Free Your Android
Contribute and Help Others!
Help us to encourage people to liberate their devices and convince app developers to release their app as Free Software. The various Free Software initiatives also need help and we need to ensure that they stay free as in freedom. If you just want to spread the word about this campaign, there is promotion material available for download, translation and ordering.
The Replicant initiative is in urgent need of help. It lists many ways to help out on its homepage.
Even though other versions of Android are all based on Free Software, sometimes non-free applications are added to these ROMs. If you know about non-free software added to CyanogenMod or other versions of Android, please let us know about it! We collect current information in the wiki.
Apps and F-Droid
The F-Droid initiative lists many ways to contribute. Have a look! Maybe there is something that you can do easily.
Proposals to spread the word about F-Droid can be found in the F-Droid forum.
Adding Apps Yourself
You are encouraged to add applications To F-Droid yourself. A manual is provided to help you. There is a long queue of applications that wait to be added (old queue). Adding them works similar to FreeBSD ports and gentoo ebuilds by filling a simple recipe file which controls how a package is build from source. If you like to add apps yourself, you should read about how F-Droid works with git and how to create these so called metadata files.
Freeing Non-Free Apps
Unfortunately, there are still some applications that do not have a free alternative. To use the proprietary app is a bad idea; it takes away your freedom. In addition, if you settle into using the non-free program, you won't feel the need for it to be free. Even if you don't know how to program, you can contact the authors of crucial apps and ask them politely for their reasons for not publishing their app as Free Software. Many apps are available without payments, so money is not always the dominating reason. Sometimes one email can make a difference and there have already been successful attempts: The Chess Walk app for example is now liberated.
Apps That Still Need To Be Liberated
We collect apps that have no free counterpart, but are important to have on a free system in our wiki. Please add other essential apps there. People can contact the authors of those apps and ask them why they are not Free Software.
Responses to Objections We've Heard from App Developers
Only when we understand the motivation of programmers who keep their apps proprietary, we know what needs to be changed in order to change their minds and to convince them of liberating their own app. Please contribute your experiences with developers of non-free apps here and share useful responses to their objections.
- Objection: If I publish my app as Free Software, I will not be able to make money with it.
- You can still offer your app in other markets and ask for money there.
- Offer options for people to donate. Free markets like F-Droid can include them and their users like to reward. Depending on your case, you might make more money with donations than from sales.
- Objection: But when my app is Free Software other people can distribute it without me getting profit.
- That is true, but keep in mind that people who don't want to pay you will always find ways to do so.
- If you ask people in a friendly non-obtrusive way and give them good reasons, they will give you money.
- If you publish your app under a copyleft license like the GNU GPL, then you are guaranteed that other people cannot distribute it without distributing the source code as well. Otherwise it is copyright infringement and you can contact the app store operator to take it down.
- You could tell people that in order to recognize and support your work, they should buy your application and not the other copies that might be distributed by other people.
- Objection: I'm embarrassed by my bad code and don't want anybody to see it (from Flattr4Android).
- Your code is very useful to many people and it works. Of course good code would be better, but code quality is secondary to freedom.
- Everybody wrote bad code at some point. Sharing it will enable others to help you improving it.
If you want to stay informed or like to work with others on a free Android system, you can subscribe to the mailing-list. You can also ask questions or give input by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org. For technical questions about apps, the F-Droid IRC channel is a good place to ask. For exchange about the lower layers of Android, the Replicant and CyanogenMod IRC channel is more suitable. Everybody in this community is very friendly and loves others to help, so don't be shy and get involved!