Degoogling your phone - Random

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Sridhar Ratnakumar

I decided to degoogle my Pixel Android phone. So I did a factory reset, and skipped Google login. However, installing apps and making sure to keep them up to date is a PITA! Why does F-droid not carry the Signal app? So I gave up, and decided to use the Play Store, which requires a Google account - so I created a dummy one.

I installed Brave, Signal/Telegram, Syncthing+Password Store+OpenKeychain (for pass), while being careful to avoid any Google app, including YouTube (I suppose I can download videos on computer via youtube-dl and put them in the Syncthing folder for watching later on the phone). Brave's sync works peer to peer (from computer to phone), so that's cool.

Not exactly ideal. Would be nice to just run Ubuntu on the phone, and be able to run the aforementioned apps.

TIL r/degoogle is a thing

Kampouse

https://signal.org/android/apk/

Advanced users with special needs can download the Signal APK directly here.
TheMatten

@Sridhar Ratnakumar BTW, you have ideal device for GrapheneOS (I bought Pixel 4 for that reason)
It's hardened version of Android without Google services
When it comes to Signal, version Kampouse mentioned will update itself automatically
And when it comes to YT, NewPipe is anonymous YT client with local subscription list and lots of features

Sridhar Ratnakumar

When it comes to Signal, version Kampouse mentioned will update itself automatically

That's good to know; but what about the various other apps (Telegram, Element, Brave, Password Store, OpenKeychain, Syncthing, Feedly, ..)? There appears to be no guarantee that these apps necessarily a) are made available somewhere (f-droid, apk download, etc.) and b) that there is auto-update mechanism for them. If so, it would be prudent to stay with Play Store.

TheMatten

Those available on F-Droid will get updates (BTW, Aurora Droid client has better UI than the original)
If you want to use something that isn't there, you can use Aurora Store as GP client, without having to setup GP services

Mason Mackaman

Oh my god NewPipe is just what I was looking for @TheMatten, thanks!

TheMatten

https://twitter.com/element_hq/status/1355290296947499013

Honestly, it's becoming harder to believe these are mistakes - Element is official Matrix app

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Element champions free speech (with moderation decentralized), that's why.

I'm not surprised that the politically-influenced Big Tech American companies go for any app that - stands up for free speech and refuses (rightfully) to centrally moderate user content based on loaded language. See my note on this: https://www.srid.ca/tech-free-speech.html

These organizations claim to respect Free Speech, either in an absolute fashion or by seeking to somehow removing centralization in the decision to censor.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

But ... this madness seems to be limited to a few countries like America. Other countries, like Poland still operate on common-sense.

The proposals have been brought forward.
Sridhar Ratnakumar

They have updates on their blog: https://element.io/blog/element-on-google-play-store/

As of 11:44 UTC we’ve submitted a detailed appeal to reiterate that Element is a generic chat app for connecting to the global Matrix communication network, just as Chrome is a generic web browser for connecting to the Web - and just as Google does not control the content on the Web, Element does not control the content on Matrix.

An interesting argument. Kind of a thin line. But reminds me of this post: Protocols, Not Platforms: A Technological Approach to Free Speech

Hi all, At 2021-01-29 at 21:35 UTC Google suspended Element from the Play Store without warning or notification.  We submitted an appeal asking for clarification at 23:18, and at 05:31 received a generic update from the Google Play Policy team citing that the app has been removed
Altering the internet's economic and digital infrastructure to promote free speech 
Sridhar Ratnakumar

Zulip lead, Tim Abbott, is concerned too:

I'm really upset that this happened to you folks, and it's scary, because incident could just as easily have happened to us at Zulip (or any other OSS app that connects to self-hosted servers!). https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=25964226

American Airlines joins later.

Sridhar Ratnakumar

Well, 2021 is going to be an interesting year :big_smile:

Mason Mackaman

centralized app stores need to go

TheMatten

:100: - and more work in area of decentralized ones would be great - F-Droid is a little bit clunky ATM :sweat_smile:

shaun smiley

I'm still hoping that my pinephone will become my primary daily driver, with an android device as the standby/exception. We shall see. I have also preordered the Planet Computers Astro, which is supposed to ship with both Android 11 and Ubuntu Touch. I just need to find a way to either host email myself or actually find an email provider that is good.