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

Surely including F-Droid would make things more comfortable, and it was the first app I installed. But if I install FP Open OS I don’t want pre-selected software. If you include F-Droid there are - as the discussion shows - a reason to also install some other “comfortable” software - where does this end?
I would rather advocate a clear information about how to do things in FP Open. The Installation Guide includes as a Hint the important reference to F-Droid, but many more things have to be learned by following the discussions in the forum (such as GMS or GPS enhancement). It would make it a lot easier if that knowledge was coming as a one stop shop (and a trustworthy source) from FP.

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If F-Droid was a system app it could update iFixit and other system apps.

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I think this would be a huge security risk.

@paulakreuzer said that Google wouldn’t allow it, which is probably true. There are good reasons for that. Apps on F-Droid don’t go through the same vetting and testing that Play Store apps are subjected to. This means that it is comparatively easy for malware to appear in third-party app stores.

There is good data to back this claim. For example, the 2015 Android Security Report shows that third-party app stores increase the risk of potentially harmful apps by more than 3x.

Please consider that not all Fairphone users are as tech-savvy as the crowd on this forum. Most users simply have no need for root, F-Droid, and similar features. Giving them such power only puts them at risk. On the other hand, somebody who really wants F-Droid can install it fairly easily.

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You are right, F-Droid’s testing is not the same, it’s much more thorough. They actually build the apps from the code themselves so they don’t just test for viruses but also exclude all kind of spyware and exclude or at least flag (antifeatures) all apps that contain ads or non-free components.

On the Play store you get all kinds of Apps that spy on you and spam you with unwanted ads.

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Google has nothing to command on FP Open. FP Open doesn’t have to pass the Compatibility Test Suite nor comply with any Google guidelines because it’s based on an open codebase (ie. AOSP) without the GMS jail.

On the contrary, Google can (and will) determine which components FP GMS OS couldn’t include because they need to get a license from Google to include their GMS (Google Play, Google Play Services, et al.)

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Yes I was only talking about FP OS of course.

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Yes, I know, :slight_smile: But I wanted to clarify the subject for any other reader

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Well me self thins a tool like TrackID is also very useful may be a file explorer is more importand, that’s why i think we shoul make a list of tools, we want to have pre-installed, and then we could vote for our favorits. But a nice file explorer has to be pre-installed. :wink:

Ben

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Amaze File Manager is already included on FP Open (and on regular FP OS, if I recall correctly).
TrackID is not open source and thus it won’t be included on FP Open.

But, anyway, I think the point here is other than plain convenience: a regular app like TrackID doesn’t need system permissions for any matter, while F-Droid acts completely different if is in the system domain (i.e. is a system app). That means some people install it as a system app and lose it when they update the OS. If you install any regular app normally and you update the OS, then you don’t lose anything.

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I see the point, so i would say f-droid needs to be pre-installed. :slight_smile:

Ben

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There is good data to back this claim. For example, the 2015 Android Security Report shows that third-party app stores increase the risk of potentially harmful apps by more than 3x.

Fdroid is a fairly specific third party repo, and not only because it builds the apks itself. General considerations may not apply.

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I don’t think so. F-Droid was complaining about a signature error. This means that the pre-installed iFixit app is signed differently than the F-Droid version. (They are of course built by different developers.)

Since iFixit is a system app itself it can’t even be uninstalled easily… Actually I’d even opt for not even pre-installing iFixit and Amaze, nor any other app that can’t be uninstalled. This is FP Open OS after all! :wink: Seriously, in my opinion, the best way would be a setup process similar to the one proposed by @chrisse here.

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Fdroid is a fairly specific third party repo

Yes, I realized I didn’t do my homework here. Thanks to you and paulakreuzer for the corrections.

That said, we should still consider that every pre-installed system app increases the attack surface of the OS, and the number of things that could go wrong. With Fairphone OS, it is very easy for users to use root-privileged apps and other advanced features. This is a lot of power in the hands of users.

Maybe it would be better if there was a trusted manual that explained how to install F-Droid, and also educated users about the risks involved.

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Preinstalled F-Droid means no need to enable root access on the developers settings nor enable the latter at all, :slight_smile: (which is disabled by default for that reason, in fact)

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Well I once managed to set up the F-Droid privileged extension trough which F-Droid got system app permissions and I was able to update iFixit. Well I’m 90% certain I recall that correctly - tbh I’m not even sure if it was on FP1 or 2.
After the next OS update F-Droid was sort of bricked and I never installed the extension again.

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FP1, surely. Privileged Extension is not compatible with Android 5.1+, even the two-days-ago update. If that worked, would solve a lot of problems, IMHO

Edit: Hmmm…

hc: we’re rearchitecting the F-Droid Privileged Extension around that

hc: the idea is so that it is designed to be built into ROMs and signed by the ROM key

Source

That’d can be a solution… when Privileged Extension supports Android 5.1+, though.
Actually, I was searching for the technical reason to not support 5.1+ on their issues when I bumped into this.

Edit 2: Woa! It can be already built into the ROM now! I overlooked that README part:


We need to find if they support 5.1+ or not (the only source telling me that is F-Droid itself when trying to install)

Edit 3:

Installing the F-Droid Privileged Extension directly from the F-Droid
app requires root access and is only possible on Android versions older
than 5.0. It is not possible on Android 5.1, 6.0, and newer.

Source.
I still don’t know if moving/building it into the system works for 5.1+ or what doesn’t work is just the automated F-Droid installation. Will open an issue tomorrow.

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I tried doing that a while ago on the FP2, no matter how I did it (through F-Droid or by hand-installing it as a privileged app) F-Droid never managed to recognize the app as correctly installed :confused:

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Very interesting poll!
I see that there are several considerations about the app being pre-installed as part of the system, or being simply installed afterwards. I’m not voting because I don’t understand the differences enough to be able to evaluate.

But I’d like to add my piece of bread here:

Reading the comments, I’m wondering if the kind of users answering to this post is representative of all users who installed FP Open OS, in terms of “IT knowledge”.
You already said it: if you are not a tech-savvy, and want to try to live out of Google → use Open FP OS, you’re forced to roam the forums looking for answers to very basic questions like making GPS work, installing an app manager, etc. This is tedious, specially if you are not interested in these topics and consider your phone should do its job out of the box.

I want to do the effort of installing FP Open OS even if I don’t enjoy having to look for answers to everything. But this is the reason why, when I talk about Fairphone to my working colleagues, familiars, friends I never tell them about FP Open OS: most of them would be strongly disappointed to a new device that doesn’t work out of the box.

So if we want to encourage these kind of people to use FP Open OS, preinstalling F-droid is not enough, and actually it’s not necessary. A guide telling about F-droid, GPS and two or three more basic tweaks would do the job (a guide like the one you did for installation of Open FP OS, it works fantastic!). But this is work that needs to be done, that’s why I ask: is there people out there that fit this profile, so the work is worth being done? And do we want them on board?

They won’t be answering the forums, because it’s not the kind of user dropping by, so it’s you who need to think about their needs and opinions, without their feedback.

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Hey Neus, thank you for your feedback. Remember that Fairphone Open has to be actively installed by a user. So there is no such thing as ‘Fairphone Open out of the box’. Your friends would, if they’d by a Fairphone 2, receive it with Fairphone OS. That OS is basically Android 5.1 with all google services included.

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Hi douwe,
You are right. But following your installation guide is fairly easy, and I would expect that once you installed FP Open OS, it would work out of the box.
My point is, if you have a good guide you are way more newbie-friendly. I would talk about FP Open OS if it was more newbie-friendly :slight_smile:

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