Long-term plan for /e/ official app store

There is lengthy discussions going on here about what /e/ app store should and shouldn’t be. Which is great.

But can we expect /e/ app store to last on the long run at all?

As far as I understand (which means very limited understanding, since documentation about the app store is very scarce), APKs offered by the /e/ store are basically downloaded from Google Play Store and re-uploaded to /e/ store. Is this model sustainable? Does it respect Google’s (abusive) TOS? Once /e/ grows, is there no risk for the store to be shut down?

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I guess a long-term goal would be to remove all Google Play apks and have all developers upload their apps on their own… :thinking:

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It was tried several times to find out more about the Apps application and its viability/legality, unfortunately there has been a total lack of transparency and roadblocks when asking about this:

Expect this thread to be blocked

Also in the gitlab

Hi @eon you already have @gael 's response to your queries on Gitlab. Not sure what can be added further to that. Asking the same question again and again will not change the response already given.

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The only answer we got was: “We don’t know”

So summarizing:

  • You don’t know who is in charge of cleanapk
  • You don’t know if it is secure or why we should trust this service
  • You don’t know if it is legal
  • You don’t know why https://api.cleanapk.org/ shows: “Welcome to the /e/ app store API” despite not having any relation with /e/ foundation.
  • You don’t know why you chose this service, from what you don’t know anything about, instead of other more known options like Aurora.

Each one can reach their own conclusions. What I believe is that the “I don’t know” answer is not completely honest, because it seems completely illogical to me that you chose a service blindly, without knowing anything about it and that despite the service saying “Welcome to the /e/ app store API” it is completely unrelated to /e/. I mean, what are the chances of choosing a random service you don’t known anything about it and that has your name in it?

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Eon, you created this account 3 hours ago, with the obvious purpose to raise this topic again.
To me, it sounds a lot more than “users want to have some guarantees” in a friendly discussion.
I’m aware that there is a small group of haters who are monitoring any of our message, official communication, with the sole purpose to hurt the /e/ project. I won’t play this game.

So, for now, our official answer about your questions is in the FAQ.

Therefore, if you find that we redistribute some modified or suspect APK through our installer. In this case, please tell us, and will figure out about the issue and find solutions and then you can put the shame on us.

Otherwise, you trust the system, and if you don’t trust, please use something else. There are plenty of alternatives, including F-Droid, Apkpure etc.

Obviously, the google play store will never be open source, and most of its applications
are proprietary software. So, the access to general purpose applications will remain something that cannot be a direct access to the source.

Some users have reported that they are using Aurora, which is doing a kind of proxy between the user and the play store. However, we won’t recommend this and will never integrate it into /e/ because it’s infriging the play store terms of services.

For this, we have to use indirect mechanisms, that don’t infrige the play store TOS, and therefore, we are using a service that is not officially part of the /e/ project, and which is called cleanapk.org

On the long run, we other plans with partners, to offer something more transparent, but it’s too soon to talk about this.

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I’ve been reading the forums for a while, since I installed /e/, but I’ve never needed to post anything. Indeed the Apps application worries me so when I saw the post about it I wanted to participate in the conversation and I created an account.

I do NOT want to hurt the /e/ project in anyway. I think the /e/ project is one of the most important open source projects right now, as we do not have any good alternative to mobile OS that is open. Furthermore, I would love this project to be successful, but for that it has to be a real alternative.

For me, to be a real alternative, it has to be legal. For this reason I am concerned about the Apps application.

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Thanks @gael for… Well. For answering.

To make things clear, I’m no kind of hater. Not /e/ hater, not /anything/ hater. Asking questions is not hating, it’s caring.

Now to move on to the real topic. I’m aware and saddened by the state of Android apps deployment these days. Developers are probably not going to upload their APKs anywhere out the Google Play Store, and this causes real pain to the whole Android ecosystem. You are striving to find a solution, that’s great. Your answer just doesn’t clarify anything, except about hypothetical future partnerships. So let’s hope this turns out well, but I’m no very optimistic.

What the… hell?! This remark is totally the opposite of the FOSS (and all GNU/Linux ecosystem) philosophy :slightly_frowning_face:. Why should I trust you when I can read your source, have it audited, and make my own opinion about your project? You’re basically asking us to follow you blindly or get away? This is insane, and, in my opinion, not the way /e/ will make a difference.

I do hope that /e/ will grow and eventually offer an alternative to Google’s Android. But I will proudly leave /e/ if this project’s mantra is “follow me without asking too much questions”.

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To make things clear, I’m no kind of hater. Not /e/ hater, not /anything/ hater. Asking questions is not hating, it’s caring.

I was talking about Eon, not you.

What the… hell?! This remark is totally the opposite of the FOSS (and all GNU/Linux ecosystem) philosophy :slightly_frowning_face:. Why should I trust you when I can read your source, have it audited, and make my own opinion about your project? You’re basically asking us to follow you blindly or get away? This is insane, and, in my opinion, not the way /e/ will make a difference.

There will NEVER be any open source repository of commercial Android apps. So this part will obviously use some proprietary stuff somewhere.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m not saying “follow me without asking”, I say: "challenge APKs that are delivered through the /e/'s app installer. Then if you detect and report that they are different from the source APKs, either we have a problem and we will fix it, or if we are doing bad things, put the shame on us.

However, the point here is our mission is to offer an ungoogled Android mobile OS, with more privacy, that offers the largest possible set of free and open source Android apps.
We’re doing the best on this purpose, with all the constraints of this world. But there is not magic on this, and again, an open source repository of commercial apps from play store will never exist.

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I was talking about Eon, not you.

I don’t think I was expressing any hate and I am sorry if that was what you felt. I was just posting information here about what was talked in other threads and trying to raise awareness of the situation.

I think in this thread, it was was for the first time said that you are not breaking the play store TOS, although we still don’t know how you can know it if you have no relation or knowledge of the cleanapk.org managers, like you said you didn’t.

Otherwise, you trust the system, and if you don’t trust, please use something else.

On my end, what I understand is that I have to trust your word in the matter that cleanapk.org is secure and that it is legal, but you also say you don’t know anything more about it than anyone else about this service.

I apreciate a lot the effort that you and the rest of the /e/ foundations is putting into this. However I won’t trust your word more than google’s word, specially in a core functionality like the source of the applications that I install.

Your persistent lack of transparency in this regard shows me that sadly /e/ is not the open platform that I thought it was, so I guess I will follow your advice.

There is a question that this topic reveals, and it’s about the ability of an alternative android ecosystem to be fully open source while having the idea to make it accessible to anybody, in the current android googled-locked world.

I can trust @gael and the /e/ team to do their best regarding building a fully functional android alternative ROM made for everybody and not just geeks.
Though, I’ve difficulties to see it fully open/FOSS on short/middle term.

Now if you guys are able to manage your ROM on a daily basis only with fully transparent apps and code, you have my respect.
Because I don’t have the skills to do so, and my wife, my mother and my friends neither…
:man_shrugging:t2:

What I’m pretty sure is that I might wait for /e/ to be perfect my whole life.
But to me, it doesn’t matter.
:man_shrugging:t2:

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You don’t know why https://api.cleanapk.org/ 1 shows: “Welcome to the /e/ app store API” despite not having any relation with /e/ foundation.

Presto-change-o. It now shows:

“Welcome to the cleanapk.org API”

I’m not a hater, but I’ve been interested in where this is heading for a while. I am a cautious skeptic. I’d be more of a fan if apps were installed peer-to-peer over Tor network, and I’m surprised cleanapk isn’t hosted off-shore on an island somewhere. Anybody remember Kim Dotcom? Gotta log off now. I hear sirens and helicopters!

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Your persistent lack of transparency

This is pure FUD.

However I will answer you: are you transparent? Who are you?
You are behind your screen, you are not transparent.

On my side, I’m not hiding myself, I’m putting all my life into this project. WE are taking the legal risks, if any, not you. And you are accusing me of a lack of transparency? Funny!

But I’m going to please you with another argument against /e/: I never said anytime that
we would be 100% transparent. Never. Actually I’m not for 100% transparency, not at all. For me 100% transparency is a form of totalitarianism.

We do open source, APKs can be compared with the ones from Play store or F-Droid. If there is an issue, people with raise it.

Then nobody is forced to use /e/. People who like it and trust us, they use it, others who don’t like it, they use something else. Very simple.

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@gael I do not want to further discuss anything with you, seeing how you take any kind of criticism or question that you don’t like. It is kind of ironic that you call me a hater…

However, the fact that now https://api.cleanapk.org/ says "Welcome to the cleanapk.org API” instead of "Welcome to the /e/ app store API” is the proof that you have been lying to your users. You said repeatedly that you didn’t know who managed cleanapk but now it is pretty clear that you are managing or have some control over it and for whatever reason you don’t want users to know that you do or to know more about it.

I’ve already made my mind and I will stop using /e/. Because of this and because your vision of /e/ (“trust me or leave”), but I think your users have the right to know that you are lying about cleanapk, and this is the only reason I replied again in this thread.

Good luck and happy life.

Has anybody else seen the change from:

"Welcome to the /e/ app store API”

to:

"Welcome to the cleanapk.org API” ?

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From the exchanges on this page it seems the intention is just to find fault with /e/ . If we answer the question of Apps in AppStore then it is a problem if we do not answer that is a conspiracy to hide things.

All that I can say is users are asking for apps like Facebook and Whatsapp. We are providing the apps to them through an indirect channel. We are working on ways to make to the whole process better and that will take time.

If you do not trust the app you get from Apps Store do not download it. Use other means of download you trust. We are not forcing any one to use Apps on the /e/ ROM or even /e/ ROM.

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Not me.

Just curious about a very specific and factual thing.

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Instead of going round and round asking the same question and still not being satisfied with the answer it would be better to educate users on this forum, your friends and family members not to use Facebook and twitter and so on.
There was a question asked on the forum if we should have unsafe apps on /e/ . Though personally i would not want anyone to dictate what apps I can have on my phone, I was expecting a total support for removing all unsafe apps from the users as a response to that discussion.
Instead In that discussion a lot of users still show support for the continuation of ‘unsafe’ apps in /e/. Also a good number of our users who got installed phones need a easy way to install these very unsafe apps so that they can be in touch with their friend and family members.
As mentioned above we will be continuing to use Apps as an installer for external applications on /e/ . Users can decide what store they want to use to install more apps.

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There was a question asked on the forum

Thanks for the link. I’d missed that poll and discussion.

users who got installed phones need a easy way to install these very unsafe apps so that they can be in touch with their friend and family members.

How about simply dialing their number and talking on the phone?

I never said anytime that we would be 100% transparent. Never. Actually I’m not for 100% transparency, not at all. For me 100% transparency is a form of totalitarianism.

This and the ad hominem attack on @eon has been very revealing, and frankly, shocking.

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