Threads for keverets

  1. 9

    I’m still sad about the state of messengers. One one hand you have Telegram and Signal which are two walled gardens with a closed-source server. (Signal being slightly worse as the author does not want it to be packaged for fdroid, and released a few versions without publishing the source code prior to integrating his cryptocurrency-scam in it.)

    On the other hand, the decentralised alternatives are miles behind WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal. Jami just does not work for me and my friends (messages are not going through) and is a battery killer. (Messages are not being received) Tox has one of the worst UI/UX I’ve ever experienced (let alone push notifications being broken) And Matrix’s support for E2EE is not widespread.

    I appreciate the community effort, but unfortunately I still use Telegram :( .

    1. 25

      I’m not sure it’s fair to place Telegram and Signal in the same category, at least not if E2EE is important to you.

      The vast majority of Telegram’s chats are stored in plaintext on their servers. Group chats cannot be end-to-end encrypted, and you have to manually start a secret chat between two people if you want E2EE. In spite of this, Telegram continues to be seen as a secure messenger – which is why a 2017 study found that many Telegram users mistakenly think their chats are end-to-end encrypted when they’re not.

      1. 2

        I did not realise this and now it makes sense to me that they can delete group chats.

        1. 2

          Yes. Telegram has to be used with over mitts, I agree. I don’t do any group chat, and only secure chats.

        2. 10

          I have no expectation that Telegram is actually secure. I just find it moderately interesting it’s one of the few modern IM services with open client APIs.

          1. 9

            I’m with you on the Telegram and Signal, though I still use both for some contacts. What has been working better for me, though, was setting up a hosted Snikket instance and then I got my family using that. It’s XMPP/Jabber (with OMEMO for the e2ee, which is based on the Signal protocol), and actually has good mobile clients. It’s one of the few ways the iOS family members get consistent notifications and experience. Might be worth a try if you’re ever up for trying another one.

            1. 8

              matrix works great for me.

              1. 12

                People keep saying this, but I don’t know when it’ll actually be the case. Every time I try it, I get disappointed by mediocre clients, resource hogging server, and inadequate moderation tools for groups.

                1. 6

                  I tried matrix about 3 years ago I think, it worked, but it wasn’t great. In fact I self-hosted a matrix server, and while playing it filled my server with garbage from IRC-bridges, etc… So after one year or so, I uninstalled matrix, and just used a self-hosted IRC server, and for my group of geeky friends it was ok.

                  Then, after a while, IRC show some limits, so we’ve tried to use matrix again, about 1 year ago, and there were a lot of progress. The client is a lot better, the server too, I just forgot about it, and it “just works”. The e2ee user interface is a lot better than a few years ago.

                  So if you haven’t tried matrix in a while you should really try it again. Really, now I think matrix is ready.

                  1. 4

                    resource hogging server

                    conduit.rs has been running flawlessly for me, for a couple months now - way less resource-hungry than the Synapse stack (albeit, with some missing features).

                    1. 2

                      If you haven’t tried element in, say the last 3-4 months, then you aren’t up to date.

                      1. 7

                        I have and it’s still not great. The interface is a bit confusing (i.e. the multiple levels of hierarchy for chat, the weird spaces thing that’s trying to paper over federation, etc.) and lacks this je ne sais quoi other clients have that makes it feel wrong for lack of a better term.

                    2. 6

                      just wanted to say: matrix/element has come a long way. Due to it being used across orgs without federation (work vs family) I’d say the biggest downside is that there is no recommended way for multiple accounts on one device (especially mobile). Otherwise it works great.

                      1. 5

                        It REALLY has. But sadly I think the fact that @acatton did a whole ‘state of messengers’ and didn’t even mention Matrix is a great example of how it’s gaining mindshare, but VERY slowly and not with non technical users.

                        The clients are IMO finally ready for that to happen, now we just need more people to actually try the updated versions and figure out how good it can be.e

                        Meanwhile sadly 99% of the communities I actually want to chat on are Discord or Slack :(

                    3. 6

                      If you’re ever in the mood to try again, I suggest exploring Snikket.

                      1. 3

                        I use prosody xmpp server with Conversations from f-droid on mobile. It works great for me and my friends and family. It is also very fast and easy to setup. Server to server works flawlessly so I can connect with others easily and without creating an account.

                        1. 3

                          Can you provide more context or links around Signal’s cryptocurrency-scam that you mention? I could only locate a Verge article, but nothing more technical. Thanks.

                            1. 2

                              Thank you. Yes, it does.

                          1. 3

                            miles behind WhatsApp/Telegram/Signal.

                            I know it wasn’t your intention, but just to clarify, this makes it seem as if these three are of similar quality. However, Telegram is miles ahead of WhatsApp.

                            1. 2

                              Signal being slightly worse as the author does not want it to be packaged for fdroid

                              This is pretty valid though. F-droid’s whole build process is really strange. It also isn’t built with security in mind.

                            1. 1

                              The software support is the biggest reason. iPhones get years of security and feature updates. I can’t think of any Android phone that gets updates as long as an iPhone 6S.

                              Neither of those platforms offer real user ‘repair’ of the software so the comparison is not a useful one here. You might argue that you can more easily write software for your android phone than an iphone, or that it is possible even to create your own version of android or install one from someone else. The reality however is that this is hard and complicated. It is definitely not an option that the average consumer has available. For most people android is exactly as much of a walled garden as ios. I am a programmer but when I tried getting an operating system I had control over on a samsung years back I gave up in frustration after hours of failures. I also soft bricked it because of vendor lock-in measures.

                              Compare this with an actual right to repair phone, such as the pine phone. I got one to test it out and although I would not recommend it to my parents, I was able to flash the os and try out a bunch of different distros. I think I could even teach my parents to flash a pine phone, I just don’t think that is something they want to do. I can use ubuntu, debian, arch, just to name some big ones. I am not afraid that there will no longer be a supported OS for my phone in 10 years. I might not have the newest developments but the archived images will still work and the full functionality the phone currently has it will have until it falls apart. Also I can write my own software for it as trivially as making a .py file.

                              What apple and google call ‘support’ I neither want nor need. I also feel that support is a massive euphemism for what they really offer which is more like a combination of big brother and nanny. I want to own my devices not rent them from a megacorp.

                              I feel this also reflects the general tone of the article. Rather than focusing on what right to repair could mean if applied sensibly, it merely lists a few ways in which it could be applied that are not very effective or useful.

                              1. 1

                                The same line rubs me the wrong way. The iPhone 6S was released 5 years ago, as was the FairPhone 2; they’re both officially supported during the same time. Looking at older generations to see how long support might go for (there’s no commitment from Apple that I can find), the iPhone 5 was released in 2012 and had its last software update in 2019. 7 years is very good for official support, and does beat any Android device thus far, but the difference is that there is still support and security updates available for the Nexus 4 and Galaxy S3 (both released 2012) via third parties such as e.foundation. Those updates are expected to continue as well.

                                As noted, not everyone has an interest or the ability to install a third party ROM, but the availability of them means that it’s reasonable to keep these old devices running well beyond the official manufacturer’s intent, which is something that is not possible with iPhones. Once Apple gives up on them, they’re done.

                                I agree that the Pinephone (and Librem 5) are likely to be even better for longevity, and I hope that postmarketOS matures on those platforms and then the gains can be brought to other (mainly Android) devices through community support.

                                I appreciate the emphasis on trade-offs that the article tries to make, but I also agree that it appears to be unbalanced in the focus on somewhat strawman arguments over particular technology choices. It’s good to think about some of these potential issues (which I think was the intent) but then the tone of the article and the solutions provided end up taking away from that point.

                                1. 1

                                  What apple and google call ‘support’ I neither want nor need. I also feel that support is a massive euphemism for what they really offer which is more like a combination of big brother and nanny. I want to own my devices not rent them from a megacorp.

                                  Absolutely. But…

                                  I think I could even teach my parents to flash a pine phone, I just don’t think that is something they want to do.

                                  And it’s not just parents. Programmers also tend to hate “yak shaving”. There are so many cases people are too lazy/uninterested to even want to exercise the control they could potentially have, it’s not a huge market. The mass marketed devices all have no control and people are just fine with it. The second-order effects that this lack of control brings might be a problem, but most people aren’t aware that this is how it works, and just shrug and buy a new gadget.

                                  I guess I’m just getting old and cynical, but I see very little hope for things really improving.

                                  1. 1

                                    I guess I’m just getting old and cynical, but I see very little hope for things really improving.

                                    Actually the right to repair train has a lot of momentum in the European parliament and some companies that sell to Europe are already taking steps to comply. If you live in the US there might be more grounds for cynicism, but then again you can always buy your tech from European companies.

                                    It is not about the majority that might not be interested in a particular freedom, it is about the few who are. Not many people use mechanical typewriters or listen to Blind Melon but the government should still protect the right to do so. Also most people do get a bit upset when they find out the phone they paid 1k for has a dead battery and they are not legally allowed or practically able to replace it. People also would love to be able to go to a repair shop and pay a reasonable price for a basic component replacement. Most of them may have forgotten that that was ever a thing but they would pick it up again pretty fast.

                                1. 4

                                  I was totally onboard with this article until the “Why so much opposition to dropping the ISO file?” section. That part is blatant ageism (there are many 80+ year olds who are interested in using the constantly changing technology so blaming an age group on opposition based on “a couple of them” is very disingenuous), and also shows a complete lack of understanding about why older technology can be (and often is) better than the “latest and greatest”. Having simple things that Just Work and will continue to work for 20+ years is a lot better than a “current” thing that over-complicates the problem and has a very limited life span (~18 months).

                                  It’s just seems to me to be such an odd position for someone who appears to be responsible for a Linux distribution which is intended to be “Easy” and “Simple”.

                                  1. 9

                                    babymosesinabasket, was not expecting to see Google use suckless.org’s sbase, all with their minimalist software and quirky argument parsing (ahh, arg.h, my favorite) in the name of “simplicity” (since when did Google care about that?). Maybe because it’d be easier to port, being much smaller than, say, Busybox or GNU coreutils?

                                    1. 19

                                      We also use a fork of musl for our libc. When you’re really not unix it’s way easier to get something very simple up and running. The things I did to get opensshd running are not pretty.

                                      (I work on Fuchsia, I do not speak for my employer, etc)

                                      1. 5

                                        As someone who works on Fuchsia, can you comment on something that’s missing from the article: namely, there’s fear that a primary motivation for developing an alternative to Linux is to avoid the copyleft requirements of the GPLv2. This would result in creating devices for which alternative operating systems such as LineagoOS or PostmarketOS would no longer be possible. Is this discussed or a concern by people who are working directly on Fuchsia?

                                        1. 3

                                          I can’t comment on what my lovely employer’s motivations are - they seem to have a general policy of releasing under Apache-style licenses which I think is roughly what most of what Fuchsia is released under. Much of the internal documentation about this stuff is posted publicly. If the primary goal was to have an operating system that didn’t have the constraints of the GPL then building something largely from scratch would seem to me to be a terribly inefficient way to do it. There are plenty of great operating systems like FreeBSD that could easily be taken as the basis for a non-GPL Linux replacement. FreeBSD, being a POSIX-style OS is much much closer to Linux than Fuchsia is or is designed to be.

                                          I personally am an ardent believer in copyleft, especially the *GPL family. I remember where I was sitting about 25 years ago when my friend Peter told me to read What Is Free Software. Over the past 25 years I’ve worked for companies that have written both free software (under a variety of licenses including GPL, MPL & Apache) and proprietary software. I’ve contributed to a open source projects and released my own creations. When I own the copyright on something I almost always choose the GPL or LGPL unless there’s a clearly established alternative license within the ecosystem I’m contributing to. While lots of the work I’ve done hasn’t increased the amount of software freedom in the world I wouldn’t work on something that I thought would reduce the amount of software freedom and I don’t think Fuchsia does.

                                      2. 6

                                        I also assume they used our sbase due to portability and licensing, and am glad to know they were able to make use of it.

                                        What’s wrong with arg.h’s rock-solid argument parsing? :)

                                        1. 2

                                          What’s wrong with arg.h’s rock-solid argument parsing? :)

                                          I have a love-hate relation with it. On one hand, it’s slightly more straightforward to use than getopt, and works perfectly on Windows. On the other hand, it doesn’t support long arguments and I recall it having strange parsing issues with certain inputs (but that was a while ago, it’s entirely possible that I’m misremembering or that the issues were fixed in the mean time).

                                      1. 4

                                        There’s a lot of ideological language there, but I don’t see the actual point, I.e. how winning this suit would benefit users.

                                        How does access to the GPL’d source code used in Vizio TVs make it possible to repair the TV? It doesn’t make it any easier to modify the proprietary software in the TV, and it doesn’t provide access to the build system or docs of the specs of the internal hardware.

                                        And how likely is a TV to fail because of a flaw in the firmware? Usually it’s a hardware failure, or else network-based services fail because the manufacturer turns off the servers they talk to, neither of which is related to this.

                                        The most likely outcome seems to be that Vizio will just avoid copyleft software in the future.

                                        1. 21

                                          IANAL, but if successful, it would set a precedent allowing for companies violating software licenses to be sued by or on behalf of their users, as opposed to the current situation where only the copyright holders themselves are considered to have standing.

                                          This would be a Good Thing.

                                          1. 16

                                            There are some other good comments about direct benefits to users, but I think it’s worth keeping in mind that these kind of enforcement actions can have really positive indirect benefits as well. For example, a successful enforcement action against Cisco/Linksys years ago laid the groundwork for the OpenWRT project, an open-source wireless router firmware project that supports a wide range of devices today. OpenWRT, in turn, fueled a bunch of important work on low-cost wireless radio equipment in the years since, and shows up routinely in mesh networking and long-distance WiFi projects that support efforts expand low-cost access to the Internet today (as, of course, one small piece of a larger, mostly non-technical, puzzle).

                                            1. 5

                                              Users are entitled to the source code. You shouldn’t have to justify the benefits - they are entitled to it, because that’s the license terms and Vizio is not living up to them.

                                              If Vizio would rather take on the costs of maintaining another set of software rather than live up to the terms of the license, that’s on them. Their use of GPLed software doesn’t benefit the community if they don’t live up to the license, so there’s no loss if they decide to go that route.

                                              1. 5

                                                How does access to the GPL’d source code used in Vizio TVs make it possible to repair the TV?

                                                The article says so:

                                                Copyleft licensing was designed as an ideological alternative to the classic corporate software model because it: allows people who receive the software to fix their devices, improve them and control them; entitles people to curtail surveillance and ads; and helps people continue to use their devices for a much longer time (instead of being forced to purchase new ones).

                                                “run this same nice software, but without ads and data grabbing” is already a very nice proposition for many customers I would say. And having a way to keep the TV (and more importantly, its apps) functioning properly is important as well if you don’t intend to buy a new TV every 5 or so years or however soon the manufacturer decides to stop providing software updates.

                                                The most likely outcome seems to be that Vizio will just avoid copyleft software in the future.

                                                I agree that’s probably the net effect of all these GPL law suits, and the GPL in general. If a company doesn’t have good intentions, copyleft vs non-copyleft isn’t going to make much of a difference in the end.

                                                1. 2

                                                  The article answered “why” — I’m asking how technically. What is necessary to allow someone to rebuild a TV’s firmware? It seems likely it would require Vizio to make public some of their proprietary code, which I bet they wouldn’t do. They’d just pay damages instead (assuming that’s an option; IANAL.)

                                                  “run this same nice software, but without ads and data grabbing” is already a very nice proposition for many customers I would say

                                                  Again, ain’t gonna happen. There was a news story a few months ago about how Vizio is making more money from ads and data grabbing than from hardware sales. Making their TVs hackable would imperil their biggest revenue source.

                                                  1. 2

                                                    It seems likely it would require Vizio to make public some of their proprietary code, which I bet they wouldn’t do.

                                                    This was spoken to in a previous post: https://sfconservancy.org/blog/2021/jul/23/tivoization-and-the-gpl-right-to-install/

                                                    1. 2

                                                      The article answered “why” — I’m asking how technically. What is necessary to allow someone to rebuild a TV’s firmware?

                                                      Ah, I misunderstood. Well, that’s a good question. Typically though, there are always tinkerers willing to take apart the TV and figure out how to access the flash memory that stores the firmware. But you’re right, Vizio is not likely to tell you how to do it.

                                                  2. 2

                                                    Most smart TVs I’ve ever worked with were rendered useless by unmaintained apps no longer working, especially the browser/YouTube apps. With access to replace the firmware we could put Kodi, Firefox, chromium, whatever is needed on the TV and make it usable again.

                                                    The most likely outcome seems to be that Vizio will just avoid copyleft software in the future.

                                                    I hope so.

                                                    1. 7

                                                      My LG smart TV purchased recently (last 2 years) does not have support for Lets Encrypt’s new root certificate, so the situation is much worse than imagined.

                                                      1. 1

                                                        not have support for Lets Encrypt’s new root certificate

                                                        Oh gosh. Does that mean the TV just can’t open an HTTPS connection to any site using a Let’s Encrypt derived cert anymore?

                                                        1. 1

                                                          Yeah, I get a whole bunch of SSL handshake failures in my server-side logs. It’s extremely infuriating!

                                                    2. 1

                                                      How does access to the GPL’d source code used in Vizio TVs make it possible to repair the TV? It doesn’t make it any easier to modify the proprietary software in the TV, and it doesn’t provide access to the build system or docs of the specs of the internal hardware.

                                                      If the code is GPLv3 (the article doesn’t say), they would have to provide instructions for installing modified versions of the software.

                                                      If it’s an earlier GPL version, it would still let consumers know what the software is doing, which could be relevant to privacy concerns or developing external tools to interface with the TV.

                                                      1. 2

                                                        If the code is GPLv3 (the article doesn’t say), they would have to provide instructions for installing modified versions of the software.

                                                        This is also true for GPLv2

                                                        1. 2

                                                          No, it’s not - see Tivoization, a problem which GPLv3 was explicitly designed to address.

                                                          Perhaps you’re thinking of GPLv2’s provisions that (at least IIRC) require distributing any build systems, etc. needed to build the software? Just because you can build it doesn’t mean you can install it on the actual device.

                                                          1. 2

                                                            https://sfconservancy.org/blog/2021/jul/23/tivoization-and-the-gpl-right-to-install/

                                                            Tivoization unfortunately is widely misunderstood. It’s understandable, I’ve never seen a TiVo and I have seen a locked Android bootloader, and the way many people talk about it these sound the same on the surface.

                                                            What TiVo did was use technical measure to ensure that if you did install your own versions of the freedomware components, their nonfree components would stop working. They did not, it turns out, wholesale block installation of modified freedomware components. This is not a violation of GPLv2 (or, arguably, GPLv3).

                                                            What many manufacturers do now is block installation entirely. It’s not that the nonfree components will stop working but that the device will reject the installation attempt (or brick itself in some cases). This is a violation of both GPLv2 and GPLv3.

                                                    1. 6

                                                      I wonder if this is more or less the end of the road for the librem 5?

                                                      This offers similar openness, same software capability and slightly better specs (I think…). And hardware privacy switches too. For half the price, assuming Chinese assembly meets your requirements. (If you need a US-manufactured device, Librem offers that for $2000-ish, and Pine does not.)

                                                      And given the respective companies’ track records, it seems likely the ’Pro will ship in quantity well before the listed 52-week lead time on the non-US-manufactured Librem 5.

                                                      I was on the fence between replacing my iPhone’s battery or just replacing the whole phone. I think this announcement has pushed me toward replacing the battery and revisiting in 8 - 12 months to see if this has developed into something that could be a daily driver for me.

                                                      1. 14

                                                        Purism is targeting a different market; they’re trying to make an ecosystem, a readymade device, that someone can use out of the box and be satisfied with. I don’t think they’re doing all too well with it, but it’s the intent that counts. What Pine does is make tinker toys for engineers. They save money on the device by punting software engineering to the users. (The battery management part made me queasy.)

                                                        1. 7

                                                          I agree with your characterizations of the two intents. What I meant to do in my comment is question whether, given that the software works as well on the pinephone as it does on the Librem, has Pine backdoored their way into (soon) hitting that “someone can use out of the box and be satisfied with” goal for technical users better than Purism has even though they were aiming for something else entirely.

                                                        2. 8

                                                          A big difference for me is that the L5 has privacy switches that are usable. That is, I want the camera and microphone off until I’m receiving a call, then I can flip the switch and answer. With the pinephone (and it looks like the pinephone pro) the switches are buried inside the back which make them interesting but not very usable in day-to-day life.

                                                          Another point as mentioned in other comments is that Purism is funding the software development to make the ecosystem. Pinephone gets the benefit of that without much of the cost. I hope both succeed so that there is a gradient of capability from the low end to the high end, and a real move off of the duopoly we have now.

                                                          1. 4

                                                            Interesting point about the switches.

                                                            I think Pine has done better than Purism working to get drivers for their components supported by the upstream kernel. I think they’ve also done better getting help out to the various distributions when it comes to supporting the platform. By not having their own distro but getting hardware into developers’ hands, there is a whole ecosystem now. I think if it had been left to purism, you’d have one distro (PureOS) whose development is mostly done behind closed doors plus a couple nice contributions to mobile GNOME.

                                                            In particular, they seemed to have zero interest in upstreaming the PureOS kernel patchset before Pine came along.

                                                            I also hope both succeed, but I’m glad to see a wide-open development model making more of a play.

                                                            1. 7

                                                              The development of PureOS appears to be done in the open; the contribution of libhandy for GNOME was essential to making most of the apps work well in that form factor, and Purism have been supportive of KDE and UbuntuTouch as well. Not sure where the impression of “zero interest in upstreaming the PureOS kernel patchset” comes from or that the pinephone had an influence on that… my impression was the opposite. It’s never fun to maintain forks of the kernel when it’s not necessary, and resources are already tight and heavily invested in the rest of the software stack.

                                                              Purism has made a lot of missteps around communication especially with respect to shipping devices to backers. I haven’t observed any missteps around their commitment to using completely free software with no binary blobs required and getting RYF certification.

                                                              1. 2

                                                                What I meant when I said that development was behind closed doors was that when I visit

                                                                https://pureos.net/

                                                                I can’t find any source control repos, only a bunch of source packages. Which is fine, and still free, but not IMO open development. (That’s not some kind of moral failing, it’s just less interesting to me.)

                                                                My impression about their interest in mainline kernels came from unresponsiveness to inquiries about just that. There didn’t seem to be much movement that direction until just after Pine started booting mainline kernels :). Lack of resources could masquerade as disinterest, for sure, though and maybe it was just that.

                                                                They certainly do seem 100% committed to complete freedom and blob free operation, and that’s excellent. It’s important to have more hardware in the world that works that way, and I think the level of interest in their operation will only convince more people to try building that.

                                                                1. 6

                                                                  pureos.net

                                                                  Check out https://source.puri.sm/public

                                                                  1. 3

                                                                    That is dramatically better than the source link on the front of the PureOS site. Thanks.

                                                          2. 3

                                                            I can relate to the hesitance about making one of these devices your daily driver. What in particular is stopping you? Personally, I’d really want to be sure I can get ample battery life and that all my favorite apps can run, like Discord and Gmail. Obvjously, it also shouldn’t drop calls, fail to receive texts, or anything like that, either

                                                            1. 4

                                                              Last time I checked in, the call, text and MMS functionality was just not ready for prime time. I know that’s been improving quickly, but I haven’t squinted too hard to see where it is. For me to make it a daily driver, I’d need:

                                                              1. Rock solid phone calls
                                                              2. Extremely reliable SMS/MMS receipt
                                                              3. Good headset support
                                                              4. Mostly reliable SMS/MMS sending
                                                              5. Very good 4G data support
                                                              6. Ability for another device to reliably tether/use the phone as a hotspot
                                                              7. A battery that goes an entire workday without needing a charge when being used for voice calls, SMS/MMS and some light data usage

                                                              I’ve heard 1,2,3 were not quite there. 4 is supposedly there for SMS but not MMS, which last time I looked would keep me from using it on some group threads. I believe 5 is there and suspect 6 is just fine. 7 is probably good enough given the swappable, easy-to-find battery.

                                                              When it comes to apps on the phone itself, GPS would be nice to have, but as long as there’s a browser that is somewhat usable, I could stand to tether an iPad or Android tablet until app coverage was robust. I prefer to work from a laptop or tablet anyway. I’d also like to have a decent camera on my phone, but that’s not a hard requirement for me to daily drive one.

                                                              1. 6

                                                                As someone who has not used the sms, MMS, or voice features of any of my devices in a decade, it’s good to be reminded that some people still use these features.

                                                              2. 2

                                                                Can it run Employer mandated apps? Whether you’re delivering food or an engineer, they’re a thing now. Plus whatever app your local government mandates you put on your phone to check COVID-related restrictions.

                                                                To be honest, I think that for most people, the possibility of not owning a phone running one of the two major platforms is long gone.

                                                                1. 16

                                                                  A couple of points are that many employers are supportive of variations of GNU/Linux. If yours isn’t, then really consider finding one that better aligns with your values.

                                                                  When governments mandate apps there must really be a push to say loudly and clearly that proprietary applications are not acceptable. Quietly accepting and using a Google or Apple device means that the line will keep shifting in the wrong direction. For many (most? really all?) there is still the possibility of not owning a phone from Google or Apple and participating fully in society. It won’t stay that way unless people demand it.

                                                                  1. 8

                                                                    Of course employers are supportive of GNU/Linux - when it powers their servers. When it starts to interfere with their employees’ ability to log in to the network, review their schedule or attend meetings, you will see their support dry up quickly.

                                                                    Not owning a Googapple phone is equivalent to not owning a phone as far as policy makers are concerned. Yes, your accessibility is considered, along with that of the elderly, homeless and poor. The notion of an employable person not owning one is increasingly alien to them.

                                                                    1. 6

                                                                      This comment should be boosted, especially for the fact that we are getting closer to the world where only Google or Apple is accepted. This is why I want to support Pine, even if their stuff is not ready.

                                                                    2. 11

                                                                      Can it run Employer mandated apps?

                                                                      I would strongly recommend refusing to allow any company stuff on your private property. Not only is it likely to be spyware, but like, it is also not your problem to do their IT provisioning for them.

                                                                      1. 3

                                                                        It’s not your problem to provision motor vehicles for your employer either, but for many people, using their private car for work isn’t just normal, it’s the cornerstone of their employability.

                                                                        1. 3

                                                                          At least with cars (except for commute to/from the workplace) you can generally get reimbursed for the mileage and it isn’t as likely to be the spyware.

                                                                          But even then, I’d say take advantage of the labor market and start fighting back against them pushing the costs on you.

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                                                                        I’ve never had an employer or government mandate any mobile app. They can’t even usually mandate that you have a mobile device, unless they are providing one.

                                                                        I know lots of people who run various apps that make their employer or government interactions more convenient, but never were they mandatory.

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                                                                          I’ve had an employer mandate that I either, at my option, accept their app on my device or carry their device and use it. I chose to carry two devices, but I understand why my colleagues chose to install the “mandated” apps instead.

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                                                                            Yeah, if they offer me a device I’m always going to take it. No work shit on personal devices ever, but also why would I not take an extra device to have around?

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                                                                          I don’t really have any mandated apps other than OTP authenticators, but there’s a lot I’d miss (i.e quickly sending a message on Slack, or whatever services I use for pleasure; plus stuff like decent clients for whatever service). I could go without, but it certainly wouldn’t be a daily driver.

                                                                          What I might miss more is the stuff other than third-party apps/ecosystem: the quality of the phone and the OS itself, and if they meet my needs. I doubt Pine will make something sized like my 12 mini, or if Plasma Active/phosh will hit the same quality of mouthfeel as iOS (which as a Windows Phone 7/8 refugee, has good mouthfeel since they copied live tiles)

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                                                                            I’m not sure. I remember hearing one of the Linux phones supported Android apps now

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                                                                              I strongly suspect this “Pro” will have enough oomph to run anbox rather nicely. It runs on the current pinephones, but I don’t think it runs particularly well.

                                                                              I don’t know how much of the sensors and other bits (that, say, a ridesharing driver’s app might need) are exposed via Anbox on a pinephone. I also don’t know how much of the google play services stack works in that environment.

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                                                                            The decision to maintain the original PinePhone’s screen resolution of 1440×720 was made early on; higher resolution panels consume more power and increase SoC’s load, resulting in shorter battery life and higher average thermals. A few extra pixels aren’t worth it.

                                                                            Immediately turned me off. High resolution displays are what make these phones satisfactory entertainment devices as well as just communications devices.

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                                                                          Should definitely be submitted to Signal and Protonmail developers. I’m using a degoogled phone here (not really by choice, never managed to install Gapps) and signal notifications are very random. (unlike Whatsapp, which are always working perfectly)

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                                                                            Signal notifications are more or less accurate for me without Gapps.
                                                                            After a reboot I just have to open the app to get that persistent notification going and after that the notifications are usually pretty accurately timed, but yeah, 100% of the time.

                                                                            Also, by chance, are you using the apk from their website? That one downloads and updates itself without the need for Google Play. I don’t recall whether the apk from the Play store has the same functionality enabled in it or not.

                                                                            Edit: https://signal.org/android/apk/ <– link to apk with self-contained update from their website. seeing as it took me a while to find it again.

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                                                                              Using it through Aurora store (which is a front-end to Play store). Waiting for it to reach f-droid ;-)

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                                                                                That will either be an indefinite wait, or you can look at something like https://molly.im/download/fdroid/

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                                                                                  I wish F-Droid would publicise third-party repos more. The main reason that Signal and Firefox don’t want to distribute via F-Droid is that they want to control the rollout of security updates and don’t want to depend on F-Droid doing it for them. If they’re building APKs, it’s pretty trivial for them to push to their own repo and then people can install via F-Droid without needing any intermediaries. Actually, the thing that would make me really happy would be if the GitHub package support allowed creating F-Droid repos as well as NuGet and the handful of other things that they support now…

                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                    Please told people about that. Signal, protonmail, Firefox, Tresorit are all apps that I want on my phone but I must access through Aurora store (a Google Play front-end)

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                                                                                FYI, I don’t know why but on my last edit I removed “not” from “not 100% of the time”.

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                                                                              I’m slightly disappointed to see that this article is mostly about making Firefox look faster rather than actually making it faster.

                                                                              I’m also curious, what does XUL.dll contain? I remember reading articles about replacing XUL with HTML for interfaces, why is XUL.dll still needed?

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                                                                                The visual and perceived performance wins are arguably easier to explain and visualize and were an explicit focus on the for the major release in June. This isn’t just lipstick on a pig though. An unresponsive UI is a big. Regardless of whether the browser doing work under hood or not.

                                                                                But the IOUtils stuff has some really clear wins in interacting with the disk. Process switching and process pre-allocation also have som really good wins that aren’t just “perceived performance”.

                                                                                1. 5

                                                                                  But the IOUtils stuff has some really clear wins in interacting with the disk. Process switching and process pre-allocation also have som really good wins that aren’t just “perceived performance”.

                                                                                  No numbers were provided for these unfortunately. :’(

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                                                                                  I’m also curious, what does XUL.dll contain? I remember reading articles about replacing XUL with HTML for interfaces, why is XUL.dll still needed?

                                                                                  That’s basically “the rendering engine”. The Gecko build system uses libxul / xul.dll as the name for the core rendering code in Firefox. There’s no real connection between the file name and whether XUL elements are still used or not.

                                                                                  Not sure why it’s not just named “Gecko”, but that probably requires even more archaeology…

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                                                                                    It’s because XUL refers to ‘XML User Interface Language’, which is how Gecko was originally meant to be interfaced with. Gecko sits under XUL, and XUL hasn’t been completely replaced yet.

                                                                                    “There is no Gecko, only XUL”

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                                                                                      I see, thanks!

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                                                                                      I’m slightly disappointed to see that this article is mostly about making Firefox look faster rather than actually making it faster.

                                                                                      User-perceived performance can be just as important as actual performance. There are tons of tricks for this and many go back decades while still being relevant today. For example: screenshotting your UI to instantly paint it back to the screen when the user reopens/resumes your app. It’ll still be a moment before you’re actually ready for user interaction, but most of the time it’s actually good enough to offer the illusion of readiness: a user will almost always spend a moment or two looking at the contents of the screen again before actually trying to initiate a more complex interaction, so you don’t actually have to be ready for interaction instantly.

                                                                                      IIRC this is how the multitasking on many mobile operating systems works today – apps get screenshotted when you switch away from them, and may be suspended or even closed in the background while not being used. But showing the screenshot in the task switching UI and immediately painting it when you come back to that app gives just enough illusion of continual running and instant response that most people don’t notice most of the time.

                                                                                      1. 1

                                                                                        Yeah but what’s better, implementing complex machinery to make your slow software look faster, or implementing complex machinery to make your slow software faster ? I’d argue that making the software actually faster is always better, and if it is faster, it’ll look faster too, no need to trick the user.

                                                                                        I agree that there comes a point where you made your software as fast as it can be and all that remains is making it look faster, but that still makes for disappointing articles to me. I prefer reading about making software faster than reading about making software perceptually faster.

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                                                                                          What’s better is for it to be faster and more usable to the user, regardless of the method. The above noted screenshotting/painting is more than a trick. It gives users the ability to read and ingest what was already on the screen which gets them back to what they were doing faster. That’s much more important than, say, a 50% reduction in load time from 2s to 1s. Those numbers are satisfying for people who love to look at numbers, but really doesn’t mean anything to the end-user experience.

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                                                                                            That’s the thing: sometimes speed isn’t a good thing. For instance, you could have your UI draw to the screen as fast as possible, but if you do that, you’ll end up with screen tearing, which makes the user experience worse. If you slow things down a tad (which doesn’t consume any resources, because the software it just waiting), the UI gives the perception of working better. Also, some slowdowns are there to give feedback to the user, such as animations when you click buttons, or resize things: these give the perception that something is happening, and create a causal link in the user’s head between what they just did and what’s happening, which it harder to get when something just appears out of nowhere.

                                                                                            It’s not about tricking the user, even if there happens to be some smoke and mirrors involved, but about giving the user feedback. People like things to be fluid (which is what screenshotting a window for fast starts gives you), not abrupt. You might say that you’d be OK with this, but to give you a real-world example: if you were taking a taxi, would you be OK with your driver taking hard turns even if it got you to your destination a bit faster? Unless you were under severe time pressure, probably not.

                                                                                            If you want to be genuinely disappointed, there are user interfaces out there that introduce delays for other reasons. You’ve probably encountered UIs in the wild that seem to take a longer time to do things that seems reasonable, such as giving the result of some sort of calculation or some search results for flights or hotel booking. Those delays are there not because they serve a purpose, but to increase trust in the result. This is because people’s brains are broken, and if you give them an answer straight away, it seems as if you’re not doing any work, which makes the result less trustworthy. However, if you introduce a short delay or give the results back in chunks, it gives the perception that the machine is doing real work, thus making the results more “trustworthy”.

                                                                                            So no, faster is not always better, much as we might wish it to be.

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                                                                                              For instance, you could have your UI draw to the screen as fast as possible, but if you do that, you’ll end up with screen tearing, which makes the user experience worse. If you slow things down a tad (which doesn’t consume any resources, because the software it just waiting)

                                                                                              This is a bad example. Doing things as fast as possible and then waiting for the next frame is the best thing to do, it allows the CPU to go back to idling and preserves battery. Making the software faster here means more time idling means more battery saved.

                                                                                              Also, some slowdowns are there to give feedback to the user, such as animations when you click buttons, or resize things

                                                                                              I hate animations and always disable them when I can. I understand that other people feel differently about them, but I don’t care, that still makes reading articles about perceptual performance improvements disappointing when I go in expecting actual performance improvements.

                                                                                              You might say that you’d be OK with this, but to give you a real-world example: if you were taking a taxi, would you be OK with your driver taking hard turns even if it got you to your destination a bit faster?

                                                                                              That’s a bad example. Having abrupt screen changes is different from being thrown around in a car.

                                                                                              such as giving the result of some sort of calculation or some search results for flights or hotel booking. Those delays are there not because they serve a purpose, but to increase trust in the result.

                                                                                              Making things perceptually slower is not what we are talking about. We are talking about making things perceptually faster.

                                                                                              So no, faster is not always better, much as we might wish it to be.

                                                                                              Making your software actually faster when you want it to be perceptually faster is better than just making it perceptually faster. That was my point and I don’t think any of your arguments proved it wrong.

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                                                                                          It’s a legacy name.

                                                                                        1. 2

                                                                                          Why favour top posting over inline responses?

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                                                                                            Because that’s how email works in the world outside of free software mailing lists.

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                                                                                              True. Probably because it’s easier to compose an email using top posting. But when I send inline responses to my non-tech friends and colleagues who have been using Outlook and top posting their whole life, they usually appreciate it.

                                                                                            2. 2

                                                                                              It was just a reference to how HEY works - there’s only top posting there, presumably because it makes it easier to follow an email thread. At first I was annoyed by this, but now I kind of like it.

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                                                                                                Why does it make it easier to follow an email thread? Surely it is easier to follow a discussion if answers come after questions, reactions after statements.

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                                                                                                  It’s really a UX problem. It’s really easy to mess up the formatting such that your inline replies are interpreted as part of the quoted text itself, and will appear collapsed by default to the recipient. So I never reply inline, because I want to make sure my full message is seen.

                                                                                                  1. 2

                                                                                                    It really depends on the message, though, right? We can’t operate with the assumptions that every email is just a list of questions that needs answers. Plus, even when you’re top posting you can copy bits from the original message to embed them in your answer and provide an additional context for me. For me the main point is that by sticking to top posting you make it very clear in which order a conversation unfolded. Just like with old-school paper letters.

                                                                                                    1. 7

                                                                                                      For me the main point is that by sticking to top posting you make it very clear in which order a conversation unfolded.

                                                                                                      Threads do that better. It is also more manageable than different people coming up with ad-hoc quoting methods for top-posting (often using different colours, fonts, etc and saying things like “responses inline in green below”). Trying to sort through a conversation like that is much more difficult than it needs to be.

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                                                                                                Despite having been updated yesterday, the version available from Google Play is still version 5.6

                                                                                                F-Droid is on 5.740 - presumably the build bots haven’t got around to the new release yet?

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                                                                                                  Replying to self - apparently Play does a slow rollout of updates & so far 15% of K9 mail users have received the update.

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                                                                                                    5.800 is in the metadata already - https://gitlab.com/fdroid/fdroiddata/-/blob/master/metadata/com.fsck.k9.yml#L777-782

                                                                                                    So it should be included in the next build cycle, assuming there are no build failures.

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                                                                                                    Why would one use this over FairEmail?

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                                                                                                      UX. I’ve tried FairEmail and everything about the interface just felt wrong. I can’t point at exactly what. Just everything.

                                                                                                      1. 4

                                                                                                        K9 is fully open source. You can download the code, edit it, and recompile it yourself, no sweat.

                                                                                                        K9 has had an awful lot of bugs ironed out of it over the last N years, and there are config workarounds for weird email servers. Many people never encounter a weird email server, or don’t recognize it as an issue.

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                                                                                                          I don’t like FairEmail’s “pro” feature system. Besides the interface being worse for me than K-9 (personal preference there), I have K-9 setup to only notify when I receive email from a contact. That keeps my distractions low while getting good prioritization. The last time I tried FairEmail trying to setup something similar was more involved and required the “pro” features.

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                                                                                                            I assume its because it’s one of the few Android Email clients with PGP encryption