Why it was not working on KaiOS browser?
The currently widespread version of KaiOS, version 2.x, is based on an ancient version of Gecko. Gecko is the browser engine used by Firefox and the version KaiOS uses, doesn't support newer technologies and standards.
The wiki software we use, wiki.js, uses the new technologies to render the content. Thus, it doesn't render on KaiOS 2.x which is using an ancient browser engine. However, this is not a problem on KaiOS 3.x which is based on the modern engine. But unfortunately, this new version of KaiOS is not widespread globally, yet. And most users have got devices which run the older version.
What has changed now?
Cyan has written a script which we've integrated with our wiki using the custom HTML feature. This script first checks if the target browser is a KaiOS one. If it isn't, it won't do anything. But if it is KaiOS, it'll try to render the content of the wiki pages so that visitors from KaiOS can see the content.
Does it affect efficiency and performance of the wiki?
Yes. But the affected performance is very trivial. The script is less than 10 KiBs minified. And if the browser is not KaiOS, only a simple check is extra there.
It is not perfect, yet.
Cyan has done great job. I am very grateful. However, it might be that in some cases, like edge cases, the script won't work and render things properly. Feel free to contact Cyan to improve the script. He is available on our community chatrooms accessible from Matrix and Discord.
It has been a while since 2780 is out. Most BananaHackers have been waiting a long time to get their hand on a KaiOS 3.x device and Nokia 2780 is the first one released which is not carrier-locked. Many other community members, like Luxferre seem to prefer waiting till a global 3.x device gets released. This 3.x flip phone is not global but because it's not carrier locked, one could import them from third party stores like Amazon.
I haven't got my hand on a 2780, yet. But according to Affe, no code worked on Nokia 2780 Flip to enable debugging like other Nokia models such as the BananaPhone. And using W2D does not enable ADB. It's very unfortunate. But like most other hackers in the world, Affe was not willing to give up till he gets what he wanted and now we have the weeknd Toolbox created by him.
A few years ago, Luxferre founded the BananaHackers community to hack KaiOS, the web based mobile OS, and to develop for this platform. I joined this community after I got my BananaPhone. The famous 8110 which has a yellow colour and is curved. I remember I was exactly looking for the yellow version of the phone and it was very exciting.
I remember when I wanted to get my 8110 back in 2017, there were just around 100 apps in KaiStore or maybe even less. The community was young and so was KaiOS. I think my first app for KaiOS was VM-IRC which the VM part was standing for Very Minimalistic. Later when I joined the community chatrooms which back then were hosted on r/KaiOS Discord guild. I found the community welcoming and very active. We had Uncle Ivan(or Ivan Alex HC) among us who was not a developer but had spirit of a tinkerer. You might know his Youtube channel. We also had many other members which you can find a list, hopefully complete, in the credits page of our wiki.
After a long period of no progress, I've got time to work on chooj, the Matrix client for KaiOS, again! The progress is slow and constant funding is needed so that project will reach stable status within a reasonable period.
In the years which software was not commercialized and copyright about software was not yet a thing. People were distributing software and its source code and users were changing the software to their wish for better usability. The term hacker didn't mean someone who breaks into servers but it meant someone who plays around with the software and possibly fix bugs or add features to make it more useful. Today, this is known as “Hacker in the MIT sense”.
In this post, I write about different reasons people choose KaiOS as their primary mobile operating system over mainstream ones such as Android.
Why did I prefer KaiOS?
When I was beginning to enter university, just like many many other students at the same age as mine, I needed a mobile phone. As a student and a bookworm I needed some small and lightweight device to read books, articles, websites and such of these. On the other hand, I had seen how people waste their time in mainstream social medias such as WhatsApp, Telegram and Instagram.
So I took a different approach: I don't get myself a smart Android phone which I could carry Instagram and such these with myself everywhere and waste my time with it instead of socializing and being with friends and family. Instead, I planned to get an Android tablet with E-ink display with which I can read books, articles, papers, websites and blogs and everything else. Because the screen is E-ink rather than IPS or LED, it is almost like a regular piece of paper and thus it won't hurt my eyes.
But the E-ink Android tablet I wanted to buy didn't have access to Cellular data. Only WiFi and Bluetooth. So I needed something to feed Cellular data to my tablet on the go. I needed a phone capable of basic Telephony and Messaging plus hotspot. At that time I had found KaiOS and the BananaPhone which the name BananaHacker is derived from it.
Back then, I looked in KaiStore and barely 100 apps were available for it. I thought I wouldn't need to do anything with my KaiOS phone because I would also have an Android tablet. So I bought 8110, Nokia's first KaiOS phone.
As some of you might know, the BananaHackers group started with the Bananaphone by Nokia. In the past few years, since the launch of KaiOS in 2017-2018, KaiOS Nokia phones were one of the easiest to root using EDL(or not) and super trivial to make them debug enabled using the famous DEBUG dial code. So they are being a favourite among KaiOS app developers and device modders.
And it has been a few months(at least) since when KaiOS 3.0 has been announced and some users have reported KaiOS 3.1 being in existence. Something which the community yet misses, is a KaiOS phone which is “buyable” and at least debug enabled or even better: Easily moddable by rooting.
This is Master Ivan Alex HC(aka Uncle Ivan). I have to regret that both the Gerda order and the Republic, the democracy we had have fallen in order to give their place to the dark shadows of Darth Kai and the Empire. This is a reminder and warning for all surviving coders. Do not return to the Gerda repository and trust only in the source. In time, a new hope will emerge. May the source be with you, always!
— Adapted from Master Obi-wan's qoutes in Star Wars Rebels series
Today, after several months of the first release of FastContact, an open-source and super light contact app replacement for the stock Contacts app, I gave it a try. Perhaps “Super Awesome” is the best phrase I can find to describe my experience with his app.
After my recent so long messages in the BananaHackers community chat rooms regarding why KaiOS sucks, I thought it would be much better if I write a blog post in the BH blog to let more people hear my voice and read my reasons regarding why one should not use KaiOS.
In the beginning, I chose Nokia 8110 4G instead of an Android phone for the following reasons:
Avoiding social media and carrying them everywhere with myself. You know it is harder to chat using an ABC keypad!
I needed a cheap phone capable of the basics of every mobile phone(Calls and SMS) plus 3G or 4G internet sharing with WiFi hotspot so that I could feed the internet to my Onyx Boox Poke Pro which is an Android ebook reader with an E-Ink display(which doesn't hurt eyes).
KaiOS is still capable of those for me including a few other stuff which I didn't need in the beginning but not everyone's use case just like mine.
Here I go through many reasons one might want to avoid using KaiOS and go for an Android phone instead. Many of the reasons I have listed here may only apply to app developers.
Note that all these reasons mostly apply to current versions of KaiOS excluding KaiOS 3.0