Librem 5 – The World’s First Truly Free Smartphone Announced

The KDE foundation is working with the Purism organization to create the world’s first truly free smartphone. The phone is called the Librem 5 and you can help fund the development of the hardware and the software for the phone by clicking here. As of this moment, they’re hoping to raise $1.5 million and have already reached $844,150 with 24 days to go!

The Librem 5 phone will not be running Android or iOS. It will be running PureOS which is a GNU/Linux derivative of Debian. Basically, any app you write for PureOS and the Librem 5 can also be made to work on your desktop Linux computer. This is a huge advantage that you don’t get with Android or iOS apps, most developers end up using Qt or Unity to be able to create multi-platform applications.


Since the Librem 5 functions as a small computer, you can also hook it up to a monitor, mouse, and keyboard and use it that way. All of our smartphones, iPhones and Android phones alike, are powerful enough to be used as desktop computers but they don’t provide a convenient method for doing so. One of the Librem 5’s goals is to change that. Take a look at the crowdfunding rewards, the higher tier rewards include a monitor, mouse, and keyboard with them ($1399 includes a 24-inch monitor, $1699 includes a 30-inch monitor)! When you fund the phone, you’re funding the development of a privacy-focused computer that fits in your pocket. It feels like some days we forget just how powerful the phones we have in our pockets are. The Librem 5 aims to remind us of that.

It will feature end to end encrypted chat with Matrix along with other privacy and security features. By default, there will be no tracking.

If you want to break out of the duopoly that Apple and Google have over the industry, you will definitely want to check out the Librem 5 smartphone.


Ten Steps to Successful Open Source Crowdfunding – Open Collective

Open Collective, the KickStarter-like service for funding free/open source projects, has published a practical 10-step guide to crowdfunding open source projects.

One of those steps is something more projects could do to raise money. It’s printing stickers and creating shirts emblazoned with the project logo:

People donate because they want you to use their money to power up the project. So get proactive! Print stickers and other merch, cover costs associated with conference talks, and financially support people who make key contributions.

Putting stickers on your laptop is a tradition for developers, they show off what you support,which software and programming languages you use. I wouldn’t mind stickers for Ubuntu, Red Hat, LibreOffice or PostgreSQL on my laptop.

Swag-style t-shirts are also great. When I was tending the FSF (Free Software Foundation) booth at LinuxCon 2016, it was awesome to see people buying t-shirts.

When you need to fund your free/open source projects, consider Open Collective!

TechBridge Makerspace: Help fund the Lethbridge Maker Space!

TechBridge Makerspace: Help fund the Lethbridge Maker Space!

The Techbridge Makerspace is attempting to create a new makerspace in the city of Lethbridge, Alberta. They’re raising money to create the space and have already raised $4080! There’s just TEN DAYS LEFT to fund them.

The perks they offer are:

  • a 3d printed bust when you donate $200 + shipping
  • a handmade laser cut letter when you donate $10
  • a handcrafted leather key fob when you donate $20
  • $50 gets you an engraved multitool
  • $1000 means you’ve basically bought equipment for the space and can name it anything you want, the example is a 3d printer named Printy McPrintface

They want to buy some of this equipment so that people can come in and learn how to create new things and build their own projects and products and prototypes:

  • CNC mill
  • Machina X20 3D printer
  • 3D scanner
  • heavy duty sewing machine
  • laser cutter
  • vinyl cutter
Lethbridge skyline, source:

Hackerspaces and makerspaces should be helping each other more often, this is why I’m posting about this new makerspace here.

Crowdfunding isn’t just for funding new hardware, it’s for funding new spaces where people can learn how to build using that new hardware. It would be amazing to see people all over the world learn how to use 3d scanners and printers.

Click here to fund the Techbridge Makerspace and help Lethbridge residents see what all the excitement about the future of 3d printing is all about!

German Free/Open Source Fund

The Prototype fund applications are open for another 60 days. The fund has 1.2 million Euros to invest in free/open source software projects and development work. They are looking to develop prototypes that are open sourced over a period of 6 months. Each project can receive a grant of up to 30,000 Euros. Projects will also gain mentorship. They are looking to fund around 10 projects per round of funding.

The coolest part here is that you will get paid to develop a prototype and that prototype can later on be further be developed by others. Non-profits especially will appreciate this as it will keep their costs low and give them a chance to check out new technology. For example, the open source nature of WordPress is the main reason it is the dominant technology used by non-profits and charities.

Businesses across the world will benefit as well from the Prototype Fund’s works. Very exciting development, looking forward to other governments and nations offering grants for open source development work.

Carbon Offsets? Why not Windows License Offsets?

I was reading about carbon offsets the other day and checked out the store at HubCulture. They offer a product in their store called carbon offset, it’s basically $8 to pay for one tonne of carbon. The idea is that the money is invested into sustainable, green businesses. Businesses that reduce their carbon footprint are likely to be invested in.

On the one hand, it is a bit of a guilt trip. On the other, it is nice way to incentivize lowering your carbon footprint in a free market.

It’s a marketing tactic and something like a mutual fund or broker; let someone worry about figuring out which cleantech fund or environmental non-profit will do the most to decrease the carbon footprint.

From the HubCulture product page for Carbon Offset, they explain:

Hub Culture carbon offset purchases are aggregated by individual purchases to pool resources for offset purchases at a slightly larger scale. Hub Culture offset purchases are linked specifically to REDD forest protection with Wildlife Works and to the Nike Mata no Peito project, which is actively protecting Amazon rain forest through the development of carbon protection purchases to save this important natural resource.

Carbon Offsets but for Proprietary Software?

So I was wondering whether or not this would work for free and open source software. For example, if you received a copy of Microsoft Windows pre-installed on your computer, you could pay $5 (or some other amount established by various signals like Windows market share) for a Windows License Offset. That $5 would then be invested into businesses that exclusively use GNU/Linux or into free/open source software projects that are not available on Windows, perhaps as bounty money for fixing bugs.

The idea is that most people do want to support free and open source software but it can be difficult to choose projects to donate to. Further more, there is a hidden cost to using Windows such as vendor lock in or poor quality software. Making the cost visible with a Windows License offset product will be the same as making visible the carbon footprint of businesses, products and homes.

This would be another marketing tactic to encourage people to donate to free/open source. A far-fetched idea perhaps.

Open Source Micro-Purchasing

Open Source Micro-Purchasing

18F, the U.S. Government’s digital services agency, is trying an experiment in which they use federal dollars to pay for development of their open source projects. Micro-purchases in the government are those purchases which are under $3,500 and can be made using a “purchase card”.

This is similar to bug bounties or other open source bounties where a developer is paid to develop code for particular features or bugs that users really want.

As the start of the their experiment, 18F will be creating a task that needs to be done (either a bug fix or a feature build). Contractors will be able to bid down the price starting from $3,499. Their goal is to show that making the code open source and with a little cash incentive, developers can be attracted to working on government projects. They also want to lower the costs of software development for government. It’s well-known that governments typically over-pay for software that hardly works or that works but only after the initial time and budget estimates are over-shot by 300% or more.

I wish them luck on this experiment and hopefully other governments can take a page from 18F and start releasing more free/open source software into the world and start supporting open source development through bounty programs similar to 18F’s micro-purchasing experiment.

BountySource: support open source development using bounties

BountySource: support open source development using bounties

BountySource is a service for supporting free/open source software development by using the idea of bounties. For example, if you urgently want a bug fixed for your favourite software, you can chip in $10 or $100 as an incentive to get a developer to work on fixing that bug. These cash rewards can really help the developers figure out the right priorities.

What’s neat about BountySource is that Facebook, IBM, PagerDuty and others are using them to support free/open source development. On their frontpage you can see that IBM has posted a lot of bounties for particular projects that they really want to see done. This gives a developer incentive to work on the priorities that IBM sets. The developers can always choose to work on something else, or they can work on the issue without accepting the bounty reward.

If you’re a developer, click here to find some bounties to work on and earn a cash reward.

If you’re using a free/open source project and want some issues fixed, click here to post a bounty.