Is Librem 5 a "Cloud Phone"?

Self-hosted cloud support is fine, especially if it’s just a footnote. I would nevertheless have found it offputting if it was touted as a selling point, because it would suggest Purism’s mindset was quite cloud-centric. I would have worried about what might mean for their future decision-making.

There’s no question of scaring me away now, because I already backed the project, but I think my decision to back it was quite tied up in the issue of whether Purism’s thinking was well enough aligned with my own.

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Not hard to do automated diff-based backup of a finite/set files on Linux. I just don’t want it to be extra difficult. There should be a lightweight service that detects which apps you have installed that you might want to backup. Then you can just selected them and select a source in settings. If default is none, then that’s fine. The photos app will probably have the most to backup.

Turns out, the updated answer is:
“No, the Librem 5 is of course not a cloud phone, but…”

You can get a fully integrated, privacy & freedom respecting app from the PureOS store that brings cloud backups to those willing to pay for it.

As Purism intends to bring privacy and freedom also to non-technical persons, I think this (the whole package) is huge, even though personally I don’t have a need for much of it.


I was hoping to eventually use my own servers as the ‘cloud’ destination.

it seems to me that librem one is for handholding the users who aren’t quite ready for the whole respect-your-freedom mentality

from the above

Why do I need to pay?
We are changing the landscape of digital rights, which includes changing the business model from the previous exploitative zero-price for all-your-data, to a nominal-price to retain your digital rights, data, and privacy.
Can I get a free Librem One account?
Since not everybody can afford to pay, we do offer a free Librem One Basic account if you agree to strictly avoid products and services from big-tech that exploit you, lock you in, and control your data. If you agree to that, select the ‘FREE’ option for Librem One Basic: Social + Chat service, and you can get a free account as a gesture of gratitude from Purism, SPC.

In a way, yes. But neither as a primary focus, nor does your quote hint at that.
What that says is “Okay, you can use our stuff for free, but only if you pinky-promise to delete your facebook account”. That’s just a friendly nudge in the right direction.

The thing that targets “not ready yet for the real deal” more directly is the mere existence of Android and iOS apps for Librem One. And this is quite a genius move, if it works out as intended.

In addition to LibreOffice and other free goods for people on proprietary systems, they have now a simple way to slowly move to privacy-respecting services. This is substantial for people who attempt to move away from the tech giants, like Kashmir Hill demonstrated in her powerful article series. But I’d rather view it as targetting “non-techy” people, than those lacking a mentality.

IMO, The biggest potential here, basically a gateway-drug, is the Librem Chat.
It’s not only freedomy and privacy-y, it’s also free as in beer.
This means, you now have a way to convert all you loved ones (and maybe some non-so-loved ones) from WhatsApp to a truly free alternative that they can use without giving up their current (proprietary) devices.

That’s huge!
And it basically can utilize the same snowball effect every messenger has.
You almost can’t overestimate how important this is. It basically leverages a Freemium model, where you gain wide reach by being available for free as in beer.

This makes Librem One known to a wide audience. And the more they get interested and convinced by this and other services, the more likely they are in becoming interested in a truly freedom respecting phone or laptop.

So, us, the geeks, privacy advocates and Purism fans, we can now have a very direct impact on

  • the use of ethical services, and thus indirectly on
  • the future growth of Purism,

which ultimately will benefit ourselves in multiple ways: They can innovate faster, offer more variety and possibly lower prices.

Imagine, if each of the ~5000 Librem 5 preorderers would invite ~10 friends and relatives to use Librem chat (to talk without feeding Facebook), that would mean about 50,000 people using a product of a company they currently only vaguely know. And nothing prevents this number to jump to 500,000 just as quickly.

Made my day :slight_smile:

i’m STILL alowed to contest this “primary focus” since the majority of the people who have a digital life DO NOT take decisive action against proprietary non-free infrastructure (software and hardware included) - also it clearly exploits purity (it’s called Purism and PureOS and Libre[m]) NOT by accident. now i’m not saying that beeing an SPC is bad quite the oposite but the TRUTH still points to the not so transparent parts that are yet to be adressed.

the steps neccesary to undertake the freedom goal have been taken but UNTILL that fully comes to fruition there’s nothing stoping me to regard purism with some level of distrust (although it is significantly less than other big-giants).

i deserved that :stuck_out_tongue:

I’m starting to understand how you’re thinking better… Perhaps I can express myself in a language that makes more sense from your points of view:

It seems as if Librem is trying to get people into free software in one fell swoop. I don’t think this is necessarily bad. However, let’s learn from Google, Microsoft, and the rest… They did something called “lock-in,” right? It wasn’t right from the beginning. In the beginning there were problems with compatibility and interoperability, but this was not a selling point. Lock-in is done as if they’re gradually boiling frogs. Now, if we’re trying to lock out - or whatever the opposite would be, then I think a more optimal strategy could be more like:

  1. provide a fully open Linux platform
  2. allow users to converge onto various apps

instead of

  1. provide a fully open platform and apps (which are defaulty supported more than all others)

I think the first process allows more characteristics for competitive and emergent OSS evolution. Allowing for more iteration, and not trying to force a world view onto it as much. I mean world view in the sense of outcomes - the world is unpredictable and we want to make sure our planning is antifragile with respect to the evolution of software development and long-term usability.

If we look at many platforms that were open source and had no “lock-in,” then they often felt like they had more lock-in from a user perspective. Let’s take the n900, for example, (of which I had 4) - it was one of the freest phones out there. However, from a long term point of view, my Google Pixel phones have been a lot more stable. End of life with no migration options should be considered 100% lock-in. Of course, Nokia changing OSs every generation had a lot to do with this instability.

Part of what is great about an open and free platform is that many people can figure out how to use Facebook, WhatsApp, etc in the best ways possible. They can sandbox, or they can use an alternative version. For example, I use “Lite” on Android, which is a Facebook alternative. It lets me do the few things I need to do on FB without sharing any data with them by default. There are so many instances like this. What I’m trying to say is the real gateway drug is having the popular services available: Telegram, WhatsApp, Facebook, Gmail, Soundcloud, Youtube, 1Password, GTranslate, etc - so anyone can just start using it. Maybe not as polished as their previous smartphone experience - but instantly they can start moving to the alternative apps.

Anyway, I guess this is a bit off-topic for this ‘Cloud’ thread. But I suggest if you want to conspire to get the maximum amount of people onto a privacy-focused platform, then there are stronger strategies that are move funnel-like (but don’t necessarily compromising on any defaults).

the thing is this is not what software freedom is about. sure if it’s open-source philosophy we’re talking about then that is true.

RMS himself admits that freedom-respecting software is a long road and we are only at the beginning

also many people confuse gnu/linux with the gnu/libre-linux. one uses modules in the linux microkernel that reference and call upon non-free-proprietary-patent-protected-binary-driver-and-firmware-binary-blobs to operate non-free-hardware - the other is Free-as-in-freedom but not free as in free-beer or gratis-software it is simply a Libre(french for free or freedom) so it uses only code that can be independently audited in it’s entirety. see

that’s why uses only this linux-libre in the GNU os. the various distributions that exist today just serve as the glue between the linux kernel and the actual GNU OS. well you could very well stay only within EMACS and you wouldn’t miss much if that is your thing.

I’m not convinced. But you should rather try to understand what Purism stands for.
Why Purism?, Social purpose, Freedom roadmap, Ethical design, Escape the walled gardens, …

  • Advocating free, libre, privacy respecting hardware, software, services
  • Not endorse any company, software, or service that is unethical in that it
    • manipulates you by the selection of shown topics / ads (Google, Facebook, Twitter)
    • manipulates you to spend as much time as possible on their platforms (Facebook, Twitter)
    • abuses you to train their machine learning algorithms for free (Google, Facebook)
    • wastes your time and bandwith to serve you ads and become rich (all of them)
    • sells your data (all of them)
    • builds walled gardens so you don’t switch to other gardens (all of them, plus Apple, Microsoft, …)

So I can say with confidence that Purism won’t put any effort into making #SurveillanceCapitalism more accessible on their systems. They just announced a services bundle that is meant to replace your beloved services, for those who don’t want to be exploited by the tech giants.

It was already antithetical to their believe system to go in the direction you desire, but now it additionally contradicts their business plan.

By the way, I’m uncertain whether you were referring to “Facebook Lite”, which is an official FB app that just uses a little less bandwith, or “Faster for Facebook Lite”, which still uses FB APIs. If you log in, they have you. Basically all of the services you mentioned react quite allergic to unofficial apps and shut them down quickly with all legal and technical means they have. It’s called walled gardens for a reason. They have an empire to protect.

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I did not read the whole thread, yet. Sorry for that but I would like to add my opinion.

I am interested in the Librem 5 because I don’t like that many thing I do on my Android leak into the internet in secrecy. I don’t want that. I would like the Librem 5 to perform its functions on local hardware where ever possible and its possible for many things. Of course there are functions that just need internet connection. And sometimes it can be useful to perform some functions with internet support even if it is not necessary. In these case it must be carefully thought how it can be done best in respect of user interests if it is worth.
Just my opinion.

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Librem One has taken me by surprise and my initial reaction was to feel uneasy. I don’t think they’ve communicated about it very well.

Nowhere in the initial announcement did they mention it will be available on Android and iOS, or that it will use interoperable standards. Given the name, I assumed it was specifically for people with Librem hardware, and not using existing protocols and networks. That seemed out of character for Purism, and quite offputting.

I feel more comfortable knowing they’re not reinventing the wheel and that this won’t be forced on anyone. I suppose I was expecting them to offer something a bit like it eventually, but the branding caught me off guard and made me think it was something it wasn’t.

Nevertheless, I don’t trust Purism enough for me to use Librem One.

[Edit: sorry, I didn’t mean to reply to @derptacious with this, just to the thread.]

All good - your input is appreciated; and I agree.

Part of being free is to be spied on if one wants. I just think it would be a shame to truncate the potential customers by millions due to making it hard for them to do some of the basics. Of course something like WhatsApp doesn’t need to be default, but it should be as easy as possible. With that many more customers, you can put that much more effort into privacy, security, and the whole project…

To add to that … carefully explained, so that the user is giving informed consent.

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i would be curious what Edward Snowden would say to hear these words. i bet he would say it’s irresponsible and highly irational - both for you and everyone else to think and act like that. no offense to you or to anyone else but we really haven’t done anything worth a damn on these forums if you afford to casually say things like that in public. then again maybe it’s an honest mistake and maybe you didn’t read my post above (and everywhere else)

If you count using WhatsApp as being spied on, then yes I think it was a reasonable thing for me to say. This is not to be conflated with what Snowden is talking about: mass NSA data mining, etc…

The feeling so far here is that after buying a phone, I will just use it as a hobbyist phone and thus gain no benefit because I’ll never be able to use it as my primary - or at least most people won’t. Personally, I’ll probably be able to rig some programs to work that wants to keep out - but 99% of people won’t know how to do that… So if I buy them a phone, then they will end up going back to their old big brother tracker phone just to be able to message someone on WhatsApp (I keep using this example because I think it is a good one).

Shouldn’t the objective be to get away from the services/apps/platforms that spy on you not just the devices? Sure you have the freedom to choose to be spied on, but if that’s your choice there are easier ways to be spied on.

I think your larger point is you would prefer a more gradual transition instead of a rip off the band aid approach. Neither the faster nor slower approach is objectively better than the other, they each have their own pros and cons. I think purism’s objective is to make the rip and replace approach as viable as possible by providing alternatives for people to move to and providing those alternative apps on non-free devices so that the slow transition is not to have the apps that spy on you on a phone that doesn’t but rather to use apps that don’t spy on you until you can transition to a device that doesn’t.

At least for the average non-technical person. The more technical will put those apps that spy on you on the phone that doesn’t because they can and that is ok, but that is not something I think is wise for purism’s to actively develop because then they are essentially endorsing the spying which goes against their objectives. It also takes resources away from making progress on the parts that aren’t freed yet.

Just a thought.


“Shouldn’t the objective be to get away from the services/apps/platforms that spy on you not just the devices?”

– Exactly what I’m saying. I’m saying this objective is much more easily met by first making it easier for more people to switch. The cause of the lack of choice is the other platforms being locked down. There is no evidence that being open to some “surveillance software” at first to allow people to switch (and then cracking down on it later when some critical mass has been reached) is a bad idea so far, I think. In fact, I think my experience working for software and hardware startups that were successful & have failed (no I’m not gonna dox myself here) – has shown me that some critical mass is imperative for a hardware/software company to succeed in the long run. I don’t want another n900, as I’ve said: I had 4 of those, and its lineage’s failure was so preventable. And I guess I’m spending so much time wasting in this forum is to sway opinion. However, I realize there are probably more effective ways for me to influence the decision making at Maybe I just believe in grass roots wisdom in OSS… However… Haha… Maybe the quality of public discourse has gone down so much that it is impossible to transmit nuances ideas any longer online.

I view the “closed first” OSS smartphone strategy to be subversive since I predict they will prevent long (or even medium) term success.

“Neither the faster nor slower approach is objectively better than the other, they each have their own pros and cons.”

– I don’t agree. If one method totally prevents a hardware platform from reaching critical mass, then absolutely!

Maybe this is really hard to see… Maybe I should just be writing letters to the or pay an SF friend to go to events with them to influence them… But that seems exhausting. But it is frustrating being so close, yet so far from a platform that you can continue to use. Non-stop transition between modern, unstable technologies.

"but that is not something I think is wise for purism’s to actively develop "

– I’m not saying they need to… I haven’t even suggested it. Certainly they shouldn’t interfere every time something in this line is brought up on their forums… This is the place that like minded people are going to meet and actually work on things and plan their relationship with this technology. If people search for info about the phone they might buy to de-Google their lives, read this main forum, and reach the sentiment that so many things they’ll need to do day-to-day on their phone is not going to be possible (or even prevented) - then they certainly won’t even bother spending on it. At least sell a vision for being able to use it as their main phone in the future, but many people like myself will see through the idea that you’re going to force all of your friends to switch to special apps to talk to special-you… This is a delusion of the Richard Stallman-types.

Rejoice, for Purism has listened to you - and invented Librem One, a way for ordinary people to start enjoy some privacy in their current eco system, and when they are “ready”, they can do the switch very easily!

I know, you’ll not accept it. But that is because you think it is a reasonable position to say “I want to de-Google my life, but I’ll keep the good Facebook stuff!” You can safely assume you’ll waste your energy trying to swing anybody on this. And now I’m going to mathematically prove to you how unreasonable your approach is in comparison.

There are already millions of people using Matrix, building up a critical mass. Everybody using Librem One on their existing phones adds to that. By the year 2025, Purism will NOT have sold millions of Librem 5’s. And I very much would like to be wrong here. I hope you don’t want us to believe that a “slow transition” should take anything longer than 5 years. However,
by the end of the year, there will be ~10,000 Librem 5 users, and
by the end of next week, there will be ~10,000 Librem One users.
By the end of the year, Librem One might well have 6-digit figures.

Buying a pure, privacy minded phone for $600 and planning to install surveillance capitalism apps on it is like… buying a pure, white wedding dress to ride a motor cycle on a dirt track - just without the comical aspect of the latter.

Isn’t it just adorable how you don’t see the irony in trying to do exactly the same thing, convincing us that your way is the better one? (just not based on an ethical believe system)

More than 95% of the people in my surrounding were willing to install Threema, despite it’s entry barrier of paying a few bucks. Only two are stubborn enough to say “Wanna talk to me? Use WhatsApp”. So, they are not very different than your delusional Stallman types, just that they don’t have reasons.
“Everybody uses this” is not a reason. It’s a statement of submission.


boom !
@derptacious if it weren’t for those crazy Stallman types we would have been living in a VERY different world and perhaps NONE of the steps already taken on the path to liberate our digital lives would have been possible.

if it’s a personal freedom you are afraid of loosing then nothing stops you from using a Samsung and a Librem 5 each with it’s own philosophy intact.
you keep the Samsung in your left hand and the Librem 5 in your right hand and don’t mix them together … and when you are ready you can do what you please.

it’s more like a fetish nowadays to mix things up so in the end we don’t even know what is what … i’m just glad that with Purism we still get that “pure” spirit