HI I found that an Android uses the Same Kernal of Linux same of (Linus Torvalds) which contains Non-free blobs (proprietary code) as per my research these blobs can be harmful as Linus Torvalds tells in his wordings that it is on the user to use or not but they will never remove it when asking by FSF.

Anyways my question lie in the category of is it risky to use an Android because it uses Linux Kernal I am not saying it is legit or not I know it is legal at all so please do not make my point in other words...

I found Replicant (Without any Free Binary Blob) OS but it is not supported many new devices it supports older devices.

Any good suggestions are welcome

Many Thanks


1 Answer 1


It's risky to use any computer. Zero-day exploits are found all the time, and we're all essentially defenceless against them until they're disclosed and fixed. But it's risky to cross a road, and yet we all do it; the question is always are the benefits worth the risk, and sadly, nobody can answer that for you, because nobody can tell you how much you'll value the benefit, or deplore the downsides if the risk bites.

So, binary firmware blobs: what benefit, and how risky? Much modern hardware, particularly that dealing with wireless signal transceiving and processing, tends to use closed-source firmware blobs that the drivers load upon hardware initialisation. It's a great shame, but it's a fact of modern life, and if you want to do WiFi, or 3+G wireless data, you will find that your choices of usable hardware are much reduced if you're not prepared to do it. So the benefit is being able to use most modern wireless hardware, as you've found out.

The downside is that you simply can't know what the firmware is making the hardware do. Since most modern hardware communicates via DMA, your firmware could be getting your hardware to exfiltrate chunks of your main memory under cover of normal operations. It probably isn't, but it's hard to know for sure. You rather have to trust the vendor.

You can still get things done if you're not prepared to run firmware blobs, but you'll be spending a lot of time vetting and sourcing hardware, and you won't be keeping up with the latest and greatest. Then again, if you're using non-free hardware - hardware where you don't have the schematics, the board layouts, the details of what's inside all the silicon packages, and the like - you're going to have to trust the vendor even if the firmware is completely open. Malicious hardware attacks are by no means unknown.

Should you use firmware blobs? Are you happy to do that? Only you can say.

  • Logical explanation basically FSF seems much strict regarding this issue even I researched even Youtube and Twitter, Paypal every websites uses non free libraries. And FSF has their account in Twitter even....:D Anyways I was hoping for a good answer your answer seems logical as vendor , manufacturer of software complied that binary so using that for us is not unethical at all for sure. Oct 4, 2021 at 10:45
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    I can't tell you what's ethical for you and what isn't. I'm slowly removing firmware blobs from my life where I can, by my purchasing decisions: I can't make open hardware exist, but where it does, I try to reward the maker by buying it. What you feel you must do is, however, up to you. By the way, just in case you don't know, local etiquette is that when (and only when!) you're happy with an answer to your question, you accept that answer by clicking the "tick" outline next to it, which puts the question to bed and drives the reputation system. My apologies if you already know that.
    – MadHatter
    Oct 4, 2021 at 11:01

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