GrapheneOS was founded by Daniel Micay in late 2014. It started as a solo project incorporating his previous open source privacy/security work. The project initially created a port of OpenBSD malloc to Android's Bionic libc and a port of the PaX kernel patches to the kernels for the supported devices. It quickly expanded to having a large set of homegrown privacy and security improvements, particularly low-level hardening work on the compiler toolchain and Bionic. Work began on landing code upstream in AOSP and other upstream projects. A substantial portion of these early changes were either successfully landed upstream or heavily influenced the upstream changes which replaced them. The project was able to move very quickly in these days because there was so much low hanging fruit to address and it wasn't yet trying to produce a highly robust, production quality OS.
In late 2015, a company was incorporated which became the primary sponsor of the project. GrapheneOS was previously known as CopperheadOS while it was sponsored by this company. The intention was to use the company to build a business around GrapheneOS selling support, contract work and customized proprietary variants of the OS. The company was supposed to serve the needs of the open source project, rather than vice versa. It was explicitly agreed that GrapheneOS would remain independently owned and controlled by Daniel Micay. This company failed to live up the promises and is no longer associated in any way with GrapheneOS. The company ended up holding back the open source project and taking far more from it than was provided to it.
In 2018, the company was hijacked by the CEO who attempted to take over the project through coercion, but they were rebuked. They seized the infrastructure and stole the donations, but the project successfully moved on without them and has been fully revived. Since then, they've taken to fraudulently claiming ownership and authorship of our work, which has no basis in fact. They've tried to retroactively change the terms of their involvement and rewrite the history of the project. These claims are easily disproven through the public record and by people involved with the open source project and the former sponsor. This former sponsor has engaged in a campaign of misinformation and harassment of contributors to the project. Be aware that they are actively trying to sabotage GrapheneOS and are engaging in many forms of attacks against the project, the developers, contributors and supporters. Meanwhile, they continue profiting from our open source work which they falsely claim as their own creation.
After splitting from the former sponsor, the project was rebranded to AndroidHardening and then to GrapheneOS and it has continued down the original path of being an independent open source project. It will never again be closely tied to any particular sponsor or company.
GrapheneOS now has multiple full-time and part-time developers supported by donations and multiple companies collaborating with the project.
GrapheneOS Foundation was created as a non-profit organization in Canada in 2023 to handle the intake and distribution of donations.
A history of releases for the current incarnation of GrapheneOS is available via the releases changelog.
An archive of changelogs for the earlier releases is available via the legacy changelog page.