New Post: Parler Tricks: Making Software Disappear

Note that due to the controversial nature of this topic, and the rules of this forum, I ask that this thread’s discussion be limited to the topic in the post and not the many other political and other topics that have been hashed out of the past week on other forums, chat rooms, etc. There are plenty of other outlets for those discussions outside of the Purism forum.

Much has been written and broadcast about the recent actions from Google and Apple to remove the Parler app from their app stores. Apps get removed from these app stores all the time, but more than almost any past move by these companies, this one has brought the power Big Tech companies wield over everyone’s lives to the minds of every day people. Journalists have done a good job overall in presenting the challenges and concerns with this move, as well as addressing the censorship and anti-trust issues at play. If you want a good summary of the issues, I found Cory Doctorow’s post on the subject a great primer.

Sawing the Market in Half

Instead of rehashing any of those arguments, I wanted to highlight one area that wasn’t covered quite so much. Regardless of how you feel about Parler, an important thing to note is that this is far from the first time, nor will it be the last time, that Google and Apple remove controversial software from their stores. Because of their duopoly over the phone market, when they want to, Google and Apple can simply make software disappear .

What should concern you is that if the industry continues on the path they have started with phones, this same control will be coming soon to a laptop near you. The end result will be that whether or not you are allowed to install and run software on a computer you own, would no longer be up to you. It would be dictated not by laws or governments, but by a small group of Big Tech companies. This will all be in the name of security, but is all about control.

Read more here:


Right on time…


Beyond the banning of social media competitors, they also banned game like Fornite because they could not make money from every transaction of the customer with Epic
I also remember Amazon removing an e-book from the device of users after purchase (


I respectfully want to comment that I think the android example is exaggerated. There are plenty of other stores (e.g. F-Droid which is too free software) which you can download to install other applications easy. Yes, once - you have to allow them and whitelist them to install applications. Yes, you are changing the standard settings.

On a Linux distro (Librem 5) you have a similar Situation. I find an application which is not part of the Purism Repository. I then have to manually add a line to the sources list (which I would say to average Joe is more complicated than downloading the fdroid apk and allow it to install apps). Adding sources from outside is also a security risk. So I would say that the difference in that regard between a well used android and pure os is not too big.

So why is it that Google and Apple can make those changes to the lifes of so many? It’s because so many people accept it and prefer convenience. It’s a lot easier not to install a different app store, not install a different chat application, not add a different repository source to apt :wink:


You are correct - at this point in time.


Yes, Google is definitely going in the same direction as Apple:

It doesn’t have to be politically conroversial. I remember testing Google Waves service (remember that?), which was supposed to be the replacement for emails. Well, there were some good conversations that ended to devnull. Smaller instances have happened in many services: the data and especially the the data structures that have been build by communities disappear and users do not have a recourse or even possibility to rebuild properly. A tech giant doesn’t even notice that a glitch has occurred, while individual or group may lose years of their work.

The primer had some good points, thanks for the link.

Google doesn’t directly forbid the consumers from installing other stores, but it’s been known to strong arm manufacturers.

A way to reduce friction to the user is to preinstall a competing store, or multiple ones, while retaining the usual features (google play libraries). The linked affair says that ultimately, google is in control of what is preinstalled, and of to which extent friction to alternative stores can be limited.

This is unlike Linux distros, where distros regularly come with multiple software sources (free, non-free, contrib, …).


You persuaded me. Just ordered.


Discussion on Hacker News:


Not that I care for how Parler is treated by Google and Apple. Look under registration and verification at Wiki for Parler. To sign up for Parler requires your email and phone number. It also has option for you to supply your government-issued photo ID. Plus your social security and tax id numbers for Parler’s influencer network. Incredible.

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It’s also that mundane folk wouldn’t even imagine there are alternatives to the de facto software stores on their Big G and Fruity devices. To me, it seems most people fall prey to marketing and also generally stick to stuff their friends recommend that have high ratings and huge amounts of installs.
e.g. I remember years ago asking people to install Xabber or Signal, mentioning that the code was open source so people could check it and that the applications had good privacy policies unlike Other App.

I’ve heard of Parler and briefly checked out the site. Didn’t sign up because it was centralized and closed source. Their main goal is to respect free speech and only ban content that defies U.S. law. The rest of the problem is the community.

If you’re interested in the idea and UI/UX of something, ignore the user posted content and users as you see fit, and go about your own business adding content you’re interested in. When feeling up to it, engage with people who’s views differ from your own and back up your stances with reputable sources.

That’s unity. That’s fixing what’s wrong with the world. People, because of platforms, have become too bubbled. Unfortunately, while Big Tech and Mainstream Media talk about how everyone needs to get along through one side of their mouths, they are actively pushing censorship and coddling. Instead of just letting everyone be responsible adults and make their own decisions. Which, is not the answer and only further divides people leading to extremes.
If we continue down this path, where will it lead?

This is why decentralization, federation, and libré software, is crucial.
p2p is the future.
Let’s take it back.


I agree with Purism that something like the Librem 5 is a better long term solution than that all is currently available. BUT will add that a real de-googled phone running Lineage OS or /e/ frees you from Google completely and right now. Being tempted to use privacy invading software you are used to is high due to the compatibility of those apps, but this is user choice and freedom.

With the ability to emulate Android on the Librem 5 with Anbox this really makes the Librem 5 the best of both worlds.

The ONLY (understandable) drawback is the processing grunt of the L5. Specifically the amount of RAM it has. However, for now, and the foreseeable future (also based on what the L5 is supposed to be able to do) it is not only ok, but more than ok.

I think I’m not alone in thinking about the potential of a PureOS smartphone running with hardware as powerful as something like the M1 chip, or with 16-32gb RAM.

The L5 is just a computer in phone format after all.


Except that the proprietary drivers force you to stay with old Linux kernels and prevent updates, so you will have to through away your degoogled phone soon.

Fairphone had the goal of providing at least 5 years of software updates for the Fairphone 2 which contains a Snapdragon 801 processor. None of the Android phones with the Snapdragon 800/801 that were released in 2013-4 got upgraded to Android 7 (Nougat) in 2016-7, because Qualcomm decided that it wouldn’t release updated graphics drivers for the Snapdragon 800/801 because it was too old.

In order to obey Google’s onerous CDD rules and pass its CTS, Fairphone had to spend €500,000 to switch from Qualcomm’s unsupported Snapdragon 801 drivers to community-developed free/open source drivers. In November 2018, the Fairphone 2 became the only Snapdragon 800/801 phone to officially receive a Nougat upgrade, but it has never officially been upgraded since and is still stuck at Android 7.1, which is now 4 years out of date and still using Linux kernel 3.4.0, which was released in May 2012.

From the FAQ.

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Honestly, even more than the app stores, I find it more disturbing how quickly and easily Parler was able to be booted from the web by Amazon, and how hard it was for them to find a way to host their site afterwards. Most phone apps these days are useless without the servers, and although Android and Apple could argue its their ecosystem to control (the mobile OS), the web has traditionally been viewed as more free and decentralised (or that’s the intention).

Yes, there’s plenty of ways to host a web site, but let’s be honest, most people don’t have the knowledge or the resources to self host. Not only were most web hosts turning Parler down, but I heard even parts suppliers were refusing to sell to them (Newegg I believe).

Regardless of your opinion of Parler, I think most people should be very alarmed at how easily and quickly a few organisations were able to wipe something out from existance; not to mention how many celebrated such control.


You do know that something doesn’t stop working if it doesn’t have the latest kernel right?

On top of this, the Fairphone 3 runs Android 10 with no problems. I’m not saying that a de-googled phone is the best choice, I’m saying it is a valid stop gap. I’m very happy with my FP3.

And just in case anyone isn’t really aware of this, but there will be a time when development on the Librem 5 version 1 will stop as well. Maybe it wont happen until the 4th version of the L5 is out, but it will happen. You can’t support old hardware for forever. It costs too much. The one thing that is certain is that time it takes for development to stop will be exponentially longer than any of the current phones on the market now.

Quite the opposite, it collects new features, like zero-days! Once those are utilized, then it stops working.


Depends on the use case, environment, and how the device is used.

Simply saying don’t use old hardware because of zero day attacks, sounds more like a marketing ploy than truly sound advice.

Can’t you though? The latest Debian release still runs just fine on my old laptop from 15 years ago. I don’t see why phones should be any different.

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A sad reality. It was a bitter moment when in 2013 the first Linux kernel without i386 support was released. Mere 6 years after Intel stopped producing the chip. And then, last nail in the coffin, May 2018 when the last LTS kernel went EOL.
That was only 22 years after I stopped using mine :neutral_face: