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Librem 5: Purism Introduces Free Linux Smartphone

Friday, August 25th, 2017 | Gadgets

The manufacturers of the Purism laptop want to distribute as free as possible smartphones and have for this purpose launched a crowdfunding campaign for the Librem 5. Not all data for the 5-inch smartphone is final, but the project can already support the project. If you pay 599 US dollars, you should get a ready-made smartphone if the campaign succeeds. Backers from Germany must pay customs duties and import turnover taxes in addition to the shipping charges.

On the device runs none of the established smartphone operating systems, but "Pure OS or any other GNU / Linux distribution", as it is called in the description. However, this does not apply without restriction: Due to the hardware limitations of the CPU, it will not be possible to use Qubes OS as the project itself writes. As possible alternatives, Purism Debian mentions GNU / Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse, Arch Linux and Subgraph OS. In addition, the smartphone is consistently oriented on IP telephony, as the communication matrix is ​​to be used.

The case of the smartphone should be made of metal. About the resolution of the 5-inch screen is so far nothing known. An i.MX6 or an i.MX8 is to be used as CPU, as well as a separate baseband chip. Even if the project wants to use free software, this will probably not be possible with the baseband. In the GPU, the project is based on the Vivante chip, for which the Etnaviv project develops free drivers. Users should also get 3 Gbyte of memory and 32 Gbyte of eMMC memory, a MicroSD slot is also provided.

    The Librem5 is to run with Linux. (Picture: Purism)

Similar to John McAfee's planned Privacy Phone, the Librem 5 hardware switch is designed for various components, including the camera, microphone, baseband, WLAN and Bluetooth. All indications are provisional and should only be finalized after the successful completion of the campaign. Although Purism has earned a good reputation in recent years, it remains a risk for potential backers. If, however, the device is not satisfied with the device, it can return it within 30 days and the device price is refunded.
For their money, users must also be willing to accept a long wait, the first version of the smartphone is only available in January 2019. First, the device is only to be used as a smartphone, later it may be possible to use this with peripheral devices and a monitor as a full computer, as was already planned with the failed Ubuntuphone.


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