When will it be possible for the Librem 5 to run android apps?


#1

I totally believe in what Purism is doing, but I don’t know if I will be able to use my phone how I would like to. There is talk about support for Android applications, but I’ve read they will only implement that if they hit $20 million. I need to use the apps listed below, will they be in the PureOS repository or will I be able to install them as Android apps from, say F-Droid? If neither, when can we expect these apps to work on the Librem 5?

  • KeePass

  • Firewall

  • Cryptomator

  • PGP / GPG

  • FreeOTP (or similar)

  • Alternative Browsers (such as Brave, IceCat, etc)

  • OpenVPN

  • NewPipe

  • Serval Mesh


#2

As I understand it, the stretch goal of $20M will guarantee android apps to run on the Librem 5 out of the box, other than that it will be up to the community to develop a way for the Librem 5 to run Android apps in isolation

Having said that, I believe some of the apps you just mentioned will run out of the box as there are Linux variants of them-such as KeePass. I don’t recognize all those apps but I am confident that Linux compatible versions of those apps or similar ones exist

Cheers,
Ryan


#3

If you plan to use Ubuntu Touch OS by UBports then you’ll most certanly be able to run Android apps on Librem5 since UBports is developing their project Anbox to do just that.

I asume this will be possible from day one since afaik UBports is getting dev kits from Purism to make everything ready for the launch.

You can try Anbox from www.anbox.io on your Linux desktop or Ubuntu Touch supported phones (with Mediatek processors for now)


#4

So to clarify, if I run Ubuntu Touch on my Librem 5 I can use Android apps? If so, would they have to be from the playstore or could they also be APK’s or from repositories such as F-Droid and Yalp Store?


#5

Anbox, like WINE isn’t perfect. It can run apps, but there will be compatibility problems.

As for NewPipe. There is a bigger issue. We need hardware video decoding to get any reasonable performance out of a video player (Unless you can tolerate with very short battery time with CPU decoding). And it seems that it won’t happen soon. The Etnaviv devs have just started to get NIR (a Mesa internal stuff) working. They are far from reverse engineering the video decoder and making it work on Linux.
With that said. If the NIR developing goes well and they manage to get OpenCL working on Etnaviv. We might be able to decode video using the GPU. Yet it’s still way more power hungry than the hardware decoder.

Dual booting a AOSP system might be a solution. Hopefully someone will release multirom or GRUB for Librem 5.


#6

There is a bigger issue. We need hardware video decoding to get any reasonable performance out of a video player (Unless you can tolerate with very short battery time with CPU decoding). And it seems that it won’t happen soon. The Etnaviv devs have just started to get NIR (a Mesa internal stuff) working. They are far from reverse engineering the video decoder and making it work on Linux.

I thought that the board was mainly chosen because the GPU is open source?
Or is the VideoPU a completely different thing, here?
https://www.nxp.com/products/processors-and-microcontrollers/applications-processors/i.mx-applications-processors/i.mx-8-processors/i.mx-8m-family-armcortex-a53-cortex-m4-audio-voice-video:i.MX8M


#7

No. The GPU itself is proprietary. Purism selects it because Etnaviv (the reversed engineered GPU driver) is blob-free. Meaning there is no special black-magic binary in the driver to make the GPU work.

And you are right. The graphics processor is a different thing from the video decoder. Making the 3D graphics working has nothing to do with decoding video.