e/OS forum. None of these things were ideal, but I got by with a combination of Sayboard and stock /e/OS keyboard. The good news is that speech-to-text is built in on the roadmap for /e/OS in 2024. This would also open the door to the /e/OS assistant, which is not currently available. It’s unclear what form this might take, given the privacy implications of interacting with the server to answer queries, but one possibility is a large language model running locally.


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