[Update: Goal Reached] Purism and KDE are Crowdsourcing a “Truly Free” Smartphone, the Librem 5
Multiple companies in the past have tried their hand at creating a smartphone with as few closed source binaries as possible. So far, many have dropped the premise, but the support for such a smartphone is still there within the open source community. The latest in this effort is a collaboration between KDE’s Plasma Mobile and Purism to create a “truly free” smartphone called the Librem 5.
Now, when they say “truly free”, it’s not entirely true as not every component is open. Some things like the modem/radio make it extremely difficult to truly create an open smartphone, but the two companies are working to as close to this ideal as they reasonably can.
Even if you aren’t really familiar with Linux, you may have heard about the K Desktop Environment (KDE). The Plasma Desktop is one of the most recognized projects of KDE, but they’ve also been working on Plasma Mobile for handheld devices. They’ve now teamed up with a company called Purism whose goal is to produce laptops that (when possible) are guaranteed to be respectful of the user’s privacy.
The two companies share similar goals and have decided to work together in an attempt to create a “truly free” smartphone that puts the privacy of the user first. Granted, Purism hasn’t committed to a platform at this time. Instead, they’ve agreed to help KDE adapt their Plasma Mobile platform to their hardware device. This is great news for those who are fans of these two companies and who are anxious to see a smartphone project like this come to the masses.
There’s still a lot of work to be done in this field though and this is where crowdfunding comes into play. This project involves dedicating time, money, and resources to reach its end goal (which is the Librem 5 smartphone). So that means they need capital to help fund the project. You can find the crowdfunding page for the Librem 5 smartphone here, and they’re about to cross hit the 20% mark of their goal. The companies are looking to raise $1.5 million over the next 39 days, and they’re close to surpassing $300,000 already.