🏠 Go home.

Change of Scenery

Published on

So Google, Android, it's not me, it's you.

Back in 2011, when I first jumped over to a smart phone, I dumped some thoughts on Android and why at the time webOS was a better platform for me. Fast forward to the end of 2013, and the landscape is much different yet oh so similar. I'm using a Nexus 4 with Google Play running on it – I'm reticent to call it Android – and have a Nexus 5 arriving tomorrow. But I'm not happy, but I don't know what I can do any more. Even Cyanogen seems to be fucking things up. The entire landscape is a disaster, and the best alternative for high-end handset devices we have is Ubuntu Touch, which will have the same problems from Canonical should the spice actually flow.

So what is a good privacy and liberty minded freetard like myself supposed to make of all of this, my current work-levels and skill sets hardly lend towards building the future right now like I always seem to end up doing for myself. In short, I plan to fix that. I've recently dove back in to Qt development, with every intent to make both Ubuntu Touch and KDE's Plasma Active a usable environment for someone whose social and work circle is largely the iOS/Apple centric app.net and Twitter crowd.

Recently, my roommate Teapot and I had a long drawn out discussion in our hot tub about how to fix all of this shit. Invest in a Play Services replacement that isn't evil and built on open protocols, port dalvik to linux and ship a handset on top of Active. Do all of this and recruit some really great designers and devs to build out wonderful core applications on top of open protocols.

Sounds fucking easy right? haha. :(

She also suggested that I follow app.net user Aurynn, who had recently realized the same fucking disaster that we had stumbled in to and decided a Change of Scenery was in order. That's where I am, for the most part. Unfortunately, I can't go all out yet, due to some services I rely on which are only accessible through Play Service-dependant applications. However, the overarching sentiment – get out while you still can ye, plebes – rings true. No more relying on Hangouts for communication, which means I'll have to migrate off of Google Voice come early 2014, but I'd rather do that sooner and one of my friends is building an API on top of Twilio which should allow for that. I already host my own E-Mail on Kolab on a Rax instance (soon to be ported to metal which I own), and as of today, my notes, tasks, contacts, calendars and files are being stored in ownCloud, along with my RSS and a few other things.

My Nexus 5 arrived today, it's going to get a Cyanogen or AOKP nightly installed as soon as it doesn't crash horribly and my Nexus 4 will become an Ubuntu Touch device where I will be dogfooding some QML apps I'm playing with along with designs for possible handset shells. In the long term I will be building up a healthy skill of QML and keeping my ops and rails skills sharp and growing as well, and I'll build the future that I want to build, because that's what I always end up having to do anyways. We've got frameworks, there's a not-large list of applications which go through my daily use which would need to be implemented.

I'm not entirely prepared to drop Play entirely yet as mentioned above as there are some things in my daily life which require it still, but in the long term I think that focusing energy on a unified QML based mobile ecosystem is our best and most future-proof bet. In the short term, however, the things in f-droid cover a really great range of the types of software that are interesting to me in making a phone a productive piece of equipment. All of these sad developments still greatly accelerates the need for pervasive Plasma Active deployment available on mobile devices, especially when I converge – I don't think I can feel comfortable running android as my main OS any longer. None of it is news though, I called this back in 2011 for better or worse; much like PRISM's revelation it's just confirmation of what we've all known to be true, that your data can only be protected and properly valued by yourself and applications created in a healthy ecosystem.

Respond to this note:

Ryan Rix is a privacy rights advocate and net-art wannabe. Reach them on the Fediverse as @rrix@cybre.space, twitter as @rrrrrrrix, via email to ryan@whatthefuck.computer or on Facebook or on Matrix as @rrix:whatthefuck.computer.