The delivery of the completely newly developed Linux smartphone Librem 5 with PureOS from Purism, which is primarily designed for security and data protection, has begun. With around 2.2 million US dollars, the smartphone had already exceeded the self-set financing target of 1.5 million US dollars by far in 2017.
The general purpose computer in the phone form factor
Purism is a US company for social purposes in the field of computer technology, a so-called “Social Purpose Corporation”, and sees Librem 5 as the “world’s first free smartphone”. Purism describes its smartphone as an “all-purpose computer in the telephone form factor” and markets it regularly at a price of 799 US dollars in its own store as a Linux smartphone.
Both the hardware and software design of the Librem 5 should be entirely designed to respect the privacy of the user and to put control of security and data protection in their own hands. For this reason, Purism uses the Linux distribution PureOS supported by KDE and Gnome, which in turn is based on Debian GNU / Linux, as the operating system.
The design aims at data protection
Regardless of whether it is a cellular modem, WLAN / Bluetooth module, microphone or camera, all security-relevant components of the Librem 5 can be completely cut off from the power supply by the replaceable 4,500 mAh battery with a so-called kill switch.
A special “lockdown mode” can also be used to deactivate all of the hardware switches mentioned and also GPS, the acceleration sensor, the so-called accelerometer, and all other sensors.
Desktop operating system on the smartphone
Thanks to special libraries such as Phosh, Phoc and Squeekboard, the entire desktop operating system PureOS has been adapted to the smartphone. Purism works together with Gnome and KDE and passes back software adjustments, such as with Gnome Web or the Linux kernel, instead of maintaining its own forks.
The entire desktop ecosystem was adapted to the mobile platform, but continues to use the main archive of the Debian Testing repositories according to the principle of a rolling release. The makers explain all the backgrounds in a video.
When connected to a monitor, the Purism Librem 5 can also be used as a full-fledged desktop PC with a desktop operating system. In the official press release on the delivery of the smartphone, Todd Weaver, CEO of Purism, said the following about the Librem 5:
It is the culmination of people’s desire to see and finance an alternative to Android and iOS, coupled with the commitment of a team of experts who have dealt with hardware, kernel, operating system, and applications.
Todd Weaver, CEO of Purism
The Librem 5 is now being delivered to the first founders and can also be purchased from the Purism online shop. For $ 799, buyers get the following hardware:
Purism Librem 5 5.7 inch IPS display with 1,440 × 720 pixels Quad-Core-System-on-a-Chip i.MX 8M with 1,5 GHz 4 × ARM Cortex-A53, 1 × ARM Cortex M4F, 1 × ARM Cortex GPU 3 GB LPDDR4 main memory 32 GB eMMC storage (expandable via microSD) Wi-Fi 802.11 ac / a / b / g / n and Bluetooth 4,213 MP main camera, 8 MP selfie camera, rechargeable battery with 4,500 mAh rated power, PureOS 9.0 (“Hephaestus”)
For more information, see the official Purism website.