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Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Criteria for Android applications

From: Greg Farough
Subject: Re: [GNU-linux-libre] Criteria for Android applications
Date: Fri, 20 Aug 2021 17:02:22 -0400
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/28.0.50 (gnu/linux)

On Fri, Aug 20 2021, Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli <> wrote:

> The problematic applications were meant to enable users to download
> Android applications from Google play. So while they were fully free
> software, not all the applications from Google play are.
> And as I understand, we need to not have any of such applications
> because the guidelines state that "Nor should the distribution refer to
> third-party repositories that are not committed to only including free
> software".

This makes F-Droid's default repository selection a problem, but
unless I'm missing something it doesn't make the program "F-Droid" a
problem, provided it can be compiled to include acceptable
repositories and exclude the problematic ones. Is there a reason
Replicant doesn't want to just offer their own, better choice of a
repository? Doing anything else seems like an enormous duplication of
effort when there's an easier and equally free solution. (Apologies if
there's an obvious answer to this question.)

> The same question about which criteria to use also applies seems to the
> FSF free software directory, especially on the page that lists Android
> applications[1].
> If we assume that:
> - All the dependencies of a given applications are free software and
>   that all the dependencies of the dependencies are also free software.
> - There is a free Android SDK that can build the application. We still
>   need to look at the SDKs from the android-rebuilds project to see if
>   it works and if it is fully free. Otherwise Replicant 4.2 had an SDK
>   that can probably still be used to build some of the applications.
> - All that runs on a self-hosted FSDG distribution (like Trisquel or
>   Parabola).

That all sounds reasonable to me. 

> If we manage to manually build the application, would it be ok to point
> to the apk of the application if it was not built in the same way?
> If we use fdroidserver[6] from Guix, along with a free software
> Android SDK to build the application, would it be ok to point to the
> f-droid apk?

Reproducibility isn't in the scope of the FSDG, so if I'm
understanding everything correctly, I think that would be fine.

Just my 2ยข.


Greg Farough // Campaigns Manager
Free Software Foundation

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