Google has huge resources, and we as a community are responding to their bait-and-switch with rather little rather late.
I would love it if enough people added their efforts for Replicant+microG to become a worthy replacement of the proprietary alternative, but I worry that this won’t happen.
On a positive note, ReactOS is still working hard on a project deemed impossible over a decade ago, and they’re (obviously) further along than ever, and even seem to be picking up steam. I guess the more useful something is, the more people it attracts. Also at this point the project has pretty much proven that it won’t go away. Some day it’ll be running real business applications for people trapped in legacy decisions, I’m sure of it. Maybe it already is.
Replicant and microG seem to be starting at a much more favorable position – maybe all it takes to catch up are a few more dedicated and talented people. Either way, I’m impressed with people taking on huge tasks and sticking with it.
I think ReactOS is great. But let’s not compare them too much. As you said they are in a better position. Android for most part is Open Source and what they are doing is to a large degree just replicating services in a similar fashion (ie. there are multiple app stores already) to others or providing open source clients to what exists.
So I’d argue that it is possible. For Replicant: They are in a similar position as one is on other Open Source OSs, trying to deal with drivers and firmware, but even there they seem to be better off then the x86 for many things other than baseband, etc.
Another thing that is happening, again similar to the desktop world is people realizing how centralized things are and therefor how much control single companies have. Most people aren’t happy about that and like to use different stuff, if it doesn’t hinder them in their every day life. And if one looks at CyanogenMod you see that many people are certainly willing to do rather complex things to get there.
ReactOS certainly shows how far people are willing to go on the more extreme side.
Some of these libraries are backed by cloud services that are probably impossible to replicate without enormous infrastructure!