Would you be interested in buying a truly open-source phone running free software?
Silly question — of course you would.
Now Purism, a small hardware company famed for selling a range of Linux laptops that ship with only free open-source software in the kernel and OS, is turning its attentions to the mobile space.
They’re beginning work on a new device called the ‘Librem Phone’, which aims to be a “free software phone running a bona fide GNU/Linux stack”.
That means, unlike the Ubuntu Phone, the Librem Phone would not rely on Android binary blobs, drivers or board support package.
This phone will be based the company’s philosophy, which includes (among other things) commitments to protect user privacy, digital security, use freedom-respecting hardware and ‘breaking the cycle of planned obsolescence imposed by most manufacturers’.
In an industry where companies like Google struggle to get hardware makers to offer free and open-source drivers, that’s going to be a very tall order. Most makers of smartphone chips, including radios, GPS and Wi-Fi, only release code as a proprietary binary for Android. Getting a motherboard made using an entirely FOSS stack is a tall order.
The company say they’re “starting to zero-in on the hardware specifications that will define our first Librem Phone model, and we’d like your help to evaluate a few of the outstanding questions that come down to personal preferences. Therefore, we are making an advisory survey for you to participate in.”
Librem Phone Survey
The survey will be used to learn which sort of features those interested in a truly free software phone want and expect, and at what sort of price such a device should sell for.
Questions range from preferred screen size, to optimum amount of RAM, storage type and whether kill-switches (for privacy minded usage) are expected.
The survey is non-binding (meaning they are not compelled to stick to the results).
‘The survey aims to find out which features a truly free software phone should have’
Obviously I’d advise you to fill this survey with your sensible hat on. While you may want a 256GB SSD, 16GB RAM and a high-resolution 5.5-inch screen for a sub-$200 asking price, it isn’t realistic or feasible to ask for it.
To take the survey, or learn more about Purism and their philosophy, hit the link below.
— OMG! Ubuntu! (@omgubuntu) October 2, 2016