In this episode, we look at how to get a free smartphone operating system on the Fairphone 3 (and many other phones), thanks to a great free OS called /e/.


The LXCast episode #2 on the Fairphone 3 when it came out


Two solutions for a free OS:

1 lineage OS – free android with the Gapps removed

2 the /e/ project !! A „de-googled“ operating system – actually a fork of lineage OS – this is what I‘m going to talk about here.


Background articles

An article about /e/ on ZDNet (2019)

The research paper on Google Data Collection by Professor Douglas C. Schmidt, Vanderbilt University (2018) – learn how and how often normal Android phones send your data to Google servers.

Another background article on tracking (in German) based on research from a Norwegian journalist


More about /e/

/e/ uses MicroG services, a replacement for Google’s libraries on /e/ with purely open-source implementations.

The man behind the /e/ project: Gael Duval, pioneer of Open Source, Mandrake, Ulteo…

Gael’s article outlining his vision for /e/

You can buy a FP3 and an FP3 + with /e/ pre-installed here


Installing /e/ on your phone

Over 110 devices supported: from Asus to Google, to Oneplus and Xiaomi

How to install it on the FP3

Privacy ratings of apps:


Alternative Android Launchers:

KISS launcher

Simple launcher


I recommended you add these apps:

Antennapod – podcast client

FairEmail or simple email

Fennec (Firefox)


Newpipe for watching youtube without being tracked


Backup and Recovery

Backup via adb is apparently broken… Not the fault of /e/!!

You cannot simply flash a new recovery, such as TWRP, to flash images or backup, instead, you can use this method launching TWRP from your PC


How to support /e/ OS

Donate or become a member to keep the project going


That’s all for this episode, feel free to add any comments below!

Credits: Theme Music: Jazzhar, “Room with a View” CC-BY-SA, check him out on Jamendo and on Free Music Archive



Brave logoBrave is a relatively new Web Browser that is available for Windows, Linux, Android and Mac. The developers of Brave are Brendan Eich, former CEO of Firefox, and his team. Their slogan is

“You deserve a better Internet – So we reimagined what a browser should be”.

Well, that is true to a certain extent, and in some aspects not quite.

Brave is based on Google Chrome (which IMHO does not respect the user’s privacy), and has made quite a few changes to make it more secure.

brave startpage

This is how Brave greets you.


Let’s take a look at the Pros and Cons:


  • HTTPS enforcing enabled by default
  • Brave clear history, cookies etc. when you close it, but only if you configure it explicitly.
  • its has an integrated Ad blocker and claims that pages load (3 to 6 times) faster due to this, this may be true, I didn’t check, it depends a lot on the number of ads on a given page.
  • If you select a Private Window, it uses the Tor network to hide your IP address
  • sites that do not work with Firefox, only with Chrome, will (usually) work in Brave


  • customized Ads are Brave’s business model, but it seems paradoxical that a browser first blocks Ads and then presents you with its own, customized ads. Some are over the Moon about this system, while others remain skeptical.
  • this may be a minor glitch, but it didn’t clear my history on exit although I had selected it
  • is it faster than Firefox with an adblocker extension? not 3 to 6 times faster at least.
  • if you register your Passwords in Brave, it does not propose to set a master password like Firefox does.


To be fair, with Firefox, you have to make more changes and add extensions to get a more secure browser. In Brave, most of these features are enabled by default.

Brave is definitely worth a try if you are looking for a (more) secure Web Browser!!


shield logo

Keep your browser safe !

In these times of almost global Corona lockdown, we rely on the internet more than usual. So it’s a good time to check some of the tools we use every day, such as the browser. We at LxCast recommend Firefox, but its standard settings are more aimed at functionality than security. So let’s change that!



Safer Firefox settings

Click on the “Burger” Menu on the upper right-hand side of Firefox, select “Preferences”

an then “Privacy & Security”.

  • The first thing is to select “Delete cookies and site data when Firefox is closed”.
  • Then, storing passwords in your Firefox is handy. I recommend however that you only use it for less important passwords, for the rest, a separate password manager program is recommended. If you choose to store passwords in Firefox, be sure to set a Master Password (and write it down, in a Password Manager and/or on paper that you safely store somewhere!). Otherwise, everyone who has access to your computer (at the office for example) can see and steal your passwords!

Add some Browser Extensions

Click on the “Burger” Menu on the upper right-hand side of Firefox, select “Add-ons” in the menu, then “Extensions” and search for

screenshot of recommended extensions

Recommended extensions for Firefox

  • https everywhere – forces sites to use a secure https connection
  • uBlock – Blocks Ads
  • Privacy badger or Ghostery – block trackers on websites

Now I am aware that Firefox has its own content blockers, but I prefer separate extensions like Pivacy badger or Ghostery, because you have more options to set them up, and disable them for certain sites if necessary.

Control your history

Many sites read your browsing history to track you and send you ads.To put an end to this, select “use custom settings for history” and tick the boxes like in the screenshot, especially “Clear history when Firefox closes”.

firefox history screenshot


Disable PDF in the Browser

Last but not least, if you come across a PDF file on the web, by default Firefox and many other browsers will automatically open it in the browser, like a web page. However, (bad, evil) hackers can use this to infect your system with malware. You can change this setting in Firefox via Menu > Preferences > General > Applications as described here. The PDF document will then open in your local document viewer.


The Fairphone 3 (photo: Fairphone CC-BY-SA)

In this podcast I take a look at the Fairphone 3, a few months after its launch, share my first impressions, and take an outlook at free operating systems hopefully soon available for it.
The new Fairphone was announced in late August, supposed to ship mid-september, and finally arrived in mid-october in my mailbox. The Dutch company aims for recycling of materials, fair working conditions for the employees in the Taiwanese factory that produces it, and on the rare earths coming being mined in areas without war and without child labour.

The problem though: Currently the Fairphone 3 only works with Android 9 with the full Google Apps, which means Google is regularly looking over your shoulder when you use the phone.

Not great for privacy-aware users! We look at alternative OSes and when they may be ready for installing.


Contents of the FP3 box: Headphones, phone and screwdriver, catchy slogans

Fairphone forum post on alternative OSes

FP3 discussion thread


Background on the Fairphone philosophy:

Interview of Fairphone founder Bas van Abel on the Team Human Podcast

TechCrunch Article on the Ethics behind the Fairphone


Where to look for alternative OSes:

UBPorts, the community port of Ubuntu Touch (Unity)

the /e/ foundation


(Lineage OS and Jolla do not have pages on the Fairphone 3 yet.)

PostMarket OS

… And a Tin-foil hat setup, if you really don’t want to be spied on by Google


Just before the British elections, I had the opportunity to return to Northern Ireland, to Derry, and to talk to people involved in a wonderful Peace Project, the Derry Playhouse.

Playwright Damian Gorman

I met playwright, writer and poet Damian Gorman, who has written extensively for television, radio and the stage. He is currently preparing a project focusing on 1972, the worst year of the Troubles. He is working with a broad range of members of the public from all walks of life (and both sides of the community) to share their experience of ’72.

I also talked to Greta McTague, who participates in Damian’s writing workshops at the Playhouse, and works as a teacher in Derry. They both offered valuable insights on life in Derry in 2019, the threat of Brexit and the return of a hard border, and the divisions, but also signs of hope in Northern Ireland.


The Derry Playhouse

Damain Gorman’s Workshop

The Playhouse in Derry

History of the Northern Ireland Conflict 1968-1998 (quite in-depth)

tldr? Then try this summary by the BBC

The Northern Ireland Assembly


Music credits: Jazzhar, “Room with a View” CC-BY-SA, check him out on Jamendo and on Free Music Archive

This is a little podcast podcast episode I made for Hacker Public Radio on what to check, read, and update if you want to upgrade your Linux PC with an Solid State Disk.

Basically you need a few upgrades in your PCs BIOS or UEFI,

Some commands I mentioned that you should check out:

Check SSD disk specs:

sudo hdparm -I /dev/sdb

Check for TRIM support:

sudo hdparm -I /dev/sdb | grep -i TRIM

Perform TRIM support

sudo fstrim -v / 

Detailed SSD Info

Update: As a HPR listener pointed out, TRIM: Fragmentation of files isn’t the problem on SSDs, but wear levelling is, i.e. the SSD’s controller needs to know which blocks it can reuse for leveling out the wear on the flash cells. Thanks!


Interviews at the Free and Open Source developers meeting FOSDEM 2015 in Brussels.

A few interviews from the largest meeting of Free and Open Source Software developers, users and supporters in Brussels. I made this episode for Hacker Public Radio.

Aaron Williamson

Free Software Law Expert Aaron Williamson held a brilliant talk on the history of internet surveillance in the USA at FOSDEM 2015. After the Paris terror attacks, many politicians want to increase surveillance. British Prime Minister David Cameron wants to read all our emails – even the encrypted ones. Is this the only answer to terror attacks? Aaron has a very strong opinion on this.

free software foundation stand Mathias Kirschner, Free Software Foundation Europe

Matthias is the Vice President of the Free Software Foundation Europe. In our interview at Fosdem 2015, he explains the work and the goal of the foundation and how they do lobbying for Free Software in parliaments and government bodies.

Torproject – nos ognions

A member of, which is part of the Tor project, explains about exit nodes, transparency and surveillance.

This is a little preview of a clip I did for Hacker Public Radio:

This year’s GUADEC, the Gnome Users and Developers Conference was held in Strasbourg, France. Keynote Speaker was free software activist Matthew Garrett.
He held an inspiring speech on the Linux and Gnome desktop and laid out his vision for both.
Afterwards, I was able to ask him a few questions.