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Android Cellphones Handhelds Open Source

Ask Slashdot: Best Free and Open Source Apps For Android? 134

Posted by samzenpus
from the best-of-the-best dept.
First time accepted submitter aNonnyMouseCowered writes "One of my favorite freeware Android applications has been pulled from the Google Play app store. While I found a replacement for the app, I've decided to install only apps that won't become obsolete merely because of the developer's whim or lack of interest. With the exception of games, which I don't deem essential for work, I don't want to install potential abandonware even if they cost the pauperly sum of $0.00. My decision has thus far meant installing a relatively crude text editor like BusyBox's version of vi, rather than any one of those full-blown mobile office suites. I've found a short list of open source Android apps at Wikipedia, including the usual suspects, Firefox and the VLC media player. There are also links to two other sites at the end of the article. But even the more comprehensive listings have large gaps in them even when compared 'merely' to the programs available in a typical GNU/Linux repository. So can anyone recommend useful or even just fun Free, Libre and Open Source Software for an Android smartphone or tablet? Free virtual beer to those that can find links for FLOSS programs for editing audiovisual media (Blender for Android?) and documents more sophisticated than HTML."
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Ask Slashdot: Best Free and Open Source Apps For Android?

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  • It seems arrogant (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mpbrede (820514) on Monday January 28, 2013 @10:45AM (#42714945)
    To imply that you can predict (or ask others to predict) which applications will become abandonware. Free, open-source program repositories are littered with abandonware. That is one of the real hurdles for open-source adoption in enterprises. Android will be no different. Besides, some programs will work fine even if they never get updated again.
  • What is the point? (Score:0, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 28, 2013 @10:54AM (#42715045)

    Have fun with all that. The rest of us will be actually using our devices and being productive.

  • Wait, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Monday January 28, 2013 @11:00AM (#42715099)

    You want to edit A/V stuff... on a cell phone?

    Ok I think you need to step back for a glass of perspective and soda. Smart phones and tablets are cool devices. In particular smart phones because it means you can get e-mail, web, etc anywhere you are. That is really useful. However they are really only good at content consumption. A touch screen interface is not very efficient for most software out there, at least at this point, and isn't very good for most creation in general since you hand obscure what you are working on.

    The bigger problem is just power. For example I have a Galaxy Note II, one of the most powerful smartphones you can get right now. For all that it features 2GB of RAM, a 1.6GHz 32-bit processor that gets maybe 2 MIPS per MHz per core in the real world, and 16GB of total storage. Compare that to my desktop, which is not all that pricey, that has 2GB just for video RAM, 16GB of system RAM a 3.6GHz 64-bit processor that pulls 114 GIPS no problem on a real world benchmark and has a few TB of storage.

    For A/V work, you really, really, want a real system. Heck for pretty much any creation, you want a real system. A tablet is fine for watching a video, it would suck for editing one. A smartphone is fine for reading a website, but I sure wouldn't want tot type this post out on one.

    Also, perhaps you should define your desired use better, since Blender is really a 3D creation program, not an A/V editor. Sony Vegas would be an example of an A/V editor.

    If you are just fishing for programs, well then stop. There's no reason. Programs on any platform, smartphone, desktop, whatever, exist to solve problems, to do things we need done. So figure out what it is you need to do, then you can ask about software.

    However keep it realistic. If you want a suggestion for something to read eBooks, I can give you a good one. If you want an SSH or RDP client, I can suggest one though you'll find they are really good for emergencies only, real work is best done on a computer. If you want to cut a movie, then put down the tablet, and grab a real system.

  • by tepples (727027) <tepples&gmail,com> on Monday January 28, 2013 @11:37AM (#42715431) Homepage Journal

    You want to edit A/V stuff... on a cell phone?

    Yes. A cell phone includes a camcorder, and based on my sample, a growing number of people choose to own only a cell phone and not a desktop computer.

    However they are really only good at content consumption.

    I'll assume that by "content consumption" you mean "viewing works created by others". Being able to do limited creation on a pocket computer eases the barrier to entry for people who want to step up from viewing to creating. See my other comment about upward mobility [slashdot.org].

    The bigger problem is just power.

    The "2GB of RAM, a 1.6GHz 32-bit [multicore] processor" is more than a lot of PC owners had during the Windows XP era.

    Heck for pretty much any creation, you want a real system.

    Not everybody has the money to spare in the checking account to buy "a real system" today. An application for a phone or tablet lets the user get started with creation while saving up for "a real system". As more people choose to buy only a smartphone and/or a tablet instead of "a real system", the economies of scale that currently make desktop PCs affordable are likely to evaporate. Look at how the price of a small laptop has shot up over the past couple months.

    A smartphone is fine for reading a website, but I sure wouldn't want tot type this post out on one.

    I've typed Slashdot posts on a Bluetooth keyboard paired to a tablet whose screen isn't much bigger than a Galaxy Note "phablet".

  • Total Commander (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Frederic54 (3788) on Monday January 28, 2013 @11:50AM (#42715553) Journal
    20 years ago I used NortonCommander aka NC in MSDOS, in Windows 3 I started using WindowsCommander, a NC clone running in Windows. It has been renamed TotalCommander years ago because of TM.

    It is still being developped, and is avalaible for free in Android. Best app ever.
  • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday January 28, 2013 @01:00PM (#42716449)

    You want to edit A/V stuff... on a cell phone?

    Ok I think you need to step back for a glass of perspective and soda.

    I think you need to step forward and see what people are doing on iPads and iPhones today. There are a lot of video CREATION and editing applications.

    Why should Android users have to suffer with lower capabilities just because the technical elite deem some task silly, or only fit for "real computers"?

    It's the worst form of technical snobbery to claim that device X "cannot do" Y, and undermines the very sprit of hacking itself that anything should be possible on ANYTHING with enough effort.

  • by Anne Thwacks (531696) on Monday January 28, 2013 @03:56PM (#42718757)
    You must be one of those iFans. I have a pile of batteries for my HTC Desire, so I can leave the house with 3 days worth for a long weekend! However, my Nokia E72 (probably nearly 10 years old) and 6120 each have a new battery which lasts 7 days.

    Summary: if you didn't buy it from Apple, you can change the battery - and spare ones of an SGS3 are in the region of $5 each from China.

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