For the past few years CopperheadOS has been providing an Android-based operating system designed with an emphasis on security and privacy. It features a security-hardened kernel, stronger sandboxing, and a number of other features designed for heightened security.

But now it looks like the future of the operating system (and the company that makes it) may be in question.

CopperheadOS CEO James Donaldson and primary developer Daniel Micay have been fighting rather publicly for the past few weeks, and now Micay says he’s been fired by Donaldson.

While most of the details posted online are rather one-sided (Micay has been much more talkative in public spaces than Donaldson), it does seem pretty clear that the project is jeopardized with Micay leaving, since he’s responsible for most of the code in CopperheadOS.

In a recent post on reddit, Micay described the current state of the operating system as “only a faint shadow” of what he wanted it to be, since he eventually wanted to move away from the Linux kernel and pair the software with custom hardware rather than offering a ROM for bootloader unlocked phones.

According to the CopperheadOS website, there are currently 6 supported devices: the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel, Pixel XL, and Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL. But it’s unclear what kind of updates and support we can expect, so I’d read the “end-of-life” dates on the website as aspirational for now.

via Hacker News (1) (2)

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5 replies on “Future of CopperheadOS looks murky (security-hardened Android)”

  1. My organization is looking for a Blackberry device replacement. So far, $700 iPhones are the only devices that meet our standards, since 32 bit Blackberry 10 is no longer supported. Samsung Knox is a possibility. CopperheadOS could be a possible alternative. There seems to be a market for mobile secure email devices, but they are few and far between.

  2. Good God. From the Reddit post:

    “Note that the signing keys are not compromised and no updates to the OS or apps can be created now. I destroyed my signing keys to prevent any situation where users could be compromised. The infrastructure is not trusted by the OS. No OS or app updates can be created that would be accepted.”

    This is more than merely murky, the project is quite literally dead.

    I, for one, don’t mourn it. COS was a solution in search of a problem from Day 1.

    “he eventually wanted to move away from the Linux kernel and pair the software with custom hardware rather than offering a ROM for bootloader unlocked phones.”
    – In other words, he has no business sense. Anything on the consumer side that doesn’t use the NT or Linux kernel is dead in the water due to lack of (consumer end product oriented) developer support and development infrastructure.

    1. Clearly there was disagreement as to ‘company vision’ between James and Daniel. Having the key developer/idealogue also possess no business sense AND ignore the advice of the person with the business sense – that’s a recipe for failure. A shamre, since COS was the best available option for folks who want a secure and private mobile device.

  3. This Daniel Micay person sounds like an unprofessional ass. I wouldn’t use anything he makes especially a supposed security centric Android OS.

    1. “sounds like an unprofessional ass”
      – Most ideologues like him are. Theo De Radt (BSD) and Linus Torvalds (Linux) are also famously mercurial.

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