In this edition: Publishing applications through F-Droid, Private GitLab runners, Pluggable Transports and F-Droid Matrix server up and running. There are 7 new and 64 updated apps.
F-Droid is a repository of verified free and open source Android apps, a client to access it, as well as a whole “app store kit”, providing all the tools needed to set up and run an app store. It is a community-run free software project developed by a wide range of contributors. This is their story this past week.
Publishing applications through F-Droid
If you were interested in adding an app to F-Droid, David wrote about his experience of adding one of his apps to F-Droid. It points to the necessary documentation and gives a good idea of what you can expect.
“In summary, it was easier than I had imagined to publish an application in the F-Droid catalogue. The process was smooth and people were friendly and happy to help. If you write your own Free Software applications for Android, I encourage you to publish them via F-Droid and to submit your own metadata for them to make publication as quick and easy as possible.”
Private GitLab runners
We now have the whole buildserver stack running on one of the GCC Compile Farm servers. @_hc has set it up as as a GitLab runner, so it’s now possible to do real, full builds for fdroiddata merge requests. This also includes using machine learning in the form of LibScout to scan the final APK for trackers. See fdroiddata!3936 for an example.
The Guardian Project was approved a grant to work on integrating “Pluggable Transports” into three apps. The idea is to provide censorship circumvention by disguising traffic as something popular and innocuous, for example WebRTC traffic.
Most likely, this will include Wikimedia and F-Droid for prototypes, with @uniq doing most of the work. It’ll probably be hard to integrate into the official F-Droid releases, so this grant will most likely end up with working prototypes that people can use if they want.
F-Droid Matrix server up and running
Registration is restricted to F-Droid contributors, so if you are a core F-Droid contributor and want an account, ask Mathijs or @nicoalt to make one for you. Resource consumption is currently quite low, and we’d like to keep it that way. Therefore you mustn’t join any public rooms, other than the ones we agreed upon beforehand. (This is not a Matrix server for personal use.) Opening internal discussion rooms and 1:1 chats is fine though.
Odds and ends
- At least 4 F-Droid contributors will be going to 35C3.
- @_hc will be speaking at 35C3 about F-Droid swap among other things, in his “Wind: Off-Grid Services for Everyday People”.
- There was some commotion about the Simple Mobile Tools going paid (medium.com). It doesn’t seem to be that bad, however.
- DarkCroc Theme: A dark substratum theme targeting android 9+.
- Default Dark Theme: A dark substratum theme targeting android 7 & 8.
- BeamControl for Smart Interface: Control / notification application for smart factory/industry 4.0 applications.
- Bits & Bäume 2018: The schedule for “Bits & Bäume”, a German sustainability conference happing on the weekend of 17 & 18 November / Die konferenz für digitalisierung und nachhaltigkeit.
- SimpleEmail: Simple and minimalistic email app.
- Android XMRig Miner: Mine cryptocoins with xmrig miner on your smartphone.
- G-Droid: An alternative client app to browse the F-Droid repository.
Lots of very small changes this week, at a total of 64 updates. Here are the highlights:
FairEmail was updated from 1.143 to 1.153, now with advanced setting to allow editing sender address, delete operation in multiple sections, new provider “dismail.de”, two-column view in landscape mode, improved quick settings tiles, colorized notifications (Android 8+) and lots of color-related changes, and several other UI/UX improvements. Note that you will need to set up your accounts again after updating.
Mastalab, the Mastodon client, released 1.20.0 with the ability to use the direct timeline prior to Mastodon 2.6, see who boosted of favorited a toot, URL previews in toots including direct playing of videos, and several other improvements, changes, and bug fixes.
MemeTastic, an app to create memes also known as “image macros”, was updated from 1.4.5 to 1.5.0, going back to its roots with a small amount of templates inside the project, and targeted at user-added templates in a local folder. Internet permission was removed and internet access completely disabled. It will no longer download from the MemeTastic archive.
Open Contacts, a privacy-friendly contact list that can’t be read by other apps, was updated from 5.0 to 6.0, with contact names now a bit bolder, contacts following similar structure to call logs with actions either side of contact, and the call log now updates contact names as soon as a contact is added, rather than ignoring existing calls in the log.
The Light released 3.5, now also in Portugese translation, and adding the Portuguese Bible: Almeida Corrigida Fiel.
Wrong PIN Shutdown was updated to 7, fixing a bug on devices with a fingerprint reader. Unlocking the phone by fingerprint did not reset the wrong PIN counter, and this bug is now fixed. However, note that attempts to unlock the phone with a wrong fingerprint will not be registered.
Trackbook, a basic GPS logger with map, was updated from 1.1.11 to 1.1.13, fixing a crash and improving location at start of recordings.
If you’re interested in the off-the-grid social network Scuttlebutt behind this app, there’s a good essay about it by the creator of the app. It is nicely honest about the major difficulties of using the network, as well as suggesting possible solutions. (Credit: switching.social)
Tips and Feedback
Do you have important app updates we should write about? Send in your tips via Mastodon! Send them to @firstname.lastname@example.org and remember to tag with #TWIF. Or use the TWIF submission thread on the forum. The deadline to the next TWIF is Thursday 12:00 UTC.
General feedback can also be sent via Mastodon, or, if you’d like to have a live chat, you can find us in #fdroid on Freenode, on Matrix via #fdroid:f-droid.org or on Telegram. All of these spaces are bridged together, so the choice is yours. You can also join us on the forum.