Should Fairphone Open come pre-installed with f-droid?

From time to time we’ve got discussions here if we should include f-droid by default on Fairphone Open.
On the one hand, it makes the OS more user friendly. On the other hand, many users of Open want to get a clean as possible OS.

What do you think?

Should f-droid come pre-installed in Fairphone Open?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Other… see below my comment

0 voters


Not sure of the current status, but:
Fairphone Updater > App Stores > f-droid


Including fdroid would be phantastic. Installing it as a system app is a bit tricky, and it needs to be reinstalled after each OS upgrade. Installing it as a non-system app is bad as it needs the insecure “allow apk installs from unsafe sources” checked.
Including an app store as a system app that is actually aligned with Fairphones goals would be great. Perhaps only in the Open OS and not the regular one though. Open OS might value an open source store more. Regular OS users might be a tad overwhelmed by the lack of proper support, geeky and obsolete apps as well as the very limited range of apps offered.


That would be great if the updater was able to install F-Droid as a system app.

I don’t think F-Droid in regular FP OS is an option.


On the one hand, I support the idea because it seems that even people switching to FP Open OS often don’t know about F-Droid yet. On the other hand, FP Open OS itself never actually comes pre-installed in the phone out of the box, so those who switch to FP Open OS have already shown they know how to and are not afraid of installing something all new by themselves. I think Johannes’ idea is the best approach.


Why don’t you just include it on both FP OSOS and FP OS+GMS? F-Droid has some awesome Apps that are hard to find on the Google Play Store and it could help get some people exited about free (as in freedom) and open source software.

As others stated earlier, its not very convenient to make it a sysapp manually, since you have to reinstall it after every upgrade. F-Droid is not a very big app, and the FP2 has plenty of storage, so if someone doesn’t want it, they could simply disable it. But I think it could be useful to many users.


I was wondering about that too, but I’m optimistic as the GAPPS installer on the FP1 can do it…
What the installer appears to do is download a zip file to a cache somewhere, restart the phone, and apply the zip file from recovery. If f-droid is (re-)packaged by Fairphone in the same way, it should hopefully be able to be installed as a system apṗ.


I’m sure Google wouldn’t allow it.

On the other hand if the updater app could install F-Droid as a system app that could work on FP OS too.


I think we should think also about other pre-installed apps. I love to have trackID and samba network music player on my smartphones.
I know once it would be far too much, but why not two installers? A clean one and a second with extra apps?
Or clean one with upgrade option to the other one?


1 Like

I totally support the suggestion to integrate F-Droid into FP Open OS. Maybe in the future different selected basic apps, like micro-g network location provider will be included, too. Those would enhance the out-of-the-box experience of FP Open OS dramatically.


I think it would be overkill if a music player and a music recognition app is pre-installed. There are tons of apps in this segment. What if someone wants Shazam and VLC instead? So I think one should install his preferred music player and music recognition app on his/her own.

I think the pre-installed apps in Fairphone Open OS should be limited to absolute basic apps (like a file explorer) and those where the later installation is very complicated/impossible (like an app-store).


I agree with @TobiasF but also like @Johannes’ idea and understand @Hecki and @StephanK.
It would be great to have an openOS working almost like the GMS one, i.e. with basic apps and nothing extra to be done for a working GPS. But you can’t force someone to use an app rather than another.
Maybe a good compromise (but I don’t know about feasibility) would be to use to updater to install a “pure” OS and then give different options:

  1. Exit the updater app to configure the phone by oneself
  2. install an app-store

If one chooses option 2, after the installation of F-droid, 2 choices:

  1. exit
  2. install other apps
  • 2a) choose a package (one or many options of some of the basic apps, as for OpenGAPPS)
  • 2b) customize the installation:
  • 2b.1: choose a browser (amongst some choices or option to display all current choices on F-droid)
  • 2b.2: choose an email client
  • 2b.3: choose a music player
  • etc. (with the option to skip what you don’t need/want)

It would be great, but it looks complicated…


The thing to avoid is accidentally starting your own app-store / repository. I can see why it would be convenient to be able to add a couple of system apps via the updater app (stuff that can be a bit tricky to install like location services / needs to be a system app / is device specific), but the majority of apps doesn’t need deeper system integration and should remain in the app stores that they’re in now. I also regard f-droid as different as it can update itself. For most other apps there would be no direct update path until the relevant app-store is installed, and reprogramming the updater to also update individual apps is overkill.


MicroG unified NLP does not need to be installed as a system app. (Source)


No, because there’s no reason to favor one certain third-party app store (although I like and use F-Droid myself). You can download and use the app stores (for instance, F-Droid, Amazon app store, SlideMe, …) you want – that’s fair and enough.

I think Fairphone Open OS should be open itself, but not make “openness decisions” for users.


If OS/updater/… suggests to install F-Droid as a system app and I can decline it if I don’t want to use it then everything’s fine.


Can pre-installed apps update themselves? If anything, pre-installed apps make me think of the signature troubles I always got when I tried to update the pre-installed iFixit app…

If the signature could be an issue then it’s probably best to let the Fairphone Updater handle all of this (ask user, download latest F-Droid client from official repo, install as system app).


tl;dr: I agree with @chrisse and @Stefan. Make it easy to use F-droid, without forcing people too much.

I have a FP1 with F-droid without anything from google, and would love to keep it this way in the future. I think the open OS should be as open as possible, while being as easy to use as possible… So having F-droid as a system app is probably good, as it allows to uncheck the “unsafe apk”-flag. But I really hate the fact that the ifixit-app on my FP1 is neither updateable nor removeable in F-droid, and constantly triggers the “there are updates available” notification. This should be avoided for F-droid.

Also, it would be nice to prepare some easy way to install an alternative to google location service. I currently use one of the unifiedNLP things with an offline database, which works fine, but I had to invest quite some time to find a solution which works and has a reasonably up-to-date celltower database.


Just a quick off-topic note: In the view for a specific app you can press the three-dot menu and then choose “ignore all updates”. That doesn’t of course solve the issue with not being able to update in the first place…