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.
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. :)
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.
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.
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 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.
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).
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.
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!"
So why not do a fully web based OS instead of promoting another niche of native apps? :P
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.
 https://www.pcworld.com/article/2953812/operating-systems/kd... under "An inclusive platform that supports many apps" section.
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 am not sure I want to pay hundreds of dollars for a phone I cannot check my bank account on.
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.
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.
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.
Currently leaning toward a Lenovo X1 Carbon or 470s, possibly a system 76.
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
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.
>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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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.)
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.
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
I don't think that you can really compare the KDE community of 1997 and the KDE community of 2017.
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.
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…
Version 6 is not packaged anywhere AFAICT.
Doesn't bode very well from a commercial perspective. Would even most KDE project contributors switch to one?
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.
Anyway, I remember some attempts back them of having KDE running on some feature phones/ early smartphone platform, before even Nokia was involved IIRC.
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.
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
Runs PureOS by default, can run most GNU+Linux distributions
World’s first ever IP-native mobile handset
End-to-end decentralized communications via Matrix
Security focused by design
Privacy protection by default
Works with 2G/3G/4G, GSM, UMTS, and LTE networks
CPU separate from Baseband
Hardware Kill Switches for Camera, Microphone, WiFi/Bluetooth, and Baseband
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.
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 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!