#MozillaLifeBoat / less strict repository

Mozilla is fighting on many fronts for goals that are likely to be close to this community. Even though Firefox is not completely free open source software for Android, we should consider helping those close to us.
I therefore suggest introducing a less strict repository that could also directly include software like Firefox. This might also be positive for F-Droid users who are looking for software like Firefox in F-Droid.
On the other hand we already have some kind of support for unfree services in our repository as we have software that promotes unfree services.

There are plenty of repos… Known Repositories some have Firefox

Also we have updater apps: https://f-droid.org/en/packages/de.marmaro.krt.ffupdater/

Maybe we should give the user a simple choice to select a less strict repo when starting F-Droid for the first time.

There was an issue for that iirc

Ref: https://gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroidclient/-/issues/1631

If Mozilla is so interested in FOSS, why aren’t they making an effort to create a FOSS browser? <grumble></grumble>

Well, Mozilla is a recent major funder of f-droid. :smiley: And they’re offering to match donations to Tor Project (who take all kinds of cryptocurrency). And making a browser that works for everybody everywhere, and is “free software,” is close to impossible, it seems.

1 Like

If Firefox were not mostly free software, Fennec would not be in the F-Droid repository.

Losing Mozilla won’t help us and will harm the FOSS community.

1 Like

Don’t forget

https://f-droid.org/packages/org.mozilla.fennec_fdroid

Yes you guys are right, Fennec is FOSS. I actually have it installed. I was typing faster than I was thinking facepalm

What I’d really appreciate would be Mozilla offering a FF version that doesn’t trigger anti-features. Fennec and Klar both have the tracking anti-feature. Klar has a “send usage data” toggle which I presume kills all tracking, but in Fennec I know it takes a good bit of tinkering with about:config. You can’t expect average users to play with about:config, and Klar isn’t for everyone (it doesn’t have bookmarks and history).

I’m very happy that Mozilla is giving a lot of funding to F-Droid. I’d be even happier if they also did that little extra to have their F-Droid offerings conform to the F-Droid no-tracking spirit!

To say something ontopic: I was definitely baffled when I first installed F-Droid and couldn’t find Firefox. However I’m glad I ended up finding and installing IceCat and Fennec instead, as they fit my use case much better.

1 Like

If I were to paraphrase this request in my own words it would be as follows:

“F-Droid, your goals are similar to ours. Why don’t you get rid of the parts aren’t similar and join us?”

To which I reply:

“Mozilla, your goals are similar to ours. Why don’t you get rid of the parts that aren’t similar and join us?”

Sorry if I didn’t make myself clear. I’m not suggesting that F-Droid gets rid of any part. My suggestion was to extend F-Droid to give the user the chance to choose a repository that contains software that largely, though not completely, matches our ideal. So nothing should be removed.

As most Linux distributions contain Firefox as standard browser I think it cannot be all wrong.

F-Droid users can already add any repository they desire. Perhaps I misunderstand. What specific changes are you recommending, beyond the idea of an initial popup (please, don’t add initial popups to any software, ever, I beg you) recommending repositories with standards that are lower than F-Droid’s?

It’s crazy, but it’s a sensitive thing. Debian seems reasonably strict on “free software” standards, and debian includes Firefox-ESR in their standard repositories. But debian is not endorsed by FSF because they make it too easy to add other non-free software repositories. Replicant is VERY strict and is sponsored by FSF, and Replicant seems to waffle or be on the fence on including f-droid, because f-droid also makes it too easy to add non-free software repositories.

Maybe f-droid app should ask users: From 1 to 10, where do you want to be on free software purity? 1-don’t care, 5-like debian, 8-like Replicant, or 10-the full Stallman (don’t GAF if my device can do anything useful, at all). Repositories and other anti-features options would then be set accordingly.

It’s worth a lot of cash for just including a default search engine in firefox. Maybe f-droid should negotiate a deal with Google to make play store the default repository (for purity option negative 10). Funding problems solved!

Edit: PS. The only browser f-droid should allow you to install is Torbrowser (the purer firefox). Or maybe privacy browser if you only run it with orbot. lol.

Not default repo, default search :))

Blockquote[quote=“sorenstoutner, post:13, topic:10712”]
What specific changes are you recommending, beyond the idea of an initial popup (please, don’t add initial popups to any software, ever, I beg you) recommending repositories with standards that are lower than F-Droid’s?
[/quote]

I just wanted to start a discussion. For me, it’s important that those who are roughly on the same page stick together. If we lose Mozilla, that’s gonna set us back big time.

Discussions are good.

I have been a long time user of Mozilla software since before Firefox was called Phoenix. I have consistently watched them make poor decisions that are not in the best interests of their users. A lot of the reasons why relate to the fact, already mentioned, that they make almost all their money from selling the default search engine to the highest bidder. This turns into more than $400 million per year. Mozilla isn’t going to do real things to protect user privacy, like disable JavaScript by default or include serious blocklists like EasyList, because nobody is going to pay them that kind of money if Firefox blocks the default search engine from tracking users.

I remember in 2006 when Mozilla threatened to enforce their trademark against Debian, forcing them to rename Firefox to IceWeasel. This issue was resolved 10 years later in 2016, but the way Mozilla behaved has left a bitter taste in my mouth that remains to this day, mostly because I believe they maintain the same attitudes that led to the original problems, and I believe they would do it again if they thought they could get away with it.

Mozilla’s problems are entirely of their own making, and relate to them not being true to the principles of the open source community. The only way for Mozilla to be salvaged is for them to clean up their own house. It is possible that might happen, but until it does I think the best thing we can do as an open source community is to set an example for them to follow of not compromising our principles in the name of expediency.

I think you can also see it from another perspective: The dispute between Debian and Mozilla shows us that Mozilla is by and large on the right side. This dispute would not have happened with any other popular browser. Chome, Safari, Internet Explorer / Edge or Opera would never have been considered the default browser in Debian.

A suggestion for F-Droid: If it is possible to detect if someone has activated a Google account on the phone, you could do the following:

If Google account exists: Enable strict repository. Those users can get Firefox from Google Play.
If Google Account does not exist: Ask user what policy she prefers. Users without Google Account and possibly without Google Apps have a very hard time anyway…

…why does it even matter? Why would the user suddenly want to get version full of trackers from Play exactly?

If it was simple, then Mozilla would remove the non-free bits. Push messaging requires proprietary GCM/FCM. Chromecast support requires proprietary libs. Those are what are in Firefox. Most Firefox users would rather have those features than pure free software. If you want to help improve this situation, port VLC’s free chromecast support to work in Firefox. Write a free software replacement for GCM/FCM Android libs.