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Librem 5 August Update - More Software Progress, No Word On Q3 Shipping

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  • #11
    Originally posted by jpnc View Post

    Sailfish, Firefox OS, and Ubuntu Touch have all tried your approach
    None of these provided a phone that could be run entirely with open source drivers. That's just false. In fact, the reason Ubuntu Touch had problems, was that they couldn't upgrade the kernel, which was required for Snaps. Can you explain why it is necessary to complete the new OS with a complete app Iecosystem before users are allowed to buy the phone? The reason Linux was able to grow its user community on PCs, was that people were able to install it on hardware. If you had to use special developer kits or run it on virtual machines, I don't think there would've been any Linux at all today.

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    • #12
      Originally posted by danmcgrew View Post
      I have been waiting a long time for a smartphone which provides privacy and a good set of features; waiting so long, in fact, that waiting a little longer is not a significant investment in time now. it's just a 'rounding error'--I'll keep waiting until a suitable device arrives.
      It looks like the two contenders for privacy AND which are of the RSN (Real Soon Now) variety are the Purism, and the Pinephone. I'm not smart enough to decide which of these two to spring for, should they both become available at the same time.
      Would appreciate any and all advice as to which one I should choose in this case.
      The purpose of Pinephone is to put a cheap "linux phone" on the market, the purpose of Librem 5 is to have a fully free software smartphone entirely under the user's control. The mainstream phone market has made it abundantly clear that there will never be privacy without user control. The Librem 5 press releases and information on their website constantly talk about the work they are doing to ensure that proprietary blobs won't be needed, as they are dedicated to achieving a fully libre software stack on the device's main computer.

      For things currently out of their control which require blobs, such as the modem, they have a physical separation with no access to the rest of the system and with a kill switch to ensure it is non-operational if you do not want it active. This is in stark contrast to the nearly every device on the market today where the modem shares memory registers with the main system and cannot be deactivated (meaning the code it runs could potentially be snooping on anything the main OS puts in memory and there's nothing you can do about it). It is perhaps not coincidental that in an age where we can't trust that a power button has fully turned off a device (the screen goes dark and we take the device's word for it), most phone vendors prevent access to the battery - no replacements, no yanking the battery to make sure the device is off.

      In contrast to information about the Librem 5, the Pinephone press releases and website do not mention whether proprietary blobs will be necessary to run the hardware, rather they emphasize the practicality of continuing to use an SOC they have used in other products. Specifically, this SOC has always required proprietary blobs, and PINE has been okay with this and afaik not contributed developer time towards reverse engineering / reimplementing the code under a libre license. There is hope, however, as various communities have been working towards replacing those blobs and things appear to at least be in a ready-for-some-testing state of affairs for those seeking out a more libre experience on the Pinephone.

      So it may end up being possible to have a fully free software stack on the Pinephone, but I haven't seen a commitment to that and there is no Pinephone distribution, they are just helping people port their distros / OSes to the device. With Purism, the point of the whole endeavor is to have a fully free software smartphone. The Librem 5 will ship with PureOS, a fully libre Debian derivative which should provide a good user interface and work properly with all the hardware on the device. Obviously you can install other distros or OSes on the Librem 5, as with the Pinephone, but it will be nice to have a fully transparent vendor standard, even if only used as reference code or as an upstream for the various bits of code they provide, though I suspect most people will use PureOS as their daily driver on the phone.

      Both phones have kill switches, both aim to facilitate putting your own OS on them, and both are interesting and promising projects. I am super excited by the Librem 5 because the people behind it are looking for the same thing I am - to not need to have any non-free software running on the device I take with me wherever I go. I believe that they have made and will continue to make good decisions because of these shared principles. The Pinephone would have been more exciting if the Librem 5 had not already been announced, but my first question would have been whether it will need blobs and Android components, which I don't believe they mentioned. On the other hand, many people on these forums appear to be more excited by the Pinephone, presumably because they value the focus on practicality (including the super cheap price tag of the Pinephone) of Pine64 more than the free software principles of Purism.

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      • #13
        Originally posted by jo-erlend View Post

        None of these provided a phone that could be run entirely with open source drivers. That's just false. In fact, the reason Ubuntu Touch had problems, was that they couldn't upgrade the kernel, which was required for Snaps. Can you explain why it is necessary to complete the new OS with a complete app Iecosystem before users are allowed to buy the phone? The reason Linux was able to grow its user community on PCs, was that people were able to install it on hardware. If you had to use special developer kits or run it on virtual machines, I don't think there would've been any Linux at all today.
        That was my point. You said "they should've been focusing on delivering mainline supported hardware with existing operating systems" and "put Android on it and get it out there", but just another Android phone is the last thing anyone needs at this point. The OSes/phones in question made the compromise you are calling for and they all failed anyway (perhaps in part because of that compromise, as you point out with Ubuntu Touch).

        In any case, Purism isn't trying to complete a new app ecosystem like Ubuntu was, they are just trying to release a phone that provides the basic functionality you expect without needing any proprietary blobs. Beyond that, it's just full blown Linux and this will be the first phone hardware you can "just install" Linux on, just like how it used to be with PCs.

        You don't need to use a special developer kit or virtual machine unless you want to develop for the phone before it exists. Do you think there were never any prototype models of various PC brands that certain software companies may have had access to before the general public? Obviously you can just test things on the actual phone if you want once that is released.

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        • #14
          Originally posted by jpnc View Post

          That was my point. You said "they should've been focusing on delivering mainline supported hardware with existing operating systems" and "put Android on it and get it out there", but just another Android phone is the last thing anyone needs at this point.
          I never said anything at all about just another Android phone, did I? I said to get the phone hardware out there as quickly as possible, to as many users as possible, so that the cost of the hardware can drop and the number of potential users and developers can increase. There is no need for even the basic UX of a new OS for this. I'm having difficulty understanding what your arguing. Releasing a phone that can be run on open drivers will not prevent the development of a new OS. Just because you're an Android user, doesn't mean you wouldn't want a phone running on a mainline kernel. Some wants it for the environment, others just for future-proofing.

          My point is that every time I hear about this project, it seems to be about high-level stuff that is not at all needed for the production of the hardware, since we have fully functional software ready to go.

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          • #15
            Originally posted by jo-erlend View Post
            I said to get the phone hardware out there as quickly as possible, to as many users as possible, so that the cost of the hardware can drop and the number of potential users and developers can increase. There is no need for even the basic UX of a new OS for this. I'm having difficulty understanding what your arguing. Releasing a phone that can be run on open drivers will not prevent the development of a new OS. Just because you're an Android user, doesn't mean you wouldn't want a phone running on a mainline kernel. Some wants it for the environment, others just for future-proofing.
            So, what OS would it run? Android doesn't respect your privacy, which is the point of the device. Previous efforts would need porting work.

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            • #16
              Originally posted by andyprough View Post
              PinePhone is running 2 weeks behind, but should still be shipping in Q4 on schedule. Components have been finalized and are in production. It will have USB-C video out, which is nice.
              ...It also has a bootable micro-SD card slot;
              a replaceable $10 Samsung phone battery;
              an I²C data bus easily accessible to back cover via 6 pogo pins (Pine envisions, for example, a keyboard using this feature).

              ...which are also quite nice.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by lectrode View Post
                I have but one thing to say to the devs: take your time! Delay again if you need to; don't rush out an unfinished product! Your customers are willing to pay good money for those phones; another delay is a small cost to pay for a more stable/usable product.

                The important thing is transparency: the sooner you can inform customers of a needed delay, the ,better. Good luck!
                Agreed. I already per-ordered mine back in Q1. I can easily wait more time for a product that no one else has the balls to create.

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                • #18



                  @ #12--

                  The difference between my post and yours is one of objectivity versus subjective, self-serving fanboyism.

                  You wrote a lot of words, but your lengthy post was only subjective, disguised as an impersonal, erudite treatise; a personal opinion regarding your love of Purism, and "damning with faint praise" the Pinephone, when an extremely easy internet search would have provided much more objectivity. A simple statement, at the very beginning, to the effect of "This is my personal opinion..." would have lent you infinitely more credibility; as it is, your total and complete transparency destroys any semblance of credibility.

                  "...The purpose of Pinephone is to put a cheap "linux phone" on the market, the purpose of Librem 5 is to have a fully free software smartphone entirely under the user's control..."

                  "...I am super excited by the Librem 5 because the people behind it are looking for the same thing I am...I believe that they have made and will continue to make good decisions because of these shared principles..."


                  I suppose that PostmarketOS and UBPorts are not ‘Open Souce’ enough for you; that someone has to blow through--by now--2 to 3 million dollars; supposedly “write their own software” (which, amazingly, uses Gnome 3. GNOME3!); have taken more than two years to get to the point of still not being able to deliver a product; and tell you that your highly anticipated product’s price is now up to $699.00!
                  Take very good note: $699.00 is the price of an imaginary product. Do you wonder what your cost of the real product will be?

                  I know that it doesn’t mean anything to someone whose only measure of ‘value’ is the PRICE of a product, irrespective of its qualities, but the price of the “nowhere good enough” secure Pinephone, when it delivers at the end of the year is--and will be--$159.95
                  ***********************************
                  "...but I haven't seen a commitment to that..."
                  Very understandable. You won't read; you won't research things. You don't want to.

                  Project Don't be evil
                  https://wiki.pine64.org/index.php/Pr...mage_Downloads

                  PINEPHONE
                  https://www.pine64.org/pinephone/

                  June 2019 News: PinePhone, Pinebook Pro and PineTab
                  https://www.pine64.org/2019/06/06/ju...o-and-pinetab/
                  ************************************************

                  Time for you to start doing some objective research, unless you are, sadly, one of those who Andy Rooney characterizes as ‘most people'--

                  “Most people will accept facts as true, but only if those facts agree with what they already believe.”
                  Last edited by danmcgrew; 08-25-2019, 03:24 PM.

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by Jaxad0127 View Post

                    So, what OS would it run? Android doesn't respect your privacy, which is the point of the device. Previous efforts would need porting work.
                    I wonder how this can be so difficult.

                    1) Make a phone that can be run on open drivers and is designed to protect privacy. Start selling it immediately, even with an OS that doesn't respect your privacy, like Android, but still running on open drivers. Let other Linux phone systems port their stuff to the phone, so you can increase the number of potential customers further.
                    2) Make an OS for the mentioned phone, that is open source and privacy-respecting and sell it to your now existing customer base. And yes, I think they should sell that OS as a subscription, because that will increase confidence in the longevity of the device. This is never going to be a mainstream option, and people who are serious about their freedom and privacy, should be willing to pay for it.

                    Just because people use Android, doesn't mean they hate privacy or open drivers. They should allow more pragmatic people to support their project as early as possible, so they can start generating income and bring the production costs down. For a lot of people, open drivers means nothing more than low risk of planned obsolescence and more choices. Great for developers, for instance, whether they develop for Android or something else. Having a fairly high price is ok as long as you can guarantee the longevity of the device.

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