Debian-based phosh phone from Hong Kong company & China OEM

Quote from The Register article:

There aren’t so many phones running totally separate OS stacks, though. There is Puri.sm’s Libre 5, which The Register covered when it was announced back in 2017. It puts privacy front and center, but today it’s both low-spec and very expensive.

Not released or stable yet.

CEO Bardia Moshiri is the leader of the Droidian Project.

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Low-Spec to plebs…

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Number 1: this is cool. Thank you for sharing.

Number 2: I will believe it when I see it.

The bigger discussion? I think Linux Mobile is working. I think it is, obviously, a reality. I think it will be in really good shape in the next 5-10 years. A fair question though is how long will it take to be great?

Food for thought.

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… and to journalists who can’t spell “Librem 5.” :slight_smile:

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It’ll be interesting to see how it compares privacy- and -security-wise to the Librem 5.

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Agreed. What I like is that Phosh is actually working and appears to be ubiquitous now. It is free software. It works. It is very lightweight and functional. I use it on a PineTab 2, for example.

I think it needs to be mentioned that a social purpose corporation (Purism) made this happen. They spearheaded this. I supported the crowdfunding campaign. Users made this happen too. I think Purism deserves some major respect for this. Microsoft, Google, whomever: they wouldn’t share Phosh. No way.

Things are working and Linux Mobile is real. I am pleased.

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It doesn’t seem like a privacy phone like Librem 5, but still much better than Android and iOS. But even if so, as long as it brings more people to the GNU/Linux environment (maybe from China?), it’s something good. Maybe more people who get involved to develop mobile FOSS software.

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When I first saw them back in February, and their website that crashed under the HN load and they had to rebuild their wordpress site from scratch, I thought they were vapor (And the HN announcement said they were from Taiwan not HK?).

I also thought that “planned permanence” was clever, but doubted it would be supported long since it’s based on a Qualcomm SoC…

Anyway good to see the ecosystem growing. Let’s see the rank of Linux phones grow (and hopefully light some fire at Purism to get Crimson out and other software updates, and eventually a newer phone!)

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See also:

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That would be “interesting” if they started in ROC, but then moved their operations to PRC. (If true, probably just an economic consideration, though.)

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Kyle posted the link on Mastodon and got this reply from Sebastian.

@kyle It’s Droidian. It runs Debian(ish) userspace on top of Android HAL. Very different to actually running Debian.”

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Oh, so its not a real Linux phone then, was going to buy one, but sod that if its that Android HAL thing.

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It’s not like HN is always correct…

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Ah the comments on the Register say its Android HAL, but they’re working on mainline. So its watch this space then.

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This is interesting comparing to the Librem5. Does them going through the Android HAL mean they get better photos I wonder? It seemed like getting colour and focus right was a tough task for Purism.

Camera
Front Camera 16MP
Back Camera 50MP with Optical Image stabilization
Macro Camera 2MP

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I anticipate that as soon as the Librem 5 starts showing a clear profit in the marketplace, that there will be many knock-offs. Much of China has no respect for intellectual property to begin with. Since the Librem 5 contains no intellectual property anyway, it’ll be a complete free-for-all when it comes to copying the phone for those capable of doing it in higher quantities. They’ll probably access the same supply chain and sell the same phone for a fraction of Purism’s price. If that is profitable, other models might appear in the market.

At that point, the only value that Purism could offer to compete is the promise of privacy and security. Of course, others can promise that also.

To compete, Purism needs to partner with some silicon chip manufacturer to develop an opensource phone SoC (system on chip), made to order per Purism’s specifications. My employer is capable of producing such chips. I am not high enough on the totem pole there to have significant influence in business operations unless I stumble upon an obvious cash cow that no one would pass up. But I have initiated and been a part of a few informal discussions and e-mail chains, even in company e-mails (all informal though), in attempts to see if my employer might want to build an opensource phone SoC. Some of those emails have made it up to the Executive level and back out to a few small groups of us as responses from individuals who do have the authority to sponsor such projects inside of the company.

First of all, everyone loves the idea of creating a new kind of cell phone SoC that creates privacy. It is easy to get buy-in about the need for such a chip on the consumer side of the equasion. The initial response from almost everyone is positive and interested. This is probably the only reason why the idea gets any traction at all. These responses that did result, seemed to be a result of an honest attempt by experts in their field, trying to think of a way to make an otherwise bad idea (from a business perspective) become a good idea. One executive responded to a group of us by saying that China owns the cell phone market and then he explained to us how bad it would be for us, and why, if we jump in to that market. One person used the word “bloodbath” to describe the potential financial losses. And these responses came before we said anything to them about turning the intellectual property (the holy grail of return-on-investment) over to the public domain. Of course, this is using standard business paradigms. With respect to those who routinely make decisions in the millions to hundreds of millions of dollars, I wouldn’t expect anything different, especially when I have no value proposition to present to them about how much money the company will make in return. Atruism alone, hasn’t been proven yet to increase the company stock value that much. If I ever came up with a real winner of a business plan in this area, I am confident that I could get the idea presented on the highest levels. In the meantime, everyone (including those who make the business decisions) love the idea until they try to balance new investment with expected returns on investment.

So what Purism needs is a compelling value proposition that they could use to entice a large incumbent in the chip manufacturing business, to partner with them with the result being, the world’s first opensource SoC. They’ve got to get that. Such an SoC needs to immediately become a commodity product (to one degree or another) the second it hits the market. That is what the opensource aspect will most assuredly do to it. Profit margins (and thus silicon manufacturer stock values) are decided based upon how cutting-edge (and secret - protected) the technology is. They want something that the competition can not copy from them. So Purism needs a compelling value proposition to offer a silicon manufacturer, regardless of these market forces and the fact that Purism needs a product that can not be proprietary as a way to overcome these market forces. All I can think of is that Purism might find such a partner who will sell to no one else but them for a certain amount of time. That wouldn’t be any kind of intellectual property protections. But it might slow down would-be competators in the short-term. Afterall, Elon Musk has been quoted as saying that “intellectual property protections are for the weak”.

It might be fun here on this forum, for us to brainstorm some ways around these obstacles or how to move forward in spite of them. What would you say to an executive at the chip manufacturing company that causes him to say optomistically “yes, that could work” or “we could do that”?

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In a different thread.

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“journalists”… These ones lack true journalistic integrity and proper study into what they are reporting. They just want a quick turnover rate in their articles.

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The Register is usually fairly thorough, I think. They can sometimes be annoying with their cutesy, quirky writing style, though.

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Usually, I’ve read many good articles by them. And I don’t think that they should be cutesy since it’s journalism. Leave the affectationistic attitude at home.

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