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F-Droid

F-Droid
Official F-Droid-Logo
Developer(s) Ciaran Gultnieks, F-Droid Limited
Initial release 29 September 2010 (2010-09-29)
Stable release 0.96.1 (24 September 2015 (2015-09-24))
Development status Active / 1,635+ apps (as of September 2015)
Written in Python (server), PHP (site), Java (client)
Operating system GNU/Linux (server), Android (client)
Type Digital distribution of free software, Software repository
License GNU GPLv3+
Website .orgf-droid

F-Droid is a software repository (or "app store") for Android applications. The main repository, hosted by the project, contains only apps which are free and open-source software. It works similarly to the Google Play store. Applications can be browsed and installed from the F-Droid website or client app without the need to register for an account. "Anti-features" such as advertising, user tracking, or dependence on non-free software are flagged in app descriptions.[1] The website also offers the source code of applications it hosts as well as the software running the F-Droid server, allowing anyone to set up their own app repository.[2][3][4]

Contents

  • History 1
  • Scope of project 2
  • Client application 3
  • See also 4
  • References 5
  • Further reading 6
  • External links 7

History

Development rate of F-Droid has increased over time[5]

F-Droid was founded by Ciaran Gultnieks in 2010. The client was forked from Aptoide's source code.[6][7] The project is now run by the English non-profit F-Droid Limited.[7]

Replicant, a fully free software Android operating system, uses F-Droid as its default and recommended app store.[8][9] The Guardian Project, a suite of free and secure Android applications, started running their own F-Droid repository in early 2012.[10] In 2012 Free Software Foundation Europe featured F-Droid in their Free Your Android! campaign to raise awareness of the privacy and security risks of proprietary software.[11][12] F-Droid was chosen as part of the GNU Project's GNU a Day initiative during their 30th anniversary to encourage more use of free software.[13]

Scope of project

The F-Droid repository contains a growing number of more than 1,555 apps, compared to over 1.43 million on the Google Play Store. The project incorporates several software sub-projects:

  • Client software for searching, downloading, verifying and updating Android apps from an F-Droid repository;
  • fdroidserver – tool for managing existing and creating new repositories.
  • WordPress-based web front end to a repository.

F-Droid builds apps from publicly available and freely licensed source code. The project is run entirely by volunteers and has no formal app review process.[14] New apps are contributed by user submissions or the developers themselves. The only requirement is that they be free of proprietary software.[15]

Client application

Get it on F-Droid logo

To install the F-Droid client the user has to allow installation from "Unknown sources" in Android settings[16] and retrieve the APK (installable file) from the official site. Installation is not available through the Google Play store due to the non-compete clause of the Google Play Developer Distribution Agreement.[17]

The client was designed to be resilient against surveillance, censorship, and unreliable Internet connections. To promote anonymity it supports HTTP proxies and repos hosted on Tor hidden services. Client devices can function as impromptu "app stores" distributing downloaded apps to other devices over local Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Android Beam.[18][19] The F-Droid client app will automatically offer updates for installed F-Droid apps. F-Droid uses its own keys to sign packages, so apps previously installed from another source must be reinstalled to receive updates.[20]

See also

References

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Further reading

External links

  • Official website
  • Frontend for F-Droid
  • F-Droid's wiki
  • F-Droid Android package at the F-Droid repository
  • Android markets at DMOZ
  • Interview with Ciaran Gultnieks of F-Droid conducted by the Free Software Foundation
  • F-Droid listing at the PRISM Break project
  • F-Droid at FOSDEM – Daniel Martí presents F-Droid in a talk to attendees of FOSDEM 2014
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