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[liberationtech] Setting up your own app store with F-Droid

Nathan of Guardian nathan at
Wed Nov 6 06:31:46 PST 2013

Useful HOWTO and new tools package by Hans for anyone who needs to
distribute their own Android software, outside of Google Play, using the
excellent project.

Clarification from below: While the US and Google no longer restrict
access from Iran, the Google Play service is still unfortunately
filtered and blocked there, and is increasingly facing app-specific
filtering in other parts of the world (Viber downloads for Saudi Arabia,
etc.) Ultimately, this is about a need to decentralize app distribution,
while doing everything we can to ensure software security and
verification for end-users.

More from Hans...

"The Google Play Store is not available in all parts of the world, the
US restricts its use in certain countries like Iran, and many countries
block access to the Play Store, like China. Also, the Google Play Store
tracks it users actions, reporting back to Google what apps have been
installed and also run on the phone. Because of the NSA leaks, we’re
seeing that governments are actively tapping into the raw data streams
of Google, Yahoo, and others. So that means that the information that
the Google Play Store sends back to Google is also intercepted by the
NSA and other country’s agencies like it, and they in turn also share
that information with other governments. Lastly, the Google Play Store
is not free software, unlike the core of Android itself. It is
proprietary software that Google entirely controls.

F-Droid is a wonderful, free app store for Android. It is modeled after
Debian or other GNU/Linux distros in that it has its own package
repositories (repos) and build servers for all the apps that are part of
the official OS. Like Debian and Ubuntu, you can also setup your own
repos for anyone to use. Any free software can be added to the official
F-Droid repos, where they are built and signed by the F-Droid server.
This can be annoying because it means that your apps in F-Droid are
signed by a different key than your apps in the Google Play Store. If
you host your own F-Droid repo, then people can use F-Droid to install
your own builds signed by your own signing key.

This is a quick HOWTO for how to setup such a repository on a Debian or
Ubuntu box."

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