Seren

Seren ('star' in Welsh) is an Android browser for the Gemini Protocol.




Google Play


There are a lot of text-based Gemini clients for desktop computers which are popular with technical people, Seren is designed for everyone else with ease of use and accessibility being the main design goals.


The Gemini Protocol is a few years old now and while it has grown considerably the content in ‘Geminispace’ is still mostly tech people talking about tech and unfortunately a lot of posts about Gemini itself. There is a lot of activity about other niche interests if you hunt around for it though, using search engines instead of feed aggregators.


Free alternatives to Seren are Deedum and Lagrange (available via F-Droid).


Seren History

Seren is the continuation of an earlier program called Ariane. Ariane used a non-standard software license (a hippocratic/far-left license) which attracted a lot of vitriol from the FOSS community.


Ariane 1

Ariane 1 was created when I discovered Gemini and found that the only other Android browser was a project called Deedum which was written in Flutter, and some other proof-of-concept app which was never published but which also rendered Gemtext in a single TextView using Spans - this felt inefficient to me so I started a project that rendered Gemtext in a RecyclerView and had comprehensive accessibility features built-in from day 1. This earlier version was licensed under the EUPL


Ariane 2

Ariane 2 added more and more features and became quite a successful app. There were a large number of language contributions and a couple of minor bugfix code contributions.

There are a few forks of Ariane 2 floating around, which is fine, but the code was terrible - it'd be easier to start afresh.


Ariane 3

Ariane 3 was supposed to be a big refactor of the messy codebase which had grown organically but instead was abandoned for Ariane 4


Ariane 4

Ariane 4 was a complete rewrite with the only shared code from Ariane 1-2 being the RecyclerView. Ariane 4 was licensed under a 'copy-far-left' license which attracted regular fairly nasty hate mail. When I posted about this publicly that just led to a lot of vocal criticism from some corners of the open source world.


As it was a clean rewrite none of the original language contributions were used but a URI resolver dependency was included. This resolver always existed as a separate repo under EUPL but as it had a 3rd party bugfix Ariane 4 should have included attribution (as soon as this was pointed out I fixed the issue, but not before the contributer publicly criticised me on Antenna (a Gemini feed aggregator, you know, instead of emailing me) - that was manna from heaven for some people and led to a fairly sustained influx of hate mail and posts in Geminispace for a while.


There has never been any 'relicensing' or 'license washing' of this class as claimed in some corners of Geminispace, it was ALWAYS at codeberg.org/oppenlab/OppenURI and still is (check the commit history...), it was a tiny unremarkable error but some people were drawing comparisons to the Muse Group takeover of Audacity...


If you forked Ariane 4 before I closed source it you must keep derivative works licensed under the same copy-far-left licence. It cannot be relicensed as GPL or any other regular open source licence.


Seren

Ariane 4 was close-sourced, some features removed, the scope reduced, and renamed Seren.