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    FWIW, as far as the initial story about developing for Android requiring huge IDE downloads, I’m finishing a hobby project that makes it possible to write apps for Android purely in Nim, with no JRE/Android Studio required. For now it still needs Android NDK, but I have reasons to hope it might actually work with Zig’s C cross-compiler instead. The technical part is ready since a few weeks ago (woohoo!), now I need to put in some more work to polish it enough for public consumption (even for just the early adopters). In meantime, I hope to do a presentation about it and its current status during the virtual Nim conference expected to happen on Jun 6.

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      Incidentally, what the author describes sounds like a lot of work compared to downloading Android Studio (not my favourite IDE) while the results look more than lacklustre.

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      i noticed the same thing when i had an n900 - if i wanted some smallish app i could just sit down and write a minimally polished quick version for my own use. now that i use an android, i really miss that feeling of small apps being quick and pleasant to write.

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        I miss the n900 so much. That hardware keyboard was fantastic too.

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          There is a slide out keyboard planned for the pinephone. It’s been delayed by all the everything this year but it sounds like they’re still hoping to ship it in 2020.

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          It was one of the best laying down or public transport devices ever. Backlit keyboard, sized so you could use it even if you’re forced to rhesus monkey on a bus… Actually ran a Debian based distro. Those were the days. It was super useful like my Sharp Zaurus.

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          I don’t get the excitement for the PinePhone, and I’ve owned a Palm Pre, a Nokia N900 and a Sailfish Jolla. The problem with all of these is mostly software. For the N900 and Jolla (I think) you had poor documentation and had to create RPMs. Tolerating this is far too much of an ask for the average mobile dev, and without them you’ll have 2 or 3 apps a day instead of the thousands on other platforms. You need to ship an IDE with a “Build now” button that packages it for you, and a second button to upload it to your (free) developer account.

          Succeeding on the mobile landscape enough to have a 2nd gen model, or even keeping their software updated, is going to take sales to more than hobbyists - and that means quality software tools and documentation. IMHO the hardware is mostly secondary, since most mobile chipsets these days can deliver a good enough “first version” to prove the model. I hope I’m wrong, but I’m not hopeful for the PinePhone.

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            You need to ship an IDE with a “Build now” button that packages it for you, and a second button to upload it to your (free) developer account

            I don’t think that Jolla is really that far off with this. Using the Sailfish SDK you have a build now button, and then a run/deploy button that installs it and runs directly on the phone connected over a USB cable. You don’t even need to know what RPMs are: in fact, one of the deployment options skipped it entirely in favour of just rsyncing the files. Unless you mean the actual, „production” deployment: then yes, you need to build all the RPMs and submit it to a website manually. Harbour is criminally underdeveloped.

            As for poor documentation, agreed: Sailfish app development is full of tribal knowledge :/

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              And it’s a shame, because Sailfish seems to have failed without having the basics in for developers - what did they expect? It’s like having a website with a malfunctioning shopping cart and wondering why you went bankrupt.

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                Funny you should mention that specifically: over 5 years after it’s been first released Sailfish still has no support for paid apps: and I remember it being asked for at least as long as I’ve lurked on #mer-meeting for the weekly community chats.

                And then there’s the missing APIs… Qt has a standard library for displaying tiled maps with simple overlays. A Map { } is literally an import away. For some reason, that API is still not allowed in Harbour, so if you want a map-using app in the official Jolla Store, good luck rolling out your own map renderer. And examples like these go on and on: to the point where the de-facto store with state-of-the-art apps is the unofficial https://openrepos.net/, with actual depedency management, no artificial restrictions and even trivial things like being notified on user comments about your apps.

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              I’m personally excited by it because it’s a $200 phone that’s actively manufactured with (nearly) mainline’d drivers. I’ve got the braveheart version and it’s amazing to have a phone that I know I won’t have to recycle just because google decided to stop releasing updates for.

              AFAIK, with most phone SOCs there are non-opensource drivers that are provided from the mfg, that can’t be up-streamed, which makes you dependent on the mfg to provide updates.

              Also, I don’t see the limited selection of apps as a strong negative. Can you really say with a straight face that the vast majority of those 1000s of apps are beneficial to you in any way? I don’t personally see this as a more is better situation. You just need to search any store for “flashlight” to see that it’s really more of a problem that a benefit. I’d much rather have an opinionated repository of applications that someone has done at least a minimum amount of vetting to check that’s they apps it contains aren’t actively and explicitly harmful. And with the pinephone anyway it’s not like you’re opting into a walled garden, it’s more like a selection of different gardens with paving stones that someone has laid to show where they have checked it’s safe to step. But you can always walk where ever you want (and just go pipe some curl to sh because a readme told you to).

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                Also, I don’t see the limited selection of apps as a strong negative. Can you really say with a straight face that the vast majority of those 1000s of apps are beneficial to you in any way? I don’t personally see this as a more is better situation.

                At the end of the day, those apps are needed for the PinePhone to have a future. Or else you’ll just have a repeat of the kind of apps that F-Droid already has.

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                  I don’t think having thousands of flashlight apps that all want to track your location and phone history is ‘needed’.

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                    Location and phone history tracking aside, apps that hobbyists don’t necessarily want are maybe a path to success. Otherwise it’s a repeat of WebOS, Maemo and Sailfish.

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                      What makes you think that Pine64 (and Purism, for that matter) are measuring success based on market share vs. Android/iOS? Dismissing alternative mobile operating systems because they don’t have a goal of immediate world domination is silly. These options can still be successful even if your grandma isn’t using it.

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                        I’m not advocating for world domination, just staying afloat long enough for us to see this going somewhere. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve owned a number of alt phones and they all end up folding. I see nothing different about this one.

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                          Sailfish/Jolla hasn’t folded. WebOS and Maemo/Meego/Tizen folded because they were trying to achieve world domination, and therefore had a massive uphill battle to win in order for the companies investing in them to see it as a success.

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                            Jolla doesn’t make hardware anymore, right? Would that be an acceptable outcome for Pine64?

                            Regardless, hardware doesn’t really matter in the end. It’s all about software and solving problems for users. Relying on free software is not a winning strategy long term. Hence the “year of Linux on the desktop” recurring joke. If we rely on the average FLOSS app on mobile to be the poster child for PinePhone, people will just flock to other platforms because they work better. Design is not opensource software’s forté.

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                    There’s clearly a large space between what’s in the google play store and the f-droid repos. I agree with you that a phone that only had access to f-droid wouldn’t be successful. (And I say that as someone that gets as many apps as I can from f-droid.) But I think the pinephone is better off nearer the f-droid end than the play store end.

                    I feel like desktop linux is a better comparison since most of the OS options for the pinephone are basically that with a compressed UI. Places like flat-hub have both open source and closed source software. There’s many more recognizable apps available. f-droid is much more focused on open source only because the play store already exists so it doesn’t need to cater to users looking to use closed source software.

                    We’re getting really far away from your original question that I was giving my answer to, I’ll just say (and I may not have made this super clear in my earlier reply): I’m excited for the pinephone, not because the ecosystem as it exists today is ready to be my one and only phone, but because the hardware that does exist seems to be a great vehicle for the software ecosystem to mature on. The fact that the kernel portions are all either already mainline or well on their way, it means that it won’t get left behind in the same way the previous best options would.

                    That combined with the fact that pine aren’t trying to do everything themselves and are leaving the software up to the community means that development of the higher-level parts of the software stack that don’t yet exist will continue to be made almost no matter what.

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                      I install 100% of the apps I use from f-droid. Sure, it means I miss out on the latest android app trends (at least until there’s a FOSS clone or client on f-droid), but the device I have now is still far more functional even with this ‘limitation’ than one from 10 years ago.

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                        Yeah, it’s definitely possible and I’d be right there with you if it weren’t for the fact that my job depends on having access to an app that requires the play store APIs (or an iPhone). However, I don’t really think that a phone that only had access to f-droid would be enough of a commercial success to sustain it’s own development costs, as much as I’d love to see one succeed. It’s a just too much of a niche of a niche of a niche.

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                          The key thing about the pinephone is that it doesn’t need to be a commercial success. It’s a labour of love from a company that already has a thriving income from their SoC business. Iirc they’re even selling the hardware at cost. So this isn’t a one-shot-or-bust project like most other linux phones - they can provide the breathing time for a community to gel around the platform and maybe solve the chicken-and-egg problem of not having any software because there isn’t any supported hardware.