Sunday, March 13, 2011

OpenSource Package Manager for Android

Android is surely breaks records in many areas, like openness of platform, etc. But not only that, Android Market delivers spyware and junkware to your devices with unsustainable ease - I don't remember such wealth at Palm and PocketPC times. Maybe paid apps save the situation, but wise platform owners don't offer them in various places around the world. All in all, while it's generally great fun to dig for gems in such places, there got to be something else.

So, next move of thought is towards open-source package manager. But only to find out that:

  • Trackdroid is fool's gold, with source never released (or taken down after release)
  • Undroid is stopped because "ultimately it was made irrelevant by Google market place."
  • apkget was started just this year, but already undergone repo created - something committed - repo removed cycle.
Googling for "android opensource package manager" doesn't give much - you know, it's all "Android OpenSource Project" and there's a PackageManager class. And - suddenly, thanks to Wikipedia, there's a winner:

They offer maintained client, they offer repository of packages. Hurrah!

UPDATE: F-Droid is a fork of Aptoide, which also specialized in Android repository provision, but not specializes in FOSS. Consequently, Aptoide client lacks detailed information about licencing, etc. and the repository provided by Aptoide project contains more than just FOSS project. At the same time, Aptoide seems to be leaning towards meta-level (i.e. provide package provision solution for others to reuse), and thus has more documentation and momentum.

F-Droid on the other hand also includes build system for its packages, albeit simple/limited one (e.g., entire recipe is written in one line).

All in all, it's great that there're such solutions for Android, and pity that that they are relatively hard to find, they should be published more, that will contribute to overall software quality on Android platform.

How it all started: F-Droid Repository Vapourware


Henrik said...

The recipe doesn't have to be on one line anymore – since about two weeks ago, it can be split by ending lines with backslashes. It can also contain commas now. :)

pfalcon said...

Well, good to know, that can keep it going for the time being, but it's probably good idea to think ahead and switch to some structural, not line-oriented, format.