I came across everyday topic on Techlore Discussions about free and open source keyboards for Android and discovered this little gem. It is FlorisBoard, a virtual keyboard for Android which respects privacy of the user. I can sigh with relief and finish my search for that singular keyboard for typing stuff on the go.

It has everything I need and more.

  • Multilanguage support: detailed layout options, popular presets
  • Swift and glide typing experience
  • Customizable gestures: switch language by fast swiping the keyboard itself left and right, change case by swiping up, the infamous cursor swipe on space bar
  • Emojis
  • Clipboard
  • Smartbar: quick actions and clipboard cursor tools
  • One-handed mode
  • Other look-and-feel settings
  • @BitSound
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    345 months ago

    Oh neat. Development had died down, but looks like it’s picking back up again and the creator is finding more maintainers. It’s what I use on my phone.

    • @[email protected]
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      205 months ago

      Here, the developer explained why development activity decreased:

      While it is true that due to private reasons I had to take a bit of a pause of developing FlorisBoard and some time passed with no progress at all, implementing a completely new statistical NLP (Natural Language Processing) provider, or in laymans terms the long-awaited word prediction and spell-checking implementation, is also a huge task which takes a lot of time and trial-error and development time.

    • folkrav
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      125 months ago

      Yeah I had given up on the project and had settled on OpenBoard for now, but if/when the word suggestions ever land, I’ll gladly jump over. I don’t dislike OpenBoard per se, it’s actually pretty decent, reminds me of older AOSP when it was a bit more naive, but I really miss swipe typing.

  • @[email protected]
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    5 months ago

    Why are the versions of FlorisBoard and OpenBoard, available on F-Droid so old? I really don’t like to download important apps from a github release page and keep everything updated manually…

  • Penguinblue
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    105 months ago

    Swipe typing is not great. I come back to it every few months to try it again and always end up frustrated. It’s good if you are a tap typer, though.

    • @[email protected]
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      15 months ago

      This is my problem with every keyboard (FOSS or otherwise) since Swype finished. Gboard is the best of the bunch now but I’m loath to use it. I have tried Floris and Open (a fork of it which has swiping) and others, and they are all painful on this front.

    • vintprox
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      05 months ago

      What you guys call “swipe typing” is actually a glide typing, right?

  • 👁️👄👁️
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    5 months ago

    It was abandoned for almost a year, glad to see commits picking up again. Though the latest beta/stable releases are still incredibly outdated and broken, so not really in a usable state with the incomplete auto correct.

  • @sayitghoul
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    105 months ago

    The other problem with FOSS keyboards is that development always dies off with no more updates.

    This makes it a non starter for me

    • @[email protected]
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      95 months ago

      There are a lot of “open source enthusiasts”, but not enough “open source contributors”

    • @vintproxOP
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      75 months ago

      Exactly because the thing is FOSS, that becomes possible for more people with enough qualifications to resume it. In proprietary case, only very limited circle gets to touch the source code. We’re probably witnessing a curse with virtual keyboards in FOSS, like some niche kinds of software…

    • @[email protected]
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      5 months ago

      FlorisBoard kinda died off for a year as patrickgold tried to implement statistical NLP suggestions. Thankfully, quite recently he opened up developments for contributors and people looking to help with the project on a long-term basis.

  • @[email protected]
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    105 months ago

    I always loved swipe typing so much, its the one non foss thing i miss so much. Currently typing off of florisboard, but until we have word recommendations (next big release i think, tho probably a long ways away still) and even a little better swipe typing I cant say a gboard foss alternate is good enough.

    Funnily enough i loved keypass 2 androids built in keyboard and would use that if the ui was better, plus swipe typing again. Atleast florisboard can understand most longer words.

    But having tried every foss keyboard I can comfortably say, i like floris board the most.

    • @[email protected]
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      15 months ago

      Have you tried AnySoftKeyboard? It has solid word predictions and the swiping works great… available on fdroid

      • lemmyvore
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        15 months ago

        Not OP but AnySoftKeyboard’s word prediction is not as good as GBoard’s. Especially when you need to use two languages, there nothing even comes close to GBoard unfortunately.

  • @[email protected]
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    65 months ago

    Is there any way to tap on a word after typing a message (while proofreading before sending) and get alternate suggestions?

    The absence of this is why I left FlorisBoard.

  • @wolre
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    55 months ago

    May try it out if I can get over the fact that I won’t have multi language support without switching manually anymore. I’ve been trying to move away from SwiftKey, but as someone who typed regularly in 3 (occasionally 4) languages and switches between them quite a lot, it’s a feature that I’m not sure I can live without. So far I haven’t seen any FOSS keyboards supporting multi language in such a seamless way.

    • @[email protected]
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      05 months ago

      Dunno how SwiftKey does it, but florisboard allows you to switch language by swiping, check out the demo video in OP

      • PrimalHero
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        35 months ago

        SwiftKey you don’t need to switch language. If both languages use the same same alphabet you can use both of them interchangeable without doing anything. For people that use multiple languages it’s very useful.

        • Carlos Solís
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          25 months ago

          Can FlorisBoard implement the same thing? As a Spanish/English user, having both keyboard predictions available at once has become vital for my workflow

  • @[email protected]
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    55 months ago

    Genuine question: is there any way for any keyboard application to be privacy disrespecting if their internet access is blocked off by a firewall?

    • @[email protected]
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      85 months ago

      I’m going to take a guess and say that it might be possible for it to still be, for example GBoard may share info with the other Google apps who then share it with the world.

      Otherwise, if it’s completely blocked from the outside world? Definitely not.

      • @[email protected]
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        15 months ago

        Do you know if there is any way to check and potentially also block inter-app communications like that?

        • @[email protected]
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          15 months ago

          I’m sure there’s some way to monitor that using ADB or another tool, but at that point you’re wasting so so much time that you should just get an open source trusted app.

    • Captain Beyond
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      -55 months ago

      This is the open source community, not the privacy community. Privacy isn’t the only reason to prefer free software. Some of us enjoy having the four freedoms.

      • @[email protected]
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        55 months ago

        I am not sure what you intention was with your reply, so maybe I am misreading it.

        “… that respects your privacy” is most of the post title. I was simply asking whether a keyboard application could be privacy disrespecting, if it doesn’t have network access. It was genuine question that I want to learn the answer to, and I was hoping that somebody might be able to provide a sensible answer.

        • Captain Beyond
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          25 months ago

          Strictly speaking if you can control what the proprietary application has access to and what data leaves it, you can make it respect your privacy. This doesn’t make the proprietary application equivalent to true Free Software, which respects your freedom to use, share, modify, and share modified copies, but it does reduce the harm that the proprietary application can do to you.

          You could say that the privacy community is about restricting what bad actors do, whereas the free software community is about good actors making tools that serve their users. The two concerns are confused so often, I see people come into free software communities suggesting that a firewall is a substitute to software freedom. Maybe that’s why I came off as a little harsh there. If you want to learn more I would suggest reading the philosophy of the GNU project.

          The reason why people say free software is privacy respecting is because it usually doesn’t do all those harmful things that you need a firewall to block. If it did, the community can create a version that does not.

          • @[email protected]
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            25 months ago

            Oh, this was no attempt to say “Just use proprietary software and block it”. I use a (different) FOSS keyboard myself, and as far as I am able to, I try to only use FOSS. I’m all for it.

            It was just a question that emerged from the combination of “Android keyboard” + “privacy”. Keyboard are potentially very sensitive applications, and I was wondering if there were some mechanisms I did not know about that could breach privacy.

  • Mars2k21
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    5 months ago

    I’ve been using it for a couple years now. It’s been a good experience, and it works completely as a keyboard. Customization is great, and there are a lot of implemented features thay have made it my go-to Android keyboard.

    I switched from Gboard since I wanted to use an open source alternative for something as simple as a keyboard. It works fine as a basic keyboard, although its a bit unpolished otherwise. Swipe typing is buggy and there hasn’t been many updates recently. I don’t expect a ton from an open source keyboard to begin with, but this one provides a lot and could be even better if it starts being developed often again. It feels unfinished in its current state.

    It used to have text suggestions, but now they are gone for me. Not sure what happened. I’d have to check again, but I’m not sure if they were taken out a while back or something.

    Flawed, but it its awesome to have an open source keyboard with this much capability.

  • Otter
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    35 months ago

    Looks great! I love how customizable it is.

    Some features that I still like having though include the built in translation and gifs with google keyboard.

    But that’s pretty much it at this point, everything else is so solid. I might switch over soon

  • haruki
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    25 months ago

    Cool. Now I just needs a Japanese keyboard and I can finally ditch Gboard.