[APP][5.0+] FairEmail - Fully featured, open source, privacy oriented email app

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nadir husain

Senior Member
Aug 31, 2019
324
382
Hi Marcel,
It is sad, that you are discontinuing the project as there is nothing like FairMail. However I understand and support your decision. Working with Google is incredibly frustrating and you have to deal with every whim they have with no way to defend yourself. While I would love to see FairMail maintained I don't want the person behind it to feel shackled by it.

I know first hand how frustrating working with Google is. They make random decisions, do stupid API changes and more ****. In theory Android is open, but thats not really true, because if you want to go outside the Google bubble, you either have to be in China or reach only a tiny audience. For developers who do it mostly because they want to, it becomes work rather than a hobby. I maintained an open-source app myself and over time I spent more time just updating it for newer Android version than developing anything new. I ended up burnt out and basically switched to maintenance mode only.

I hope the legacy of FairMail will continue in the future in someway. Once you take some time from this, please give another thought to the future of FairMail. It's fine if your decision stays the same, but sometimes time is enough to give you another perspective and maybe find a new way forward, even if you are not the one who maintains it. You put so much work into it that I think it would be a shame just let it collect virtual dust.

I wish you the best of luck on whatever you decide to do next. Thank you for creating FairMail in the first place. It's obvious it took a lot of work and passion to create it.
Beautifully written
 

SethGeckoXDA

Senior Member
Feb 19, 2017
150
86
The balance

The few euros I receive in return for what's being offered and the fun of developing things are no compensation for the thousands of questions I answer every month, for unfair Play store reviews and for stress about unclear Google requirements.

Core problem

Google. There is no sensible way to appeal in case of bad reviews or alleged violations of Play store policies.

People. They are generally pretty demanding and on the other hand everything should be free.

Myself. An old and grumpy developer, who maybe should retired.
Some suggestions for the People part:
- first-level-support: instead of answering thousands of questions yourself, redirect them to a support thread on XDA where users can help users.
- community managers: find volunteers to help you with bug triaging (e.g. via Issue Templates on GitHub) and PlayStore review handling. You would only have to deal with actual bugs and reasonable feature requests from there on.

This might shield you from negative people and let you do what you love: focus on writing excellent apps.

Thanks for the many hours you have put into this!
 

mrrocketdog

Senior Member
Oct 27, 2013
4,927
2,295
goodbye marcel , i hope life is good to you & your lady friend and your families.
dave
☮️
p.s. if ever in america come on by. plenty of room and food (seriously)
 
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M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,263
56,684
A reminder why I did stop:

Link

I need to add to this that I also received a lot of friendly messages the past days. Unfortunately, there were some rather unfriendly messages too.
 

M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,263
56,684
Google's response of today:

Thanks for your reply.

We understand the inconvenience this may cause and we appreciate your patience and understanding.

I see your app, FairEmail, privacy aware email (eu.faircode.email), was resubmitted earlier and has been approved.

However, it seems that you are using "Managed Publishing" for submitting your app. To make your app live on the Play Store, please make sure to select the "Review and publish" button in your Play Console. Please note that when you select "Review and publish" and confirm that you want to publish, your changes will be available and visible to Google Play users.

You can visit our help center for more information about managed publishing.

Thanks for working with us to fix the policy issues and for your support of Google Play.

Please let me know if I can help with anything else.

My "level 4" response:

Yes, I made random changes, just like the time before, which means that the app can be rejected or removed at any time again. Therefore I want to know why exactly the app was rejected.

I am reminding you once more that you are required to answer in an individualised manner and drafted in plain and intelligible language, as required by EU regulation 2019/1150 article 11.1c

https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/HTML/?uri=CELEX:32019R1150#d1e1069-57-1

You still haven't been 100% transparent and told what exactly is or was wrong. This is without doubt unfair business practice according to the referenced regulation.

I am requesting once more to tell me what exactly is wrong. If you can't, you should escalate to someone who can.
 

M66B

Recognized Developer
Aug 1, 2010
26,263
56,684
Keep hitting at my sensitive places and the chance for return will only be slimmer.

Link. (1 star German Play store review)
 

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  • 20
    QUESTION ABOUT FAIR EMAIL OPTIONS:
    Assuming the starting point of no on-device Google Account...

    Q: Which of these Fair Email Google mail server options is "most" private?

    1. 2SV/2FA (using any of a half dozen secondary methods), or,
    2. What Fair Email terms "GMail (Android)", or,
    3. What Fair Email terms "GMail (OAuth)".

    Note Marcel knows the answer, so he can instantly nip this tangent in the bud by answering that question in a single word... (where I suspect the answer is undoubtably #3 but others strongly think it's #1 apparently, so I could be wrong - but it's NEVER gonna be #2.

    The desired single word answer is "none". Google scans all your messages and you can only hope that the gathered information isn't used in an un-private way. Option 1 (assumed to be app passwords) and option 3 do not send extra information to Google. Option 2 requires an on-device Google account. You can control the sync options of a Google account via the Android settings. If these options work as expected and are turned off, no information should be sent to Google. This applies to all other Google services and apps, like Maps and Drive, too. You'll need to go into the settings and turn things off and trust that Google honors this.

    I expect to see no more messages about this subject anymore, with no exceptions for anyone. If you want to continue discussing about this, you should create a new XDA thread for this.
    19
    I have just uploaded a 4th YouTube video, with things which are not being described and not were asked for before ...
    Yesterday, the OAuth verification team requested a minor change and a test APK file, which probably means that the app fulfills all requirements now and that the verification process transitioned to the next phase. In any case this is looking good so far.
    17
    Since I need a distraction anyway, I am trying to get a web OAuth flow for Gmail accounts approved by Google because it seems the policies were changed for this type of authentication. K9 mail was approved too, without the expensive security audit formerly required. This would allow authenticating Gmail accounts via OAuth without an on-device account.
    16
    The next version will have optionally VirusTotal integration, so you can check attachments easily:

    Screenshot_20220723-102554.png
    13
    Using a Gmail account in FairEmail will inevitably leak your IP address, and thus your rough location, but nothing else, except the obvious: the messages you receive and sent and their meta data (sender, receiver, subject, etc).

    Note that it is not a good idea to use a VPN to hide your IP address because you'll probably run into "Please log in via your web browser" at an inconvenient moment.

    For HOTP and TOTP I recommend FreeOTP+.

    I think enough has been said about the privacy aspects of a Google account now. Whether a Google account on your device is a privacy concern or not is off-topic here. If you want to keep discussing about this, please create another XDA thread for this. You can leave a link to the created thread here if you wish.
  • 241
    ic_launcher.png

    FairEmail
    Open source, privacy friendly email app for Android

    banner7_long.png


    See here for a description:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email/

    See here for screenshots:
    https://email.faircode.eu/#screenshots

    Downloads:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email#user-content-downloads

    Frequently asked questions:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email/blob/master/FAQ.md

    Please read this before requesting a new feature:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/blob/master/FAQ.md#user-content-get-support

    This XDA thread is about using the latest version of FairEmail.

    For support on authorizing an account you should consult the documentation of your provider, see also here.

    Off topic comments are allowed as long they are related to FairEmail and are in the general interest of the followers of this thread.

    Discussion of purchases is not allowed here, please contact me via here instead.
    69
    How was the call with Google today, Marcel?

    Google was pretty friendly and cooperative and told me the favicons are indeed the problem, and it can/should be fixed by updating in the privacy policy to "disclose how your app accesses, collects, uses, and shares user data":

    Privacy Policy​

    All apps must post a privacy policy in both the designated field in Play Console and within the app itself. The privacy policy must, together with any in-app disclosures, comprehensively disclose how your app accesses, collects, uses, and shares user data, not limited by the data disclosed in the Data Safety section. This must include:
    • developer information and a privacy point of contact or a mechanism to submit inquiries
    • disclosing the types of personal and sensitive user data your app accesses, collects, uses, and shares; and any parties with which any personal or sensitive user data is shared
    • secure data handling procedures for personal and sensitive user data
    • the developer’s data retention and deletion policy
    • clear labeling as a privacy policy (e.g., listed as “privacy policy” in title)
    The entity (e.g., developer, company) named in the app’s Google Play listing must appear in the privacy policy or the app must be named in the privacy policy. Apps that do not access any personal and sensitive user data must still submit a privacy policy.

    Please make sure your privacy policy is available on an active URL (no PDFs) and is non-editable.

    So, I have updated the privacy policy and added this new table:

    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/blob/master/PRIVACY.md#summary-of-shared-data

    I am not sure if it covers everything, so feedback is more than welcome. @mkasimd maybe you can take a look?

    Note that I have also enabled BIMI, Gravatars, Libravatars and favicons for the Play store version again.

    The short term goal is to release a Play store test version (and associated GitHub version) and to get the update approved. I will think about the next steps after this has been accomplished. Given the huge number of supportive messages I received (much appreciated!) the project will be continued in some form in any case.
    50
    Version 1.1900 is available on GitHub now and in the Play store test program after Google's approval (which is the main goal of this release).

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/FairEmail/releases

    My girlfriend is slowly recovering too :)
    47
    It is time for a new, modern, open source, privacy friendly email client for Android.

    I have just released a first alpha version for feedback on the design and features.

    Not for production use yet!

    Most of the stuff basically works, but be prepared for crashes and error notifications.


    Safe email is a working name, but it is for several reasons not a convenient name, so suggestions for a name are welcome.
    37
    I have just released alpha version 0.15

    Changelog/download:
    https://github.com/M66B/open-source-email/releases

    With a bit of luck the next version can be a beta version.

    I am putting a lot of effort into this project, so thanks are appreciated.