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Librem 5, the open source phone

January 29, 2020.

Librem 5.

Librem 5. Purism, CC-by-SA 4.0 license.

You have to be plucky, and maybe a little insane, to try to imagine a phone outside of the iOS/Android ecosystem, especially when you’re a small enterprise with limited means. Yet that’s exactly what Purism has done: the maker of open-source laptops has developed Librem 5, an open-source smartphone. Not only is its operating system based on GNU/Linux – not Android – but its hardware is also open source. While the Librem 5 is an actual product that you can buy – for USD750 – it’s more akin to a proof of concept than a finished product. Reporter Ron Amadeo, who has tested the phone, writes of the frustration he felt with its features, design and fabrication quality. But Librem knows about these problems and is working hard to solve them, since they make the phone all but unusable in real life. In any case, we respect the spirit of this company and its determination to open new horizons for smartphones. Who knows, after a couple of iterations, maybe Librem will become a viable option? We’re not holding our breaths, but we’re rooting for them.

Ars Technica, Ron Amadeo, “Librem 5 phone hands-on—Open source phone shows the cost of being different.”