Android's slow creep towards being closed source continues on - open source elements deprecated


This is worrying even though not a total surprise — from messages to music player to camera app, fewer and fewer AOSP apps stay relevant today.
Maybe it’s the opportunity to figure out a new framework, but as he said, the fact that Google was in charge meant that there was structure and resources to give to the project.
Now developers and maintainers are scattered and too few people are willing to pay to keep AOSP running.

I also understood that there was some kind issue with the manufacturers, and that Google was slowly divesting from AOSP support and beginning to close-source the drivers (I read about that some time ago now)

Point is, AOSP is kinda dying. All hail MicroG ?

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A fun grassroots activity may be to give a one star rating to all the apps Google has replaced with a closed source version. Such as the dialer, calculator, calendar, camera, etc. If done in great numbers it may give a strong signal.


I wonder if that will - in the long run - consolidate the number of alternative ROMs or if a project emerges that provides base apps that then can be used by most if not all ROMs.

It kind of reminds me of the abundance of linux distros. I remember a guy like probably 15 years ago who switched his main distro once or twice a year because whatever distro he used, he had things that either didn’t work at all or not to his liking and he never found that one distro he was fully happy with.

In any case, for me the two most important takeaways are:

  • don’t blame the FOSS community for the decisions taken by Google
  • donate so that the FOSS people/communities can stay relevant when more and more work is getting offloaded onto them

My hope is that GNOME based mobile operating systems will mature with mainline kernel support for Qualcomm chipsets. And then some sort of an efficient Android sandbox environment to run Android apps in as if they were native to Android. But this is a dream still very far away.

But slow progress is made…


I can relate. When I tested quite a number of different Linux distributions for my personal use cases about when Windows 10 came around … apart from Linux Mint XFCE as a halfway valid plan B the unintended result was me getting from ignorant indifference to a basic appreciation of Windows.
Would have to check again now, though. Things change.

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Wasn’t aware of this, thanks. Apart from the usage of the GPL 3.0 license I didn’t see any explicit word if it’s ok to ship a ROM with those apps preinstalled.
Could be a starting point if more than just 2 people join the project (at least the github page showed only 2 people; I haven’t checked contributors to the individual apps, though).

I can recommend Fedora if you’re into GNOME or OpenSUSE if you’re into KDE. Both are very mature distributions. My parents and partner are not tech savvy, but they enjoy using it and manage to find their way in Fedora with GNOME. It’s fast, stable and very easy to use. The only major issue I see is power management, when using Fedora (or any Linux distro) your battery life is likely to be less than on Windows or Mac. Also suspend to disk isn’t that reliable. But other than that, I haven’t thought of switching to another distro for almost 10 years. And as you know, I can be quite critical when things don’t work well. So it must mean something :nerd_face:


GNU/Linux on mobile actually is not a thing, sadly.
An interesting article about AOSP.


That was a great read. Thank you for linking that!

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