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F-Droid, a package repository (aka "market") of Open Source software for Android

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By pfalcon, Member on 26th February 2012, 06:47 AM
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Searching thru forums, F-Droid already got some mentioning on XDA-Developers, and there may be some posts about it in per-device forums, but I'd really want to start a general thread about which would benefit all Android users.
is a software package repository of Free/Open Source (FOSS) Android software, with strict adherence to Open Source principles and licensing. Which means that we take care that applications included are truly Open Source (so anyone can hack on them any time and share with others), build most of applications included from source (we strive to build all of them), and make sure that you can reproduce the builds we do easily.

What provided are:
  • On-device client which you may use to browse thru the catalog of available applications based on categories, search for a specific package, install/uninstall a package, see what packages already installed, see available updates, etc.
  • Source repository with packages recipes decsribing how to build each individual package
  • Build system for package recipes
  • Web site with online repository browser
  • Growing dedicated community wanting to make software landscape of Android better

Client screenshot:


Q: So, you are mimicking Market?
A: No, we are basing on decades of experience of package management in Unix/Linux OS distribution. What marketing people call "appstores" and "markets" is basing on those decades of experience too, they just focus on different things.

Q: Mwa-ha-ha, you're fools, Market is better, I will keep using it!
A: You're welcome to. We're not really to conquer the world ;). As any Open Source project, F-Droid is made to scratch the itch of its users. So, if you see issues with Market, if you value Open Source, you will like F-Droid. If not, just keep using Market. Feel free to give F-Droid a whirl though - maybe you'll like it at the end as the second source of apps.

Q: I have some app installed on my device, but saw that F-Droid has newer version and tried to install it. However, it said that it uses different key and said that I should uninstall old version first. Why so?
A: There's some criticism of Android security, but it's not that bad in principle. Consider following example: you found some cool app, liked it, and ended up storing your credit card info in it. Then, on some random site, you find something which claims to be a great new version of your app, but actually an exploit made by some black hat. The message you see is exactly to protect you against such situation: each app is signed with provider's (usually, developer's) key, and if new version of the app is not signed with the same key, Android won't let you to install it as an upgrade, potentially letting a virus to get hold of your valuable data.

Well, as said before, F-Droid builds apps from source, and it is an app provider in this case, so all apps signed with F-Droid keys, not original developer's. That's why you see that message. If you trust F-Droid (you don't have to by word - we offer source code, please feel free to verify), you can backup your app's data if any, remove old version, install F-Droid's version, restore data, and from now on you won't have this issue again - you will be delivered updates right with the F-Droid itself!

Q: How can I help?
A: Sure, we need help! If you like F-Droid, blog a review of it, tweet about new apps added, show it to your friends when meet them on a street. We need app testers and bug reporters, then bug triagers who would separate F-Droid issues from upstream ones. But first of all, we need developers to add more applications to make the project a real difference! Please join us! And if you like F-Droid, but don't think you have enough time or skills to participate in it, you can help with making a donation (links are available on the site).
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26th February 2012, 07:25 AM |#2  
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26th February 2012, 08:05 AM |#3  
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f-droid, fdroid, foss, market, open source
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