OpenStore, TweakGeek and more

Now that the Ubuntu Phone is finally in the hands of many people, it’s time to get some hacking started! This is an attempt to bootstrap some hacking community around the devices that wants to explore the phone beyond of what the platform offers to the normal user at this time. To get this started I prepared an app, called Open App Store that allows hackers to install applications that can’t be published to the official store. This really is not about competing with the official Ubuntu store, but is meant as an extension for power users and developers.

Excited? Download the app here but think twice! This thing opens doors for possibilities to break your Ubuntu installation. Only install it if you know what you’re doing, install it at your own risk and make sure that you know how to reflash your device if you break something [1].

At this point you won’t find many apps in this store, but I managed to prepare two:

* TweakGeek: An app that allows you changing special settings of the device.
* Big Moving Text: You probably know this one from the official store. This version however, is able to keep your display lit while the text is running. Thanks to Michal Predotka for this contribution.

If you have an app that you’d like publishing in this store, here are the rules we’re gonna start with (those might change at some point but for now I think they make sense to see where this is going):

* If an application can be published in the official Ubuntu store, publish it there.
* If an application could be published in the official Ubuntu store if it wouldn’t be about that one cool feature, publish a stripped down version in the official store! Not everyone should and will have Open App Store installed.
* Only open source applications allowed: As the applications might have arbitrary access to the device, every submitted app will get a review and the source code is published along with the app.

Still on board? Here’s how you get started:
* Add an additional .apparmor file to your project (.apparmor.openstore) requesting the special permissions you need.
* Send me a link to a branch for your app to michael.zanetti@ubuntu.com along with some instructions on how to build it if they differ from the standard (Ubuntu SDK).
* Give a short explanation why you can’t publish that in the official store. No need to go into details, a one liner like “needs to keep the display lit” will do. List all the special features you have, if there are more.

Looking forward to your contributions. For now the source code for the Open App Store can be found here. If you want to help out with developing the store app and/or the infrastructure behind it, ping me on IRC or drop me a mail.

Happy Hacking!

[1] http://askubuntu.com/questions/602035/how-do-i-use-ubuntu-device-flash-with-the-bq-aquaris-e4-5

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17 Responses to OpenStore, TweakGeek and more

  1. Maybe, just maybe, rename the store to Hack’n’Slasher’s Open Store so the target is clear?

    This makes me want to put a ui on a network debug utility.

    • Michael says:

      Can’t wait to see that network debug tool :)

      Will think about the name.

      • zed says:

        I’d say keep the name OpenStore, but don’t restrict it to apps that are not allowed in official ubuntu store. Instead, allow all open-source apps(like F-Droid Store for android).
        This would make it very easy for users to get open-source software, because i don’t think you can find opensource software so easily on the official ubuntu store.
        Plus your appstore would be accessible(at least i assume so) without registration(unlike the offical one), which users might prefer.

  2. Pingback: Latest news: Ubuntu Phone Jailbreak Now Available, Third-Party App Store Created - News Press

  3. jezra says:

    This sound awesome. Where can I read the instructions for installing this on my device?

  4. Rasmus says:

    I love the name OpenStore. There is a US trademark registered to a Canadian firm, but not related to the same purpose (77848399). Domain sharks have taken the .com, but if you go to the La Réunion, you can have opensto.re.

    Another naming option, which has not been registered to anyone, is Gnustore. Stressing “gnus” like cluster. Not because it’s related to GNU, but because it’s free, and I like the sound of it.

  5. It might be worth clarrifying how to install. I got it with these commands:

    wget http://notyetthere.org/openstore/v1/openstore.mzanetti_0.2_armhf.click

    pkcon install-local --allow-untrusted openstore.mzanetti_0.2_armhf.click

  6. dave says:

    I just installed the openstore, I hate that it is called a store though it is closer to debian or Maemo repos.
    I feel like Ubuntu touch is drifting away from the Ubuntu/Debian/Maemo/FOSS camp with needing a launchpad login, that feeling that somebody is watching what I am doing.
    I am hoping that Ubuntu touch will eventually match or surpass Maemo/Meego as my N900 is getting old and I need a tablet for PDF maps and approach plates, still waiting for a good enough PDF app to zoom properly with full resolution.
    I would love to see dump1090 ported to Ubuntu touch, it uses the cheap RTL2382 TV dongles to provide a live transponder radar-scope-like view overlayed with a map, even help porting it from source as the server should run the app in the browser form localhost if I could figure out compiling in this system.
    BTW pilots using a Nexus 7 are probably only making minimum wage at best(yes that is the pay at commuter airlines and flight instructors) so it is tricky to throw money around supporting projects, we could use the help.
    For aviation an E6B(flight time/distance and wind drift computer) app, a great zoomable PDF app, a good big easy to read and use timer/stopwatch with quicksets, an aviation GPS app(does the gps work on the nexus 7-flo?), and lastly leveraging the power of GPS and the RTL2382 for a dump1090 radar/map browser app . Packaged together with easy swiping and easy to add PDF maps(pin to GPS by the x/y coordinates of the corners of the map) and you would have something better than Garmin provides in FOSS.

  7. dave says:

    Open app store is great, cant wait until it is well populated with great apps. I love not having to log in using my launchpad account to access the ‘store’.

  8. aimar says:

    Great job! But maybe it is not related, but I installed “tweakgeek” app and used it to delete cache data of some apps and even tried to delete an app within “tweakgeek”. Since then, I can not delete an app the “old way” (pressing it icon from the apps scope and selecting uninstall button, as nothing is displayed; information of app nor uninstall/open buttons) and the official app also does show nothing when looking for an app. Any ideas on how to fix it? Thank you.
    Just another cuestion: the apps avalaible in open store differ from within the app itself and the web site.

    • aimar says:

      Hi, a reboot solves the problem (although not always, so must reboot twice). The second issue was solved after updating the open store app.

  9. Patrick says:

    Thank you very much for this app ! I can now let my shell run in the background and listen to internet radio !

  10. Paul says:

    Hi,
    I hoped the tweaking tool would help solve a problem with the web browser not being able to download links but no joy.
    Being able to do all the other stuff is excellent.
    Great addition.

  11. leandro says:

    hi , i have a an mx4 ubuntu and ubuntu 15.04 ota8, and i run in the console (after download the click file) the “pkcon install-local –allow-untrusted openstore.mzanetti__armhf.click” and have errors, like “read only file system”, anyone can helpme? i want to install the openstore =) thanks !!!

  12. ws says:

    Might help: Install it als user phablet, not as root.

  13. sem-geologist says:

    Thank You very much,
    This brings a pinch of sanity to the platform. Without this app and sane versions of the core apps I would had already reflashed the device to something else than UT, week after I bought it. Now It is on the margin of being bearable.

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