Official FDroid Client: Suggest FOSS alternatives to installed proprietary apps

Hello. I don’t know maybe this was already discussed. I think FDroid Client can somehow suggest FOSS alternatives to proprietary apps installed on a device. For example, if the official YouTube app is installed, it can suggest using NewPipe. I understand that it is impossible to create a list of all proprietary apps and their open-source alternatives, but the most popular apps can be supported.

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That’s a great feature, I like it!

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Brilliant idea

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The biggest problem with this type of feature is who gets to make the list and what order the apps get to be in on the list. When you are small it isn’t a big deal, but as you get bigger there will start to be a lot of accusations of favoritism.

For example, does NewPipe or SkyTube or WebTube or any of the other ones go first? What happens if you recommend an app that doesn’t work well? Then F-Droid gets the reputation for recommending crap.

It ends up a little like trying to maintain a Wikipedia page on a controversial topic.

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Just randomize the list every time.
It will be weird for the user, but this way none of the apps get a preferred treatment.

If you have ever tried to use these apps, you know that half of them don’t work very well. So then you run into the scenario I mentioned before, where the public perception becomes, “I tried out F-Droid and it recommended that I replace all my perfectly usable apps from Google Play with these crappy apps from F-Droid that didn’t even work. Open source software sucks!”

Is there any version where that actually benefits the community?

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Maybe I was not clear enough in the original post. By suggesting apps I do not mean to show ads or recommending only one particular app. In my opinion, this feature can be implemented the following way. The app can have the screen containing the list of installed apps, and then users click on a proprietary app, it shows alternative apps available on FDroid. They can be sorted alphabetically or by the date of last update etc, so there would be no favoritism. The apps on this list could be suggested by their developers, so again it would be no favoritism.

There are lots of lists and websites focusing on finding foss alternative. Intergrating this function into F-Droid client can’t benefit too much. I would rather have a thread here listing alternatives in F-Droid and a link in the doc, like the known repos. We can start this work right now. :grin:

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Too many apps, who chooses the good ones? What’s the best TODO app? Notes app? Best messenger one?

Also, it’s suddenly a new burden to keep up to date.

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@Licaon_Kter I don’t think that only ‘good’ alternatives should be suggested, but all of them.

@linsui Well maybe this can be the solution. But I still think that it would be nice for the F-Droid app to show alternatives, so users won’t need to search this info on the Internet.

I think the majority of F-Droid users don’t have any problems finding the apps they want to install from F-Droid. As pointed out, there are already a lot of third-party lists people can look at if they like.

For the few people who do have difficulty finding the apps they need, such a list would probably cause more harm than good, as it would be impossible to list all the pros and cons of each app inside of F-Droid, or to even maintain a list of all the overlapping feature sets between each app and any particular app installed from another source.

All I see are pitfalls and downsides and another item that people can argue about.

In my opinion, F-Droid should focus their efforts on maintaining a really good app distribution platform instead of getting distracted by trying to tell people which apps they should install on their device. For example, much has been said on other threads about the need to improve the search functionality, which is related to this idea but doesn’t have the same downsides. For example, if I search for an app like NewPipe by its exact name, it should probably appear at the top of the list instead of being somewhere down below. Even worse for an app that has a space in its name, like Tor Browser.

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I like the idea. But I cannot think of a good way to make this work in the client itself. If you want to have your app found as an alternative don’t you just add the original app’s name in your app description? People should be able to find your app by entering the original app’s name as a search term - if this is an accepted practice. Also, there quite a number of sites covering app alternatives, somtimes pointing directly to F-Droid:



Btw: Improvements should focus on the rather bad search function in F-Droid. Some suggestions concerning this have been provided during 36C3.