I am considering buying a current Samsung Android tablet (Galaxy Tab S6 Lite), and it would be great to get confirmation that I will have no issue installing open source software from F-Droid and (ideally) any small programs I might try to compile myself.
I searched for F-droid device compatibility and found a few old links (e.g. https://f-droid.org/forums/topic/device-compatibility/) but I haven’t been able to find confirmation about any recent tablets.
I’ve been out of the Android loop for a long time (I had a Note II when F-droid was just getting started and have been on iOS since and though there was hope that Apple might allow open source software installs, they are currently limited to 7 days - what nonsense).
Thanks for any replies.
Perhaps my question boils down to “does the device allow for installing apps from unknown sources”. If yes, I don’t see why I couldn’t get F-Droid or my own app to work on a current device.
Samsung appears to support this on its current offerings (and my Note II did - I had F-Droid on it) according to: https://www.samsung.com/us/support/troubleshooting/TSG01001353/
If you care about software freedom, a Galaxy Tab S5e might be a better choice because there’s official LineageOS support: https://wiki.lineageos.org/devices/gts4lvwifi.
I’ve never heard of any Android OEM blocking “unknown” app installation sources. But I never had a Samsung, can’t confirm they don’t do this. If you have a Samsung store near by you can go and check that the “unknown sources” option is available.
I feel like I recall a long time ago some of the Android alternatives I was looking at to the Note II did block unknown sources. Then I read of someone having trouble getting F-Droid on a tablet and I thought I should confirm that it should work for my case. But now I don’t think there will be any issue (and if there is, I can return it).
I did consider the S5e and that extra information that I can get the successor to CyanogenMod (which I was interested in when I had the Note II but never tried it) to work on it is enticing, but I had already decided I wanted the S-pen. I really liked the one on my Note II and plan on trying handwriting recognition apps for note taking. I appreciate the break from typing. (Not that it worked on my Note II all that well, but a tablet is bigger and of course both hardware and software have improved). So I’ll be content to run standard Samsung UI over Android 10 for several years at least and if this device is never supported with any free software OS option when I’m ready to try, I’ll just be out of luck.
In the long run, I’d really like to solve the freedom use case for me with a Linux tablet like the PineTab which I looked at, but doesn’t fit my main use case (wanting to use OsmAnd and have GPS built in so I don’t need a dongle or bluetooth device). I hope I will see some really nice Linux tablets in 2-4 years and this Samsung will hold me over till then.
I look forward to trying as many of the programs F-Droid has to offer that interest me and I have time to check out. I’d love to submit something if I find a task I’m capable of learning to program (I mostly just do Matlab, but also a little Python) and that seems to be missing.
The Galaxy Tab S6 lite has an Exynos chipset. Custom ROM are rare for such devices.
Tablets age better than phones. A modern tablet will probably serve you well for 4 years or even more.
I also never heard of an OEM blocking installation from unknown sources. I had a Note II and could install apk from ‘unknown sources’, install ROMs etc.
Thx. I was referring to the alternatives to the Note II that blocked unknown sources, not the Note II itself (which worked fine and I installed F-Droid on it). I don’t remember what they were now and it likely was carrier specific (I remember not having a very favorable opinion of Verizon in terms of freedom early on in Android history).
I still have my Note II (with a broken screen but I bought a new screen - just never installed it) and a few spare batteries. Maybe one of these days, I’ll try Lineage on that device just for fun.
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