De-googlizing Android 

Sorry, folks, Android can't be de-googlized. These supposedly de-googlized variants let a few hardcore nerds opt out of Google's direct spying and advertising, but they do nothing to pull developers away from the Android ecosystem, so they still benefit Google.

De-googlizing Android 

If you really want to hurt Google, figure out a way for developers to make money off of apps in F-Droid, to the extent that they choose to remove their apps from the Play Store.

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De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid that doesn't hurt google *at all*.

Those two already peacefully co-exist.

If we want to "hurt google" and make their monopoly less pervasive, the people writing their code have to be at the forefront of demanding that it's open and platform agnostic.

Only that will put google in check.

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur In no sense do Google and free software peacefully coexist. Google is incredibly hostile to free software, only leveraging it where they can exploit it to expand their power, and doing everything they can to contain and destroy it otherwise.

Google wishes to destroy free software in favor of "you can look but good luck doing anything interesting with it without us getting a cut."

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur This latter of course being the model ESR sold us all.

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur Here are some examples for you:

Google employees aren't allowed to install AGPL software on their company laptop or desktop even for personal use.

Google employees are not allowed to work on open source software projects without permission, unless it's a project Google is already working on officially. It is MUCH easier to get permission if you assign copyright for all your code to Google.

Their policy toward free software is "embrace, extend, extinguish."

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur And of course there's the GPL prohibition in user space on Android, even though the requirements for using GPL software would not have been onerous. And now they're working on replacing the only GPL component of Android, the kernel, with one that's not even under Apache v2, but under MIT with only specific patent allowances instead of the blanket protection Apache v2 provides.

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur But anyway that wasn't your main point. Unfortunately I don't understand your main point. Which people writing their software? Google employees? The ones who care are long gone. Third party Android devs? They are often actively hostile to free software, violating GPL left and right.

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De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid you're right that "peacefully" probably isn't the best word to use so I'll grant you that.

But in practice f-droid hasn't threatened Google's monopoly on the android ecosystem or their exploitation of free software. It's provided a nice alternative for tech nerds but not much else.

My point is that the alternative simply existing won't do shit to curb Google's expansion in market share or their attacks on free software.

De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid the only way to actually reign in Google is for the people who work for it to build the software they're writing on their own terms which means they've gotta be willing to actually fight back on this shit. They have to demand a say in how they get to write their own code.

We've seen they have power when they organize, but it has to be sustained and political.

That and we need to publicly fund free software development. Both need to happen in tandem

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur I do think we need to try to get Googlers to organize, but I don't think they have much hope of getting Google to make any but token changes. All Google has to do is pay them lip service and make minor changes with no real impact and wait for the most vocal to get frustrated and leave. Meanwhile everyone they hire is willing to work there despite their public image.

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur If public funding of free software development ends up being anything like public funding of research in the US, developers will be spending far more time writing grants than software. And only really mainstream software will get funded. And of course software aimed at protecting marginalized communities won't get any funding at all.

De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid Those workers can just make those changes themselves if they get organized enough, permission from google be damned. It's a ways off but the only realistic way to curb the power the execs of Google is for their workers to unionize.

The second part is a problem with the bureaucracy of the current gov't, not public funding.

Software protecting marginalized communities already doesn't get funding anywhere period so 🤷. At least a union could raise that issue potentially

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur While having Google's employees organize would be fantastic, having worked there for 3 years I put the chance of US engineers there unionizing at much less than 1%. In fact I suspect a majority of their engineers would resist unionizing, a quarter of them quite strongly.

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur As for public funding, without a bureaucracy that can do it in a way that provides a net benefit, it hardly seems worth talking about. If they can't fund science or education properly they can't fund software development properly. Meanwhile, we still have the problem of everyone who can code getting offered $$$ to work on systems that are destructive to our rights and not feeling like they have much choice.

De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid sure, i'm not saying it's easy or that everyone would be on board. Nor are engineers the only employees that make Google run. I'm just saying it's the only ones with the power (and possible interest) in putting checks on Google are their workers.

There is no more running away from it with alt tech or gov't regulation because they've proven incapable of even presenting a speed bump.

But when workers protested against Maven it was very much a speed bump.

De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid so to respond to the OP, supporting F-droid is not a strategy that will de-google android because it has no control over the underlying codebase. Only Google's workers have the power to change that.

Of course we could just use alt hardware/mobile OSes but that doesn't undo any of the infrastructure google has built which cannot simply be ignored as a real obstacle to software freedom.

Google must be dismantled by its workers.

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur I wasn't talking about supporting F-Droid as a strategy. The strategy was to get F-Droid to make it much easier to pay developers of the software that's in F-Droid, to give them an alternative to supporting the Play Store.

And if you'll recall my original post was that Android can't really be de-googled at all, so you're sort of preaching to the choir here.

De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid k I did misread that. I don't really see that working for reasons I've mentioned but at this point just do whatever and we'll see what works

De-googlizing Android 

@nergalur Project Maven was something nobody knew about when joining Google. So when employees learned about it it came as a surprise.

How do you get people to walk out over things the company has been doing all along? Individual projects that have obviously questionable ethics are one thing, but a general pattern of behavior that they've been engaging in all along that's detrimental to people's rights is quite another.

De-googlizing Android 

@freakazoid sustained organizing that connects politics to the workplace. Maven made connections that probably made the walkout later easier to pull together. One builds off of another

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