[Replicant] Interested in contributing to Replicant

Denis 'GNUtoo' Carikli GNUtoo at no-log.org
Mon Aug 15 11:00:10 UTC 2016

On Wed, 10 Aug 2016 13:16:46 -0400
Aditya Bharadwaj <aditya_bharadwaj at msn.com> wrote:

> Hey Denis,

I'm really sorry for being late to respond.

> In response to your blog post regarding Replicant 6.0 early work, I'd
> like to contribute to Android Application based areas as I'm an
> Android Developer.
Thanks a lot!

> Please point me to how I can get started, I've already made an
> account on redmine with user name: aditya

Building f-droid client:
The first thing to do would be to compile the f-droid client.
Its source code is at https://gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroidclient.git

According to their README, they expect users to build it this way:
./gradlew assembleRelease

Not being familiar with Android applications development[1], I don't
know if that's the only step required, or what it would do behind the
More specifically I don't know if you are required to have an SDK
installed and which ones are supposed to work[2].

Specifications and source code:
The FSDG guidelines[3] requires Replicant not to promote non-free
software. Practically speaking we ship f-droid which has in its
repositories software that do.
A good example is the Firefox application which, in its add-on manager,
has non-free software.

Practically speaking the apks from the official f-droid repository are
built from package definition that comes from fdroiddata[4].
In the case of applications such as Firefox, the package definition
contains some anti-feature tag:
> AntiFeatures:NonFreeAdd,Tracking,UpstreamNonFree

Suggested fix:
F-droid already has:
- a way to get such data since it will warn the user about such
  anti-features by displaying them in red in the f-droid client.
- a way to filter out applications: in f-droid settings we have a
  section called "APPLICATION COMPATIBILITY", where the user can ask
  f-droid to allow installing incompatible versions or not.
  However, here, such applications are still displayed.

The idea is to:
- make F-droid detect Replicant
- Add a way to totally hide applications.
- Make f-droid hide all applications with anti-features, if running on
  Hiding all the applications with an anti-feature is sufficient, even
  if ideally we could only hide the anti-features conflicting with the
  FSDG[3] guidelines.
  Having a more fine grained filter could be implemented later, as
  right now meeting the FSDG again is Replicant's top priority.

Fix rationale:
The goal is to have a long term solution that require the least
possible additional maintenance from Replicant community or
Once the fix is in f-droid, if a non-FSDG compliant application shows
up in f-droid when using Replicant, all Replicant community or
developers would have to do would be to send a patch to add an
anti-feature tag to fdroiddata.
This would be really straightforward and fast.

The f-droid bugreport[5] is a good place to ask f-droid specific
question on the fix implementation.
The Replicant mailing list is also a good place to discuss it.

[1]I only wrote one tiny useless Android application with Replicant 4.2
   SDK. That SDK uses Apache ant instead of gradle.
[2]The last release of Replicant is the 4.2 version, however Wolfgang
   is working on porting Replicant to Android 6.0, and knows more about
   more recent Replicant SDK.

Thanks again for your interest.

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