Brussels / 3 & 4 February 2024


Genode on the PinePhone on track to real-world usability

Since the introduction of Genode for the PinePhone at this developer room one year ago, this alternative mobile OS has matured to the point of real-world usability for a group of pilot users. In this talk, Genode developer Norman Feske is going to share the experiences made along the way, reiterate the many advances, demonstrate the current version, and ask: What should come next?


Genode on the PinePhone realizes a new vision of a smartphone OS designed from the ground up for user autonomy. Following the announcement of the very first version at the FOSS-on-Mobile developer room in 2023, the system got into the hands of a group of pilot users. The talk will share this experience and highlight the key points we met towards our goal of real-world usability.

First, we found it important to attain a tight feedback loop between testers and us developers, which prompted us to create a system-update mechanism that allows for instantly updating the system, or rolling it back to any previous version. Now, a new version can reach the hands of testers in a matter of seconds.

With the quick way of testing new versions in place, the feedback we got regarding our attempts at implementing energy-saving measures - in particular screen blanking - was quite instructive to attain a refined solution. At a technical level, the solution is interesting as it combines a Forth-based custom power-management firmware with Genode's microkernel-based architecture. Don't worry, the talk will only briefly touch those eccentricities.

With the power drain reduced to a practical level, we turned our attention to the application level. The talk will briefly introduce our SDK named Goa, which streamlines the development to the point where almost unmodified Qt/QML-based applications can be targeted at the Genode-based phone. To stress the latter point, we made the Linphone VoIP stack available on this system.

The talk will be garnished by practical demonstrations. Besides being thrilled to present the current state, I'm eager to gather feedback from the community about the most worthwhile directions for the next year.


Photo of Norman Feske Norman Feske