Librem 5 and GNUnet

I’ve never heard of it but it does look cool. This quote is off their terrible website and sums up why it’s not part of the roadmap for the Librem 5.

At this stage, GNUnet remains an experimental system where significant parts of the software lack a reasonable degree of professionalism in its implementation. Furthermore, we are aware of a significant number of existing bugs and critical design flaws, as some unfortunate early design decisions remain to be rectified. There are still known open problems; GNUnet remains an active research project.


Which is exactly what Phosh and a GNU/Linux distribution installed on a cell phone are at the moment. So if not now, when?

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When you don’t have to worry about having two “experimental” (according to your definition) systems trying to interact with each other.

Things begin gradually. Already the following simple steps would help building a ground for good ideas without breaking anything:

  1. Taking care that the latest GNUnet packages are present in the PureOS repository
  2. Including in the PureOS repository GNUnet apps that have explicitly designed with the Librem 5 in mind (see cadet-gtk)

Then time will tell.

GNUnet is in the Debian reps and Purism tries to not deviate away from it. So whatever version Debian has PureOS has. I don’t know if that’ll be an issue for the user apps, but they can package it in a flatpak with the latest libraries and I’m sure Purism would love to add it to their store.

The Librem 5 is better than that. For sure there are some annoyances, including bugs, but it is not “experimental”.

All bugs and design flaws potentially detract from security and privacy. For a phone that is marketed in that direction, you wouldn’t want too many bugs and design flaws.

That being said, one of the core aspects of the Librem 5 is that it is your phone. Noone seeks to stop you running GNUnet on your phone.

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…Except when Purism has different plans, in that case Purism offers its own forks.

I would be surprised of the opposite in this context. What I am trying to outline is a further step. The Librem 5 is a phone approved by the FSF, it contributes to GNOME and has privacy as one of its main goals.

GNUnet is trying to re-build the internet with privacy in mind from a perspective that is much larger than a simple framework, it is being developed in the academia and already offers apps developed for the Librem 5 (already nine months ago).

When the Librem 5 was designed Purism’s developers planned a strong integration with Matrix, they did not just offer vanilla Matrix packages. What surprises me is that a discussion about an integration with GNUnet did not even take place. Not even as a future roadmap. Not even as a wish list… Not even as a “What if?”…

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Please don’t get me wrong the GNUNet is a awesome idea but the question is easy to answer. Most applications for it are still in Alpha and a few in beta so it’s not even close to ready specially not to be used as “secure” messenger. Yes Matrix isn’t perfect yet ether, specially the client SDKs need some more love but it’s already really good and even used by Governmentes. After all they didn’t actually chose it which made me a little sad but rather took XMPP which is without any doubt the most mature of all those. As a little tip if it’s about security and not just pure freedom to you don’t use Beta or Alpha software for things like communication :smiley:

What me surprises is, why do you ask these questions and this with your first sentence of this topic?! There are many reasons why people didn’t speak about it. For example - I didn’t knew about it. Others may just want to see how development is going on and if it will get serious and not just a “tried and given up project”. Also developers themselves could post something here, but they had reasons to do not I guess.

So instead of asking “why didn’t you?!” you just could start to roll out the topic in a normal way. “Do you know about the specific plans of GNUnet for Librem 5?” and so on. :wink:

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I agree. Beta or alpha software is not so bad for roadmaps and future plans though…

You are right about this. I think my surprise found a way to express itself. It is not disappointment or anything else, it is just plain surprise given the convergence of purposes and technologies between Purism and GNUnet.

I am curious at this point to listen to what Purism’s developers will add to this discussion if they happen to stop by.

Like … they are busy on more basic functionality?

I am a GNUnet developer. As soon as I get my Librem 5, I will try to get GNUnet running on the Librem 5. After that we have to do optimization regarding battery and bandwith usage, and some general issues (We are doing a basic refactoring of our transport subsystem at the moment.) we need to finish until GNUnet can be used on the Librem 5 and other devices for daily use. This is work not finished in a few month, especially if you consider that not even a full time equivalent developer resource (I am working 50% on GNUnet, and some others even less) is working on all that.

cadet-gtk is a cool application prototype and evolves fast to have decentralized group communication, but also depends on the transport subsystem of GNUnet we are actually working on.

The actual GNunet Debian packages are outdated, but there is a good chance there will be a new Debian package maintainer for GNUnet again!


@t3sserakt That is fantastic news to read! :slight_smile:

Does anyone know how to add cadet-gtk to the “Fund your app” wishlist?

You can try emailing to about this kind of thing. I did so and got an answer. (They did not actually add the thing I asked for, but they did consider my suggestion and answered something about it.)


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I am happy that the website offers the possibility to donate but I find it frustrating that forces people to offer a donation simply to give a suggestion about an app. Besides the fact that there are people who cannot efford any donation but still want to help, a suggestion is already a donation. Common sense would say that the ones that should be interested the most in what people want are the ones who sell.

You could see this behavior a couple ways. One is to prevent getting flooded with nonsense. Another is that to qualify a suggestion/request as “serious,” then donating a few dollars is a good way to do that.

I cannot answer to that with anything different than “As they wish” :man_shrugging:

You can email them with a suggestion i.e. without donating anything.

They have even said that it isn’t necessarily the case that the most donated to projects will be delivered. On that basis, I would suppose that how well the project aligns with their long-term vision is more important than sheer dollars.

My 2¢ - not donated. :wink:

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As one of the developers behind the cadet-gtk application I wanted to add that there’s no additional funding needed. The application was only a prototype and has been discontinued.

However it will get replaced by the more polished messenger-gtk application running on mobile Linux as well as desktop. You can find more current information about it here. It has also been accepted to be funded by NLnet (more information here).

But I’m also looking forward to optimize other applications from GNUnet for mobile as well.