"The Proprietarization of Android – Google Play Services and Apps"

Paul Boddie paul at boddie.org.uk
Tue Jun 21 12:02:54 UTC 2016

On Tuesday 21. June 2016 12.48.13 Nico Rikken wrote:
> Nice read!
> I agree. Now a happy owner of the Fairphone 2 with Open Source Android
> build http://code.fairphone.com/, the app-ecosystem is still a
> struggle.

I was going to ask you whether you got your Fairphone, and so this is really 
good timing!

I don't have an opinion about the services, but I did wonder about the 
"Fairphone Open Source OS" that came up in their blog:


It appears that despite Qualcomm's apparent helpfulness there are still opaque 
proprietary binaries involved. And attempts to exclude them didn't seem to 
lead anywhere:


Maybe I have failed to navigate the horrible forum interface correctly and 
that there is a build without the blobs.

It's interesting that companies like Sony also claim to support the Android 
Open Source Project stuff, although that leads to interesting consequences:

"There is an DMCA filled by Qualcomm for the device amami(z1 compact) hence 
the repository has been shutdown and sources cant be synced."


(This was subsequently resolved in some fashion.)

It's good that Fairphone have taken the software sustainability side of things 
a lot more seriously, even though there appear to be people (in evidence 
amongst the comments on the Fairphone blog post) who don't see the connection 
between making sure that a device has viable software and how long that device 
lasts, not to mention all the freedom-related aspects of choosing what 
software one runs and, relevant to the topic, what services it depends on.

Of course, service availability also affects device longevity, as people whose 
Apple products no longer talk to Google services can attest.


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