Liberty secured: Purism's Librem 5 Linux-based smartphone meets crowdfunding goal
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Who said Linux phones were dead? Purism, the company behind the privacy-focused PureOS, may soon be able to enter the smartphone arena. The crowdfunding campaign being used to fund the Librem 5 (a smartphone designed to run a mobile variant of Linux) recently hit its funding campaign, a good sign for the development of the device.
We reported on the Librem 5 when the crowdfunding campaign started back in late August. Over the past few months, the project looked like it might not hit its (admittedly lofty) goal of USD $1.5 million. On the 2nd of October, the campaign had only reached 50% (roughly $750,000) with less than 20 days to go. However, just a few days later, the Librem 5 campaign had secured over $1 million in funding. Two days ago, the phone met its goal, and the campaign is still going strong. As of this writing, current funding stands at about $1,615,000.
The Librem 5 isn’t a smartphone for everyone. It will run an operating system based on Purism’s own PureOS, which is itself based on the Debian Linux kernel. Being a branch of Debian, PureOS focuses on compatibility with free and open-source software, a hallmark of the Debian project. The Librem 5 will likely be no different, and will also continue Purism’s goals of laying complete control of the device into the user’s hands.
Based on current design specifications, the Librem 5 will run either an i.MX6 or i.MX8 processor that is fully separated from the WWAN module in order to give users the option to fully kill connections to mobile networks. The phone will also feature physical “kill switches” for various pieces of hardware, such as the camera, WiFi, Bluetooth, and microphone. Purism may also pick up where Canonical and Ubuntu left off earlier this year by offering a convergence feature that can turn the smartphone into a fully featured Linux PC once connected to an external monitor.
Most crowdfunding campaigns for electronics amount to missed deadlines, broken promises, or even outright fraud. However, it should be noted that Purism already sells hardware and seems to understand the fact that their products fill a very small niche in the tech community. Currently, the Librem 5 can be considered up for pre-order for $599. Purism is hoping to ship the phone in January of 2019, and now that their financing goal has been met, there’s a good chance we’ll see more of the Librem 5.