🔥 We're driven by a passion to give people agency over their digital lives
CalyxOS gives you agency over your digital life.
When you purchase a device from Google, Apple, Amazon or Microsoft these companies generate more revenue from how you use the device than from the purchse of the device.
They do this in two ways: first, they work hard to funnel all your activity into their closed technology fiefdoms, such as payment systems, cloud storage, and app stores; second, these companies facilitate the continual monitoring of all your behavior. Your most intimate personal details are bought and sold, by advertisers, health insurance companies, credit agencies, and even the government.
These companies also have a long history of being complicit with repressive regimes by removing apps promoting democracy, censoring private and public communication, and exposing the personal information of dissidents.
CalyxOS is different. We believe the device in your pocket should always work for your best interests. Our guiding principles include:
- Privacy: You should have total control over your own personal data. Our guiding principle is Privacy By Design, an approach that incorporates your interests at every step of the design and development process.
- Security: Your device should not surprise you. The meaning of security is different for everyone. Maybe you are concerned about repressive governments, censorship, surveillance, ransomware, or just your nosy friend reading your messages. Whatever is important for you, your device should not surprise you by leaking information that seems like it should be secure or exposing your device to various attacks.
- Usability: Privacy and security are not much use if they are only available to those who are already technologically savvy. We believe that it is possible to build technology that is both easy to use and has the highest standards for protecting your data.
- Free Software: Our goal is to help foster a diverse ecosystem of free and open source software alternatives for mobile computing. CalyxOS is only possible because we draw from, and actively contribute to, other free software projects designed for the common good.
The Technology Behind CalyxOS
CalyxOS is built upon many free software projects. The main ones include:
Android Open Source Project (AOSP) is the core backbone for all Android phones that manufacturers such as Samsung build upon. Maintained by Google, AOSP receives contributions from developers around the world.
microG provides an open source re-implementation of proprietary Google Play Services. Most Android devices come with Play Services in order to provide, among other things, access to the Play Store, push notifications, advertising tracking, and location services. While some of these are great features, Play Services is also a closed, proprietary system used by Google to track your behavior. CalyxOS includes microG, allowing many of the apps you love to work without Play Services.
F-Droid is an alternative app store for Android for free and open source applications. CalyxOS has integrated F-Droid in such a way that it easier to use as your primary source for mobile apps. In addition, we include Aurora Store, an app store that allows you to install any app in the Google Play Store.
Several CalyxOS Apps are written specifically for CalyxOS to enhance usability and privacy. These include SeedVault, an app for secure, encrypted backups, and Datura, an app to give you fine-grained control over network access.
In addition, CalyxOS draws heavily from the LineageOS community and code. LineageOS is an alternative Android-base operating system with an emphasis on device compatibility and customizability.
Privacy By Design
With CalyxOS, our core principle is Privacy By Design. This is a values-driven design and development process that centers the needs of users above all else.
What does this mean in practice? Some ideas in Privacy By Design include:
- Good Defaults: There are many cases in which Android allows the user control over their data, but the options are buried deep in the settings and can be confusing to the user. CalyxOS ensures that the default option is always the option that puts privacy first.
- Privacy-centric Design: When making design and development choices, CalyxOS puts privacy at the center of all decisions.
- User-centric Design: We are continually asking ourselves how users will actually engage with the software and what we can do to ensure the least surprising behavior.
- End-to-end Security: Whenever possible, we promote tools and approaches that ensure full encryption of all data for its entire life, so that no one other than you ever has access to potentially sensitive information.
Here are a few examples of ways in which this approach makes it into CalyxOS:
- CalyxOS does not put your data in Google’s cloud or constantly report your location to Google.
- The CalyxOS Dialer makes it easy to upgrade your phone call using an end-to-end encrypted method, and reminds you when you are making an insecure call.
- The default search engine and web browsers block advertising and behavior trackers.
- We include many security-focused apps by default, such as Signal for secure messaging and Tor Browser for fully anonymous web browsing.
- CalyxOS includes built-in free VPN services from trusted organizations protect your network traffic and IP address.
- CalyxOS is diligent about sending your our phone regular, timely, automatic security updates.
- SeedVault uses end-to-end encryption to securely backup your phone via USB storage or the cloud.
Who is it for?
CalyxOS is for you 😊.
We design CalyxOS to meet the extraordinary privacy and security needs of frontline human rights defenders, journalists, lawyers, and political and social activist groups.
But also, we design it to be usable and useful for everyone. Maybe you just want a simple phone that doesn’t have a lot of trackers and services that eat up battery life? Maybe you care deeply about free software? Maybe you just want more control over your digital life? CalyxOS is a great choice for you.
In the big picture, we have just barely started. There is so much that needs to happen before we can realize our goal of bringing usable privacy and security to everyone.
If you have questions, or want to contribute, join our community.