Should F-Droid.org serve other media beside apps?

principles

#1

For a long time F-Droid was all around serving Android apps.

With the recent development around F-Droid Server, F-Droid Client and Repomaker you can now do more with F-Droid. Basically you can add any type of media in your repo, and the first non-app item on F-Droid.org was the over-the-air update zip for the privileged extension of F-Droid. Great opportunities would be for example ebooks or music.

We as the team of F-Droid largely agree that beside Android apps OTA zips should also be served by F-Droid.org, together in one repo. About other types of media we want to ask you, the F-Droid community, how do you think about this topic. Therefore you have the ability to vote in the poll below. Feel free to comment on this topic why you have voted like you did but please try not to repeat old arguments but simply like the post by giving it a heart.

Of course other media besides apps on F-Droid.org will have to follow similar rules like apps do at the moment. This means all media must be licensed under a free license like for example Creative Commons.

  • Yes, F-Droid.org should serve other media in its repo.
  • Yes, F-Droid.org should serve other media but in separate repos.
  • No, F-Droid.org should not serve other media.

0 voters

This discussion started in today’s developers meeting on IRC.


#2

Very interesting. Would this functionality be integrated in the existing F-Droid app, or would there be a separate “F-Droid Media” app? I think the F-Droid app is already quite complex and doesn’t have the best code quality, so adding even more functionality could make maintainability much worse.


#3

Sounds good to me, as long as they’re in seperate repos.


#4

We are currently adding support for it now (in fact this is what is used when you try to download the F-Droid OTA .zip). The end goal is for the UX to be similar to the end user, but you are correct that it does add more to the code base. I hope that concerns about code complexity doesn’t prevent the addition of new features. It should promote discussion about improving the code though (perhaps in a different thread).


#5

I think the best way to spread this feature is to get organizations with media collections to run fdroid repos. They are already setup to manage those files. So first, we need to ask them to do it, then we need to help them with the setup as much as possible :smile:


#6

[…] but in separate repos.

There is probably good (or depending on POV bad) reason to avoid serving media from fdroid.org:
https://consumerist.com/2016/08/12/dancing-baby-youtube-lawsuit-may-go-before-supreme-court/
Apparently things like this could slip in and are not resolved within a decade.

IANAL: Also different legislations have a different (or no) understanding for “fair use” and things like https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Freedom_of_panorama or copyright expiry varies. Whatever stuff arises from that should not endanger (or have the potential to bind resources of) infrastructure like fdroid.org.

To my view connecting to a subproject of an organization which handles media on a daily basis would be preferred. Wikimedia?


#7

Before jumping in to serving “other media” I think it should be important if not imperitive to clearly define the definition of the term, and not just give examples of what it could be used for.

  • What is “other media” in this context? Just ebooks and music, or more? Pictures? Videos? Movies?
  • What is the purpose of the media, and how will it enrich the F-Droid project?
  • How will the vetting process be applied? Similar to apps, but how? What other steps will be taken, and will this cause concern with potential content creators?

Legal implications can arise from the most backwards circumstances, like @frief pointed out. What types of media are handled will be a significant instigator in the possibility of any future issues. An official F-Droid repo for serving this media will also paint the brand as more than just apps, which from the current results of the poll there are some that don’t want that.
There are also the chances, of course, that media licensed under a free license and deemed fit for the repo, could end up being a derivative or infringing work, and situations such as this are often a much larger issue than with code and apps. Even with the best intentions put forward, chances for conflict should be expected.
It should also be noted that there could be a large influx of media to be put in the repository, whichever it may be for that purpose. A new way of submitting content for inclusion may be required if this is the case, to help mitigate stress on those allowing it.
Like @frief stated, using a pre-existing media service such as Wikimedia would not only help shift the blame away from F-Droid in the face of crisis (as mean as that sounds, it is something to consider), but it would also immediately open up lots of relevant media for inclusion, rather than requiring the repository to be populated from the ground up. Not sure how any of that would work out though.

As long as the media served is wholesome to the free software community in some way, and continues to uphold good licensing practices, the only other major problem to arise is a disgruntled fanbase that believes F-Droid should be only about apps, and nothing else. Putting the media in a separate repository would let people choose what they want to see and what they don’t, at least. I support media, but only in it’s own repository, and when applied to a more strict process for inclusion.

If media such as stock photos, sounds, and other things are included in F-Droid repositories, it may also be beneficial to focus on desktop access to help widen the scope of the project and the number of people it reaches. Surely there would be those interested in using the resources of the project on a desktop if it were to serve more than just apps?

Disclaimer: First post; I’m not much into the politics of F-Droid, or if there even really are any, so please excuse any ignorance :slight_smile:


#8

I would prefer media in its own repo, to get to chose the visibility of media.
Media of any kind is subject to immense advertisement in its various forms which would influx usability.
But since mobile devices are used for media consumption, i would prefer an indirect approach:

  • F-droid could act as some kind of hub for free (as freedom) culture, giving access to remote or local databases like ‘creative commons’ ‘archive.org’ ‘gutenberg’ etc.
  • F-droid could be a frontend to gather metadata like booktitles/isbn, Filminfo, bookmark various ressources and use availlable remote databases.
  • There could also be connectivity to desktopapps like zotero for book ressearch.

#9