Best open source music player for Android (custom rom)

I’m now using VLC from the repository. You can navigate to any folder you want and hit play and VLC will play back all tracks in the current folder. So no need for setting up indexing on particular folders and having trouble with files outside of that folder.

Before that, I used the App Vanilla Music but yesterday, it drove me up the wall. Every time when I copy new music or audio books to my smartphone, I had to restart the entire phone because only then Vanilla Music updated its file index and displayed the new tracks. Furthermore, I had files outside of the indexed folder. The playback of these files was nearly impossible. Although you could navigate to these files within Vanilla Music, the playback did not work. You could start the playback from the file manager but you had to enqueue file by file – m3u playlists did not seem to work either. That’s why I switched to VLC.

Using Amaze file manager to transfer data between your PC and your Android phone

Instead of using a USB cable to transfer data between your PC and your smartphone using MTP, you can also use a wireless connection and Amaze file manager app and an FTP client.

  1. Install the Amaze file manger on your Android phone (e. g. available at F-Droid app store).
  2. Establish a connection to your wireless router, i. e. activate WiFi.
  3. Open Amaze and navigate to the hamburger menu
  4. Click on “FTP Server”
  5. Optional: Configure the settings
  6. Click on “Start” to launch the FTP server
  7. After starting the server, Amaze will show the IP address and port number of the FTP server (if it does not work, chek your router settings – DHCP should be configured to automatically assign an IP address to connecting devices)
  8. Important: Do NOT lock your device i. e. leave the screen on – otherwise, the following connection attempt might fail.
  9. Use the shown IP address and port number on your FTP client (on your PC) as to connect to the FTP server. Good FTP clients are FileZilla or Nautilus.
In the hamburger menu, click on “FTP Server”
This dialog will be shown

Installing Fairphone Open on Fairphone 2 and app advices

In this article I’m going to explain how to install Fairphone Open (the Android version without the Google Mobile Services) on my Fairphone 2 using my Linux system (Mageia 6). The official Installation Guide can be found here.

  1. Install the package android-tools:
    urpmi android-tools
  2. The package above installs the command-line tool fastboot-android. But the flashing script (see below) expects the command-line tool fastboot. Because of this we need to create a link fastboot which points to fastboot-android:
    ln -s /usr/bin/fastboot-android /usr/bin/fastboot
  3. Download the switcher package and unzip it (see Official Installation Guide).
  4. Boot your phone into the fastboot mode (hold the volume down button while you power on your phone). Your phone is in fastboot mode when you see a static screen with a simple Fairphone lettering, black background and the lettering “Fairphone powered by android”.
  5. Connect your phone with your computer via USB cable.
  6. Execute the flash script which is contained in the switcher package:
    If you see something like:


    WARNING: No Fairphone 2 found in fastboot mode.
    WARNING: Make sure that a Fairphone 2 is connected.
    WARNING: To check for devices, type ‘/usr/bin/fastboot devices’.

    …then try to execute the command as root.

  7. When done you will see something like:

    Flashing successful!
    Your Fairphone 2 will now run Fairphone Open 18.02.0.

    Press Enter to reboot the device and complete the installation…

    Just hit ‘Enter’ and your device will reboot.

  8. The reboot takes a while, so be patient =)

After all, you end up in a fresh Android system without the proprietary Google Mobile Services. As the Play app store is also part of the Google Mobile Services, you might want to install an alternative app store like F-Droid. F-Droid is really awesome because it only contains open source software.

Some apps can even be installed without app store (e. g. WhatsApp, Threema) so if you rely on these apps you can just download the APK files using your browser and install them manually. Two apps I highly recommend:

  • Firefox Focus (german version: Firefox Klar): Firefox browser for android with pre-installed ad-blocker and tracking protection. It clears your browsing history automatically when you close it (really ace!).
  • Öffi: Provides information about means of public transportation (e. g. trains and busses). Works well in Germany (and other european countries) and can replace the DB Navigator app completely.