Pinephone Apps Unified Dev Hub
#1
I am using Mobian so I get to see daily progress of the OS side with every update.
I also see a few people on the forums writing apps for the pinephone but they seem to be somewhat orphaned and the path to at least the Mobian repos is a very conservative one(that is good for a stable OS).
I feel like there is room for a unified community contrib or testing repo that has an autobuilder similar to what we had with Nokia Maemo community.
With a few tweaks to the autobuilder most pine distros could have packages built with deps and it would just be a matter of adding it to the deb or rpm sources.
I feel like this would get more exposure for new devs and make it easier for the stable OS devs to browse for vetted apps to fill out their repositories.
Since this proposed hub would be all pinephone the apps could be built for the targeted hardware.
As an example https://gitlab.com/lgtrombetta/pinephone-compass/ a great pinephone specific compass app where instead of upgrading form repo we have to hand build and hand uninstall to upgrade, this should be on a contrib or joint testing repo.
Maemo had a good program where they were throwing out all kinds of prizes for Maemo app development, but Nokia was a huge wealthy company Pine64 is not, I think even special forum flair, maybe front of the line opportunities for new hardware, and recognition as well as having the app on the unified repo would be enough to get more momentum behind pinephone specific app development where users can easily access these apps.
A desktop sized website similar to F-droid with quick install QR codes could also make browsing available software easier for both Pine owners and people curious about the project.
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#2
(07-28-2021, 01:02 AM)biketool Wrote: I am using Mobian so I get to see daily progress of the OS side with every update.
I also see a few people on the forums writing apps for the pinephone but they seem to be somewhat orphaned and the path to at least the Mobian repos is a very conservative one(that is good for a stable OS).
I feel like there is room for a unified community contrib or testing repo that has an autobuilder similar to what we had with Nokia Maemo community.
With a few tweaks to the autobuilder most pine distros could have packages built with deps and it would just be a matter of adding it to the deb or rpm sources.
I feel like this would get more exposure for new devs and make it easier for the stable OS devs to browse for vetted apps to fill out their repositories.
Since this proposed hub would be all pinephone the apps could be built for the targeted hardware.
As an example https://gitlab.com/lgtrombetta/pinephone-compass/ a great pinephone specific compass app where instead of upgrading form repo we have to hand build and hand uninstall to upgrade, this should be on a contrib or joint testing repo.
Maemo had a good program where they were throwing out all kinds of prizes for Maemo app development, but Nokia was a huge wealthy company Pine64 is not, I think even special forum flair, maybe front of the line opportunities for new hardware, and recognition as well as having the app on the unified repo would be enough to get more momentum behind pinephone specific app development where users can easily access these apps.
A desktop sized website similar to F-droid with quick install QR codes could also make browsing available software easier for both Pine owners and people curious about the project.

This is good suggestion and looking forward on PINE64 community organize an app store site. For sure provide some encouragement, swag, and PINE64 hardware can be offered.
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#3
(08-08-2021, 05:03 PM)tllim Wrote:
(07-28-2021, 01:02 AM)biketool Wrote: (snip)

This is good suggestion and looking forward on PINE64 community organize an app store site. For sure provide some encouragement, swag, and PINE64 hardware can be offered.

I think an easy model to copy is https://garage.maemo.org/ obviously it is targeted at Maemo linux but there were at least three(and a half) devices with their own similar OSs supported.  If we dig around or ask on the talk.maemo.org forum the code for the garage site and builder is probably FOSS we can fork.  Perhaps just having people register their git for an autobuilder to grab from would be just as easy though.(edit) Maemo garage is based on http://midgard-project.org/

As for swag while I have already heard desires for t-shirts and whatever from younger local enthusiasts(probably older too); but I have thoughts.
1- like sending stuff to orbit every gram matters in international mail, also every gram and liter of volume is also greater risk for the post office to slap a tax on
2- If there is to be swag then hand out some account or pine crypto coin credits instead of pine64 choosing the random swag, for example I only wear my lifetime supply of the best tech swag t-shirts as pajamas(and I gave away or refuse all of the cheap thin ones or from vendors I didn't want to wear a billboard for)
3- make all swag hacker and privacy friendly, sure some of us want a loud and proud pinephone shirt but also consider a polo or hat with a small embroidered pine cone, most of us are privacy conscious and the target market would be more impressed by a subdued acknowledgement of our 'secret society' than
4- hacker friendly, I would be more inclined to like and wear a polo shirt(similar shipping weight to T-shirt) with a pen pocket in the sleeve or an 'operator cap' baseball hat with a velcro off pine64 patch and maybe a loop for a LED flashlight than something with function identical to what I could buy at any gas station(think the Kevin Mitnick business card), of course build quality is a consideration, you have no idea how many crappy laptop bags get chucked after a conference when the handle or seam pulls out.  Target market for pine64 stuff is WAY off target from that of regular consumer stuff.
5- Stickers, quality UV resistant vinyl sticker for phones, laptops, car bs, locomotives, satellite dishes, and planes are in my opinion the sweet spot in terms of usefulness, coolness, mail/tax friendliness, and pricepoint; adding hacky-ness like a Mb capacity RFID(especially if we incorporate that into a pinephone add-on) or even include a QR code in a classy way improves the value per gram/$.  
I don't want to discourage any swag, I love the idea of cool free stuff in return for effort, but the logistical side of me cowers in fear when I think about the time/effort to contract quality swag and then distribute it over the whole damn planet vs forum flair or maybe stickers.
(Remember when Ubuntu used to send out a free install CD and a bunch of stickers?)
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#4
Found how and where F-droid does what it does, all FOSS and on the git!
https://github.com/f-droid

This is the thread I started on F-droid forum:
https://forum.f-droid.org/t/fdroid-as-a-...ornt/14489
and this thread is re: doing something similar
https://forum.f-droid.org/t/f-gnu-linux-tm/14261
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#5
(08-09-2021, 01:13 AM)biketool Wrote:
(08-08-2021, 05:03 PM)tllim Wrote:
(07-28-2021, 01:02 AM)biketool Wrote: (snip)

This is good suggestion and looking forward on PINE64 community organize an app store site. For sure provide some encouragement, swag, and PINE64 hardware can be offered.

I think an easy model to copy is https://garage.maemo.org/ obviously it is targeted at Maemo linux but there were at least three(and a half) devices with their own similar OSs supported.  If we dig around or ask on the talk.maemo.org forum the code for the garage site and builder is probably FOSS we can fork.  Perhaps just having people register their git for an autobuilder to grab from would be just as easy though.(edit) Maemo garage is based on http://midgard-project.org/

As for swag while I have already heard desires for t-shirts and whatever from younger local enthusiasts(probably older too); but I have thoughts.
1- like sending stuff to orbit every gram matters in international mail, also every gram and liter of volume is also greater risk for the post office to slap a tax on
2- If there is to be swag then hand out some account or pine crypto coin credits instead of pine64 choosing the random swag, for example I only wear my lifetime supply of the best tech swag t-shirts as pajamas(and I gave away or refuse all of the cheap thin ones or from vendors I didn't want to wear a billboard for)
3- make all swag hacker and privacy friendly, sure some of us want a loud and proud pinephone shirt but also consider a polo or hat with a small embroidered pine cone, most of us are privacy conscious and the target market would be more impressed by a subdued acknowledgement of our 'secret society' than
4- hacker friendly, I would be more inclined to like and wear a polo shirt(similar shipping weight to T-shirt) with a pen pocket in the sleeve or an 'operator cap' baseball hat with a velcro off pine64 patch and maybe a loop for a LED flashlight than something with function identical to what I could buy at any gas station(think the Kevin Mitnick business card), of course build quality is a consideration, you have no idea how many crappy laptop bags get chucked after a conference when the handle or seam pulls out.  Target market for pine64 stuff is WAY off target from that of regular consumer stuff.
5- Stickers, quality UV resistant vinyl sticker for phones, laptops, car bs, locomotives, satellite dishes, and planes are in my opinion the sweet spot in terms of usefulness, coolness, mail/tax friendliness, and pricepoint; adding hacky-ness like a Mb capacity RFID(especially if we incorporate that into a pinephone add-on) or even include a QR code in a classy way improves the value per gram/$.  
I don't want to discourage any swag, I love the idea of cool free stuff in return for effort, but the logistical side of me cowers in fear when I think about the time/effort to contract quality swag and then distribute it over the whole damn planet vs forum flair or maybe stickers.
(Remember when Ubuntu used to send out a free install CD and a bunch of stickers?)

I am reluctant on T-shirt as swag item due to worry about the cotton origin question and trigger unnecessary politic turmoil.
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#6
(08-10-2021, 12:04 AM)tllim Wrote: I am reluctant on T-shirt as swag item due to worry about the cotton origin question and trigger unnecessary politic turmoil.

Sometimes the right path is more difficult, I hope traveling that narrow way that will lead us, by our own definition, to a big win.
I will tell you a secret most of us here already know, it doesn't revolve around swag, it is about doing and making something cool not for the wider market hypnotized by TV commercials and facebook but our own definition of private, ethical, and just awesome.
Ooof, then I remember that there are kids asking for a pine t-shirt; maybe iron-on, we are a bunch of DIYers after all.
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#7
I'm not clear on whether you're aiming for a system that makes native packages for each distro, distro-agnostic ones like appimage or flatpak, or a combination of both so people can pick the option that best suits them. Having repeatable builds like F-droid would be good.
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#8
(08-10-2021, 09:05 AM)wibble Wrote: I'm not clear on whether you're aiming for a system that makes native packages for each distro, distro-agnostic ones like appimage or flatpak, or a combination of both so people can pick the option that best suits them. Having repeatable builds like F-droid would be good.

With something like f-droid the source can be provided and the distro matters a lot less. I think encouraging the distribution of binaries by someone other than the distro maintainers is probably a bad idea and will attract the same companies that make malicious apps for iOS and Android.
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#9
(08-10-2021, 09:05 AM)wibble Wrote: I'm not clear on whether you're aiming for a system that makes native packages for each distro, distro-agnostic ones like appimage or flatpak, or a combination of both so people can pick the option that best suits them. Having repeatable builds like F-droid would be good.

I really want to have the discussion asking the same questions you bring up and form a consensus what we want and how to provide that.
I think an autobuilder for native is always the ideal but that might be difficult and would require quite a bit of cooperation from each OS for packages they are not ready to approve on their own repos.
Then flatpak, I am not sold on it yet, but it is better than say snaps where it kludges my df with a bunch of virtual file systems and seems to update nicely so I am warming.
I think a nice desktop browsable website interface and the behind the scenes builder machinery that f-droid is doing is a sort of ideal so I hope whatever we end up doing to share the contributions of mobile linux app writers across most of the Pine and hopefully other Linux mobile OSs.
I think website guides and youtubes on how to make an easy Phosh app and some nice easy flowcharted python app examples that people can cut/paste and modify would help beginners start cranking out basic apps which will hopefully mature.
I feel like the Maemo example where the repos had nearly the variety you see in the Android store was a testament to what you can get if you make development easy, though it also attracted devs as it was supposed to also be a Nokia's upcoming competitor to Android and apple.
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#10
Consensus within the cat herd would be a novelty! I think the best you can hope for is to accommodate most of the wishes, but that may make the scope impractically wide, especially to start with. You probably need to start with narrower but more achievable goals, with aspirational goals for the future to be kept in mind so that you don't accidentally preclude them with a short sighted design decision.

I think I'd put distro-native packages in the aspirational part. The Open Build Service covers a wide range of distros at the moment, but even that doesn't cover Alpine/PmOS, or UBPorts. Then again for all I know it may be relatively easy to add new ones, and they just haven't yet felt the need to cover those. It also does AppImage so perhaps flatpak could be added too.
https://build.opensuse.org/
https://en.opensuse.org/openSUSE:Build_S...ld_targets

Flatpak at least gets you something relatively distro-agnostic, with the bonus of a degree of sandboxing. In principle it could cover the available linux-based distros without needing to do anything special for any of them, but I don't know if this is true in practice. The downsides include storage and memory inefficiency, and having to rebuild packages if any issues arise in included libs. How it deals with things like ModemManager vs. ofono, or gpsd vs. geoclue is another matter.

You'll probably need separate Free and non-free repos if you're not taking a free-software-only approach like F-droid. Some won't want to go anywhere near the non-free on principle, while others will regard at least some of it as necessary for the phone to be a daily driver. Depending on the approach to the build process for the free repo this could be a defining point for the relative security of the repos too.

There will be questions over the degree of vetting and curation. Quite apart from the notoriety of the Google Play Store, places like npm and pypi have had issues. F-droid's repeatable/verifiable builds may give some confidence that the provided binaries match the source release, but that doesn't address bad commits to the public source, or the 3rd party repackaging of closed binaries that we see on flathub. I'm not sure we have any great answers to this, but having a considered, published position on it would be a start. The F-droid tagging of potentially undesirable features is worth considering too.

I never really dealt with Maemo, but I got the impression the hardware abstraction was relatively consistent and well defined. We don't have that advantage. I've already mentioned the modem and location issues, but we have different backends for calendar, contacts etc. too, and probably more like audio mixer profile handling. If we're lucky these will be a consistent set of choices for major interfaces like Phosh, plasma-mobile and UBPorts, so we won't need per-distro guides for app examples too. We may need filters for app compatibility though.
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