The Librem 5: Your Ultimate GNU/Linux FLOSS Smartphone


Purism is well known for Linux based laptop with Coreboot. Now they started a crowdfunding campaign today for its smartphone called Purism Librem 5. What is so special about this phone? It is 100% powered by GNU/Linux. You can run any Linux distro on it. The phone provides high security and privacy features, i.e., it does not track you. This seems like an excellent device. One that I would certainly purchase or recommend to a privacy-conscious person.

What is the Librem 5 phone?

From the campaign page:

Librem 5, the phone that focuses on security by design and privacy protection by default. Running Free/Libre and Open Source software and a GNU+Linux Operating System designed to create an open development utopia, rather than the walled gardens from all other phone providers.

A fully standards-based freedom-oriented system, based on Debian and many other upstream projects, has never been done before–we will be the first to seriously attempt this.

The Librem 5 phone will be the world’s first ever IP-native mobile handset, using end-to-end encrypted decentralized communication.

Tech specs

The phone will run almost any Linux distro (such as Debian GNU/Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, Suse/OpenSUSE, Arch Linux and SubgraphOS) and should work with 2G/3G/4G/LTE networks around the world:

  • 5″ touchscreen
  • i.MX6/i.MX8 CPU
  • Vivante GPU (Etnaviv free software accelerated driver)
  • Separate mobile baseband
  • 3GB LPDDR3
  • 32GB eMMC
  • MicroSD slot
  • Camera (front and back)
  • Flash
  • Headphone and Microphone Jack (3.5mm)
  • Microphone
  • Speaker
  • Power Button
  • Volume Controls
  • SIM Slot
  • WiFi 802.11
  • Bluetooth 4
  • USB Host
  • USB Type-C
  • Battery
  • Sensors: GPS, Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Compass, Ambient Light, and Proximity
  • Hardware kill switches for privacy: Camera, Microphone, Baseband, annd WiFi/Bluetooth

The Librem 5 phone will sell for USD $599 and more (depend upon config options) in Jan 2019.

Why use the Librem 5 phone and avoid Google or iOS?

I have always wanted a pocket workstation, and this phone might be my pocket workstation that respects my freedom and privacy. You are not bound by the notions of some business model as software is free to install and update as per your needs. A phone that runs Linux and Gnome/KDS/XFCE is like a dream come true combo for me. I have been waiting for a truly hackable Linux phone for some time. I sincerely hope the project gets funded. Companies like Apple lock you down in their walled garden. Google Android is well known for tracking you for adverting purpose. Here is competitive chart based on privacy, security, and freedom features:

Partnering with Matrix Librem 5 is the first ever Matrix-powered smartphone, natively using end-to-end encrypted decentralised communication in its dialer and messaging app. One can do the following things easily with this phone:

  1. You can make encrypted calls and encrypt SMS/text and emails.
  2. You can mask your phone number too.
  3. Use VPN for protecting your privacy and hide real IP address. Or use tor browser. Perfect for Journalists or average users who wants to protect their privacy from unscrupulous marketers and identity thieves.
  4. Use the phone as a desktop computer by adding a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

A full desktop computer with an option for a compatible keyboard, mouse, and monitor.

How do I get the Librem 5 smartphone?

You can order or get more info about the phone and project here.