My impression of /e/ (and my decisions regarding default apps)

First of all, I’d like to say a big thank you to everybody who made it possible to have an up-to-date android OS without all the less appetizing Google stuff.
And another big thank you to all the people who wrote How Tos and similar documentation.

My only difficulties installing /e/ on a Fairphone 3+ came from

  • slightly outdated docs (it’s not possible to install TWRP as recovery, as the device does not support it)
  • My lack of understanding how the android bootloader locking/unlocking works (which caused a couple of unexpected factory resets). Not a fault of /e/ documentation, although a little hint would have saved me hours.

Aside from that, everything worked pretty much straightforward.

As for the /e/ default apps, here is a short note on what I think / whether I use them:

  • Bliss launcher: Too limited. Couldn’t arrange my app shortcuts the way I wanted (framing a wallpaper image). No (easy) way to get rid of default app icons. No way to mix widgets and app shortcuts. After some searching I went back to the old Fairphone 2 Launcher
  • Browser: Used only to install F-Droid. I try to avoid Chromium-based browsers on principle, so no really issue with the app as provided by /e/
  • Calendar: Tried it with my offline calendars exported from my old phone. Would have worked for me, but lack of a widget made me switch back to Etar
  • Camera: Nice, I am using it. Was already used to OpenCamera, so no big change for me. Some nice improvements from my point of view (or just better default configuration? Doesn’t really matter for me)
  • Clock: Works, using it
  • Contacts: Works, using it
  • Files: Used on occasion, installed Simple File Manager also because SyncThing Fork doesn’t seem to work with Files
  • Gallery: Didn’t really try, was happy with Simple Gallery Pro (and switched to it)
  • Magic Earth: No idea what this is and what I’d need it for
  • Maps: Didn’t try. Was happy with OSMand and went back to it.
  • Mail: Didn’t try, Was happy with K9 Mail previously, so switched back to it
  • Message: Didn’t try. was happy with QKSMS and switched back to it
  • Notes: Haven’t tried
  • OpenKeychain: Haven’t tried
  • Pdf Viewer Plus: Haven’t tried. Was happy with Librera Reader and switched back to it
  • Phone: Works. Using it
  • Recorder: Haven’t tried, but intent to try before I install a different app
  • Tasks: Haven’t tried
  • Weather: Using it via widget

My only real “sad face” moment was when I realized there is currently no convenient non-cloud backup solution. Without an unlocked bootloader I cannot use TWRP as I did on the Fairphone 2, and I also don’t want to root my phone (for the likes of oandbackup). Some hopes for SeedVault, though :slightly_smiling_face:

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I get your point. But the browser is well revised. Maybe you give it a try some time later.

It is an OpenCamera fork just with some updates missing. I also stick with /e/s fork.

It appears to be a privacy friendly navigation software. I don’t use it. OSMAnd is also my favorite.

It is a fork of k9 with some enhancements. I switched from k9 to mail.

For the others similar for me.

Then the default configuration is better than what I had. Displaying e.g. current ISO level as overlay is really helpful.

Does it import exported K9 settings?

Yes it does. Just enter the password at the final steps of the import and it should work.

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I have to add a major annoyance: Severe restrictions disabling default apps you don’t want to use (or at least silence them).

For example, I use a different calendar app with the offline calendar. Because I can neither disable Calendar, nor disable it’s notifications, I now always get two notification for every upcoming event. I might understand the motivation for locking the “disable app” (after all, then you need to test what happens if no calendar app is configured), but I don’t understand the motivation for locking the notification settings.

It reminds me of Bixby on a Samsung device which you just cannot get rid of. But I understand that Samsung wants to push their own products hard for future profit, I don’t see how /e benefits from forcing users to use the stock apps.

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Hallo,
I can confirm the experience from Asperamanca:
Using the latest E-Version on a Fairphone2: the Bliss-Launcher annoys me most.
No space for widgets, the weather-app is crappy, … .

Please give us room for other, certainly better launchers!

I installed Open-Launcher, Trebuchet, Lawnchair, … but after every reboot Bliss awakes from the dead and kills the other launcher by beeing the new and old “standard-option”. Uaargh.

Another problem: I prefer F-Droid and don’t really trust the pre-installed “Apps”-Store choice of APK-data-server. I realized a strange behaviour with the apps mixing up from different sources, including the vanishing of apps.

“E” in my opinion is (on a FP2) today better usable than the actual LineageOS, but … my last concern: “E” IS NOT ROOTABLE.
I know that this coding-problem seems huge, but if you take your companies-mantra “Your data is your data” serious, you must give us root access.

Greetings

You have to set the new launcher as the default launcher in
Settings>>Apps and notification>>Default apps>>Home app here select the new launcher and make it the default launcher …that will persist across reboots

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You can.


You can uninstall the pre-installed Apps installer with the link given above.
Pre-installed Apps you decide to keep still get updated via OS updates.


Why not? Seems to work …

This forum has a search function. And if in doubt you could still ask before just assuming anybody would prevent you from doing anything :wink: .

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You say I can disable calendar, but follow with instructions to uninstall it. I suspect that Calendar would take away the offline calendars as well when uninstalling, so I dare not do that.

EDIT: Thank you for trying to offer help on this. But actually, I made a troubleshooting post for that part of the discussion. Here, I just wanted to point out that “my data is my data” to me somewhat also implies “my app choices are my app choices”, so I wondered about the decision by the /e/ team to restrict user choices in this area so severely.

Please keep in mind the the current version of e is in beta stage. Things are going to change presumably. At least your suggestion is known.

Their focus appears to be a feature complete (cloud, STT & TTS, basic apps, stable upgrade paths OTA, support for > 90 devices, …, App store) system. With such a comparable small team (~ 14 people) quite a task IMHO.

You can tweak e as any other android. Not as easy as many wish but possible.

I guess they made the decsion to make the technical support a realistic task. Imagin a situation where the support get gets flooded by bug reports and support requests of apps not known by e support in detail.

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I still link to that post because it has instructions from start to finish.
If you would have looked at the next post below that you would have seen


Android gives you certain possibilities in general, and /e/ developers don’t “severely” restrict you in that sense unless they take those possibilities away, which they don’t do. So in fact your App choices are your App choices in the standard Android way currently.
That you want to have an easier way for disabling pre-installed Apps is fair enough, but I can’t imagine this becoming an urgent issue anytime soon.

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Hi Manoj,
I know and I used this setting, but it doesn’t survive the reboot. After the reboot it says: “Launcher: None” (and starts Bliss) or I can select another Launcher… till reboot …
Maybe a fresh install …

Hallo AnotherElk,
maybe I didn’t point out that my wish “deleting standard apps” an “have an rooted phone” meant, that I don’t have to use ADB’s or geek stuff or rprocedures with +10 points.

If an OS wants to survive in this field, an average user should know who to use it:

  • I want to replace an App -> I throw it to the trashbin or I hit “remove”.
  • I want an rooted phone (for any serious Firewall, Security-Apps, … ) -> I hit “Become root” or install some kind of “SU Addon”. I know Magisk but it is for geeks and can easily destroy your OS.
    A user needs an easy solution (as in the older Lineage-versions) or (after one or two magic Magisk-Crashes he just gives up an switches back to his old stock Android.)

And yes, I know the search function … but find my points from above are not solved yet. (at least for an average user willing to try “E”). Maybe they are to complex to be solved soon (which was stated in other forum posts).

Of course I think the E-Team is doing a great job! Just wanted to give my perspective as an user.

Greetings.

Ok, sorry for that. I was in a hurry and only reading headlines.
I think I still prefer the suggestion of removing “Calendar permissions” for the Calendar app, because I won’t have to bypass system setting ui.

I don’t know a thing about Android system development. From my general experience as developer, I assumed that while they are already replacing stock Google apps with different ones, options such as “can be uninstalled”, “can be disabled”, “notifications can be disabled” would only be flags that a developer either sets or doesn’t set - so no extra work (or even extra work to set them).

Yes, I noted that in a previous post, and I understand it from a developer perspective. But then, being more customizable than the Samsung or Xaomi variants of Android sounds like a major selling point to me. And replacing the stock Calendar app with a different one doesn’t sound that outlandish to me. I could do that easily with any Android I previously had.

Tech support will have to distinguish between App and OS anyway, at any time. For example, I had phone crashes. They even reappeared when rebooting.
App or OS problem?
Turns out, an app caused a rendering exception - when displaying a notification, it crashed the complete Android UI
App or OS problem?
Turns out this rendering error was caused by a fixed security issue, and many vendors had held back that specific security fix (but mine hadn’t)
App or OS problem?
Turns out app was using an outdated, but still working API which contained the security issue. Someone in the Android development felt it safer to crash the UI than allow a potential security hole in such a case.

It’s complicated, and the times where you buy a phone with a set of stock apps and that’s it, they are over.

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