Typically with any new technology developments and with software in particular, large commercial interests too often come along after most of the development work has been done, and capitalize on it. They put their own wrapper and brand name around code they didn’t write themselves and charge for it as if they developed it themselves. There are always to do this legally and they always find those ways. One example is how Intel put an open sourced version of Linux (an older version with a license that doesn’t require them to publish their code changes) in to the core of their CPU’s, to manage the use of and identify of the users of their chips (that’s all of us). Purism has to go to great efforts to disable that linux-based software under a handicap of not having access to the source code, even though that code is Linux-based. Another example is the whole Android and Apple operating systems. They’re all proprietary versions of Linux that are now licensed with at least some license limitations and typically many limitations to users. They use at least some locked and secret secret code and all the user sees is the logos of the ultra-large commercial proprietor who manufactures and sells several different models, each in the millions.
I can see that after Purism proves a strong market demand for the Librem 5 and a growing trend that isn’t going to stop, that we’re going to start seeing Samsung and Google Linux phones based on Linux and Gnome. Most of the operating system in those Samsung and LG phones will have been written by Purism employees and volunteer open source software developers. But you’ll see the spinning Samsung, LG, and Verizon logos when those phones boot up and on their desktops. They will have full convergent desktop environments when plugged in to a large monitor with GUIs that scale to fit any sized screen in the Gnome environment, courtesy of Purism who will get nothing from these other companies for it. Samsung, Google, Apple, and others won’t say anything about Gnome nor about Purism nor PureOS. The OS in their phones will be given a proprietary brand name, named after Samsung, LG, Google, or Apple. There will be a software store by each respective company that competes with Purism to create income for Apple, Google, LG, Samsung, and others. The money and noteriety will flow to the big guys who cash-in on Purism’s risk-taking and hard work as they are being forced by Purism to make some compromises with respect to user control of their own phones. I can see this as a form of retribution against Purism for pissing in their cheerios as Purism starts setting standards in the world that require through competition, that all phones should be free of advertising and snooping.
Would it be possible now (early in the game before it’s too late) for Purism to put something in to all of their code that is under a special license that requires any phone manufacturer who uses software developed by Purism, to go only on phones that are certified by the Free Software Foundation? Perhaps, a new license could be created that allows the Pinephone and a few other actual rightful contributors, to use Purism’s software in their products. That code could still be Published and used by hobbyists and the open source community. But we really need something that prevents the big boys from taking Purism’s work and risk, stripping out anything that let’s the user even know that Purism even exists, adding their own logos, and getting paid for the work that Purism did, both in notoriety and in hard cash. Any ideas here?
Another fear I have is that Samsung and others like them could create their own proprietary version of Linux which is basically a modified version of PureOS with no sign that it even is PureOS and that has GUIs that lock the users out of everything they want to lock the users out of. Sure, they’ll publish their source code to comply with the open source license. But then they’ll lock that operating system up very tightly behind multiple locked, secret stages of bootloaders and knox. So you’ll see how you could free the phone and maybe even install PureOS… if only the boot loader were not impenatratable.