Our product is a XMPP client, which can't work if it is not actively running in the background, so we were working with making apps run in background on Android for over 10 years, since version 2.0.
The trend is clear: with every update, we get more restrictions. Not only bg services are killed off from memory by aggressive memory managers of crappy phone vendors, Google themselves push developers to rely on proprietary FCM services. The writing is on the wall, and one day background services in Android will simply cease to work, all in the name of better battery life and customer care. So this OpenPush service will be short lived, it'll likely be disallowed to work in this form in Android 12 or 13.
The only proper long-term solution here is an anti-monopoly legislation, that would make Google allow Android users to subscribe to a third-party push notification service. Such service is, actually, a relatively simple: current FCM is just a modified XMPP connection that a phone keeps, and it will be easy to replicate and deploy.
Apple is guilty of this, too. A proper anti-monopoly legislations should target them as well, and not only make them allow third-party app stores, but third party push notifications as well.
This control of push notification services and restriction creep that occurs on both platforms makes Google's and Apple's grip on their respective OSs much tighter than Microsoft's grip on Windows ever was. This tyranny must be stopped, and I don't believe it can be done without legal action, by technical means only.
It is a tough spot. How do you have open app stores and not have them filled with malware? Android hasn't figured this out yet. Users are dumb and will just click on anything. They need to be protected from themselves sometimes.
But Google decided that it will be our nanny and will guard all users against misbehaving apps, whether the users asked about it, or not, and you can't refuse this care. That is tyranny and should be fought against.
Now, I don't think that push notifications are bad. They are rather good idea and let them be. It is the monopoly on push notifications which is bad.
> How do you have open app stores and not have them filled with malware?
Long before the 'app store' term was coined, Linux had software repositories, which worked like magic, and without issues:
sudo aptitude install libreoffice
And comparing software repos with app stores is just as bad.
I'm not even quite sure how to address what you're saying, because it's just so completely out of touch with how smartphones are used.
Strange idea. How is comparing two types of consumer-market computers and ecosystems is "insane"?
The parent comment is pretty legit IMHO.
My mom and my wife parents are extremely happy with Ubuntu computers. They do browsing, email, Skype, print stuff and whatever else they need just fine. That are way more happy with Ubuntu than they were with Windows, and I am, too, cause in the last three years I have spent exactly zero minutes maintaining their computers. If that's not a consumer-market OS, I don't know, what is? Windows? When mom used it, she always had one problem after another with it. I'm truly sorry for anyone who has to deal with it every day.
Play Store would be one among many.
I think then there would soon be curated repos for well behaved apps that don't abuse push notifications and background abilities.
On the other hand, we invented inetd so that we didn't have to keep server processes running all the time when they are only lightly/sparsely used.
This is not the case on Android. Looks like every app wants to run in the background and drain my battery. Even seemingly foreground-only things like maps apps install background services.
Ideally, I'd prefer to have an explicit list of apps which are allowed in background.. but missing that, I guess I will have to settle on automatic guarding.
What are Google's motives? Do they really care about their users, or do they simply want more control over user devices?
Users will also be prompted to kill an app if it's detected running in the background a lot. That's perfect because there are many cases where only the user knows whether the app updating in the background is important to them or not.
There’s no extra control outside of the user and the services they want to talk to (I think you can even host your own on Firefox), no vendor lockin, and the power and bandwidth usage are all great. There’s too much money to be made breaking useful push notifications and charging for ads though so I’ll be shocked if it ever gets done right on popular consumer devices.
Seems to work nicely on my Android. Which would imply it's already done. (I'm sure greed will ruin it at some point, somehow.)
They caved in for the current release, but they are going to force it in android 11.
On the bright side I think this will cause android engineers to become more of a specialty as the platform migrates more and more from just another java implementation to a whole new world of apis!
In that instance, having an app which centralizes the push service needs of other apps would be highly useful, as it could then be installed as a system app with the same kind of access as the FCM service. For many phones, custom ROMs are available. Average people probably won't have the skills to install custom ROMs. But the goal of OpenPush is not to replace FCM from all phones everywhere. It's to meet the needs of the subcommunity of people who want to use degooglified Android, maybe also later on integrate with non-Android mobile OSs. In that subcommunity, people likely already use custom ROMs, and among those who don't, the readiness is higher to install one.