Conference #49 - An overview of Replicant development

Mobile devices 40 mn en_US Geek, Professionnal Master

Conference introduction

The Replicant project was founded four years ago as a fully free version of Android. While Google releases most of Android as open source, with the Android Open Source Project, it still cannot run as-is on any actual device, since it needs proprietary programs for handling various parts of the hardware. Replicant however intends to run on actual devices while not compromising on software freedom. Hence, the proprietary parts are not part of Replicant and are instead either avoided or replaced. Over time, a good share free software replacements for the proprietary components was developed by the project, each time a new challenge for the developers involved!

About speaker


Paul Kocialkowski started using free software in 2008 and soon gained interest in software freedom, with a particular emphasis on running fully free systems. After an unfortunate soldering accident on his Openmoko FreeRunner board, he decided to try out Replicant, the fully free Android version. Starting as a user of the system, he gradually became the main developer of the project and holds that position since more than two years now. He is also in charge of maintaining the single board computers and plug computers comparisons from the software freedom perspective on the Free Software Foundation's website.

Conference description

This technical talk will describe how free replacements for the user-space proprietary components (in charge of the hardware) are developed by the Replicant project. Numerous examples of the general approach we use for figuring out what these proprietary parts actually do will be given. The intent of this talk is to highlight how reverse engineering such proprietary programs is often not as hard as it sounds and can in fact be accomplished without particular knowledge of very advanced techniques. The talk also intends to demonstrate that getting involved in the project only requires basic programming knowledge, time and a good share of curiosity and ingeniosity! Replicant is currently a one-man effort, hence particularly looking forward to seeing new developers getting involved.


  • Wednesday 9/7 à 09:40 | 31 SC001 - 43.632778;3.862760

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