TWIF 38

This Week In F-Droid 38, Week 02, 2019 Feed

In this edition: F-Droid 1.5.1 is the recommended version, firewall apps in the spotlight. There are 3 new and 77 updated apps.

F-Droid is a repository of verified free and open source Android apps, a client to access it, as well as a whole “app store kit”, providing all the tools needed to set up and run an app store. It is a community-run free software project developed by a wide range of contributors. This is their story this past week.

F-Droid version 1.5.1

Major The main F-Droid client has a new recommended version, while it only has some translations fixes and one graphics one (screenshot background on dark themes) compared to 1.5 (announced in TWIF36), it will appear for automatic install for users of 1.4 or older too.

Firewall apps in the spotlight

“The 35th Chaos Communications Congress (35c3) ended about two weeks ago, and F-Droid was well represented there. Indeed, tons of free software projects and communities were there…“, and you can read more about in the dedicated F-Droid at 35c3 post. One of the more interesting, yet chilling, talks there was “How Facebook tracks you on Android (even if you don’t have a Facebook account)” bringing to the light the ways that the Facebook SDK embedded into everyday (popular and closed sourced) apps becomes means to track users.

One of the slides mentioned that firewalls, AFWall+ and NetGuard, can contain data leaking to the Facebook servers, and while we would recommend you not to use apps that feature tracking, the good news is that both firewalls are available in F-Droid. Keep in mind that while NetGuard uses a local VPN to filter traffic, hence it can work on any device, AFWall+ needs a rooted device to function.

An alternative firewall app, based on a local VPN too, is also Blokada, recently reviewed (in German) by Mike Kuketz on his blog here.

F-Droid PHP library

Izzy’s PHP library for parsing F-Droid repositories is now an official part of the F-Droid software offering: https://gitlab.com/fdroid/php-fdroid

Contributions are welcome for adding support for index-v1.json and signature verification of index-v1.jar. We already have Java, Python, and Ruby code for doing this, so it should be fairly easy to do. Potential contributors should coordinate with Izzy.

New apps

  • Dice Overflow: A simple board logical game, it is a mix between dice and the ColorOverflow game. The goal of the game is to conquer all cells on the board.
  • Oversec: Privacy for All Apps! Encrypt and Disguise Messages in All Your Apps! You need to see the videos linked in the description!
  • SaidIt: An official client for the news site saidit.net. This app is a fork of QuantumBadger’s RedReader.

Updated apps

In total, 77 apps were updated this week. While they all got their bugs fixed, their translations updated and expanded, here are the highlights:

  • Etar 1.0.14 saw some bug fixes, a new theme too. Also users are advised to switch to another calendar widget app since this functionality has been removed from Etar.

  • ICSdroid is now known as ICSx⁵ following in the steps of DAVx⁵. You can read more about this here.

  • Mastalab keeps its update pace, already at 1.63.1 bringing
    • Login with Peertube accounts
    • Display five timelines (Subscriptions, Overview, Trending, Recently added, Local) with pagination
    • Display accounts and their channels
    • Follow / Unfollow accounts and channels
    • Watch comments + write/remove comments
    • Vote on videos (thumbs-up, thumbs-down, remove rating).
    • Pick up three different modes for videos (Torrent/Webview/Direct)
    • Video starts automatically in fullscreen in landscape orientation.
  • Did we mention Peertube? Yes, even more news, as the app got updated to 1.0.23 adding a work-in-progress like/dislike function, translations updates, general UI polish and video downloads.

  • miniVector was updated to 0.8.21 tracking the upstream Riot.im update that was featured in TWIF37 last week.

  • Movim the distributed social networking platform based on XMPP has a new version of their app out, almost 2 years to the day. While the app (a wrapper around Webview) saw just a little polish, the services it connects to have evolved a great deal in the mean time, you can read more here.

  • “Muzei Live Wallpaper” got updated to version 3.0, so while we wait for the main Muzei app to be updated (soon), apps like Mysplash and Muzei - Bing Image of the Day that hook up with it had to update as well in order to be compatible with the updated APIs.

  • UserLAnd 2.1.0 is already here, so update, as the crashes in the new terminal were fixed.

Tips and Feedback

Do you have important app updates we should write about? Send in your tips via Mastodon! Send them to @fdroidorg@mastodon.technology and remember to tag with #TWIF. Or use the TWIF submission thread on the forum. The deadline to the next TWIF is Thursday 12:00 UTC.

General feedback can also be sent via Mastodon, or, if you’d like to have a live chat, you can find us in #fdroid on Freenode, on Matrix via #fdroid:f-droid.org or on Telegram. All of these spaces are bridged together, so the choice is yours. You can also join us on the forum.