Android App demanded

  • Sites like the BBC contain multimedia that runs fine on Linux using HTML5. However trying to access things like BBC iPlayer radio or TV on my BQ4.5 fails as the website demands that I have to install the Android App. Any way of getting around this? By which I mean persuading websites to allow the HTML5 to be run by changing what they see as evidence that we are running Android not how do we get the App installed.

  • The problem is the User Agent string our BQ web-app sends. Try this side in your BQ to see what it is:
    Perhaps BBC (...) misinterpret it.

    Yep, it says: ... Ubuntu 15.04 like Android 4.4


  • @guru thanks for that.
    User Agent: Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 5.0; Nexus 5) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/38.0.2125.102 Mobile Safari/537.36
    Is this something we can edit?

  • @Mark One could try to make a private copy of the browser icon desktop file and modify it therein.

    When I posted this, I was on the road... here are the details:
    In your private desktop file, change the Exec= line by adding something like --user-agent-string='Your UA' to it,

  • @Mark we can but we cannot make exceptions for 1000s of websites out there. Canonical already put a few exceptions hardcoded into the browser. Imagine it has to compare and parse through a database of 1000´s of entries for each URL it loads - that will be slow.

    We can completly fake the user agent theoretically but IMHO its a very bad practice to have websites designed only for a limited amount of pages. Sometimes it helps writing to the site owner to work out a better browser detection.

    BR Florian

  • @Flohack list.Thanks for your reply. I have in the past had a good response from developers at the BBC regarding Linux compatibility. I wondered whether some websites demand an Android app because of something in UBPorts identifying the browser as running on Android or simply because that was their default assumption if we were not identified on their list.

  • @Mark They check the user agent, they see Android inside and send you to the APp download. Unfortunately we need to send "Android" since most websites switch to mobile mode based on such identifiers. So its a trap we cannot avoid. If an organization or company does not want to support mobile browsing, we cant do much about it.

  • Thanks for the clarification. That makes sense with my old BQ4.5 as full websites are ungainly at best. However as we move towards convergence then we may need the option to be able to select between a desktop or a mobile browser depending on what we want to do. Not that there is an urgent need for that now.

  • @Mark Maybe we could have some include file in phablet's HOME which overwrites the default UserAgent string.


  • @Mark Thats already covered with the current browser, see and so there are 2 files for UA overrides. How it determines when to use which I dont know...


  • @Flohack If you don't know there is not much chance of me knowing 🙂 I knew my way around programing (machine code) the old Sinclair ZX81 but other than maintaining a basic website or two over the years and keeping our linux computers at home updated and working I've let that side of my knowledge get very rusty in the intervening 35+ years. I really appreciate the effort you folks are putting into maintaining and developing this OS. I use my phone daily and hope, when it finally gets too old, that there will be a good open source OS to run on my next one. Preferably UBPorts.

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