Wednesday, June 12, 2024

/e/OS Assessment: This Working System Is Higher Than Android. You Ought to Attempt It


Screenshots from a mobile phone app that controls privacy settings including how or if the user is being tracked

{Photograph}: Scott Gilbertson

Whereas I just like the privateness options of /e/OS and have even taken to spoofing my geodata a lot of the time, the actual killer function to me is the /e/OS app retailer, which is called the App Lounge. After I used LineageOS, I put in apps from a number of totally different app shops. There’s F-Droid, which hosts open supply apps, and Uptodown, which a couple of apps I take advantage of help (Vivaldi being the principle one), after which I had a couple of I might solely get via the Google Play Retailer. As anybody utilizing LineageOS can let you know, it is lots to maintain monitor of.

The /e/OS App Lounge combines apps from a wide range of sources, together with the Play Retailer and F-Droid, amongst others, making all of them out there in a single place. (You may also decide to solely present open supply apps.)

Additionally good is the choice to remain nameless when connecting to any of the app shops, though you’ll need to be logged in to get the apps you paid for, since these are tied to your consumer ID. I’ve additionally had the nameless login fail a couple of occasions, giving me token errors. This is without doubt one of the few locations I’ve had points with /e/OS.

The App Lounge makes use of a well-recognized design that appears like Google Play however provides a couple of options. The primary is that App Lounge supplies privateness details about every app, grading it on a 1 to 10 scale, the place 1 is horrible for privateness and 10 usually means no trackers. The App Lounge additionally grades apps in response to which permissions they require. The less permissions (like entry to your images or geodata), the upper the score. It is a good manner of offering complicated info in a manner anybody can simply parse.

In a win for the bigger Android-alt neighborhood, /e/OS claims to be engaged on making the App Lounge out there as an app that may be put in wherever. (Within the meantime, the Aurora Store is an in depth various.)

What Doesn’t Work

As a lot as I really like /e/OS, it isn’t excellent. I’ve had some minor points with geodata. I dwell on the highway, so my location modifications each couple of weeks. Generally /e/OS is gradual to select up on this, and the Maps app will present me search outcomes based mostly on the place I used to be final week. The included Maps app itself continues to be tough across the edges (and makes use of some proprietary code). It is higher and extra correct than each different map app I’ve tried, however it is not nearly as good as Google Maps. I do not care what you consider Google; its Maps app is unmatched. I nonetheless use it as a backup when the default /e/OS app would not discover what I want.

The opposite massive lacking function for me is speech-to-text. Proper now, /e/OS ships with out speech-to-text in any respect. There is a good summary of the options available within the /e/OS boards. None of them are perfect, however I’ve managed to get by with a mix of Sayboard and the inventory /e/OS keyboard. The excellent news is {that a} built-in speech-to-text function is on the road map for /e/OS in 2024. This will even open the door to an /e/OS assistant, which isn’t presently out there. The undertaking is unclear about what type this may take, given the privateness implications of interacting with a server to reply queries, however one chance is a big language mannequin operating domestically.

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