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Purism Launches a Privacy-first, Made in USA Smartphone: Librem 5 USA, as an Alternative to Big Tech Offerings

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Purism’s Librem 5 USA offers consumers a privacy-first smart phone with a secure supply chain

Purism begins shipping its newest privacy-first smartphone, Librem 5 USA. The smart phone retains the software security and privacy features of the Librem 5 while adding a transparent, secure supply chain with manufacturing in the USA. This makes it one of the most secure alternatives to the iOS and Android phones offered by the big tech companies.

The Librem 5 is a phone built on PureOS, a freedom respecting, open source, and fully verifiable operating system that is neither based on Android nor iOS. It has unique hardware kill switches to disconnect the cellular modem, WiFi and Bluetooth, and microphone & cameras. The premium upgrade—Librem 5 USA—additionally sources its components via a controlled and secure US supply chain, with full electronics manufacturing done at the Purism operations headquarters in the United States. The new Librem 5 USA adheres to strict US labor, environmental, and materials laws with US-based staff. It brings together trusted hardware and secure software—all in one phone.

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/e/, Fairphone, and a Few European Companies Join to Launch ‘FairTEC’ Promoting Ethical Smartphone Solutions

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A few European companies like /e/ and Fairphone who promote open-source technologies have joined forces to start ‘FairTEC‘, which is a collective to create sustainable and ethical integrated smartphone solutions.

Other companies involved include TeleCoop, WEtell, and the ethical broadband/mobile provider Phone Co-op.

With the help of FairTEC, they aim to give users the total control over their choice of sustainable smartphone options with an ethical choice of mobile network and operating system.

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Updates for JingOS and Phosh, notes on PinePhone keyboard hacking

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Developers at Purism have released a new version of the Phosh user interface for Linux phones, bringing bug fixes, usability improvements, and several other changes to this phone shell used by multiple smartphone Linux distributions including some versions of postmarketOS (which recently celebrated its fourth birthday, by the way).

Meanwhile, the folks at Jingling have released a new build of JingOS, their Linux distribution for tablets (and eventually smartphones). The developer of the most promising Linux kernel patches for the PinePhone has begun digging into the schematics and software for the upcoming PinePhone keyboard, and it looks like it’ll be a pretty hackable device.

Here’s a roundup of recent mobile Linux news.

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Review: the Cosmo Communicator

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It’s 2021, and it’s time to upgrade your smartphone. Maybe it’s getting slow, it might be damaged, or your device’s OEM refuses to update your version of Android. Whatever the reason, you set your budget and full of hope and starry-eyed about all the possibilities, you go to your preferred electronics store (or carrier, if you’re American) – and as you scroll through the possible phones, your hopes are shattered and your heart sinks in your shoes. Your choices are between an endless array of black slabs, and while you can technically choose between Android and iOS, you will have most likely made that specific choice ages ago, and switching platforms is hard.

Slightly dramatised, sure, but the reality of smartphones today is that all of them look and feel the same. The difference between mid range and high end have shrunk over the years, and while there are still small differences here and there, the general experience is going to be the same from device to device. Even if you skip a few years of upgrades, the jump in performance to the latest and greatest processor isn’t going to make that much of a difference in your day to day use. While you can technically opt for one of the new folding phones, the reality is that they still suffer from early adopter problems, and their prices are far beyond what most of us would want to pay for a smartphone.


Since this is plain old Debian, pretty much anything in the Debian repositories will work, since ARM is a supported architecture. You can set up your own desktop the same way you would set up any KDE installation on a regular PC or laptop, and other than the smaller display, there’s really nothing special or extraordinary about it.

The official Linux image for Cosmo also makes some special affordances for the device. It comes with a phone and SMS application, so you can make phone calls and send text messages right from within Linux. You can also set up the cover display as an external touchpad, but while an interesting gimmick, I did not find this particularly useful. Version 4 of the Linux image also introduces better support for the shortcut keys to control various aspects of the hardware, like WiFi, Bluetooth, and cellular. Sadly, this version was released a few days before my fiancee and I had to go to the hospital to deliver our child, so I haven’t been able to test it quite yet. It requires a fresh installation due to a switchover from droid-hal-cosmopda-bin to lxc-android, and I do not feel comfortable performing such an installation on devices that aren’t mine.

Performance of the Linux image was great, and I did not notice any serious shortcomings. Of course, if you come in expecting the performance of a big gaming laptop you’re going to be disappointed, but if you have reasonable expectations, you won’t be disappointed. It’s too bad I couldn’t test the external display support, because that would be an absolutely ideal use case for this device, especially for people who work in a variety of locations.

One downside of the Linux image is that it’s based on Debian Buster, which means some of the packages are going to feel a bit outdated because Buster favours stability over bleeding edge. The KDE version, for instance, is three years old, which is perfectly fine and working well, but you will miss out on more recent features and improvements. It would be great if other, more up-to-date distributions, such as Ubuntu or Manjaro, could be made to work on the Cosmo for those of us of a more adventurous nature.

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Four years of postmarketOS / AlpineConf 2021

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"Bend an existing Linux distribution to run on smartphones." This is what we set out to do four years ago, and it has been quite the success. Alpine Linux, with the thin postmarketOS layer on top, is now able to boot on an ever increasing, insane number of currently 289 mobile devices.

While most of these run downstream Linux kernels and can only be used as Raspberry Pi-like tinkering devices, it is still a huge accomplishment by our amazing community. But even greater feats are the devices running (close to) mainline kernels, such as the eleven phones present in our latest release. These became quite usable for Linux enthusiasts, and some people are daily driving them.

There is still lots of work to do, but at the same time it is clear now that the concept of running real Linux distributions on smartphones has a foot in the door. As the PinePhone and Librem 5 showed up, more and more amazing projects with similar missions were started on a wide range of Linux distributions. This has lead to more people getting involved, and more collaborations upstream. Most notably Mobian, who we have a long history of collaborating with on projects like osk-sdl, the on-device installer, PinePhone modem improvements and other components. We congratulate the Mobian developers for adding support for two mainlined SDM845 Android phones. Linux distributions on smartphones are here to stay!

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Megi’s PinePhone kernel updates bring battery life, performance improvements

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Until recently one of the main things keeping the PinePhone from being a smartphone most people could use as a daily driver was battery life – when my PinePhone arrived in September, 2020 I couldn’t find an operating system that would offer more than a day or so of battery life while idle, let alone during active use.

But thanks to an active development community, PinePhone battery life is getting better all the time. Now developer Megi, who maintains a custom Linux kernel optimized for Pine64’s Linux phone, says the latest versions offer support for up to 6 days of standby or idle time.

And that’s just one of many improvements in Megi’s Linux 5.12 and 5.13 kernels.

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Mobian begins porting its Debian-based OS to more smartphones and tablets

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Mobian is a mobile Linux distribution based on Debian. Designed to run on phones and tablets compatible with mainline Linux kernels, the operating system originally supported just three devices: the PinePhone, Librem 5, and PineTab.

But now the team has announced initial support for a few more devices: the OnePlus 6, OnePlus 6T, Pocophone F1 smartphones and Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tablet.

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Entroware Proteus is a Linux Laptop for Getting Things Done

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Not wanting to be left out is UK-based computer company Entroware, who have just unveiled their latest Ubuntu laptop — and it’s packs some big tech inside.

Say hello to the Entroware Proteus.

The Entroware Proteus is 15.6-inch laptop packing a whopping 73 Wh battery. Even used at full tilt, this laptop isn’t going to need recharging as often as other 15-inch workstations, meaning users can get more done,with fewer adapter-related interruptions.

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Also: Entroware bring the Proteus Linux laptop with Intel Xe, a big screen and long battery life

TUXEDO’s Latest Linux Laptop is All About the Screen

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Don’t get me wrong, FHD isn’t terrible (and it’s not as thought fractional scaling is super perfect on some distros anyway) but it feels like regular HD panels have been the stock option for too long.

Which is why I am excited to hear that European computer company TUXEDO — which is stylised in all caps; that’s not me shouting — offers higher-resolution displays in its 6th-generation InfinityBook Pro 14 laptop.

It’s not a typical 3K screen either, but an LTPS IPS in a 16:10 ratio at 2880×1800 pixels running at 90 Hz.

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PinePhone can now be purchased year round, wireless charging and LoRa cases coming in June, keyboard case coming this summer

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Pine64 has announced that at least until the end of 2021, folks who want to buy a PinePhone will be able to place a pre-order at any time. Orders will no longer be taken in small batches a few times a year.

The latest version of the phone is the PinePhone Beta Edition, which ships with Manjaro Linux and the KDE Plasma Mobile user interface, but users can install a variety of other Linux distributions or user interfaces.

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Programming Leftovers

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    QuickLicenseRT Linux 3.0 implements the QuickLicense 9.1 runtime system to protect and license a Linux desktop applications. Apply licensing to a 32 or 64-bit executable with a few programming commands. Use LinuxWrap to license a compiled executable without programming.

  • Turing Award winner Barbara Liskov on CLU and why programming is still cool • The Register

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  • GitLab all set to go public as revenues – and losses – rise

    DevOps darling GitLab has finally filed for an Initial Public Offering (IPO) as revenues continue to grow and losses widen. The IPO had been expected in 2020 but the company put things off due to the pandemic until late last week, when the paperwork was filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The company, founded in 2014, has remained tight-lipped over the sums involved, although the filed S-1 form recorded that the proposed maximum aggregate offering price is estimated at $100m. [...] In the IPO document, Gitlabs said it was on course to grow revenues to $233m in its current financial year ending in 2022. This compares to the $152.2m reported in fiscal 2021 and the $81.2m in the year before that. However, losses also widened over those years. The net loss in fiscal 2020 was $130.7m – but it was $192.2m in fiscal 2021. Net loss reached $69m for the six months ended 31 July 2021, up from $43.5m for the same time last year.

  • The 10 Core Differences Between C and C++

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Proprietary Software Leftovers

today's howtos

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  • How To Install Figma on Ubuntu 20.04 LTS - idroot

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  • What's the differences between a Docker image vs a container? - Coffee Talk: Java, News, Stories and Opinions

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  • How to Install LaTeX Editor TeXstudio 4.0.0 in Ubuntu 20.04 / 21.10 | UbuntuHandbook

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  • This Will Make You a Command-Line Ninja | by Erik van Baaren | Python Land | Sep, 2021 | Medium

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Games: Assets, GOG, and Steam

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  • Steam Deck: Official Anti-Cheat Support Incoming in 2021

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