Thursday, 21 September 2017 12:15

GNOME Foundation backs smartphone based on free software

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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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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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