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Purism and KDE to Work Together on World's First Truly Free Smartphone (kde.org)
144 points by foob 8 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 89 comments



I applaud and support the HW side of this, this is absolutely needed and could be a game changer. Keep also in mind this is a v1.

However I have reservations on the software choice. Mobile OSes live and die depending on the app ecosystem that is available. If you want lots of people to use your system, your need the popular apps to be on board. That will be hard with a KDE or Gnome based UI, and a second class citizen web support. The developer community has millions of iOS, Android and Web devs, but likely only thousands of Gnome/KDE ones. Getting top-notch PWA integration could ease that but that's unlikely to be a high priority.

That being said, I feel they are happy with not being mainstream and that's fine too. Just different expectations.


In first wave we plan to have couple of working apps such as dialer, mail, browser, audio/video player but gradually community will hop on and port/create apps for it.

Sure, we start against millions of apps in other ecosystem but on average people don't use more than 20 apps often and I for one dislike that every website out there has created their own iOS/Android app when I can simply use one app for all them - browser.

Also never underestimate the power of GNU/Linux community - it has by far most of hackers on it and it is doing their thing for decades already without slowing down at any single point.

Also, we will try to help and support any community that will work on getting their OS/app on Librem 5. It would be phone produced by Purism and supported by us, but it would truly be one from people for people. :)


The issue is that the 20 apps people use are different. People want to have a banking app on their phone that they can use to deposit their checks. Basically, a bank of any size will have an iPhone and and Android version of their app. They don't have the resources to do a third platform.

There are various toys that use an app on the phone for control. They are also iPhone and Android.

I tried Windows Phone. I really liked the platform. But the lack of apps for such things like my bank, etc made me leave the platform. If Microsoft with all its resources and developer outreach was unable to get a critical number of apps for its platform, I don't see much hope in another mobile platform succeeding.


We plan to utilize things like anbox and/or shashlik so you would end up having Android apps if needed, but we will also focus on having great experience out of the box, with preset default apps.


"Sure, we start against millions of apps in other ecosystem but on average people don't use more than 20 apps often and I for one dislike that every website out there has created their own iOS/Android app when I can simply use one app for all them - browser."

And yet, Windows Phone took that same philosophy, and failed miserably. It's not so much that people only use a handful of apps, but they want to know that they'll be able to use the next big apps that come out. They want to know that, when the next big social app or game comes out, they'll be able to use it. That wasn't the case with Windows Phone, which had huge struggles just getting the main apps that people wanted then on their system.

And you may wish to use the browser for all that stuff, but most people don't. They like apps.

"Also never underestimate the power of GNU/Linux community - it has by far most of hackers on it and it is doing their thing for decades already without slowing down at any single point."

And yet, for end user, consumer software, they really haven't delivered. I feel you're overestimating that group's capabilities here.


We are not the same ecosystem as Windows Phone and we will use different tech than they did - and even if we fail (which I don't think at all), it is part of life, work.

And for the end user - I don't think community failed, it just didn't have the multibillion dollar marketing machine behind it and also GNU/Linux commercial activities went into server and rarely into end user app, we plan to change this.


"We are not the same ecosystem as Windows Phone and we will use different tech than they did"

I never said you did. You still face the same issues. It's not like an ecosystem succeeds or fails because it chooses a certain language.

"and even if we fail (which I don't think at all), it is part of life, work."

That really does not inspire confidence in the project.

"And for the end user - I don't think community failed, it just didn't have the multibillion dollar marketing machine behind it and also GNU/Linux commercial activities went into server and rarely into end user app, we plan to change this."

I wasn't talking about marketing. I was talking about user-centric design, and usability of the software. And GNU/Linux stuff has largely lagged behind other, product based offerings in these regards.


Sorry, but obviously not even Microsoft with its stash of money can't guarantee something will be success story, so we can't either.

We are perfectly capable to make this device, we can't guarantee it will be something millions will end up buying.

And the ecosystem is important for easy of creation or porting stuff (not just code-wise, but how you approach to such things) and also as I mentioned here - we also plan to work on utilizing Android support via anbox or shashlik which could potentially remove that gap (also people need to realize that Google is developing only handful of apps, those millions come from third-party devs).


>And yet, Windows Phone took that same philosophy, and failed miserably. It's not so much that people only use a handful of apps, but they want to know that they'll be able to use the next big apps that come out. They want to know that, when the next big social app or game comes out, they'll be able to use it. That wasn't the case with Windows Phone, which had huge struggles just getting the main apps that people wanted then on their system.

I remember this when Pokemon GO came out - the client was written in C# on Unity and they STILL didn't see the value in releasing a Windows Phone version.


Well, by then, WP was already being abandoned. I can see not being willing to put the resources into supporting (stuff like testing and system integration) that.


> It's not so much that people only use a handful of apps, but they want to know that they'll be able to use the next big apps that come out. They want to know that, when the next big social app or game comes out, they'll be able to use it.

This is not the market that Purism is after, which makes this slightly bothersome to read, since Purism will likely focus on that and not see that their plan is still catastrophically flawed.

We can just rely on the community to do the rest is nuts. It's the kind of naive optimism that 10 years ago maybe would have seemed like it could and should work, but not today. It's like the "???" step that comes just before "Profit!"


The community will not give you the top 10 apps in many cases, because they are not open - this is especially true with messaging platforms. Again, it's fine to not want to support these, but don't pretend that OSS hackers will fill the gaps. I would love interoperable solutions to be the norm, but reality disagrees with me...


Previously, Purism announced they'd be working with Matrix.org to provide the telephony/messaging infrastructure, with focus on building out bridges to other messaging solutions. Especially if they spend some time making a decent libpurple bridge, you'll find OOTB support for a lot of different chat platforms under a single UI. I'm pretty excited about having a mobile messaging UI similar to webOS's unified messaging app.


"I for one dislike that every website out there has created their own iOS/Android app when I can simply use one app for all them - browser."

So why not do a fully web based OS instead of promoting another niche of native apps? :P


if only Google would release Chrome OS for phones, we'd have the best of both worlds.


I think good PWA support and Android minus Play Services support could actually cover a lot of the bases. Both of those technology stacks are FOSS; PWA's already cover services like Twitter and Airbnb, and are likely to become commonplace now that Safari intends to implement Service Workers; F-Droid has a huge back-catalogue for open source Android Apps, and a lot of important closed source Android apps don't rely on Google's proprietary API's, for instance Whatsapp, or Moovit, or indeed the random parking app used by my local town.

But it seems to me the various open smartphone projects are not keen to support apps beyond the native Linux toolkits. I really think that attempting to replicate the basic functionality of the Android or iOS ecosystems entirely in Qt or GTK is forlorn. The platform will start with very few users (the Purism smartphone would have 2500 users if it meets its funding target), so companies are not going to build to it. It would rely on community efforts, but that's a huge amount of effort, and even then assumes that the API's are available.

Having said that, I'm thinking of backing LibreM, as you say the hardware is very important, and to be applauded. I mostly just want good smartphone hardware which runs on the mainline kernel. Software support (for vanilla Android, Lineage OS, Sailfish or Plasma Mobile) should then follow from that by default.


Well, KDE uses QT, which has a good bit of support, and is developed by a paid team. Plasma Mobile's original goal was to support GTK/Sailfish/Android apps[0], so I have a little bit of hope. After being let down by so many privacy-oriented phones, I'm still doubtful but will back up this project.

[0] https://www.pcworld.com/article/2953812/operating-systems/kd... under "An inclusive platform that supports many apps" section.


As someone who tried to fund the Ubuntu Edge, I don't see this getting fully funded.

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/ubuntu-edge#/

It probably wasn't 100% FOSS (blobs?, baseband?, ...), but that was a much more polished product soft+hardware, especially for touch based usage.

That is not to say that I don't want it to get funded, rather the barriers to entry are high.


I supported Omnia Turris project on indiegogo, their goal was 100k, they reached over 1.2M by the end. I think the open source (hardware + software) high end router is a bigger niche than opensource phone. Wish them best, this might be the FirefoxOS/UbuntuPhone we were waiting for!

https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/turris-omnia-hi-performan...


Would an Open Source router have all the app ecosystem requirements that an open source phone may have though?

I am not sure I want to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone I cannot check my bank account on.


On the other hand, Ubuntu Edge tried to raise $32 million. These folks are trying to raise $1.5 million. Seems like a much more reasonable goal.


Reasonable in that it's easier to raise, but is it reasonable in that it's enough to do what they want to do?


Right, and they did raise 12 million.


To be honest, you can't say that was much more polished product soft+hardware as they never made one.

On the other hand, if they could raise 12mil I don't see why wouldn't people back this to 1.5 and more. While it certainly will have its issues we certainly can produce such device and it is going to be alternative.

There are a lot of failed FLOSS hardware tries but people should never give up hope and as said, we can produce this one for sure and by we I mean entire community - FLOSS people and devs, average Joe's, people who care about privacy, security and freedom of them, their families and friends and people who are simply fed up with iOS/Android state.


I think the initial goal of Purism should be to make a working device with WiFi and GSM drivers and a minimal software layer on top. Even a command line tools for things like making a call, or sending an SMS would be enough for the initial release. Let then a small group of enthusiastic early adopters experiment with different UIs on top. It is not possible for a small organization to release a product that will compete with iOS or Android from the start. I think Firefox OS and Ubuntu Phone could have failed because they had too ambitious initial goals and targeted too wide group with they early devices.


Librem 5 funding page, for those looking for it: https://puri.sm/shop/librem-5/


I paid for a Purism "Libre 13" laptop with a supposed shipping date that was roughly a month away from the order date. Every month I was told "another month!" until after six months I finally gave up and asked for a refund.

They look like a great company, and hopefully they will fix their supply issues soon but I'd not recommend them until they manage to get better at predicting shipping dates.


Can you really expect a correct shipping date from someone who has just started doing it? They probably don't have established protocols and procedures for most of the process. Indie funding is mostly about doing something completely new with whatever money you can get and hoping for the best. I'm not saying it's ok to mess everything up but I do think you should adjust your expectations accordingly.


Really really love to see this going somewhere, but what advantage does PureOS have after UbuntuTouch, FirefoxOS, SailfishOS, TizenOS or even Windows Phone OS backed by a tech juggernaut failed to make an impact?


Not one of those had free drivers on any consumer-available hardware, so you're limited to kernels compatible with your binary blobs, which then limits your userspace, which leaves you firmly stuck in the insecure, slowly bitrotting past. All of them except Tizen were using Android kernels and bionic libc, and Tizen is a fucking garbage fire (read some of their GPL dumps or try to navigate their bizarre code-dumps-in-branches repo structure sometime).

Desktop Linux is a success (as in, a viable option for those who want to avoid the downsides of proprietary OSes); the only reason there isn't such a viable non-user-hostile OS option on phones is driver support, and this effort says they'll ensure free-software drivers.

Plus, by avoiding the braindead "App Store" model, you instantly have access to a huge and growing base of software, all for free. Finding software for Android is a hellish experience marred by invasive ads, malware, loads upon loads of spam, crappy wrappers for actual free software, profit-grubbing clones on the app you actually wanted, etc. By removing the perverse incentive of "users = $$$" the user experience of finding software improves drastically.

The GUI of most free software isn't well-suited to a phone, but I would far rather wait for UI revamps while using software that does everything I want, as opposed to having to just shrug and give up on finding a web browser with a web inspector--what I ended up doing under Android and iOS.


PureOS probably doesn't have a business plan dependent on selling millions of smartphones.


SailfishOS isn't dead yet. They are making slow, but steady progress.


It seems that unlike Firefox or Ubuntu's mobile efforts, they are self-aware of their niche status and are focused on expanding with that instead of aiming for mass-market adoption.


That it doesn't need to make an impact. It'll be a hobbyists' project like desktop Linux that people will continue to push forward for its own sake.


Does this mean they won't be using GNOME, or will this simply be another user interface option? The Purism fundraiser has mockups of a GNOME interface, and there was a recent [1] mailing list thread about starting a GNOME Mobile effort. I'm a GNOME user on my laptop, mainly because the design feels more polished than Plasma, so I would have liked to see a mobile initiative for GNOME.

[1] https://mail.gnome.org/archives/desktop-devel-list/2017-Sept...


KDE has the advantage of using Qt, Qt has paid developers working on it and it is also optimized for mobile.


It's my understanding that PureOS is currently Gnome based and that they're heavily leaning towards that remaining the default, but that they haven't made a final decision yet. It does sound like users will have the option to install either though.


We certainly will invest heavily into one DE (upon successful campaign that decision will be made) but we will also work with all interested parties and devote some resources to get other up (it is the same in case someone is trying to bring up other OS or DE, we will try to help such effort as much as we can). The point is to give to community working Free phone and finally disrupt the status quo.


How about you give the community a working free phone by shipping a phone that runs vanilla AOSP and try evolving it into what you think you want it to be? At least that way, when Linux-desktop-on-the-phone proves itself (again) to be an even worse failure than Linux-on-the-desktop, the world will still be left with a free phone, instead of a free phone that strangled by its associated with a doomed software strategy.


On the phone we plan to produce, you will be able to install Android as matter of fact - it is just that we will not do it by our default as we want a pure Linux stack that is going to roll in updates normally as desktop is and not being attached to older kernels and heavy forks of ecosystem. Even for scale of Google it is not feasible to do it that way so they are now doing their own research and development (Fuchsia OS or something like that).


It helped Nokia a lot to switch from Gtk to Qt.


Well switching from Gtk to Qt has helped Nokia a lot on Maemo.


The switch killed them. Had it been an earlier or later decision the would likely be in a very different place but their indecision and delays around the direction of maemo (after they bought trolltech) cost them everything.


What is HN's opinion on Purism laptops? I'm looking for a new linux machine but I'm unfamiliar with Purism.

Currently leaning toward a Lenovo X1 Carbon or 470s, possibly a system 76.


Purism CTO here. I will not comment other but I can say for ours - you get it preinstalled with coreboot (which will also get updates as it progresses), all works out of the box with Free software (we preinstall on it PureOS but you can install any distro out there). Touchpad was an issue in past but we changed now and have quite a good touchpad that just works. The case is anodized aluminum. All Purism Librems have hardware kill switches - which means you can disable physically mic/camera and wifi/bt. Backlit keyboard is now on all models if that is something you like. Also with every buy you support our ongoing development such as neutralizing entirely ME, reverse engineering missing bits, creating our own firmware, developing PureOS as well as having better and better product (also if suddenly there would be thousands and thousands of orders, it would put price down).

P.S. because there is no Free software for Bluetooth (for WiFi/BT module) we have it disabled by default which means you would not be hit by latest Bluetooth exploit :D


Are Linux applications going to use a lot of battery? Do they have wakelocks or something similar?


(KDE dev here)

It is still an issue, but it's getting better. As far as I am concerned, Ring-KDE (a phone and Skype alternative app) is still eating too much power. It is a work in progress and is already much better than it was a couple months ago. Some of the dependencies my app use are also power hungry. This needs to be fixed. However it's nothing that can't be fixed. Enough profiling and powertop work will get us there.


Ex-Tox developer here:

>Ring-KDE (a phone and Skype alternative app) is still eating too much power.

This will always be a nature of Ring and Tox because it uses DHT network to find peers and keep connections alive, this is CPU-hungry, therefore power consuming and it won't be accepted on mobile platforms. Also losing network connectivity for 3 seconds causes the client to reconnect to the network, find peers again, messages can be lost... Matrix is the way to go.


No. The way I plan to fix it is having "dht services" where you can delegate the mobile device burden to another node. As we use SIP and it supports such topology, it's not much of a problem.


This. Shorter battery life than in Windows is a frequent complaint about Linux on laptops, and for handheld computers battery life really needs to be a top priority.


RedHat is working on it, you can signup to be a tester:

https://hansdegoede.livejournal.com/18412.html


Better battery usage for laptops is always a goal but I was thinking more in the sense that mobile OS have patterns to reduce battery usage. Android Oreo is even moving away from wakelocks. I guess it's not good enough and Linux apps don't even use that.


Depends on your application. Run the programs you want to run on this and open powertop. It can also be informative to run them under strace and see whether their mainloops spin or wait; any well-written program sleeps until it has real work to do.


I want to love Plasma Mobile. But development on it has always looked extremely dead every time I've checked on it since it has came out, and there are next to no phones that it's been ported to. I've never even seen someone mention using it online, unlike Ubuntu Touch or FirefoxOS or Sailfish (when they were all alive).

Honestly, it's felt like it's been thrown by the wayside ever since it came out, and that's not encouraging to the thought of running it on a phone that you'd use as a daily driver.


Ubuntu Touch was sponsored by Canonical and Firefox OS was backed by Mozilla.

Plasma is truly a community effort. So of course you haven't heard about it much.

I think at any given time there are only a handful of paid developers employed by a few small and big companies working on it.

That means there's not much resources and almost no paid marketing. It's also not fashionable anymore.

Ubuntu Touch and FirefoxOS and a bunch of other projects got cancelled because the parent companies didn't expect a proper ROI.

Plasma Mobile has been going slow but steady. There's no company to pull off the resources.

Also, the community if determined to provide a Free As In Freedom experience on desktop. Hopefully they can do it on phones as well. Their agenda is only software freedom and privacy.

Disclaimer: Used to be a KDE contributor, in no way associated with Plasma Mobile.


"Plasma Mobile has been going slow but steady. There's no company to pull off the resources."

Then there's also no company to dedicate resources, and do the unfun work that still needs to get done.

"Their agenda is only software freedom and privacy."

I hate to say it, but I don't see the phrase "works well" and "stable" in there. Which, while fine for a desktop, is not fine for a phone.


> Also, the community if determined to provide a Free As In Freedom experience on desktop. Hopefully they can do it on phones as well. Their agenda is only software freedom and privacy.

This is contrary to the things that KDE-associated projects have traditionally valued. Software freedom has always been associated with GNU and GTK/Gnome. The philosophy behind Qt/KDE has always been that things can be considered free enough. The KDE community's willingness to tolerate a dubious licensing situation for Qt is the only reason that Gnome even exists.


That's not true.

KDE originally started using Qt which was non free.

Once the project took off and started to matter, 2 projects started to fix the non-free-Qt issue.

One was Gnome.

The other one was KDE's attempt to write a free Qt clone.

But soon TrollTech approached KDE and agreed to open source Qt.

There the KDE Free Qt Foundation was created.

https://www.kde.org/community/whatiskde/kdefreeqtfoundation....

I can assure you that Software Freedom is on top of KDE's priorities.

KDE has refused to even use anything non-free even in its infrastructure.


I don't see how you can point to the years where Qt used a bad license, without seeing that the only statement that it proves is not true is the one where you wrote "that's not true". (And there were plenty of people arguing at that time that the Qt license was no big deal and the free desktop community should just move on to more productive things.)

I know what Qt's licensing situation is now. But it being under a free license today doesn't mean that software freedom is one of two things that the KDE community cares about above all else. If I meet a man today and he's wearing a blue shirt, that doesn't mean it's true that you can infer his personal moral code means he will only wear blue shirts. (In fact, it can still be untrue even if he personally tells you that this is his code.)


KDE is 21 years old. It's been 19 years since Qt has been FOSS.

And within those 2 years, there was an attempt to rewrite Qt to be FOSS.

Also KDE Community has evolved during the past two decades.


You're not really addressing things I've written.


If a guy has been wearing blue shirts for 19 years straight, it's probably a safe bet that he'll be wearing blue shirts for the years to come.


Three things:

- My goal isn't to argue with someone who's just looking to have an argument with me. https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15250932

- Strain-the-metaphor is a terrible way to find clarity about anything, and a terribly unfun game to play along the way.

- Once again: this doesn't really address the things I've written.


Sorry, I honestly didn't know you were the same person.

I'll rephrase it: If a project has been using FOSS for 19 years straight, it's probably a safe bet that they'll be using FOSS for the years to come. It's time to accept that they're about freedom, and forgive them for their mishap from two decades ago.


You said KDE was non-free and therefore it doesn't respect freedom that much.

I argued that KDE acknowledged that depending on a non-free toolkit was not really OK for a free desktop. Therefore, from the very beginning it tried to fix that. And it succeeded very early by making Qt go open source.

Even rms considers KDE free.


> You said KDE was non-free and therefore it doesn't respect freedom that much.

See, the issue is that I've written what I meant to say, but you're substituting those comments with whatever you seem to want me to have said instead and implicitly asking me to take responsibility for your version.


> But it being under a free license today doesn't mean that software freedom is one of two things that the KDE community cares about above all else.

I don't think that you can really compare the KDE community of 1997 and the KDE community of 2017.

https://community.kde.org/KDE/Mission


This difference has been eliminated for so long, I really don't think it can be taken as reason to say that GNOME represents more freedom.

To me, KDE represents more freedom, because on the secondary level, that is customizability, open development and taking community wishes into consideration, they are so far ahead of GNOME.


KDE community is awesome and all they needed to revive things around plasma mobile effort is to have dedicated device and with Librem5 they would get exactly that.


Any idea how to switch the mouse-centric desktop in KDE 5.36 to the mobile/touch variant? I want to experiment a bit.

IIRC in an earlier version that was a simple matter of installing an additional package and switching a quite obvious setting in the control panel, but now I can't find it anymore…


Plasma5 has a mobile variant that works on phones, I used it for a few days and it was quite alright for such young project. No crashes and not laggy at all, but it lacks applications that I use daily and games.

https://plasma-mobile.org/


Now that you reminded me of the name, I could search around. (Package names were plasma-mobile-* and plasma-active-*.) KDE/Plasma Active was packaged last in 2014 for major distros, but no release since then. The old packages are not installable any more. Feels quite dead from the end-user perspective.

Version 6 is not packaged anywhere AFAICT.


A second place Desktop OS in popularity (in desktop Linux, which itself holds just 1% or so of desktop OS share) and a niche PC manufacturer?

Doesn't bode very well from a commercial perspective. Would even most KDE project contributors switch to one?


IIRC, KDE 3.x made a lot of hard-coded assumptions about running on a desktop. Plasma was a re-write to be independent of the display and using Qt-Quick that Nokia had crafted for Symbian/Meego.

But it's an egg and chicken problem. With no readily available KDE mobile hardware, developers won't port their desktop software to a 5 inch touch device.

But in the past few weeks we've seen the Plasma team reach out to develop halium (common hardware base for sailfish and Ubuntu touch etc), assist with packaging for postmarketOS and this purism phone. So that's 3 backends make Plasma run on.


I used to run KDE as my dev desktop, back around 2000-2003, even using Konqueror (khtml, quite primitive yet) as my main browser (of course the web was mostly non-dynamic, non-SPA back then).

Anyway, I remember some attempts back them of having KDE running on some feature phones/ early smartphone platform, before even Nokia was involved IIRC.


Am I missing something? Why does FirefoxOS, for instance, not count as a "truly free smartphone"? Were there blob drivers or something? Or are we just forgetting them for the sake of the headline?


> Were there blob drivers or something?

yes


firefoxOS used the same braindamaged driver model as android, and a similar central store model.


Will it be more free than https://neo900.org?


Hate to be that guy but this is certainly going to be a flop.


So you hate to be that guy but you still feel like coming here to state your absolutely empty point of view without even a hint of an argument? This isn't the place for hate speech or for pouring your negativism. This is a beautiful project by beautiful people dedicated to an open mobile solution which the world dramatically needs. Let's give them strength and share only our best constructive criticism.


Constructive criticism is not the same thing as positivism—especially unconditional positivism. Withholding advice because it might sound negative is the opposite of constructive.

Saying, "don't do that; you'll die!" is almost always constructive, for example. Imagine being told to bite your tongue and be supportive after your friend has announced their intent to run through traffic to get to the shop across the street.


Nah, "don't do that; you'll die because you may get hit by traffic!" is constructive criticism. You have to give a reason for your positivity or negativity.


I don't think we're going to agree if you think that "don't do that; you'll die!" is unconstructive hate speech and better left unsaid.


It's not hate speech, but definitely not constructive. And whether it's best left unsaid depends on the situation. Your street-crosser probably hasn't invested hours upon hours of time on researching and developing how they're going to run across the street.


Hate speech? Really?

I didn't say anything at all hateful. I'm simply suggesting that this will not succeed. I'll dig in.

There is a good reason that a lot of these libre/free/open tools do not succeed. It's simple: the value that they provide does not outweigh their cost. The juice is not worth the squeeze.

Let's observe the quick facts:

  Does not run Google Android
  Does not run Apple iOS
This is a double edged sword. For the tin-hat folks, this is great. For everyone else, how am I going to get applications for this platform, without building them myself?

  Runs PureOS by default, can run most GNU+Linux distributions
Great for folks who want Linux on their cell phone. I love Linux, but I am pretty sure that marketshare is something like 3.4% right now.

  World’s first ever IP-native mobile handset
What does this do for me? What value does this provide? It's just a technical bullet point with no relevance whatsoever.

  End-to-end decentralized communications via Matrix
Again, what is this? This is a bullet point devoid of meaning or value. Is this a new communication platform/protocol that I am going to need to get my friends and family to use? What if they use iPhone and Android?

  5″ screen
Finally, something interesting.

  Security focused by design
Would prefer seeing how this differs from the current product landscape. As far as I can tell, the iPhone is security focused. You can't unlock it without my fingerprint. Applications are sandboxed. I don't think my iPhone was designed without security in mind.

  Privacy protection by default
Here is another meaningless line. What does this mean? What value does this give me?

  Works with 2G/3G/4G, GSM, UMTS, and LTE networks
Okay, here is the second meaningful feature.

  CPU separate from Baseband
I can imagine that this is helpful for security: but why? What value does this give me?

  Hardware Kill Switches for Camera, Microphone, WiFi/Bluetooth, and Baseband
This is another interesting feature.

So after looking through this entire Librem 5 page I have found two or three meaningful features. Two of them are arguably table stakes, the 5" screen and the supported networks.

I'm sorry but the entire page exhibits a sense of extremist tin-hat individuals living in an alternate reality from the rest of us. That is why I feel as though this will be a flop.


> Great for folks who want Linux on their cell phone

For me, peak smartphone was some time ago. I mainly want is a pocket computer with a web browser than makes calls. Connection a MHL-OTG USB hub makes it a proper computer running KDE.

Now sure there's an "app gap" but Firefox OS would have had potential if companies would reskin their desktop web sites instead of everything needing a native app just because everyone else does - very few apps I use on a weekly basis take advantage of 'native' features that couldn't be written in HTML5.

> World’s first ever IP-native mobile handset One list of contacts and calling via VOIP or GSM transparently to anyone in the world, without needing a separate app - which mightn't mean anything if you're bound to skype, facetime, hangouts etc.


"I'm sorry but the entire page exhibits a sense of extremist tin-hat individuals living in an alternate reality from the rest of us. That is why I feel as though this will be a flop."

I would not use "extremist tin-hat individuals", but yes this project caters to people that are ready to make some compromises to not betray their ideals. Where you put the line of what you are ready to compromise on is the key.

What I like though is that if the HW is good enough and open, nothing should prevent from porting something less "extreme", like AOSP or something derived from FirefoxOS. So just for that possibility, they need to be supported!


Baseband too?




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