They’re creating local copies of apps from F-Droid, with no way for developers to automatically update them, no way to remove apps from their listing, and no plans for either of them so far.
All that will be solved after they’ve launched their store, they’ve said. I’m considering using trademark law to have them take down my app, as I don’t want them redistributing an ancient and outdated version with no update system on the horizon.
F-Droid has the best update process of all stores, but even Amazon and Google Play and some chinese stores have better update and removal processes than /e/ does.
The app in question is Quasseldroid, as seen in the links above.
Adding non-permissive terms to the GPLv3 is not possible, but the GPLv3 only handles copyright and patents, not trademarks.
I’d generally like to avoid that scenario, as so far I haven’t had any issue with people redistributing the app, and would love for others to continue doing so. It’s free, it’s open, share it! Just, please, don’t share old versions and claim they’re up-to-date.
In addition to f-droid, e’s other source for apk’s is apkpure.
My guess is cleanapk does not store copies of apk’s, and only keeps pointers to download links for the apps app, but it’s not confirmed.
For details on how the apps app works with cleanpk, the source is here:
PS. There was a problem with accounts being locked, and unable to reply; otherwise this reply would have been much sooner.
Thanks oF2pks - now I can see for myself. I searched but was unable to find specific information about their catalog (outside using the app itself). I didn’t even realize this store existed. As such my initial impression is that /e/ seems to be “flying under the radar” (in addition to hosting a large collection of out-of-date apps). It seems maybe a matter of time before they receive a legal challenge.
To play devil’s advocate for a moment… suppose somebody was to collect and then redistribute a collection of apk’s and corresponding source on cdrom (all of them out-of-date). They are unmodified copies redistributed under the terms of the license. Is there any recourse? should there be? I’m uncertain if trademark protection applies if the project hasn’t been forked (but it would be a different story if a fork was being distributed under the same name).
I don’t have an answer to the problem, but I’m personally inclined to favor a technical solution over a legal one. Also I think adding additional terms perhaps weakens the license (and would avoid doing so, but IANAL).
IMHO we are talking about redistributing software under the terms of the license. The comparison to cdrom is meant to highlight that the medium of distribution shouldn’t matter. Does /e/ claim that the version you receive is the “latest”? I suppose this might be implicit to the concept of an “app store” (while there is no expectation that some physical disk will be up-to-date).
It is problematic if users receive an old version (and are mislead to believe its the latest), but I think this reflects poorly on /e/, not the apps themselves. Hanlon’s razor applies here.
doing free software (libre), licences, including copyleft, authorize the redistribution of binaries and source code. Anybody is free to distribute even a severely outdated open source application. The ones who disagree with this should do some proprietary software.
if you redistribute an outdated application, at some point, users will go somewhere else to get up to date version. So if /e/ users get outdated contents in /e/OS this will impact the project => not in their interest obviously
the important part I think is that redistributed content is NOT modified. I’ve been told that some third-party APK Mirrors such as Aptoide distribute some modified APKs (that include Ads…). This shouldn’t be accepted.
“CleanAPK.org’s mission is to deliver clean and up to date contents to users. Therefore, APKs from F-Droid are checked daily for possible updates. If you think that an application from F-Droid has not been updated for a long time, PLEASE WARN US (contact @ cleanapk . org) so we can find out about the issue and fix it as soon as possible. [Note: we had a major issue updating packages end of August 2019, it should be all fixed now]”
My own feeling is that cleanapk are doing in good faith and are willing to make things well.