Hi F-droid devs and community, I would like a general topic to address a lot of thoughts I bore and stored in some years, with compliments, critics, and the final requests all along that I feel (hope?) could interest many of you. I’m Italian so sorry for any bad english. First, the interesting part: conclusions.
- F-droid seems to me just plain simply the only community left whom I give trust without any doubts and shadows, to this date. This can change any time, should I stumble upon some unclear activity, but the philosophy behind it seems just the right spot, in my human limits and experience.
- Real world and job and families does NOT have the duty to understand all that’s going down the surface of their device, and F-droid does not much to help the common user who just wants things to work, plain simple, without tracking, ads, bad behaviour in general. Gives the feeling of being the perfect place to go to fully solve android functionality, but it turns out only for pros who can give it a lot of time.
- Many many Foss, freedom, privacy, fairtrade subjects just plain hate F-droid, even without shouting it loud. They even hate each other just like it happens in every small idealistic community of experts, of any kind: most of them think they “hold the truth” and their likes are “betraying the true meaning” of their ideal. But mostly, they hide it well.
- F-droid just sits doing a HUGE lot of UNUSEFUL work, checking source code after source code of tons of unuseful, sometimes ridiculous apps that will never be downloaded by anyone, or that will be forgot in six months, while not making a real effort to solve (or going near it) the main problems of the scene. It’s such a shame to see this small community of true experts, with the best philosophic point of compromise, confined into its limited community of experts while the whole world in the hands of the “baddies” could be beaten off its ass with just a pair of clicks, if the project is well thought.
It’s like a community of experts working for experts, for themselves. Is this the purpose of IT revolution?
- F-droid should gather/create/point to, and mainly make it huge to see and loud to hear, the simplest way to quit google and all the other crap and put simplicity and mainstream users at the first place. Os should be less important than now for apps to work, so that updates are less needed and more focused on fundamentals, and apps should work in their single environment, should come with all dependencies and functionalities, so to just plain simply, tap and Work.
I’m 36 yo and back in school years played a lot with pc and software and dreamed of informatics bringing freedom justice and democracy, and soon in the years got very (VERY) sick of the state of things, while bad capitalism (I do think there’s a “good” one, MAYBE) got its dirty hands on it. But to make the long story short, I left a future in IT and now I got a normal job, two kids and a lot of “real” troubles opposite of virtual troubles. I follow the scene very little but I’m still the “nerd” while people all around follow the last game, phone model, version upgrade and does not understand a bit of what’s in their hands, and they’re the “normals”.
But I’ve got real work to do and I now really understand that their point of view is THE right point of view, where in the past I often thought of common people being very stupid and mediocre and not deserving freedom nor justice. But, now I see it, everyone can be just and expert only in a few things, and with all the rest that’s needed in life, simply remains a mediocre and stupid noob. When you are a coder or a very expert IT pro and you find your boiler broken, your car, your bike, your fridge, your furniture, etc etc you do canNOT think for long you’re the one who should understand everything and all about your needs. You cannot be a politics expert and make the faction you vote or even the whole system not fool you, you cannot avoid all the tricks and traps the media and information industry launches at you, you cannot avoid being misleaded in all the subjects you are not an expert. I try my best and I think I’m quite good at it, but I have to understand that’s impossible to do so enough to be free and live a just life. With kids, job and bills to pay you can even try to achieve a lot of DIY but in the end, for the MOST things in your life, you have to rely on an expert and you want the objects, service, information, opinion you take to be as simple, durable and easy as possible (AS POSSIBLE! Not over too easy) so you can focus on what’s your expertise or need, like coding, working, raising good kids or what you choose.
But it’s nearly impossible to do so with “common” apps and device tweaking, even more when coming to Foss, anti tracking, not bad behaviour apps, they seem to be impossible to use for the "normal"people.
This is fully related to planned obsolescence, in material objects, but the IT whole scenery is like planned obsolescence, raised to the power of ten.
How comes I found this simple, still very important concept only at Drew DeVault blog (a really good IT philosophy site, in my opinion) in a post where it says all software should aim to be as stable as possible instead of needing continuous upgrade and update?
I’m quite sure that 90% of Android changes and updates are meant only, or mostly, to break functions and apps that are not being convenient to the big G, putting them into proprietary coding or other ways to make then gain money and power over you and your device, and in the years I saw this race for unuseful change not being fought by the ultra vast majority of users. F-droid has this problem too, the vast majority of apps I tried are not up to date, so they’re “broken” because the system and hardware has changed. The discussion with Signal and the “ecosystem is moving” has got a point, but my question is: how much of this “movement” is for good of users and how much is not? On the other side, how much is decentralisation bringing division between Foss or privacy or “good ones” users and making common people stay long away from custom roms, unsupported apps, “unsecure” coding and the likes?
So in search of a solution I discovered F-droid, Fairphone, tried a lot of Linux on my ten y.o. pc, but NOTHING that just does its job without a lot work to make it usable and efforts in trying to solve privacy issues, bad commercial and social behaviour, all bad things that are undergoing these dark years of informatics.
I think that all this great community, from the whole Linux ecosystem devs to F-droid, should focus his great work on some simple solutions that are most energy efficient, hitting the right spots for the vast majority of people, instead of burying deep into splitting hairs. In this, I think that F-droid has got the best philosophy, and whenever I find some news like this last one, that Fairphone has got in team with /e/OS, and that /e/OS steals apps from F-droid instead of making it default app, I wonder: where are all the efforts of F-droid team going? To be stole by others? To be insulted by self claimed Foss apps that pair with the big companies to steal data? When we got open source Android, when we got good fairtrade companies for the hardware, when we got a good community of app devs that spends a lot of hard efforts in degoogleizing this and that (thus showing to me that those codes are not written with simplicity and clarity in mind, they’ve got something to hide?) why is not the first thought of F-droid or every other dev in the scene to get a simple, few clicks system to get a simple OS that just makes its work, with the most common used apps just a click away? I wonder the same for Linux but I know getting all this idealistic experts to ally into a sole direction is mostly impossible, history teaches. But Android phones are not for the nerds, they’re for the commons, they’re for the people who makes another job. They’re perfect to get the best app just work and spread, they’re perfect to fight the whole bloated liar marketing system with some GOOD honest marketing on some good OS and apps that just plain do their work and do not steal your data.
The whole thing of even just finding the infos for correct rooting, correct Os, correct version, flashing, tweaking, then this version doesn’t work for this app, but that other app doesn’t work with the other version, it’s so much impossible to achieve that most of us “normals” just throw away your site and your kind, spits on your name and on all the concerns of privacy, market imperialism, and the likes, and just pays. The moment that it’s WAY easier to get the money every year or two for a full googled and bloated new phone, than obtaining a free long lasting just working phone, it’s the moment I understand things are going the opposite of what they should.
I know this is a matter I already saw around, I even read a post saying that Linux communities “need a dictator” for how much bloated and mostly unusable the whole thing become. AppImage and the likes are way to go before they solve the situation. I think the Android universe, and F-droid community, should lead the way of common sense, common people functionality, long lasting devices with LESSER updating needs - because it has got the right qualities and thinking and I don’t understand why it doesn’t go this way. Phones are less demanding than PCs and more likely to let the Os remain quite the same for a long time, mostly if it is written with that in mind and if apps work with their separated environment and dependencies all together so that the Os is not requested to have all the different functions working differently for any app, because every dev could use the coding-dependencies-logic he prefers. F-droid could drive the efforts in the way of making an inclusive environment that can include and merge the different ways of thinking and coding and tastes of developers and in doing so, it would expose those who try to hide their intentions behind this sort of “FOSS-washing” behaviour I saw lately (like the greenwashing many industries are making). But to do so F-droid should first become the easier way to know how to install and use simple degoogleised OS and apps, and become the most used and popular way to do so. For now, it seems to me that F-droid is quite despised from the main actors in Foss.
Thanks for reading this much. I hope you will fare well.