Tuesday, 10 October 2017 07:41

Free smartphone crowd-funding effort exceeds target

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San Francisco-based computer manufacturer Purism has exceeded its target of raising US$1.5 million to build the world's first smartphone based on free software. It will be known as the Librem 5.

The target was achieved 14 days ahead of schedule. At the time of writing (7.30 AEST), the total raised was US$1,516,423.

"Free" refers to the hardware and software with the phone to use Plasma Mobile, a mobile version of the KDE software that is used on the Linux desktop.

The mobile operating system for the Librem 5 will be based on existing standards and based on the Debian GNU/Linux distribution.

Purism has in the past used crowdfunding campaigns to build their business around secure laptops.

kdephoneThe bid to build a Linux-based phone comes six months after Canonical, the company behind the Ubuntu Linux distribution, said it was discontinuing development of its Ubuntu Phone operating system.

However, the Ubuntu Phone operating system has been picked up by developer Marius Gripsgård who has ported it to many other models apart from those which Canonical had ported. Gripsgård's project is known as UBports.

The Librem 5 phone is expected to be available in early 2019.

Purism says it would be the world's first ever IP-native mobile handset, using end-to-end encrypted decentralised communication.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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