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Re: Gitlab's "C" rating is overrated; add netneutrality; evaluate Playst

From: Aaron Wolf
Subject: Re: Gitlab's "C" rating is overrated; add netneutrality; evaluate Playstore & F-Droid (repo-criteria-discus: message 1 of 3)
Date: Mon, 13 Jan 2020 09:51:56 -0800

On 2020-01-13 9:42 a.m., address@hidden
> * Aaron Wolf - address@hidden <address@hidden> [2020-01-13 09:51]:
>> Although marking Google Play with an F is a nice idea, the repo
>> criteria generally are about places for free software source code to
>> be hosted.
>> F-Droid is an interesting case. .. It could be good to evaluate.
> If the project scope is strictly limited to source code hosting, then
> Playstore and F-Droid are both equally out of scope.  Open source
> projects use both Playstore and F-Droid to distribute their APKs,
> neither of which host source code.
>> Google Play does not offer that service in any form. From the FSF
>> position, an Instant Pot app would not be accepted regardless of
>> repository unless it is itself free software (which I presume it is
>> not).
> I think you misunderstood me.  I did not suggest an evaluation of the
> Instant Pot app.  The Instant Pot app demonstrates a problem.
> There is an alarming trend of end users being forced into Google
> Playstore's repository to obtain software in binary form.  The market
> has reached a point where banks, airlines, and makers of things like
> kitchen appliances just assume everyone is willing and able to work
> with Google.
> Some banks have started requiring apps exclusively available in
> Playstore for 2FA logins, and customers are actually being denied
> access to online access unless they buy an Android, mobile phone
> service, register with Google, and download the app from Playstore.
> This is happening in countries where checks have been eliminated, so
> those who refuse Google interaction must appear in person at their
> bank to simply make a payment -- and that human assistence entails a
> fee.
> There are even taxpayer-funded government services that offer apps
> that are exclusively in Google's Playstore.
> As activists, we need tools to support our calls for action.  When we
> petition, microblog, and write letters/reviews, need to point to an
> ethical authority that says (in effect) "your product is unethical
> because of this poor rating from a credible organization".  Does FSF
> want to support that mission or not?  I suppose EFF would be better
> suited for this, since it's more about privacy than free software.

Oh I agree 100% with all these concerns. And even in the case of
proprietary software like bank apps and Insta Pot or whatever, I
strongly prefer not having a single monopoly middle-man source for such
software. I also accept the practical reality that people will use
non-free software and we need to work with that. However, the FSF
specifically would not endorse getting proprietary apps from *any*
source, so that makes it questionable how to take the position of: "this
app you should never get, it's bad that you can only get it from Google

And while Google Play is *bad*, it's also debatable about the positives
of including free software there. I'd rather people get free software
from Google Play than use only proprietary software. Obviously neither
is what we want, since the ideal is that they get free software from a
better source.

Incidentally, I'll admit to accessing just a couple proprietary apps
that Google hosts. I get them from the Aurora Store from F-Droid (Aurora
access the Google Play API to get apps without otherwise installing
anything from Google on your device).

FWIW, I personally support expanding the repo evaluations and focus to
cover *all* types of software repositories, not only the ones where free
software projects might publish their source code. But if we expand, we
would want to be able to filter to the source-hosting options.

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