I've decided that it's finally time to retire my iPhone 6S, largely because it sometimes just decides not to vibrate when notifications come in. This has actually been happening for a long time but I had convinced myself I was just spacing out. Pretty sure it's actually broken.

I'm unhappy enough with Apple that I want out of their ecosystem, and it's not like Google is better. I've got a PinePhone but it's not gonna cut it, so I am looking into devices I can put LineageOS / microG on.

Follow

I have to try to divine:
* Which devices are well supported by LineageOS
* Which devices will continue to be well supported by LineageOS
* Which devices have strong enough specs that they will perform well as software inevitably gets more bloated over the years I will own the phone
* Which devices are actually attainable locally at reasonable cost

I'm in hell.

Finally pulled the trigger and bought a Samsung Galaxy S10, because they are plentiful, relatively inexpensive, reasonably powerful, and supported by LineageOS.

Went to follow the installation instructions and the button to unlock the bootloader just... isn't there.

Apparently the North American models are basically unhackable. But the wiki doesn't tell you that.

This fuckin' sucks.

There are a million videos and articles online that suggest that maybe, if you set your clock back 7 days or 3 months and wave a dead chicken over it, the button will magically appear. This has not worked for me.

Bought a OnePlus 8 Pro. Verified before paying that I was able to unlock the bootloader. Got it home, looked at the LineageOS instructions, and apparently my model is the IN2021 and only the IN2020, IN2023, and IN2025 are officially supported. I reiterate: I am in hell. Why am I doing this to myself.

A quick search suggests that people are definitely using LineageOS with this particular device anyway so it's probably only not listed because the maintainer can't test on it or something. But.

I installed LineageOS anyway. It went smoothly. The settings screen now claims my phone's model is IN2023. OK. Sure. IN2025 is the North American model number so who knows. Haven't run into any problems yet, everything seems to be running smoothly. This world of alternative Android is weird but I am acclimatizing.

Spent virtually the entire day yesterday setting up my new phone. I'm pretty pleased. There's a nice ecosystem of open source replacements for virtually everything I use that's not obviously a proprietary service. I can set up the rest with the Aurora Play Store client. The only thing that sucks is that my bank's app won't start. I assume this is because it relies on Google SafetyNet.

Feeling, for perhaps the first time, like if there was something about my phone that I didn't like, that I could do something about it. It feels really good.

I was honestly not expecting to feel that way. I spent like five years writing Android and iOS apps professionally. I never felt that way about my iPhone. I stopped jailbreaking my iPhones years and years ago because it didn't feel like there was any point.

Self-hosting my own UnifiedPush server was rather more work than I expected, but in the end I think I was able to setup NextPush. Configuring the Android end of things was really slick, as it talks to the NextCloud app to fetch my credentials, server URL, etc. Interact with this post so I can see if it's really working!

Surprised to discover that Android 11 doesn't support mDNS (automatic zero-configuration hostnames like raspberrypi.local). I thought that was table stakes these days. Sounds like Android 12 finally added support though.

oh. my bank app not working on an unlocked phone might be a pretty significant roadblock, because my bank does 2fa through their mobile app, and once you turn on 2fa, you cannot turn it off, ever. If you lose your phone you can temporarily turn it off but you still can't login to web banking until you've installed it on a new phone and logged in with it.

so uh.

gonna have to call someone to get that sorted out, it would seem.

Trying out AntennaPod for handling podcasts on my phone. I notice that it seems to be having a hard time parsing the dates for a particular feed that I enjoy. There's no way to sort the episodes into a sensible order.

Well, the source is right there, so I download Android Studio and add a new date format that matches what I see in the feed.

Great, right? Write up a unit test and send out a pull request?

Well, I try it out, and sure enough, the first hundred episodes or so have dates! Success! Except... the last 40 or so do not.

I take another look at the file and, whoops! I guess this is a hand-rolled file and its author just decided one day to start using a totally different date format, which AntennaPod also doesn't support!

Well, this might explain why I thought this podcast had been dead for years, I think my old podcast app was choking on them too...

OK, so, add date format #2 and refresh. All the early episodes parse correctly. All the newest episodes parse correctly. And there's about ten episodes in the middle that AntennaPod has just totally given up on - it can't figure out the date _or_ the episode description. Looking at the file I can't see anything different.

And I start to think, maybe everyone would be better off if I wrote a script to fix the file, rather than changing the app to be able to read this cursed feed.

OK so when I first was setting up my phone I needed to pick a browser. I saw someone mention Fennec, so I had a quick peek in F-Droid and there it was! Firefox! With extensions! I've been happily using it except there's this weird bug where full screen video isn't quite full screen, there's always a big ugly bar along the bottom or the side. Started googling around and yeah this was a bug in 2021 but it's long been fixed.

But I noticed: I wasn't finding an issue tracker for _Fennec_, I was finding an issue tracker for _Firefox_. And there's an official Firefox build on Google Play, and it works the same except it doesn't have the full screen bug! Where's the project page for Fennec?
Oh, well, that doesn't exist!
All the links on the Fennec F-Droid page are to Mozilla's repository!
I think the patches must live in some F-Droid metadata repository? I hope?? Haven't found it yet...

OK, so, with some _significant_ digging, I found the Fennec F-Droid project's source code and issue tracker: gitlab.com/relan/fennecbuild

It doesn't _look_ like any of the patches should break fullscreen video (although they definitely will break push notifications and fido 2fa) so hopefully the next build that gets pushed out will have the problem fixed?

oh, it does! natively! you just have to type ctrl-z

and most keyboards don't bother exposing the ctrl key

so if I accidentally delete some text, I need to _switch keyboards_ to type a _keyboard shortcut_

....

that's extremely user-hostile!!

Called my bank, waited on hold for 20 minutes, told the guy the app was not supported on my phone. Reinstalled the app so I could tell him exactly the error message I was getting, and suddenly... it was fine? I could log in? I guess the last version I tried installing a month ago was just broken!

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New version of Fennec F-Droid got pushed out a few days ago. Fullscreen bug is fixed. :blobwhee:

@SpindleyQ I’m in the same boat, but I’m an iOS developer! If I could reimagine the concept of a phone app, I would want to keep app signing, so I know where an app came from and that it hasn’t been modified, but remove Apple and Google from this verification. I’m hoping future regulations force app ecosystems to do the right thing.

@JonathanGerlach yeah, I think, as a concept, moderation / curation of software is good, but having this work done by one or two companies gatekeeping all software for the most widely used set of general purpose computing devices on earth... is not good.

@SpindleyQ Wait, did I confuse LineageOS with that very Christian operating system?

@hache oh yeah you may be thinking of TempleOS, LineageOS is just open source Android

@hache We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives.

@SpindleyQ It doesn't exist. I just got a Nokia 225 4G (because of 3G shutdown in US), and it can't even thread SMS conversations correctly because the timestamps are incorrect. I had to return it. I have spent many many hours trying to crack this, and I don't think that an affordable, trustworthy device currently exists.

@gamemakingtools seriously, I followed a ten minute long YouTube video where the first minute or so has captions like "step 1: do X, step 2: turn off that setting" and then it says "if this doesn't work, simply repeat the process" and stops captioning and the person just randomly clicks settings and reboots the phone for the next 9 minutes until the option finally shows up

and the comments are all like "FINALLY a guide that WORKS"

@SpindleyQ

I bought one of the Pixel 3a's with the streaky screen on EBay for $80 and put GrapheneOS on it. So far, it's been wonderful.

The screen is a bit annoying but not pay-an-extra-$200 annoying.

@SpindleyQ holy shit they finally added it? been waiting for this since literally the Nexus One.

@technomancy According to commenters in this thread, it's started to work for folks on Pixel phones when Android 12 came out (and break non-mDNS uses of .local because they fucked up the implementation): issuetracker.google.com/issues

@SpindleyQ what specific security threat exactly are they worried about from unlocked phones here?

@jplebreton who knows? I'm not even entirely certain that's why it doesn't work, the error message is just "Sorry, something went wrong. Please uninstall the Scotia app and visit Google Play to install it again."

I do know that Google provides an API called SafetyNet, where it does a bunch of checks to verify the program and the phone haven't been tampered with. Of course an unlocked bootloader running non-Googled Android flunks this test by definition.

@SpindleyQ I was about yo point to Hacker's Keyboard, which does provide all the usual modifier keys, but I notice the github repo now has a "WARNING: This is a rather ancient project that was originally developed back in 2011 based on the Android 2.3 (Gingerbread) AOSP keyboard. While it still works as-is for many users, it would need some major rewrites to work with newer APIs, and some features such as language switching or popup keys don't work right on modern Android systems."

So, yeah...

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@SpindleyQ I think that's for "compatibility" with physical keyboards. I assume apps are expected to provide an undo button themselves???

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@SpindleyQ Oh, that sounds better than I imagined. I don't have the play store on my tablet and I get by fine, but I need it to be able to prove my vaccination status, and I guess the Steam log-in thing...

@gamemakingtools Haven't looked into vax status tooling yet, but worst case I should just be able to toss the PDFs on it.

@SpindleyQ I bought an S4 several years ago with the exact same story. it was basically a dead paperweight.

@technomancy the worst part is not knowing exactly how fucked I am. Like... this works for some people! I don't know where they live! Maybe some Canadian phones work? With some carriers? The videos I've seen show the option spontaneously appearing after randomly doing the same thing over and over; nobody seems to know WHY it works when it works. All I have to go on are untrustworthy randos in forums saying "yep this worked!" or "no this didn't work".

@SpindleyQ @technomancy man that sucks. I got bit a similar way when I picked up a used Pixel 3 (surely the most unlockable phone?), only to discover it was a former Verizon unit, which have unlocking disabled. It's always a game of lotto 😤

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Hi! Game Making Social is a part of the Fediverse dedicated to being a well-moderated, cosy, friendly place to talk and share stuff about amateur videogame making, and everything surrounding that.