Amaze file manager abuses the intent interface to promote apparently non-free apps

The file manager declares several intents which aren’t actually implemented but instead generate a popup asking you to download a non-free app.

For example when viewing pdf files or videos I got this behavior.

#1 the App should have a warning about features/advertisements some people may not like

#2 imho it is technically not acceptable to pretend that the App implements some intent functionality if it doesn’t as it may result in data loss if the data source that is to be viewed is volatile or pay per view

#3 we have enough file managers that don’t do that

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You can report upstream. Not sure if this is a anti-feature. Ads?

For sure it is an anti-feature: Non-free addons: This Anti-Feature is applied to apps that, although Free Software themselves, promote other Non-Free applications or plugins.

However, the real big problem imho is how it does promote them - possibly sabotaging the workflow of other apps.

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I’ll add the anti-feature. You can always choose to use other apps to open pdf files anyway. Maybe you can add some notes in the description saying that the file manager itself doesn’t provide pdf viewer and it required another non-free app. Please do report it upstream.

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Hi, I’m the developer of the app. The application we promote in Amaze File Manager is developed by us only. It is not an advertisement, we in no way earn anything by displaying the download dialog for the other app.
Now it’s completely upto you to download or not download that app. Nowhere in our description do we say that we provide the features that are in the other app.
Let me know if you have any more doubts.

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Just tried it and it’s annoying as f…

An app should not offer intents for file types it cannot handle.

The very first reason is that it resets the user choice for default apps to handle such file forcing users to RE-select the one that actually works for every type.

The “amazing” OTHER apps are even FOSS?

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Hi Licaon, thanks for your comment.
We need to follow this approach in order for people to try our image viewer, video player and all those stuff. There were feature requests from many users for a long time to introduce them. We figured adding them within the file manager itself will bloat it too much, hence a separate app that also prompt users to try those players. These intents fit our UX as no-one will know that we now support media players without them. Amaze File Manager never forces users to use these media players, it’s always optional, user can just press cancel button and proceed to open via their favourite players.

Now the media player app itself isn’t open source and that’s a separate issue. It’ll be open as and when we see fit. There are multiple reasons we can’t open it just yet.
Let me know if you have any more doubts.

It’s already flagged as NonFreeDep so there’s nothing to be done here I guess

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@linsui can you do something about this?

Do what exactly?

Not sure what I can do. You can add more details about the anti feature in fastlane. Other than that, you can remove the intent from the fdroid flavor or add a warning, etc.

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It is very annoying and I believe if it isn’t there yet there should be a rule that F-Droid apps should not do that.

A popup in the App doing advertisement would be ok for me but not messing with the finely tuned intent system of my phone. Three weeks after uninstalling this App I am reminded almost daily of the unfortunate fact that I had it installed as I have to choose some intent receiver which the App messed with.

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I’m failing to understand what the app messed up with, either you choose to open the file with that intent or you don’t. And if you’ve uninstalled Amaze File Manager then it makes no sense that this intent filter will still be there. Maybe you can share some screenshots or screen recording.
As for the warning, this warning got added on our fdroid page as anti feature now.

Here’s a scenario:

  • have files opened by default with your favourite apps, files just open, you are not asked anything
  • install Amaze
  • DO NOT OPEN AMAZE
  • try to open a text file/pdf/image/whatever
  • get nagged every time to choose an app
  • uninstall Amaze
  • try to open a text file/pdf/image/whatever
  • get nagged every time to choose an app

This is the issue…

And no, “just resetup everything” is not the good, friendly answer. :frowning:

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Among other I am also concerned that blind or otherwise handicapped users that had carefully chosen special apps for many purposes could face unforseen challenges because suddenly they get an intent chooser instead of their accustomed app.

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To me imho, this is flirting with malicious intent. Maybe that’s to harsh! So let me rephrase. This seems very intentional and possibly has some kind of personal gain for the Devs. I’m having a hard time just looking at the Devs comment! I wasn’t going to chime in until i read the part where he said “I didn’t want to bloat the app up” like really? How is placing the features that come with a file manager bloating? If it’s a file manager then managing file’s is what it should do! Not redirect people to a paid app and has no source code available which means it can house God knows what! Like maybe I’m missing something here. If i am then my apologies for jumping in on this topic. But if I’m correct in what i read and my interpretation of it, then this leaves a bad taste in my mouth and is manipulative in nature at the least. Even if nothing nefarious is going on behind the scene’s! My thing is why lie about it and hide what’s really going on? But thank you all for pointing this out! I appreciate honesty as it’s a dying commodity these day’s. And to the Dev, no harsh feelings bro! Just honesty! I hope you have a change of heart on how you choose to develope your apps in the future! And good luck to you. Stay safe everyone and God Bless you all.

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@linsui I’ve provided an option in Amaze settings for user to disable these media player entries from intent interface. Will you be able to remove the anti feature flag from our fdroid page now?

Is the option already available? And it need to be set to disabled by default. If you want users know that there is such a function you can add a popup when the app is installed.

I’ve added this option now so it’ll be available with next release. By default app will still display media players in intent interface but users can go ahead enable this option to remove the player intents.

But will this distress the user settings anyway?