Most Android devices (at least those that are decidedly not made by Huawei) come equipped with the Google Play Store. Sure, there are notable outliers, like Amazon Fire tablets, which are somewhat locked into Amazon's parallel app ecosystem, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule. While other device vendors and mobile carriers have historically offered their own app stores, there's also a carrier/network independent distribution system for Android apps: Say hello to F-Droid, the free and open alternative to commercial app stores. Read More
Technically speaking, Android is open-source. This means anyone can look at the operating system's code, or change it - this is how OEMs like HTC and Samsung add their own tweaks. That openness has often been a rallying cry for hardcore Android enthusiasts. Why use a closed platform like iOS, when you can have a free and open-source platform?
But even from the beginning, there were components of Android that were closed-source. The Gmail app, Maps, Google Talk, and the Play Store were some of the earliest examples. To combat the always-present fragmentation of Android, Google offers many APIs through the Play Services Framework. Read More
F-Droid, the most popular open-source app store, got a rather significant facelift last May and was further refined with the release of v1.0 in October. Now it's been updated to v1.1, which brings privacy preferences, search enhancements, UI improvements, bug fixes, and more. Read More
If you are a big Android enthusiast, then you're probably familiar with the name F-Droid. If not, it's an extensive repository of open source apps, as well as the name of its accompanying client. Today that client has been updated to v1.0.
If you remember our coverage of v0.103, v1.0 should look pretty familiar. While there have been some significant changes behind the scenes, apart from a general improvement in performance and ease of use, you're not likely to notice much. Read More
Boris Kraut, the former lead app maintainer for F-Droid, has announced in a recent post to the site's forums that he is leaving the project. Among the reasons cited for his departure were a lack of interest and motivation due to not actually using Android himself, as well as some internal disagreement about the best way to handle some future challenges the organization faces. He will still be around in the F-Droid IRC in the meantime. Read More
F-Droid has just released its latest lovely layout to stable. The old three-tab design has been replaced, along with new visual changes to app listings and category navigation. In addition to the UI changes, there are a few other new features like new notifications and translations. F-Droid has been working on the redesign for the last six months and released it for testing in early April. But as of today, it has left alpha. Read More
My first computer was an old laptop with a dead battery and a dial-up modem. It ran Windows XP, but I didn't have the money to buy expensive software like Microsoft Office or PhotoShop. I discovered OpenOffice.org, AbiWord, and GIMP. I used Firefox, Thunderbird, and Pidgin.
Back then free cloud services weren't yet around, and I didn't have a strong enough Internet connection even if they were. Without an understanding of what open source software was, such applications gradually formed the majority of what I used. When I later went to college, I embraced Linux, and my appreciation for open source software grew. Read More