A few months have passed since the initial Replicant 6.0 release and it’s time for another one. This release more than doubles the number of supported devices and contains a few important fixes and improvements. The latest changes from LineageOS 13.0 are included. They are mostly security fixes, so updating is recommended!
Up to 12 devices now supported by Replicant 6.0
This release makes Replicant 6.0 available to a lot more devices that were already supported by Replicant 4.2. These include the Galaxy Note, Galaxy Nexus, the Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 and Galaxy Tab 2 10.1 models.
There are also two new tablet models that weren’t yet supported by Replicant: the GSM and Wi-Fi-only version of the Galaxy Note 8.0. The hardware is very similar to the Galaxy Note 2 and thus it was quite straightforward to add them as new devices. Furthermore, the tablets are not known to have bad modem isolation, as the other supported devices. And the working front and back camera makes them the currently best supported tablets.
Support for the GTA04 was a goal for this release as well. Some work has been done to achieve this goal, but it’s unfortunately not yet ready. It will hopefully be ready when the next release comes around.
Improvements and fixes
You can now use USSD messages with Replicant (again). USSD messages are the codes you enter to check your available balance, to refill it or to select a certain data plan. Depending on your provider, there may be more codes for other functionality available. Before Paul’s rewrite of Samsung-RIL in 2014, this type of messages could be used, but support for them wasn’t added again after the rewrite, until now. The new implementation features improved decoding, most notably for special characters.
USB Wi-Fi adapters
The initial Replicant 6.0 release already included the RepWifi app that provides a nice interface to use USB Wi-Fi adapters with libre firmware. The app is developed by Fil Bergamo and he added quite a few new features and a graphical restyling for the next version that is shipped with this release. It is now possible to connect to hidden networks, to manually set DNS servers and to auto-connect to a Wi-Fi network, once the adapter is plugged in.
Fil also submitted a patch that provides a fix for a very annoying issue with the Wi-Fi adapters or with reverse tethering. So far, network connections, that were established using a Wi-Fi adapter or reverse tethering, weren’t properly reported to apps. For example, F-Droid wasn’t usable because of this. Thanks to Fil’s patch, this issue is now fixed.
It was possible to make all devices that are supported by Replicant 6.0, including the newly added ones, usable with certain Wi-Fi adapters. Despite the improvements that were made with this release, be advised that connection issues or other instabilities are still possible. Their severity mostly depends on the device you use and the level of battery charge (see the wiki for more details).
Another goal for this release was to make the usage of the recovery less error-prone and more intuitive. Devices with touch keys (like the Galaxy S 2 and Galaxy S 3) now have the key backlight enabled at all times which makes it easier to identify the back key. And the buttons are generally bigger to allow better navigation via the touchscreen. Some previously failing installations from internal or external storage (e.g. due to the file system used on the SD card) should now work.
A new Setup Wizard based on the Setup Wizard from LineageOS was added, too. When the device is started for the first time, the Setup Wizard helps with the configuration.
See the changelog for a complete list of all the notable changes and detailed support status of newly added devices.