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My main concern is that I do not want to modify my Android so that it becomes less stable than it currently is.

If my understanding is correct launchers like Buzz Launcher or GO Launcher significantly change how Android looks, but the changes perhaps do not stop just there.

Also, once a third party launcher has been installed, is there a way to revert the changes? I mean, sure they can probably be uninstalled, but is it going to be a very clean uninstall, or do they typically leave junk behind around the filesystem?

I'd like to try out Buzz Launcher very much, and GO Launcher probably too, but if they're going to render my Android somehow inferior in terms of causing arbitrary type of damage or just clutter the device as a consequence, I'd rather not.

Update

Incidentally, what about keyboards? Same deal?

  • It doesn't really seem like some of your concerns can really be addressed in a particularly meaningful manner. There are probably hundreds of 3rd party launchers out there, so it's going to be pretty much impossible to generically state that they are "safe and stable", and the fact that one happens to be stable now doesn't preclude a future update from making it completely broken later. – eldarerathis Nov 17 '13 at 20:00
  • I understand, that is why I gave two names to use them as an example in conversation. Those are supposed to be popular, massively used and hopefully tested/debugged enough to be considered reliable and stable... but that is just my assumption. That is why I am asking for other people's experiences and impressions. – ILIV Nov 17 '13 at 21:37
  • You could look into this question for some suggestions: Is it safe to install Launchers for Android which require quite a few permissions? – Naveen Nov 18 '13 at 5:12
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    The question-and-answer format of this site works best if you put each question in a separate question post. Tacking an extra question onto the end after you've already accepted an answer isn't likely to lead to good answers. – Dan Hulme Nov 19 '13 at 10:34
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In Android, a launcher is no different to any other kind of app. The launcher just has an extra intent filter that launches it when you press the home button. If you have more than one launcher app installed, you get a chooser dialog to select one, just like any other time you perform an action that more than one app can handle (such as sharing a photo).

Android packages aren't like packages in GNU/Linux distributions. They have very limited access to the system, and can't leave files behind them after you uninstall them (except on the SD card, if they request the permission needed to access it). Except when allowed with specific permissions (which you should always check before installing), the only real problem they can cause is using the resources of your phone: taking too much power, network, or storage.

In this respect, you don't need to worry about an unstable launcher any more than any other kind of app you install.

If my understanding is correct launchers like Buzz Launcher or GO Launcher significantly change how Android looks, but the changes perhaps do not stop just there.

I think you are overstating how much a launcher can do. All it changes is how your home screen looks, including the list of apps and widgets you get to from the home screen. A launcher doesn't affect the appearance of any other app, nor does it change how Android works. It's just an app you launch by pressing the home button.

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    Excellent answer. I'd like to add that Nova has always been rock solid and stable for me. Note also that, while a new launcher takes up RAM, so does the Android launcher, and using Nova means the Android launcher will not be run, so the RAM it used will be available, so a custom launcher should in theory take up the same amount of RAM as using the Android launcher does. – Cerberus Nov 18 '13 at 1:02
  • Not sure if you guys will get notifications for the OQ edit, but what about the keyboards? Same story? – ILIV Nov 19 '13 at 9:51
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You can try different launchers without worrying about "junk being left behind" or any kind of "permanent" damage. If you uninstall an app it and all its data are gone.

I will not comment on the specific launchers you mentioned, since this is a very subjective and sometimes even heated subject. I suggest you try them out. If you don't like them uninstalling is all you need to do to get back to where you are now.

  • Just knowing how often Linux software, heck this happens on any system basically, leaves some junk around the system and that too, very often, it is buggy all of that makes me feel uneasy. I love Linux, but I want my cellphone to be stable, not a development/qa box that runs a poorly tested software. Hence my generalized question about the state of launchers. – ILIV Nov 17 '13 at 21:35

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