Home Mobility GNOME Foundation backs smartphone based on free software

GNOME Foundation backs smartphone based on free software

The GNOME Foundation has announced that it will back the bid by San Francisco-based computer manufacturer Purism and the KDE Desktop project to produce the world's first smartphone based on free software.

KDE and Purism announced the project on 14 September. A crowdfunding campaign has been running with a target of US$1.5 million. As of today, it has raised US$557,256 with 32 days to go.

The phone will be known as the Librem 5 and will use Plasma Mobile, a version of the KDE software that is available for use on Linux desktops.

The Foundation said it would create hackfests, tools, and emulators, and also build awareness in order to move GNOME/GTK on to the Librem 5 phone.

"As part of the collaboration, if the campaign is successful the GNOME Foundation plans to enhance GNOME shell and general performance of the system with Purism to enable features on the Librem 5," a statement from the Foundation said.

“Having a Free/Libre and Open Source software stack on a mobile device is a dream come true for so many people, and Purism has the proven team to make this happen," said Neil McGovern, executive director of the Foundation.

"We are very pleased to see Purism and the Librem 5 hardware be built to support GNOME.”

Purism founder and chief executive Todd Weaver said his company was excited to work with many communities and organisations to advance the digital rights of people.

"Getting endorsement from the GNOME Foundation for the Librem 5 hardware gets us all one step closer to a phone that avoids the handcuffs of Android and iOS,” he added.

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Sam Varghese

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A professional journalist with decades of experience, Sam for nine years used DOS and then Windows, which led him to start experimenting with GNU/Linux in 1998. Since then he has written widely about the use of both free and open source software, and the people behind the code. His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.