It's a phone ... but what is it?

I’ll be happy when I just get my phone. You can handle the marketing. Whatever. There should be an award for the daily Alpha poster. The Passive Agressive Ego Oscar!

At the end of the day, people are just going to call it their “phone”.

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Sometimes, distinctive features of this devices are important to name, e.g., when such things happen:

I had another idea for a name (even if we already started to vote):
Libcom -> liberty computer/communicator/community what ever.

Btw I can understand the highest vote “GNU/Linux phone or GnuPhone or PocketGnu or GNU/Phonux”, but I also can install windows and play windows games on it, can’t I? Or even a very other system that doesn’t exist right now and that is not a Linux. :upside_down_face:

@prolog: I didn’t vote for freephone, cause it sounds a bit like fairphone.

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Arguably you can do all that in a GNU/Linux operating system.

You can call or re-name the device category whatever you want. Unless the GNU/Linux development and marketing for whatever reason isn’t really focussed on a joint effort to get a simple and unified product line-up to the general public it won’t get adopted at all.

The communities and manufacturers should get together in order to unchain a real revolution for GNU/Linux based devices rather than continue to splintering the amazing operating system and devices, several stores with trazillions of odd named applications that do not appeal to Average Joe in any way

Better have collaborations emerge to get the devices up for display in (online) shops and presented by telecom and privacy oriented ISP’s. This should gain more interest and push GNU/Linux based devices on national levels. Remember, unlike the community members, to non tech-savvy people in the street Linux in general is still perceived as an obscure operating system, that is if they are familiair with Linux in the first place.

If not taking the joint effort route, like the many forks and individual communities, the GNU/Linux devices will end up being yet another obscure products used by a select targetgroup. Restraint and depending on little donations, no dedicated independent major investors, not stimulated by governments financing as being a true disrupting way to break the duopoly, no adoption by school systems, limited and splintered development resources and just a bunch of active community members to take this forward little by little.

You may be fine with that for now, but when the Librem 5 V2 and Pinephone V2 will arrive and turn out to be real competitive products there will be no substantial basis to market them.

I would hate to see Linux portable devices (I prefer Linuxphone because that’s what it is) not succeed and seeing the devices be just in limited use.

a) Not totally (you need time to make it running and sometimes there is no time to do so).
b) The important fact is, that you can install other OS then any Linux. I also wouldn’t call my desktop pc at home Linux- or Windows-pc. The only OS difference to this device is, that Linux is preinstalled by default instead of usually windows.

Much like trying to get windows running on an arm device that doesn’t have a snapdragon processor.

I think every computer sold by someone who isn’t star labs, purism, system76, penguin, or apple are marketed as “Windows PCs” because they come with windows preinstalled. Or perhaps because they have hardware supported by ready-to-go drivers written for windows, in which case you could argue that this phone/cumputer/whatever would be a linux phone/computer/whatever for the same reason.

Honestly, though, its all semantics. I call it a tomayto, you call it a tomahto.


And what is my pc without any system installed before I installed something? Btw Windows is just an example - can also be something else that does not exist right now. :wink: For me Librem 5 is just hardware - other then Androrid-phones or iPhones which includes software you cannot change (even if you install something else above Android). For me it is important to be able to change the system totally. “Gnu-Phone” or “Linuxphone” sounds like another phone which is closed to such an OS, what is definitely not. And that’s why it sounds so weird to me.

But maybe it’s just me.

What has happened? I go to winter break/hibernation and when I come back this fun and silly little thread has gotten all serious? I thought we had plenty of those already… :wink:

@Ick there are plenty of ways of looking at this classification of phone and the name for them. From the GPC functionality perspective to the OS-centric view to the FOSS principle emphasis to the evolutionary sentimentality to the futuristic bleeding edge idealism. And then there are the different needs and uses, as in what is right for the different audiences - when explaining to semi tech savvy friend (still uses a landline), to your granny (an IT specialist), for marketing to a more mundane segment etc. And are we using daily shorthand speak or do we want to use more polished brand aware language. Not to mention, thinking Venn diagrams, one can be many and all can have value =true.

So, if anyone has a preference, why not elaborate what is your viewpoint and usecase at least, before arguing much further. Mine are:
pcphone, in daily speak, when trying to emphasize that it’s more than a phone and I’m using something that has features that others don’t
linuxphone, in daily speak, probably with people I don’t like, when I’m expressing irritation on why someone would be using some insecure and non-private alternatives and why they would expect me to use some of their obscure favorite app (like FB or WA)
GPC, in more formal, in depth conversation and technical situation, when I’m explaining (probably with my eyes shining) the new communication and data management paradigm that is the next evolutionary branch from common “smart” phones
phone, daily speak, referring to the function and the physical brick when I’m cussing and searching for it while it keeps ringing


Didn’t mean to be arguing (I’m sorry @Ick if I came across that way), just hashing out different opinions. This thread is all in good fun.

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That’s how languages are working. I also call my current smartphone from time to time “handy” or “telephon”. I also will call my L5 “linuxphone” from time to time if I want to show that it can run any linux-system. But that does not mean, that the device category itself shouldn’t have a specific name.
I also know that on smartphone there is not so much smart. But the cool thing in this thread is, that we - the community - can discuss instead of some marketing people. We can decide ourselves, if we want to have a more marketing name or a more device orientated name. So if I think something is not so good to use, I can tell it. If most other people think that my point is not such important, then it’s fine.

I like how this thread is going on in general. Even if not all people see any sense in it. :wink:


This is not how I understand GNU/Linux phone at all. If you actually know what GNU/Linux is, you will understand that if your device supports it, it can automatically support anything else, because GNU/Linux is FLOSS.

I understand it too, no worries. I just said “it sounds like”.

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I’m thinking about doing this same poll on the PINE64 forum. I suspect that we might get a very different response there. Considering how many people want to include “GNU” or “libre” in the name, I suspect that most people on this forum are ideologically closer to the FSF than the OSI.

The principal question is whether you want to emphasize that the Librem 5 converges the PC and smartphone or whether you want to emphasize that it runs on free software. The latter is winning in the poll so far.

The question I have is what else can be called a “GNUphone” or a “libre phone”. Is the PinePhone a GNUphone when it contains proprietary firmware for the RealTek WiFi/BT in the main file system?

Is the Volla Phone a GNUphone when it is sold with both Android and Ubuntu Touch and it requires proprietary firmware in the main file system for the WiFi, Bluetooth, cellular modem and GNSS. The Ubuntu Touch installation uses Qualcomm’s Android drivers through libhybris.

How about the Cosmo Communicator, which is only sold with Android preinstalled, but the company has instructions for installing Debian on its web site? It uses a MediaTek processor that requires blobs and will never get mainline Linux support (whereas the Snapdragon in the Volla Phone will get it after a couple years).

When I install LineageOS or Ubuntu Touch on my Xiaomi Redmi Note 7, does that become a GNUphone or a libre phone? I assume that when I reinstall Android, it will stop being a GNUphone or libre phone, but it probably also stops being a “pcphone”, since its software doesn’t allow the full functionality of a PC.

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Valid questions. I’m curious to hear/see what the poll results there are.

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Due to the HW setup it mainly has smart phone functionality. With L5 the convergent aspect is the main feature.This is a different category all together and, imho, needs to be reflected in the device name. The de device name also needs to be easy to pronounce (catchy), therefor names as compone, coco and handy are preferable.

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right, as long as you use android kernel/bsp/hybris it’s an android phone. But the same phone may inadvertently become this handheld computer type once it’s fully reverse-engineered and mainlined.

Maye I will try to generate a anagram by permuting the beginnings of words like libre, Linux, desktop, phone, mobile, portable, carriable, pocket etc. and see if there are some useful results. Probably most of the resulting words will sound artificial like LiMoDe or so. Some people might like such a word and others not.

Also maybe we should call such a device a hybrid or include that word because it could be defined as a hybrid of a desktop or general purpose computer and a phone. There was a time when phones were no computers. Desktop phone might make people think orbs phone on a desk… thinking in progress. :thinking:

The reason that I like free phone is that it is simple, and sort of “similar” to smart phone. Personally I don’t care that free is ambiguous, many of our words are and it is just part of language. People can navigate this and will not believe that they will get a free phone without paying anything.

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