Planet F-Droid

August 04, 2020

Purism

How Librem 5 Solves NSA’s Warning About Cellphone Location Data

The NSA has published new warnings for military and intelligence personnel about the threats from location data that is captured constantly on modern cellphones (originally reported by the Wall Street Journal). While privacy advocates (including us at Purism) have long warned about these risks, having the NSA publish an official document on the subject helps demonstrate that cellphone tracking is a real privacy and security problem for everyone.

We have been thinking about the danger of location data on cellphones for a long time at Purism and have designed the Librem 5 from scratch specifically to address this risk. The NSA document describes and confirms a number of the threats I wrote about almost a year and a half ago when I introduced our “lockdown mode” feature on the Librem 5–a feature that disables all sensors on the Librem 5. In this post I’ll describe the threats the NSA presents in their document and how we address them with the Librem 5.

Cellular Location Data

The first threat the NSA highlights is with cellular location data:

Using a mobile device–even powering it on–exposes location data. Mobile devices inherently trust cellular networks and providers, and the cellular provider receives real-time location information for a mobile device every time it connects to the network … If an adversary can influence or control the provider in some way, this location data may be compromised. Public news articles have reported that providers have been known to sell data, including near-real time location data, to third-parties [1].

In my lockdown mode post I describe how we designed the Librem 5 with a removable cellular modem and a hardware kill switch to mitigate this threat:

Putting a kill switch in the Librem 5 meant a design unlike many of the existing phones out there that combine the CPU and cellular modem into a single chip. We intentionally split out the baseband onto a replaceable M.2 card. This not only lets you physically remove the baseband altogether, but lets you power it off with a kill switch. If you want to know for sure that your cellphone isn’t tracking you, you can flip the switch and know for certain that it’s off.

Dogwood with the new cover removed, showing the slots for the Wifi card, cellular modem, and battery.Dogwood with the new cover removed, showing the slots for the Wifi card, cellular modem, and battery.

Stingrays

The NSA goes on to describe the risk from cell site simulators (aka “Stingrays”):

Location data from a mobile device can be obtained even without provider cooperation. These devices transmit identifying information when connecting to cellular networks. Commercially available rogue base stations allow anyone in the local area to inexpensively and easily obtain real-time location data and track targets. This equipment is difficult to distinguish from legitimate equipment, and devices will automatically try to connect to it, if it is the strongest signal present.

As I mention in my Taking the Sting out of Stingray post:

With the Librem 5 hardware kill switches, you have a convenient way to shut down the cellular modem completely and quickly, yet retain the ability to use the rest of the phone as normal.

GPS, WiFi and Bluetooth Tracking

The cellular modem isn’t the only device in a phone that presents a risk in terms of tracking. An important fact the NSA highlights in their document is the difference between location services on a phone and the GPS hardware and the fact that WiFi and Bluetooth devices still present a threat even if GPS and cellular data are disabled:

Perhaps the most important thing to remember is that disabling location services on a mobile device does not turn off GPS, and does not significantly reduce the risk of location exposure…

Also important to remember is that GPS is not the same as location services. Even if GPS and cellular data are unavailable, a mobile device calculates location using Wi-Fi and/or BT…

Even if cellular service is turned off on a mobile device, Wi-Fi and BT can be used to determine a user’s location. Inconspicuous equipment (e.g., wireless sniffers) can determine signal strength and calculate location, even when the user is not actively using the wireless services.

Or put a different way in my lockdown mode post, this is why the Librem 5 has a hardware kill switch to disable WiFi and Bluetooth:

Like with the camera and microphone, the WiFi and Bluetooth kill switch has even greater significance on a phone than on a laptop. Disabling WiFi and Bluetooth can protect you from external over-the-air attacks if you are in a high-risk area (or a vulnerability comes out for your WiFi or Bluetooth card). Protecting against remote attacks isn’t the only benefit of this kill switch though, disabling WiFi in particular can also protect you from tracking.

Since your phone is in your pocket, your WiFi hardware detects compatible networks nearby as you move around. Even if you don’t associate with the networks around you, the mere fact that your hardware can see them allows the phone (and apps on it) to know you are near those devices. As you move, your distance to those devices changes, which changes the strength of the signal and helps triangulate where you are for any company like Google that has a database of WiFi access points, along with their location. By removing power from your WiFi hardware, you can ensure that any applications that might try to track your location with WiFi are blocked.

Tracking with Sensors

The NSA went on to describe the risk that all of the sensors have in a cellphone with respect to tracking:

Even if all wireless radios are disabled, numerous sensors on the device provide sufficient data to calculate location. Disabling BT completely may not be possible on some devices, even when a setting to disable BT exists. When communication is restored, saved information may be transmitted.

In my lockdown mode article I elaborate on some of the specific ways sensors can be used to track you, and how lockdown mode makes it convenient to turn your Librem 5 into a usable portable computer without any sensors:

To trigger Lockdown Mode, just switch all three kill switches off. When in Lockdown Mode, in addition to powering off the cameras, microphone, WiFi, Bluetooth and cellular baseband we also cut power to GNSS, IMU, and ambient light and proximity sensors. Lockdown Mode leaves you with a perfectly usable portable computer, just with all tracking sensors and other hardware disabled. If you switch any of the hardware kill switches back on, the hardware that corresponds to that switch powers on along with GNSS, IMU, and ambient light and proximity sensors.

Software Settings Aren’t Enough

While the NSA describes a number of software mitigations as part of their guidance, they also make it perfectly clear why relying on software to protect you from tracking is flawed:

If a mobile device has been compromised, the user may no longer be able to trust the setting indicators. Detecting compromised mobile devices can be difficult or impossible; such devices may store or transmit location data even when location settings or all wireless capabilities have been disabled.

This is precisely why even though the Librem 5 lets you disable hardware with software settings, we also provide you with full control over all security- and privacy-sensitive hardware with hardware kill switches.

Privacy Problems in the App Ecosystem

The NSA even outlines the fundamental privacy and security problems with the data-grabbing app ecosystem:

Apps, even when installed using the approved app store, may collect, aggregate, and transmit information that exposes a user’s location. Many apps request permission for location and other resources that are not needed for the function of the app.

As I describe in Mobile App Stores and the Power of Incentives, we are addressing this problem with the Librem 5 too:

A large part of our work at Purism is focused on creating a healthy, ethical, privacy-preserving alternative to the current mobile app ecosystem. This is one of many reasons why the Librem 5 doesn’t run Android nor iOS but instead runs PureOS–the same secure, privacy-preserving, Free Software Foundation-endorsed operating system that we use on our Librem Laptops and Librem Mini.

While users are free to install any third-party applications they want, applications in our PureOS Store must be free software and protect user privacy. As Purism’s founder and CEO Todd Weaver says: “Every line of code is a moral decision.” Making privacy and free software a default changes the incentives to encourage ethical behavior by developers. It’s much harder to hide tracking features in your application if anyone can inspect the code and create a version that removes those features.

Conclusion

The NSA document ends with a list of mitigations targeted at Android and iOS that revolve around tweaking location settings and app permissions in software and disabling devices in software when they aren’t being used. As the NSA acknowledges, this is imperfect because if the software is compromised, you can’t necessarily trust that those mitigations are taking effect. This is why we think the best mitigation to protect yourself from tracking is with all of the security features of the Librem 5–a phone designed from scratch to protect your privacy, security and freedom.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Preorder now

The post How Librem 5 Solves NSA’s Warning About Cellphone Location Data appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at August 04, 2020 22:18

Librem 5 Web Apps

Applications have proven to be a major obstacle to bringing a new smartphone platform to market. Our approach leverages our core apps, thousands of native desktop apps, and web apps. In the future, we will also be adding virtualized apps, and cloud emulated apps, all of which will help secure and isolate applications that you may need while keeping them far away from the main device.

To add a web app, simply navigate to a web page, select the top-right menu in the browser, then “Install Site as Web Application”. This will create an Icon and a container to isolate passwords and settings.

We at Purism uphold your software freedoms, and as such, we won’t condone data mining applications in our store, but we certainly won’t make it hard for you to choose how you want to use your own hardware. Many proprietary services maintain web applications, these often work out of the box on the Librem 5’s browser and can be isolated and made convenient as a web app.

We have native apps and web apps. As we move toward virtualized and emulated applications, we hope to ease the transition to a freedom-respecting tomorrow.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Preorder now

The post Librem 5 Web Apps appeared first on Purism.

by David Hamner at August 04, 2020 22:01

August 03, 2020

Purism

Librem 5 June 2020 Software Development Update

This is another incarnation of the software development progress for the Librem 5. This time for June 2020 (weeks 23-26). Some items are covered in more detail in separate blog posts at https://puri.sm/news. The idea of this summary is to have a closer look at the coding and design side of things. It also shows how much we’re standing on the shoulders of giants reusing existing software and how contributions are flowing back and forth between upstream and downstream projects. This quickly gets interesting since we’re upstream for some projects (e.g. calls, phosh, chatty) and downstream for others (e.g Debian, Linux kernel, GNOME). So these reports are usually rather link heavy pointing to individual merge requests on https://source.puri.sm/ or to the upstream side (like e.g. GNOME’s gitlab).

Adaptive Apps

This section features improvements on adaptive apps, GTK, and underlying GTK based widget libraries like libhandy:

Short and instant messaging

Chats (aka Chatty) handles SMS via ModemManager and instant messaging via XMPP. It has experimental support for various other formats via libpurple. Sadiq’s cleanups and bug fixes continued during June:

purple-mm-sms plugin

Purple-mm-sms is the libpuruple plugin to handle SMS via ModemManager:

Phone Calls

Calls (the app handling phone calls) has seen a UI improvement to anonymous callers.

Compositor and Shell

This section highlights progress in Librem 5’s GTK based graphical shell named Phosh and its wlroots based compositor Phoc:

Phosh

Phoc

wlroots

GTK

Librem5 Base

The librem5-base package contains configuration data and meta packages that pull in the needed software:

image-builder

The image-builder is responsible for creating bootable disk images:

gnome-usage

gnome-usage shows CPU and disk usage:

feedbackd

Feedbackd is responsible for haptic, audio (and later) LED based feedback:

Linux Kernel

The process of upstreaming our Linux kernel work progress is covered in a separate report. The current one is for Linux 5.7 so this is mostly about downstream improvements:

Releases

These were the releases during may for projects we’re upstream:

Lambda

If you made it down here and want to start contributing join us on matrix. We welcome you to join a discussion or submit patches on https://source.puri.sm/. If you want to grab an issue and can’t think of a particular problem, check the easy and helpwanted tags in our GitLab instance. See you next month.

The post Librem 5 June 2020 Software Development Update appeared first on Purism.

by Guido Günther at August 03, 2020 15:36

August 01, 2020

Handy News Reader

What’s New With ver. 0.13.5?

Since the last official release (0.12.2) we’ve introduced further improvements thanks to which You can both read more - and read more conveniently :) . As usual, the whole set of features and improvements makes the new HNR version pretty exciting. Let’s take a closer look.

Widen Your Reading Portal.

As far as non-RSS websites are concerned, we introduce another way of obtaining the content: Web Page - Divide. This mode may come in handy especially in case of reading forum threads, but also other websites with repetitive content blocks. A more in-detail description of this feature You’ll find here.

Read Distraction-Free.

We’ve take one step further distraction-free reading experience by expanding full-screen mode over article lists (some Tap Zones included!). We’ve also added the ability to hide in-article buttons (the ones which You could find below article text).

More Customization.

You can now customize the app to the higher degree by applying Your color of preference to Action Bar, status bar, and in-article buttons mentioned a moment ago :) .

Improved Performance.

First, we’ve improved the refresh process (updating content sources). Previously, it incorporated other article-related operations as well (such as deleting old articles) - now we’ve excluded some actions from the refresh operation itself, making a separate dedicated place for them (see Delete old articles in the menu). Thanks to this change the refresh operation should perform faster.

Second, we’ve added the ability to “lock” HNR in memory while reading an article - thanks to which, once You’ve switched to some other Android app, You should always be sure that the article You’ve been reading will wait for You, not letting the OS to close it (e.g., due to Android Snooze feature).

Other Improvements.

Among all the rest we’ve improved the app settings organization, including one place in which You can set up everything which has to do with page header (reading progress bar, time, battery level, etc.).

As You may know, Handy lets You browse the Web directly in the app, via Article Web Search feature. Previously it was 100%-based on DuckDuckGo - now we’ve added the ability to further search via Google or Yandex, within external browser.

In the meantime, stay tuned for the new HNR documentation, both on our website and for off-line use :) ! Most of articles are re-written and reorganized to be not only up-to-date, but also much more user-friendly and easier to comprehend.

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at August 01, 2020 22:48

Widen Your Reading Portal.

A longer while ago our app could be considered as so-called “RSS-reader”. Although it allowed You to read the Web, it had been based on “RSS” which, however highly popular, hasn’t been applied on each and every website under the hood. There are still places not equipped with RSS, like, for example, some forums.

The point is that we haven’t wanted to carry technological limitations into our users reading experience. In other words, we would love to read all the Web within Handy - not only those who has mysterious “RSS” inside ;) . So we’ve introduced new ways of obtaining content. First, we began with Web Page - Links as alternative type of loading websites into Handy. If You’ve been interested in some non-RSS website, You could point out (via so-called regular expressions) which particular links contain the actual content You’d like to read in Handy - or You could simply leave the thing “as is” in case You can’t be bothered with more advanced stuff (taking a closer look on links’ nomenclature and constructing appropriate corresponding regex’es).

Yet Another Way of Obtaining the Content.

Now, it’s time to take the next step and widen Handy News Reader’s portal into the Web: we’re happy to introduce yet another approach of obtaining the content from non-RSS websites: Web Page - Divide. It may be especially useful in case of forum threads, i.e. longer pages with a bunch of posts, one after another. Handy can look at those posts and present them as separate articles, thanks to which You can read a whole forum thread as article list. Moreover, if a thread is split into several pages, Handy will follow and load all the rest. This way You can read complete forum threads within Handy, being notified on new posts :) .

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at August 01, 2020 22:47

July 31, 2020

Fairphone

How sustainable is the Fairphone 3?

At Fairphone, our dedication to change means a dedication to measurement. We’ve just completed the life cycle assessment on the Fairphone 3, and we’re humble-proud to present our results.

As with the Fairphone 2, we turned to the independent experts at the Fraunhofer Institute IZM to examine the phone’s lifelong environmental impact – from the mine to the factory to the store to your pocket to the product’s end of life and the recycling of its materials and parts. It’s a measure of the relative evils involved in modern electronics, from how much the Fairphone contributes to our planet’s CO2 burden to the human and environmental impact of its materials to the toll it takes on the reserves of scarce natural resources.

 

The results validate three key elements of the Fairphone strategy: the value of longevity and modularity in reducing a phone’s lifelong environmental cost, and the positive impact of using reused and recycled materials.

Modularity matters: the biggest impact is the phone’s core

When Fraunhofer Institute looked at the relative contribution of the phone’s parts to its CO2 emissions, they found at least 70% of the carbon footprint is in the core — the central module that contains the system-on-a-chip (think of it as the brains). That’s the part of the phone that you’re least likely to change and the one we want to make last the longest. By ensuring that you can easily swap out less carbon-intensive modules like the battery, the camera, and the display, which each account for only 5-7% of the footprint, we can keep your core module going longer.

What’s more, we’ve achieved big improvements in the carbon cost of module production. In the Fairphone 2, the modular parts contributed to 12% of the CO2 emissions in production, while in the Fairphone 3, they represent only 2.3% of the emissions in production. We’re designing for repairability at an even smaller carbon overhead.

 

On top of those savings, every time we refurbish a module, we further save lifetime CO2. When you extend the life of your phone by swapping a part, and we refurbish and reuse that module as a repair part, we’re extending the life of another one of those precious core units, and we can save up to 95% emissions in some modules.

Longevity is key: the longer your phone lives, the more the planet prospers

The life cycle assessment of the Fairphone 3 confirms something we’ve known since Fairphone’s inception: the longer a device is used, the smaller its environmental footprint. But barriers to smartphone longevity remain an issue. A key component of longevity is connected to the continued software and security support of phones. When the operating system and software that run on older core units stop being supported, the drop-off in usability and security is steep. This is why we, shoulder to shoulder with the Fairphone community, have been working so hard to continue providing software support.

 

The Fraunhofer Institute’s report reveals that the use of a smartphone for five to seven years can reduce CO2 emissions per year by a whopping 28-40%. Despite our steady march to longer product use, there is still some way to go before seven years of use is a reality. With Fairphone 2 and the software upgrade, empowered by community projects, to android 9, we will very almost certainly hit or exceed the mark of 6 years support. We hope to see Fairphone 3 make it even further, but a little help from our friends in the software industry could make that a less resource-intensive task.

Train transport: it’s how we roll now

Transport is another big contributor to CO2 emissions. Most phones in Europe arrive by air freight. That turned out to be a major contributor to the overall footprint of the phone, and in the case of smaller modules, actually exceeded the carbon cost of their production. We’re proving that’s unnecessary.
Your Fairphone 3 journeys from China to our distribution center in the Netherlands by train freight now, which lowered emissions by 87%. Both ocean transport and rail transport are lower carbon options that the entire industry could adopt. Phones don’t need to fly.

Recycling rocks: virgin plastic is screwing the planet

When it comes to components like the case, bumpers, and even that little screwdriver that comes with your phone, an important contributor to our lowered footprint is maximizing the use of recycled materials. The life cycle assessment reports that depending on the type of plastic, recycled sources generate 5 to 10 times less CO2 emissions than their virgin counterparts.

 

Bottom Line: hold on to that phone for dear life

We’d love to be able to show you how Fairphone stacks up to other phones, but few in the industry conduct even the most cursory analysis on their phones, and nobody transparently reports the calculations or assumptions behind their data. And no matter how proud we may be of our efforts, and the improvement in those efforts, we need the rest of the industry to follow in our footsteps and help people use their phones for a longer time. At the end of the day, the phone you have in your pocket, whether it’s a Fairphone or not, is going to follow a simple law of nature: the longer you use it, the more lightly it will have stepped upon the Earth.

Read the full LCA report >>

The post How sustainable is the Fairphone 3? appeared first on Fairphone.

by Miquel at July 31, 2020 10:47

Purism

Librem 14 Features Enhanced WiFi M.2 Key-E Slot

In the quest to make the Librem 14 our dream laptop we have focused not just on maxing out CPU resources, RAM, and security features, but we’ve also looked to expand the flexibility for hardware hackers to extend the laptop for their own projects.

As with our previous Librem laptops, on the Librem 14 WiFi and Bluetooth will be implemented as an M.2 add-on card which can also be removed completely (useful for those who want an “air gapped” computer). The M.2 slot follows the PCI M.2 specification for 2230 cards (22mm wide, 30mm long) key-E, i.e. the key used for WiFi, Bluetooth and other radio cards.

While the PCI M.2 key-E specification supports many different interfaces, in practice many are not actually connected. Most commonly in PCs and laptops only PCIe (x1) and USB are connected, everything else stays unconnected.

In the Librem 14 we want to provide our customers with as much flexibility as we can and have decided to implement as many interfaces as possible, so in the Librem 14 the M.2 2230 key-E slot for WiFi/Bluetooth will support:

  • PCIe x1
  • USB2.0
  • SDIO
  • UART

This can enable a broad new range of use cases and interfaces, like for instance ZigBee and Thread. Also, it opens up the possibility for all kinds of self-made M.2 cards using one of these interfaces. Other radio applications remain of course limited to the frequency bands supported by the built-in antennas: 2.4GHz and 5GHz.

We are pretty excited to see which creative use cases people will come up with!

Our Most Flexible Librem Laptop Yet

The Librem 14 is our most powerful, most flexible and most secure laptop yet. If you want free software, flexible interfaces, and cutting-edge, powerful hardware, the Librem 14 is the best (some would say the only) choice. Be sure to pre-order the Librem 14 before our $300 off early bird discount expires on August 7th!

The post Librem 14 Features Enhanced WiFi M.2 Key-E Slot appeared first on Purism.

by Purism at July 31, 2020 08:30

July 30, 2020

Purism

Why the GRUB2 Secure Boot Flaw Doesn’t Affect Purism Computers

Whenever a new security issue gets announced one of the first questions we all ask ourselves is: am I vulnerable? We have started to get questions from our customers after the announcement of a series of major security bugs in GRUB2 so I felt that it was appropriate to write up a quick post to explain why, even though we use GRUB2 in PureOS, that Purism hardware is unaffected by the vulnerability. In summary, it’s because we rely on our own PureBoot boot firmware, not UEFI Secure Boot, to secure the boot process.

GRUB2 and UEFI Secure Boot

To understand why this flaw does not affect Purism computers, it helps to understand why UEFI Secure Boot exists to begin with, and how it and the security exploit works. Attacks on the boot process are particularly nasty as they occur before the system’s kernel gets loaded. Attackers who have this ability can then compromise the kernel before it runs, allowing their attack to persist through reboots while also hiding from detection. UEFI Secure Boot is a technology that aims to protect against these kinds of attacks by signing boot loaders like GRUB2 with private keys controlled ultimately by Microsoft. UEFI Firmware on the computer contains the public certificate counterparts for those private keys. At boot time UEFI Secure Boot checks the signatures of the current GRUB2 executable and if they don’t match, it won’t allow the executable to run.

If you’d like to understand the GRUB2 vulnerability in more detail, security journalist Dan Goodin has a great write-up at Ars Technica. In summary, an attacker can trigger a buffer overflow in GRUB2 as it parses the grub.cfg configuration file (this file contains settings for the GRUB2 menu including which kernels to load and what kernel options to use). This buffer overflow allows the attacker to modify GRUB2 code in memory and execute malicious code of their choice, bypassing the protection UEFI Secure Boot normally would have to prevent such an attack.

Unfortunately, UEFI Secure Boot doesn’t extend its signature checks into configuration files like grub.cfg. This means you can change grub.cfg without triggering Secure Boot and the attack exploited that limitation to modify grub.cfg in a way that would then exploit the running GRUB2 binary after it had passed the signature check.

Further complicating the response to this vulnerability is the fact that it’s not enough to patch GRUB2. Because the vulnerable GRUB2 binaries have already been signed by Microsoft’s certificate, an attacker could simply replace a patched GRUB2 with the previous, vulnerable version. Patching against this vulnerability means updating your UEFI firmware (typically using reflashing tools and firmware provided by your vendor) so that it can add the vulnerable GRUB2 binary signatures to its overall list of revoked signatures.

How Purism Computers Avoid This Vulnerability

Purism computers aren’t affected by this GRUB2 vulnerability in two main ways. First, we don’t use UEFI Secure Boot on our Librem laptops, Librem Mini, Librem Server or any other products. We do this for philosophical reasons as I explain in my post introducing PureBoot:

Unfortunately, most of the existing approaches to protect the boot process also conveniently (conveniently for the vendor, of course) remove your control over your own system. How? By using software signing keys that only let you run the boot software that the vendor approves on your hardware. Your only practical choices, under these systems, are either to run OSes that get approval from the vendor, or to disable boot security altogether. In Purism, we believe that you deserve security without sacrificing control or convenience: today we are happy to announce PureBoot, our collection of software and security measures designed for you to protect the boot process, while still holding all the keys.

So whether your Librem computer uses our default coreboot firmware or PureBoot, UEFI Secure Boot is not enabled or used.

PureBoot Can Also Detect This Vulnerability

Second, because of how PureBoot works, even if an attacker were to attempt this vulnerability on one of our systems, PureBoot would detect it. This is because in addition to detecting tampering in the boot firmware itself, PureBoot uses your own keys to look for changes in every file in the /boot directory. This includes not only your GRUB2 executables, but extends into every kernel you have installed, their corresponding initrd files and even includes your grub.cfg file. So if an attacker modifies your grub.cfg file, PureBoot will detect the attack the next time you boot.

Conclusion

Boot security is challenging but it’s also fundamental to the security of your whole system. Trust starts with the first code your CPU executes and until you can trust your boot firmware (UEFI, coreboot, or PureBoot) and your boot code (GRUB2) you can’t trust the integrity of the rest of the system. This is why we have invested so much effort into a solution like PureBoot so you can have a secure boot process where you hold the keys, and that doesn’t rely on Microsoft, Purism, or any other vendor for your security.

The post Why the GRUB2 Secure Boot Flaw Doesn’t Affect Purism Computers appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at July 30, 2020 18:03

/e/ foundation

Leaving Apple & Google: See /e/OS in action and new phone pricing

Leaving Apple & Google: See /e/OS in action and new phone pricing

The Linux Experiment reviews /e/OS!

Nick from The Linux Experiment has reviewed an /e/ Galaxy S9+.

In his video, he speaks about the OS, the apps and the overall experience.

Check what he likes and what he would like to see improved!

As the video review is on YouTube, and /e/ being all about deGoogling, we offer you the option to watch without being tracked via Invidious. Invidious is a frontend to YouTube where you can access all the videos on YouTube without ads or tracking.

Link to review via Invidious : https://invidio.us/watch?v=C9fFiaGv2WA

Link to review via YouTube : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C9fFiaGv2WA

New phone pricing

Starting today, our Galaxy S8, S9 and S9+ with /e/OS come at a new price!

All these are premium grade refurbished smartphones, and guarantee a like new experience!

They are fully tested and unlocked on all GSM networks and come with their original USB charger, cable and headset.

All our premium refurbished phones come with a one-year warranty and a 14 days return policy should you change your mind.

Shop for your deGoogled smartphone now!

How to contribute and support the /e/ project?

We are often asked how to contribute to the /e/ project and we are pleased to answer this question because users’ contributions are key to the success of an ambitious project like ours.

The time is now! There has never been so many questions and comments about user’s data privacy, Google, Apple and alternatives to regain control over data privacy… The timing is great and you can contribute in many ways:

Test /e/OS, report bugs, contribute to patches!

Anyone is really welcome to report issues with /e/OS, and possible solutions. Just make sure you can reproduce the problem, post appropriate context information, possibly some “logs”, and ideally… a solution 🙂

Help others! Join the global community!

We have a growing community of users who are discussing their experience with /e/OS. Join now, you will be able to help others answer common or uncommon questions they have about /e/:

Join /e/ Community Forum
Join the Support Channel

Join discussions, spread the word!

It’s important to share your experience on our forums, tell us about what you like, your frustrations… It helps us to identify improvements for the product and make it a premium mobile ecosystem.

Also, please share the word! Every day, new users discover /e/ and love the project. We need everyone to ensure that as many people as possible learn about the project. We can’t count on mainstream media for this!

So share with friends and your community channels, talk about /e/ on social media, say why you like it!
You can also share what we post on Mastodon and Twitter

Contribute financially

With your help, we can support a growing team of passionate contributors, keep /e/ completely independent and make /e/OS sustainable over time.

Every donation helps the project to pursue additional development, rent servers for compilation and to host your e.email account or the community forum, pay for domain names and other key expenses among other things.

If you can afford a recurring donation, become an /e/ Patron!

Otherwise, choose from the different donations options, and get a reward in return!

Subscribe to our Telegram announcement channel to get latest news!

Follow us on Twitter and Mastodon: @e_mydata

by Brittny Mendoza at July 30, 2020 09:25

July 29, 2020

Purism

Librem 14 Thoughts From a CG Artist

In this post, I wish to explain why I am so excited about the upcoming Librem 14, and why I am proud to have been involved in its conception. This is only a subjective point of view related to what I personally like in computers and so, I will start with telling about where my interest for computers comes from.

Getting into computer graphics

It all started in 1984 when my dad came back home with an Apple Macintosh. I was only 5 years old and I was amazed by the graphical capabilities of the machine along with the fact that I could actually use it! A few years later, I started to build a great interest for graphics arts. I loved drawing and inventing imaginary worlds where I could escape away from reality.

I quickly made a link between visual creation and computing. I was seeing more and more Computer Graphics around me in the late 80s and during the 90s. The technology grew so quickly that it fascinated me. I dreamed about doing my own CG illustrations, my own 3D cartoons or my own movies.

Experimenting digital animations in 1993, as a teenager, with VideoWorks on my dad’s Macintosh SE/30.

Choosing my tools

Therefore, I kept being attracted by Apple products because they made computers with a beautiful, clean design that combined a great integration between hardware and software. They also managed to go even further with the user experience by having a very nice integration with 3rd party creative software from Adobe (and Macromedia at the time) that made the Mac the perfect platform for visual creativity. What more would I ever want ?

It is only after working as a professional in visual creation, that I understood that this perfect platform wasn’t that perfect after all. After being forced to upgrade my OS in order to keep running my expensive Adobe CC subscription, my slightly aging, but still powerful Mac Pro decided I would not get the nice experience anymore. It became extremely slow and I had to tweak the system heavily for it to become usable again. I knew that was a temporary solution until the next upgrade, or worse, until the next OS version refused to run because my hardware is not supported anymore, and I am forced to change my perfectly working hardware because some companies decided so.

This event made me understand that I never owned that hardware and how important it is to be in control of my own tools. That was in 2015.

Moving to ethical solutions

I discovered that Purism came up with an answer to the issue of hardware control and I had the chance to be involved in the promotion of the Librem 13 laptop that same year. I love the Librem 13, which is my current daily driver and it keeps reminding me that it is possible to do professional creative work with hardware that I have full control over.

A test animation I made in 2017 with Krita on my Librem 13.

Toward a dream laptop

After a few years working to improve its laptop line in term of security, privacy, convenience, and ethics, Purism is coming up with the Librem 14 and I see in this laptop almost everything that I would expect in a laptop:

  • It lets me be in control of the hardware. It has the same privacy and security features as the Librem 13 with better convenience with the hardware kill switches.

  • It lets me be in control of the software. It can run any FSF certified distribution out of the box and ships with PureOS by default, which integrates well with the hardware and makes it so easy to install and use. I love PureOS. It has the stability of Debian and the simplicity and beauty brought by the GNOME desktop. It is also slowly moving toward an amazing convergent experience with the great work from the Librem 5 team in that direction.

  • It has the clean aesthetics that I like with Apple products and even goes further with featuring the same ethical branding approach as the rest of the Librem line, which I described in a previous post.Look at this beauty! A picture says more than a 1000 words.

  • Most of all, the Librem 14 is taking a huge leap from the Librem 13 in terms of performance and that is very important when it comes to video editing and 3D rendering. It now features a latest generation high end Intel CPU, with 6 cores (12 threads!), which makes it 3 times faster than the fastest Librem 13. It can also run two M.2. drives and go up to 64GB of RAM. In terms of graphics, it is capable of driving two 4K monitors, which will seriously make my day when editing videos!

Conclusion

I think that the Librem 14 represents the Librem laptop coming to maturity. As a professional CG artist, I am looking for a computer that is able to run resource intensive software at good speed. As a person wishing for a respectful society, I am looking for a computer that remains humble in its branding, as well as respecting the people’s fundamental rights to privacy, security and control over a machine. I am also attached to the visual aspect and visual harmony of things and I think that the Librem 14 has all of that.

I am so excited, I can’t wait for it to arrive!


Our Most Secure Librem Laptop Yet

The Librem 14 is our most powerful and most secure laptop yet. If you want full control over your software with cutting-edge, powerful hardware, the Librem 14 is the best (some would say the only) choice. Be sure to pre-order the Librem 14 before our $300 off early bird discount expires on August 7th!

The post Librem 14 Thoughts From a CG Artist appeared first on Purism.

by François Téchené at July 29, 2020 16:35

Pine 64

Invitation to Play Along

Image from: Дмитрий Куртуков – Keyboard for PinePhone We are currently in talks with a number of hardware vendors regarding a Nokia N900-style, slide-out-design keyboard for the PinePhone. They’ll have to produce mock-ups or prototypes for us to consider in the next few weeks. The requirements specify that the new device needs to:Interface with the PinePhone’s rear pogo pin expansion connectorFit...

Source

by Lukasz Erecinski at July 29, 2020 13:31

July 28, 2020

Purism

Librem 14 Adds Microphone Kill Switch Enhancements

Last week we announced that the Librem 14 would feature a special “kill switch” of sorts on the motherboard that would write-protect the BIOS and EC chips. We’re pleased to announce another enhancement that will be in the Librem 14: the microphone kill switch will also kill microphones connected through the headphone jack.

Our camera/microphone hardware kill switch has long been a unique feature on our laptops. While covering your webcams with tape is better than nothing (even if Apple has no tolerance for webcam covers), that only solves half of your privacy issues. Even if a snoop can’t watch you through a webcam cover, they could still listen to you so we’ve made sure our camera/microphone kill switch disables the webcam at the top of the laptop screen and the embedded microphone.

With the Librem 14 we have enhanced this kill switch so that it also disables the microphone in the headphone jack while leaving audio out unaffected. That way if you happen to leave a headset plugged in–which is common in the age of quarantined video chats–you can use the hardware kill switch to disable all microphones, even ones connected through the headphone jack.

Our Most Secure Librem Laptop Yet

The Librem 14 is our most powerful and most secure laptop yet. If you want full control over your microphone and camera with cutting-edge, powerful hardware, the Librem 14 is the best (some would say the only) choice. Be sure to pre-order the Librem 14 before our $300 off early bird discount expires on August 7th!

The post Librem 14 Adds Microphone Kill Switch Enhancements appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at July 28, 2020 18:12

July 27, 2020

Purism

Dogwood Thermals and Battery Life

This is a quick overview of the improved thermals and battery life in the Dogwood batch.

Flipping the CPU to the other side of the PCB means that under heavy load, Dogwood’s screen heats up a bit more, while Chestnut heats the back cover. The way Dogwood manages heat is much more efficient, resulting in the hottest spot being 4 degrees Celsius cooler than in Chestnut.

The CPU also benefits from its new placement on the PCB.

Chestnut vs Dogwood

Dogwood comes with a 75% bigger battery than Chestnut. Taking into account for a slightly higher power draw in dogwood, this comes out to around 60% more runtime.

Uses case runtimes

How long a full charge lasts depends on what the Librem 5 is doing.

We are actively working on improving in use runtimes. In the future, we are also planning to support suspend to RAM. Since software won’t be running continually while suspended, standby time will increase drastically.

 

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Preorder now

The post Dogwood Thermals and Battery Life appeared first on Purism.

by David Hamner at July 27, 2020 20:31

NewPipe

NewPipe 0.19.7 and 0.19.8 released: YouTube decrypt fix and many improvements

YouTube is back to working again! Apart from that, NewPipe 0.19.7 and 0.19.8 come with auto-play for all services and numerous fixes.

Once again: YouTube fixes

Ah - what a night! Did you sleep well? Well, we didn’t. On Monday, YouTube decided to change some things in their player again. These kinds of changes typically modify how the data of contained streams is extracted. As a result, NewPipe and other services like youtube-dl or Invidious cannot access the stream and video data. Way too many of you have seen the result: nothing works.

The folks at youtube-dl were quick and delivered a fix incredibly fast. @TobiGr converted the fix from Python to Java and used @wb9688’s work from a previous pull request to improve the handling of the patterns to decrypt the player info. We were able to release a new version of NewPipe Extractor, the library which gathers all the info you can see in the app, at 2am. Unfortunately, this did not mean, we could release a new version of NewPipe straight away. Programmers sign their applications so devices and users can verify they have an official version which has not been compromised by a third party. In our case, signing is done by @TheAssassin. However, he was not available in the morning and luckily managed to sign the created APK later in the afternoon. That created the big delay between creating a fix and releasing a new version. We hope, you can understand that. We did not want to let you wait an extra time with a broken NewPipe version ;)

Apart from that, @wb9688 fixed loading more search results as well as age restricted videos not having any video info. Yes - YouTube was busy with changing stuff lately and so were we.

Auto-play and TV improvements

@wb9688 also made a load of internal improvements to enable auto-play for all services. Previously, only YouTube was supported. Alexander– stepped in again for Android TV users and fixed focus box lingering in places where it should not be. It’s vanishing now correctly.

What’s up next

While we concentrated on minor improvements and bug fixes lately, big things are in the making! @avently has been working on a new app workflow for multiple months. These changes are in their final stage and need some more testing to ensure we ship an entirely working player for all Android versions and devices. In case you have time and are willing to help, please head over to GitHub and test the latest APK.

Where to get the latest version

NewPipe notifies you about new versions, you can download them when you press the notification. An alternative is the GitHub release page. If you use the F-Droid app, it notifies you as well about an update for NewPipe - please keep in mind that it can take F-Droid a while to update their repository. If you have problems installing you may need to uninstall NewPipe then reinstall (make sure to backup data).

If you already had NewPipe installed through F-Droid’s repository, to get this version of NewPipe you can do one of the following:

  • Wait for them to update or
  • Switch to the NewPipe repository by following the directions in the announcement (if you had previously installed NewPipe from GitHub releases you will not have to uninstall NewPipe to switch)

Now that you’ve updated, please let us know what your experience of the latest release is, especially bugs in need of fixing. As usual, you can reach out to us via IRC (#newpipe on freenode), open issues on GitHub or ideally use our built-in crash reporter to send us machine-readable issue reports. You can even send in fixes yourself. If you have any other questions feel free to send them in the comments here and someone will reply to you (in the past we have been pretty slow with this, but I will be better for this one).

July 27, 2020 20:00

July 25, 2020

Handy News Reader

Custom Font Arrived!

We’re happy to let You know that soon Your HNR may fit Your taste and preference to a significantly higher degree, thanks to incorporating a bunch of custom fonts for You to pick and choose :) . To make this good news even nicer, the font of Your choice will be applied throughout all the app’s GUI, not only article text - so You can enjoy the new look even further :) . We hope that it will make Your Handy News Reader experience surprisingly nicer :) .

Note that while browsing all the available fonts You can instantaneously see how each of them would look in both a regular and bold form.

If You like to dive a little bit deeper into the HNR, You can apply other font-faces to selected parts of articles (on a CSS classes basis).

Another fantastic thing is that You can use Your Own font as well :) - just put a .ttf file into the following location within Your data folder (Advanced › Data folder):

/Android/data/ru.yanus171.feedexfork/files/feedex/fonts/

and it should be available on the font list (settings › Theme › Font).

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2020 16:26

New Way to Handle YouTube.

You can use Handy News Reader as a faster way to stay up-to-date with all the channels You are interested into (not necessarily the subscribed ones). Below You’ll find a few ideas for it - You can choose one or even combine them together, according to Your taste and needs. But first of all, let’s address

How to Subscribe a YouTube Channel.

You need to obtain its RSS address - You can do this on a PC, via a web-browser extension (here is how) - or under Android You can install NewPipe from F-Droid, open the main site of a channel and simply tap the RSS icon, then choose “Add a feed”.

An example of a YouTube channel RSS address:
https://www.youtube.com/feeds/videos.xml?channel_id=UCBJycsmduvYEL83R_U4JriQ

Once You’ve added all the channels, let’s see what You can do with HNR:

All the Channels at One Glance.

One idea is to gather all the channels You are interested into - within a dedicated group. If You already use groups, You can put the new one on the very top of all the rest. Now, pull out the sidebar and unfold the YouTube group. From now on every time You pull out the sidebar, You’ll instantaneously see which channel has new videos (represented by the number next to the its name).

All the New Videos at One Glance.

Thanks to this approach You don’t even need to open HNR and pull out its sidebar to determine whether anything new has arrived or not :) . The only thing You need is to arrange all the YouTube channels into one group (as before) and then tap the group name on the sidebar to open it. Then the last step: pull out the menu (three vertical dots on the top right) and choose Create a shortcut on Home Screen › Add. A new shortcut icon should appear on the desktop. Now, every time You tap on that icon - it will show You a list of all the new videos from all Your channels (if there are any).

Prioritized Notification on All New Videos.

Another idea is to set up a notification dedicated to any new YouTube video out of all the channels You’ve gathered within HNR. You can do this by following the “Prioritized notification on all the articles from a chosen content source” section of this instruction, entering “YouTube” instead of the main domain name (step 4).

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2020 15:53

Read non-RSS Websites.

Sometimes You may stumble upon other cases: websites which are not equipped with RSS. They will require some more effort to add them to Your “Dream Magazine” - but they are rather rare cases.

Would You like to receive new articles or blog posts from a non-RSS website?

Go to sidebar › + › Add a custom feed or search for one › enter the URL address of a website › check “Web Page – Links” on the bottom and confirm by ✓.

In this mode, however, Handy uses all the links present on a website to locate and download their content (potential articles/posts). Since websites often contain other links as well, the result may require a little bit of refining, which unfortunately has to do with a more complicated stuff, so-called regular expressions. It works like that:

  1. Try to find out whether links to actual articles have any common denominator within their address. For example: https://vk.com/wall-55395457_4737
  2. Define a regular expression based on this common denominator. Regarding the example above in which links to actual posts differ only with digits, a regular expression rendering their common denominator may look like this: vk.com\/+wall-\d+_\d+
  3. On the sidebar tap a non-RSS website You’ve added.
  4. From the three-dot menu icon in the upper-right corner choose “Delete non-starred” to reset the feed.
  5. Once again pull out the sidebar, long tap on the non-RSS website to enter edit mode.
  6. Switch to “FILTER” tab on the top › + › select “ACCEPT” › enter Your regular expression in the “keyword(s)” field › check “...is a regular expression” and “Apply to title of link address” › confirm by “OK”.
  7. Go back to the sidebar, choose the non-RSS website and tap the refresh icon on top to check the results of the adjustments.

You may read a little bit more on regular expression matter here – or You may experiment with it using this site.

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2020 15:02

Make Articles Cleaner.

One of the most powerful features of Handy is the ability to clean up article content according to Your Own preference. The wonderful thing is that it refers not only to (predictable) in-article advertisements, but virtually to almost any repetitive parts which You might find unnecessary, e.g., About the author notes, social network “share” section, “Related stories”, etc. With Handy You should be able to make those parts automatically hidden, in most cases. To do so, You need to point out those unwanted elements first. Here how You can do that:

  1. For the sake of this tutorial, open this article in Handy: share its link from any other app and choose “Read now”.
  2. Once You see the article within Handy, locate an example of an unwanted repetitive part, let’s say it would be the ad:

    Suppose this is the advertisement section.

  3. Now, You need to load the article text in the special way which allows You to see additional “tags”. “Tags” are parts which often go alongside with various article elements, and remain visible only under the hood. In Handy, however, You can temporarily throw an eye on such tags to use them as “pointers” for further indication what article elements should be hidden.
  4. So let’s begin with loading the article in this special mode: open the menu (three dots on the top right corner or just tap on the screen, if You use full-screen mode) and choose Edit Content View.
  5. You will notice that now many additional elements have showed up – those are “tags” mentioned above, each of them enclosed within square brackets. Now, locate the advertisement section which You’d like to be automatically hidden (in this case it is the sentence: “Suppose this is the advertisement section.”). Note the tag (called “affiliate”) which precedes it. Tap on that tag and choose “Hide”.
  6. Tap End editing floating button on the screen to exit Edit Content View. The advertisement block should be gone and not be seen within further articles of the parent content source (feed) :) .

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2020 15:01

What is Handy News Reader?

This app lets You both to read the Web in a convenient way and stay up to date with all You are interested into. Gather Your favorite sources of content (RSS channels, regular websites, Google News) and You will be constantly provided with all the new stuff out there.

Furthermore, You can adjust the content to display only what You find worth Your attention: You can skip articles on undesired subjects, You can hide both in-article advertisements and other unwanted parts (such as About the Author notes, social networks boxes, links to related stories, etc.).

Cherry on the top may be a notification on what You find especially important: You can be notified (regardless of regular updates notifications) whenever articles meeting particular criteria have showed up.

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at July 25, 2020 14:21

Gregor Santner

Markor v2.3 - Markdown Editor Table of Contents, Custom Action Order

Markor v2.3 update is out! Get the update from F-Droid, Google Play or GitHub!
Continue reading to find out what’s new, improved and fixed in this update.

Highlights

Markdown: Table of Contents in Edit Mode

Table of contents were already supported at Markdown view mode since quite some time (optional setting).
A similar functionality is now available for Markdown Edit Mode too.
Tap the filename at the toolbar to open the Outline (see screenshot below).
You get a quick overview what the document contains, and it’s the fastest way to jump to a specific sections of your text & make edits.


Editor: Custom action button order

Frequently requested: To be able to order the action buttons for text editing in a order that fits own workflow.
You can now order all actions as you wish and separately per format (Markdown, todo.txt, Plaintext).
To change the order open the settings, select the format to customize and in the “Action Order” menu you are able to freely move options.


Project community

Markor gets a lot of new features, improvements and fixes with every update.
This time especially due Harshad Srinivasans hard work. Thank you very much!




More information

Changelog

Notice: Development changelog is always available from GitHub. See the history for code changes.

  • Add action to Move current selected line(s)/cursor text up/down
  • Add settings option for View-Mode link color
  • Improve table of contents - add border, disable underline
  • Long press toolbar to jump to top/bottom (edit & view mode)
  • Add search to View Mode
  • Accessibility improvements & Talkback support
  • Allow http protocol on Android>=9
  • Telegram file edit support
  • Markdown: Normal sized headers by default, increases performance
  • Disable highlighting on big files to improve edit performance
  • Don’t sort non-document files in third group
  • Add Accordion (Click to expand) example and add action button
  • Tooltips for action buttons
  • For index.html files, show foldername at favourites/recents
  • todo.txt: Set completition date also when there is no creation date
  • Markdown: Configurable unordered list character
  • Custom order of action buttons
  • Markdown: Add alternative more performant heading highlighting
  • Fix foldername in Main toolbar not reloaded
  • Plaintext: Add extensions for AsciiDoc (.adoc), OrgMode (.org), Ledger (.dg .ledger), Diff (.diff .patch)
  • Remember last used file extension for new file creation
  • todo.txt: Preselect last used archive file by default for archiving
  • Markdown: Long press code to insert code block
  • todo.txt: Improved task sort functionalities
  • Add action button to expand selection of cursror to whole line
  • Markdown: Add Table of contents / Outline for Edit mode (Press toolbar)
  • Vertical Scrollbar now draggable at view & edit mode
  • todo.txt: Date&Time selection dialogs
  • Markdown: Auto update ordered list numbers


July 25, 2020 00:00

July 24, 2020

Handy News Reader

Frequently Asked Questions.

Updated: July 23, 2020

Quick survey on what’s coming:

  1. What are the differences between HNR published on Google Play and F-Droid?
  2. What is the approach about ads?
  3. I want to support Your app financially speaking - how can I do that?
  4. How to ensure that particular articles never will be deleted?
  5. Will “Delete read articles” work if I have “Articles preservation time” set to “Forever”?
  6. What for and when exactly “Article reading notification” is displayed?
  7. Is it possible to load images only within the article I want at the moment, i.e., on demand - while having “Display images” disabled in the app’s settings?
  8. Why there are no various-colored squares with letters alongside articles on article list?
  9. Are non-regex filters case-sensitive?
  10. Filters (at a feed edit screen): how multiple keywords should be separated?
  11. Where should “Auto set the article as read once its title has been visible on the list” work?
  12. How does “Reset feed and delete non-starred articles” work?
  13. How does “Web Page - Divide” load type work?
  14. What’s the difference between “Web Page - Links” and “Web Page - Divide” load types?
  15. How the app knows how many images and texts are out there to be loaded - before I start the refresh?

What are the differences between HNR published on Google Play vs F-Droid vs GitHub?

Google Play Store is the place where official stable version of the app shows up.

GitHub You might consider a place dedicated for both stable and beta versions of the app - therefore new versions lands there much more often.

F-Droid obtains HNR version from GitHub, but with a significant delay (even up to a few weeks).

What is the approach about ads?

Here is the developer’s approach:

“I can commit that the app would never include ads. This is my point of view, especially because it’s one of the main features: read content without useless content - ads.

On the other hand the app is open source, so in case the ads would appear in the app, any person with near-developer skills can cut the ads from the app and compile and release an ad-free app version.”

I want to support Your app financially speaking - how can I do that?

Here You can do that.

How to ensure that particular articles never will be deleted?

The only way to do that is to add them to Favorites/to star them.

Will “Delete read articles” work if I have “Articles preservation time” set to “Forever”?

Yes, it has a higher priority over articles preservation.

What for and when exactly “Article reading notification” is displayed?

When You’re reading an article and then switch to other app for a while, Android may decide to shut down Handy to free up memory. As a result when You return to Handy, it may need to launch everything from scratch (which in case of longer articles may consume a noticeable amount of time).

Here “Article reading notification” comes in handy: since it’s a persistent notification, it lets Android know that You want Handy to be up-and-running, therefore it should not be automatically closed. As a result switching back to Handy should always be lightning-quick :) .

Is it possible to load images only within the article I want at the moment, i.e., on demand - while having “Display images” disabled in the app’s settings?

Yes, just tap Reload › Load all images from the article context menu.

Why there are no various-colored squares with letters alongside articles on article list?

At some point of the app’s development they have been removed to make more space for article titles.

Are non-regex filters case-sensitive?

No.

Filters (at a feed edit screen): how multiple keywords should be separated?

A feed-related filter can operate only on a single keyword.

Where should “Auto set the article as read once its title has been visible on the list” work?

Only within a single feed list (therefore it’s not applied to the “Unread”, “Starred”, and other lists).

How does “Reset feed and delete non-starred articles” work?

This option makes the feed as if it has just been added, so when a refresh is made, a new clean download of its articles will be made.

How does “Web Page - Divide” load type work?

It has been created as a feature suited for forums (discussion boards) with no RSS. Thanks to this load type You can load posts as separate articles. To set up such a mechanism You need to point out ‘what is what’ (what is a post = an article, what is its date, avatar, etc.) - based on HTML classes. To determine class names, go to Edit Content View, find the proper class, tap on it and choose Copy class name.

“Web Page - Divide” is meant for pages which full content is already there (on a page), organized into logical separate blocks, like single posts within a forum thread.

“Web Page - Links” simply follows and loads all the links present on a given page (You can further adjust which links in particular should be loaded and which omitted).

How does the app know how many images and texts are out there to be loaded - before I start the refresh?

It knows this from the previous refresh, when Handy created a task list consisting of all the images and texts which should be downloaded. Oftentimes the whole task list cannot be realized at once, due to:

  1. Android saving battery power, therefore not allowing Handy to do its job 100%.

or

  1. Weak Internet connection or server-side issues.

In such cases Handy will take another - up to three - attempts to download all the missing images and texts during the next refresh. In case the issues persist, the app will remove missing items from the task list not to bother anymore.

Handy may display the overall remaining images (prefixed with “I”) and texts (prefixed with “T”) counts on the sidebar (under “All Articles” item).

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at July 24, 2020 22:26

Purism

Librem 14 Features BIOS and EC Write Protection

As we have said a few times already, we set out to build our dream laptop with the Librem 14. We approached our flagship Librem 13 laptop with a wishlist of features to fit into the reimagined Librem 14. As we have been able to confirm certain features with a strong degree of confidence (like having 2 SO-DIMM slots to double the max RAM to 64Gb) we have updated our specs and made new posts and today I’m excited to announce another item from our wishlist that we will be able to fit into the first generation Librem 14: BIOS and EC flash chip write protection with a hardware switch!

L14

Purism’s History with BIOS Security

We have been focused on BIOS security at Purism since the beginning, starting with our initiative to replace the proprietary BIOS on our first generation laptops with the open source coreboot project. This was a great first step as it not only meant customers could avoid proprietary code in line with Purism’s social purpose, it also meant the BIOS on Purism laptops could be audited for security bugs and possible backdoors to help avoid problems like the privilege escalation bug in Lenovo’s AMI firmware.

Our next goal in BIOS security was to eliminate, replace or otherwise bypass the proprietary Intel Management Engine (ME) in our firmware. We have made massive progress on this front and our Librem laptops, Librem Mini, and Librem Server all ship with an ME that’s been disabled and neutralized.

After that we shifted focus to protecting the BIOS against tampering. We started by adding TPM chips to our laptops and began work on integrating the Heads tamper-evident firmware project into our overall boot security package we call PureBoot. Now customers can choose between our default coreboot BIOS or our “PureBoot Bundle” when they place an order. The PureBoot Bundle also enabled us to enhance our anti-interdiction services and change it from a secret menu option to a drop-down choice both for customers facing stronger threats and those who just want more peace of mind.

Write Protection Adds Even Stronger BIOS Security

On the Librem 14 we will further improve BIOS (technically AP) and EC firmware security with the addition of a write-protect dip switch on the motherboard. For regular coreboot users this means you can flip the switch and know that your BIOS is safe from remote tampering without installing PureBoot. You would also get additional protection from in-person attackers who would now need to remove the bottom of the laptop to modify the firmware.

For PureBoot users this provides even more security on top of the tamper-detection you already have in place. With write protection on, you can rest assured that PureBoot will only change when you open the case and flip the switch and if PureBoot does report BIOS tampering when you have enabled write protection, you know to physically inspect your motherboard for tampering.

Enhanced Anti-Interdiction

A close-up of the unique pattern of blue glitter nail polish on the center screw.A close-up of the unique pattern of blue glitter nail polish on the center screw.

In combination with anti-interdiction tamper-detection measures like painting screws with glitter nail polish, write-protect switches dramatically increase the difficulty for even a sophisticated attacker to modify your BIOS undetected during shipping. This protection extends to whenever the laptop is out of your possession provided you inspect the case screws.

Our Most Secure Librem Laptop Yet

The Librem 14 is our most powerful and most secure laptop yet. If you want full control over your own BIOS security with cutting-edge, powerful hardware, the Librem 14 is the best (some would say the only) choice. Be sure to pre-order the Librem 14 before our $300 off early bird discount expires on August 7th!

The post Librem 14 Features BIOS and EC Write Protection appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at July 24, 2020 18:32

Pine 64

All about the PineTab (Update)

This is a supplementary post to this month’s Community Update – if you haven’t read this month’s news, then I suggest you go back and have a read since we’ve had a handful of interesting announcements. Regarding the PineTab, I am happy to let you know that production is well under way and we are mostly on schedule with the manufacturing and shipping processes. To be precise, we are just a week...

Source

by Lukasz Erecinski at July 24, 2020 18:01

Handy News Reader

Acknowledgment.

First of all, I’d like to thank Алексей, the developer, who – back in late 2017 – has been kind enough to respond to my request regarding (i.a.) increased font size. Since then my adventure with Handy (called Flym Fork back then) began – and thanks to Алексей my dream about ‘being a developer while not being a developer’ has come true. Another thing I am especially grateful is that HNR is developed with off-line usage strongly kept in mind – which gave me much peace and independence throughout all those years. But I think the most important fact is that since that point in 2017 I still use Handy to this day, without a slightest need to consider any alternative.

I’d like to thank all the translators for their fantastic voluntary work. Thanks to those folks Handy is available to much more people around the world. In particular I’d like to express much appreciation and gratitude toward Ronny Steiner who – apart from his input regarding the app and our website – discovered a streamlined system facilitating all the translation work involved within HNR and devoted his time to establish it in relation to our GitHub repository, ensuring that everything works and serves us seamlessly. Another person is theLittleGhost who inspired me to greatly improve the HNR website multilingual system. He is the one thanks to whom I felt inspired to write HNR off-line documentation. The bottom line in his case comes down to his invaluable perseverance and meticulousness which significantly elevate the project.

I also thank all the contributors gathered around our GitHub page – constantly having their finger on the pulse, which also significantly improves the app’s growth, providing us with invaluable tests, expertise and ideas.

by Thomas Leigh (noreply@blogger.com) at July 24, 2020 00:05

July 21, 2020

Purism

Apple Has No Tolerance For Webcam Covers

We sell laptops and phones with hardware kill switches at Purism, so we clearly have strong opinions about webcam security. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that we raised an eyebrow when Apple posted an update to their support page titled “Don’t close your MacBook, MacBook Air, or MacBook Pro with a cover over the camera” where they advise against using a webcam cover on MacBooks because:

If you close your Mac notebook with a camera cover installed, you might damage your display because the clearance between the display and keyboard is designed to very tight tolerances. Covering the built-in camera might also interfere with the ambient light sensor and prevent features like automatic brightness and True Tone from working. As an alternative to a camera cover, use the camera indicator light to determine if your camera is active, and decide which apps can use your camera in System Preferences.

This support page addition was picked up in the media and as some media outlets have reported, apparently enough customers have damaged their screen by closing it with a webcam cover that the issue justified this public guidance.

On one hand it’s encouraging to see that enough people are concerned about their privacy, and webcam covers are so ubiquitous, that it’s an issue worthy of its own support page. What’s discouraging is Apple’s security advice on the issue, which is to rely on MacOS webcam software permissions to restrict what apps can access the webcam and combine that with a hard-wired green LED that should always turn on when the webcam is in use. While this advice is consistent with Apple’s overall “just trust us” approach to security, it completely misses the point of why people used webcam covers to begin with: to claw back the tiniest bit of control over their privacy from hardware and software companies.

It’s this issue of control that I want to discuss in this post. Apple and Purism take completely different approaches to security. Apple’s approach is to require customers to hand over all trust and control to Apple and depend upon Apple for all of their security. Purism’s approach is to give customers control over their own computers and provide security without depending upon Purism. Webcam security is a great lens through which to view these completely opposite approaches.

Why Webcam Security Matters

Before I discuss different webcam security measures, it’s worth talking about why webcam security is such a big deal to begin with and why so many people ranging from privacy advocates to executives of billion-dollar companies started covering their webcams. The simple answer is the prevalence of Remote Access Trojan (RAT) software that grants an attacker access to a computer over the Internet including control of its webcam and microphone. Many people leave their laptops open at a desk, table or nightstand which means their camera is aimed into their room. Someone who could install a RAT on your computer might then be able to grab compromising pictures or video of you in addition to any files they might be able to steal. This software spawned an entire creepy underground community of “ratters” where people share nude pictures of victims and tips on how best to use RATs for extortion. Webcam security has even been dramatized into a disturbing Hollywood thriller.

What has been especially troubling with RATs is the fact that attackers are able to watch and record people through their webcams without their knowing. For the longest time people assumed that their webcam was only on if the LED was on. Unfortunately webcam LEDs are controlled by software so the RATs simply modified the software to leave the LED off.

Since the computer, its software, and the webcam LED couldn’t be trusted, many privacy advocates resorted to covering their webcams with everything from tape to bandages to Post-it notes. At first people who did this were dismissed as paranoid but eventually this has become a common enough practice that webcam covers have even become popular swag at conferences. While webcam covers don’t protect against someone snooping on you with your microphone, if you don’t have a Purism computer with a hardware kill switch it’s the next best way for a person to take control over their own privacy without having to rely on their laptop vendor.

Apple: Just Trust Us

Apple has responded to webcam security concerns by putting it more firmly in their control. First on the software side they have set up webcam permissions similar to what you’d see on a phone. Applications must request permission before the OS allows them to use the webcam. For this approach to work, you must fully trust Apple and the security of the software behind these controls. If an attacker can bypass this software like RATs have done in the past, or if they could convince a user to grant permissions to an app, the attacker could still spy on you through your webcam. Alternatively, an attacker can compromise an application that already has access to the camera, like happened last year with a major Zoom security flaw on Macs.

Apple’s second approach is on the hardware side. On past laptops they had the same software-controlled webcam LED as other vendors. On recent laptops they have hardwired the webcam LED so that it turns on whenever the webcam receives power. To protect your privacy with this kind of security measure you must check the webcam whenever you walk past your computer and make sure the green LED isn’t on. Beyond that you are left hoping that the LED won’t turn on when you aren’t there to see it. If the LED does turn on, you might know that some program is using the webcam, but other than shutting the laptop lid, you don’t have much control–after all you might damage the laptop if you cover up the webcam!

The fundamental flaw with Apple’s approach is that it takes all control over security and privacy away from you. To be secure you must fully trust Apple and their security measures and if anything ever happens to violate that trust, such as a security exploit, there isn’t much you can do about it.

Purism: You Are In Control

We approach security from a completely different standpoint than most security companies. If you were to ask most security engineers to design a security measure, they would inevitably come up with a system that requires you to delegate all trust and control to them. This would also conveniently make you dependent on their company and product for your security.

I have written in the past about how with Purism products, you are in control. When we design a security measure we start from a standpoint of giving you the maximum amount of control over your own computer without having to hand over trust to Purism. When we looked into how to solve the problem of webcam security, we opted for a simple but powerful approach in the form of hardware kill switches. With hardware kill switches, you can completely remove power from the webcam and microphone just by flipping a switch. This puts you in complete control over your own privacy as you can leave the webcam and microphone off most of the time and only turn it on when you actually need to use the hardware. Since it’s a convenient switch, you aren’t left fumbling through software settings buried inside of a program.

Webcam Privacy On Your Phone

When we designed our Librem 5 phone from scratch, we made sure to add and expand our hardware kill switches to that hardware. With the Librem 5 you can control your cameras and microphone, WiFi and Bluetooth, and even the cellular modem with kill switches. You can also flip all of the switches and enable “lockdown mode” to disable all sensors on the device.

Kill Switch Improvements on the Librem 14

With the Librem 14 we went back to the drawing board to design our dream laptop and in addition to many other improvements we revisited how we implement hardware kill switches. For starters we moved the kill switches from the side of the laptop back above the keyboard and added an LED. This not only solves the problem of switches getting flipped accidentally when you put the laptop into a backpack or sleeve, it also allows you to audit the state of the switches quickly without craning your neck to the side of the laptop. I’ve found myself forgetting I left the webcam on after a video call so I’m looking forward to the new-and-improved kill switch location.

Switch How You Protect Your Privacy

In the end, your privacy and your computer should belong to you, not the vendor that sold it. If you want real privacy, it’s not enough to entrust it to someone else, especially when that requires you to trust software that no one can audit. As last year’s Zoom flaw shows, even if you do trust your laptop vendor, you could still lose your privacy from a bug in third-party software. Instead of giving up control in exchange for privacy, switch to products that respect your privacy and your control.

The post Apple Has No Tolerance For Webcam Covers appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at July 21, 2020 17:30

July 20, 2020

Pine 64

Pinebook Pro pre-orders open with shipping in August 2020.

Hello everyone,I’m sure many of you will be happy to hear that the next round of Pinebook Pro pre-orders have now opened. This production-run is expected to ship in late August, 2020. Both ISO and ANSI keyboards are available. If the Pinebook Pro is something you’ve been waiting for, then click the button below. In case you missed it, we’ve had some big announcements earlier this month.

Source

by Lukasz Erecinski at July 20, 2020 06:35

This Week in F-Droid

Donations with Free Software

When F-Droid started back in 2010, there were no free software options for donations. So we used the standard proprietary services, and received enough donations to keep things running. Thank you for your continued support over the years! In recent years, two solid free software funding platforms have been established: Liberapay and OpenCollective. The F-Droid community has worked hard to push free software in everything we do. When GitLab started, we switched to gitlab.com as our development platform. We have always used free software for translations (now Weblate, and MediaWiki Translate beforehand). We work with Debian and Android Rebuilds to make free software Android SDK components available. We work with Reproducible Builds and Maven to provide tools so that anyone can verify that apps are built only from publicly available source code.

We have just completed the integration of the preferred donation platforms across the whole F-Droid ecosystem. OpenCollective: is now fully supported. We introduced the Liberapay: metadata field to support the native usernames, and are migrating away from the old LiberapayID: account numbers.

Free Software Funding Boom

There is also a flurry of activity around donation-based funding of free software. That has been nicely encapsulated in GitHub Sponsor’s definition of the FUNDING.yml file to register donation methods as part of a Git repo. This fits in nicely with F-Droid concept of deferring to the developer’s Git repo as the source of key metadata about the app (descriptions, translations, screenshots, email address, etc). Once F-Droid has established the source repo URL as the canonical source location, it is already trusted, so it provides a trusted channel from the app developer to the users of that app, via F-Droid.

What does this change for app developers?

One goal of F-Droid is to drive donations to app developers, because high quality free software apps are the reason for F-Droid existence. We want to do this while respecting user freedom. So while this will affect how each app’s donation options are displayed, it will not remove any of the existing services or links. Developers are users of F-Droid as well, so giving full flexibility is important to us. All of them will still be displayed. With the new FUNDING.yml support, it will hopefully be easier for app developers to manage the donation methods they are using. Right now, the F-Droid ecosystem only supports a single generic URL as a donate option Donate:. FUNDING.yml lets developers specify a list. Welcome contributions to implement showing all available donation options. Our current workaround is to have a web page that lists all donation options.

De-emphasizing Proprietary Services

Since we have two good free software options for receiving funding, we are taking this opportunity to promote them, and reduce the visibility of the proprietary options. It is too soon to rule out proprietary funding services altogether. This is a stepping stone along that path, for that is our destination.

by F-Droid at July 20, 2020 00:00

July 17, 2020

Purism

Dogwood What to Expect

In this blog, we will describe what will be included in the dogwood batch. We will go over what’s in the box, and what software works from the moment you power on this version of the Librem 5.

Aside from the Librem 5 itself, you should also receive the quick start guide, charger and wall adapters, USB-C cable, headphones, and sim card extractor.

We have also included a number of software improvements that will be shipping with Dogwood. New splash screens and app thumbnails are just the start. Take a look at this video for a breakdown of what’s new in Dogwood.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Preorder now

The post Dogwood What to Expect appeared first on Purism.

by David Hamner at July 17, 2020 19:11

July 16, 2020

NewPipe

NewPipe 0.19.6 released: Audio/video desync bug and search improvements

No more unsynced videos! This release will let your videos make sense and improve searching in NewPipe to make it more reliable and widespread. But that’s by far not the only change. Got your attention? Read on to see what else has been changed.

Additions

You can now add a playlist directly to your main page as a tab, a great change for those who frequently use NewPipe for music. @Royosef in #3506

There now is an option in the subscription picker for feeds to not show channels that are already in another feed (other than “All”). @mauriciocolli in #3404

Speaking (writing) of the subscription picker, it now has a search bar so you can easily find what you are looking for. @mauriciocolli in #3373

More search changes include “did you mean” & “showing result for” suggestions so that you don’t have to restart a search if you make a tpyo. @B0pol in Extractor #311 and @Royosef in #3471

When using the background player, you can fast forward and rewind through the playback from within the menu for it (not through the notification). @TheLastGimbus in #3473

You will now be given a prompt to open links from certain PeerTube instances in NewPipe when they are opened in a browser or shared. Also, PeerTube embed links can be opened in NewPipe now. @B0pol in #3406, in #3845, and in Extractor #344

More Invidious instances are supported so that NewPipe will be suggested to be used if you open those links. @B0pol in #3841

There are even more translations added to NewPipe! These are: Arabic (Lybia), Bengali (India), Central Kurdish, and Javanese. As always, you can help with translations through Weblate.

Bug fixes

As mentioned earlier, the audio/video desync bug has been fixed. This bug was quite annoying to have to deal with when streaming video and now has been squashed. @Stypox in #3837

A crash that occurred when quickly swiping through search suggestions has been fixed. @Stypox in #3759

Channel names are now visible for all themes when in the background player. The text color used to be always black in certain cases, which clearly did not work too well when using a dark theme. @Stypox in #3822

Queueing another video while having stuff paused in the popup player or background player no longer resumes that paused video. @budde25 in #3787

NewPipe no longer displays an error when a deleted PeerTube comment is loaded. @wb9688 in #340

Improvements

When you get an error (🙁), there is now a simpler way to have your report formatted properly for a GitHub issue (no need to use the Error report to markdown converter). Just press “Copy formatted report” in the app, then make an issue (after ensuring it hasn’t already been reported!). @TobiGr in #3579

Speaking of errors, there used to be a functionality that would remove an item from your playing queue if there is an error with its playback. This led to a temporary internet instability to cause many items to fail and thus being removed from the queue, making it possible for many items to be falsely removed. This functionality has been removed to fix the problem. @Stypox in #3704

You’re now able to long press on a video title to copy it to the clipboard. This is helpful when you are sharing a video somewhere where the link doesn’t make an embed box to show other info about the video. @adinilfeld in #3772

There is now more proper structural support for YouTube Mixes (so Mixes will be available in a future update, not this one). @wb9688 in #3441

Also for YouTube, NewPipe supports start= timestamps (used by YouTube’s embedded player) in links now so if you are sent a specific time in a long stream it will start playing there. @wb9688 in Extractor #366

The status bar now matches the toolbar color so NewPipe seems to fit in even more with your device. :) @eames-palmer in #3774

NewPipe no longer writes metadata to downloaded files that designates they were downloaded via the NewPipe application. This saves a tiny amount of space and helps with privacy. @kapodamy in #3843

Debug APKs are now much smaller (by about 8 MB) due to removing Checkstyle from them. This will make using a debug APK in order to help test new features much more friendly to those testing. @wb9688 in #3828

Conclusion + internal news

v0.19.6 is a pretty nice stability update and also adds some great features. If it isn’t stable, please report the problem through one of the methods below. Recently there have been some changes to how NewPipe is distributed.

NewPipe could be built reproducibly for a while now, but starting with this release we also make use of F-Droid’s functionality for reproducible builds. F-Droid will thus sign the app with both F-Droid’s signature and our signature. This means that new users that will download NewPipe from F-Droid get it signed by our signature and could thus upgrade to the GitHub version, while users that previously downloaded it from F-Droid will still get updates signed by F-Droid.

NewPipe also has its own F-Droid repository now to ensure quick updates in the case of an urgent bug fix.

Where to get the latest version

NewPipe notifies you about new versions, you can download them when you press the notification. An alternative is the GitHub release page. If you use the F-Droid app, it notifies you as well about an update for NewPipe - please keep in mind that it can take F-Droid a while to update their repository. If you have problems installing you may need to uninstall NewPipe then reinstall (make sure to backup data).

If you already had NewPipe installed through F-Droid’s repository, to get this version of NewPipe you can do one of the following:

  • Wait for them to update or
  • Switch to the NewPipe repository by following the directions in the announcement (if you had previously installed NewPipe from GitHub releases you will not have to uninstall NewPipe to switch)

Now that you’ve updated, please let us know what your experience of the latest release is, especially bugs in need of fixing. As usual, you can reach out to us via IRC (#newpipe on freenode), open issues on GitHub or ideally use our built-in crash reporter to send us machine-readable issue reports. You can even send in fixes yourself. If you have any other questions feel free to send them in the comments here and someone will reply to you (in the past we have been pretty slow with this, but I will be better for this one).

July 16, 2020 20:00

/e/ foundation

e Foundation announces official support of microG development

e Foundation announces official support of microG development

European Union, July, 16th 2020 – Today e Foundation is announcing that it is officially supporting the development of microG, the free and open-source implementation of the Google Play Services Android libraries.

Although the core Android mobile operating system is open source software (AOSP), being able to run Android applications requires too often the presence of some Google proprietary librairies, needed to access Google online services APIs. This prevents many Android applications to run seamlessly on non-Google open source mobile operating systems based on AOSP.

microG addresses this issue by rewriting a free and open source implementation of those libraries.

e Foundation, which is hosting the development of /e/ OS, the “deGoogled” and pro-privacy mobile operating system, recognizes the value of microG. e Foundation started to support microG’s development earlier in 2019 by allocating some internal resources to this project. More recently, e Foundation has started to directly sponsor the Founder and maintainer of microG, Marvin Wißfeld.

As a result, Marvin Wißfeld will be able to spend more time on microG’s development, while being an advisor for driving internal microG related development work at /e/, and its integration in /e/ OS.

About microG

Created in 2015 by Marvin Wißfeld, microG is a free and open-source implementation of proprietary Google libraries that serves as a replacement for Google Play Services on the Android operating system. It allows smartphone users to access Google Mobile Services with less tracking of their device activity compared to Google Play Services.

More information at: https://microg.org

About e Foundation

e Foundation is a non-profit organization that is hosting and supporting the development of /e/OS, the deGoogled and privacy mobile ecosystem since 2018.

More information at: https://e.foundation

For additional information and interview requests, please contact:

Brittny Mendoza – Email: media@e.email

by Alexis Noetinger at July 16, 2020 16:40

Tutanota

EU's Court of Justice invalidates data sharing under Privacy Shield due to US surveillance.

Today's landmark decision for privacy rights by the European Court of Justice invalidates Privacy Shield - a US-EU agreement. Privacy Shield was passed to give Silicon Valley tech companies easier access to the European market. This special arrangement for US companies is now null and void. If the US wants to re-establish a similar agreement, they first need to drastically change their surveillance laws.

July 16, 2020 00:00

July 15, 2020

Purism

Investing in Real Convergence

Like “privacy” and “security” the word “convergence” has become a popular term these days. When words like these become popular, companies tend to redefine them to match whatever they happen to sell. For instance when Google says they protect your privacy they mean “from everyone but us.” When Apple says they are secure, they mean “as long as you give us full trust and total control.”

When most people think of the promise of convergence they think of what I’ll refer to as “real convergence”–the idea of a single, portable computer that has your data and applications and that can be a desktop computer, a laptop or a pocket computer. To summarize: real convergence means taking your desktop computer with you in your pocket wherever you go. Fake convergence is the opposite: stretching a phone to fit on a larger screen.

The Folly of Fake Convergence

Motorola Atrix Laptop Dock

Convergence isn’t a new idea. Almost a decade ago I connected a Motorola Droid 4 to an Atrix laptop dock and the screen changed to Android tablet mode: apps were stretched and a little dock appeared along the bottom of the screen. I even wrote an article in Linux Journal about how I hacked together a Linux desktop over VNC that ran in a VM on the Android phone complete with a green-on-black terminal and dark hacker theme:

XFCE Desktop running in a VM on Android back in 2012

I actually bought my Atrix dock on a closeout sale because it was discontinued due to lack of demand. After awhile I stopped using the VM (it would never be usable in phone mode), fell back to the normal Android tablet mode (so I could easily access data when docked or not), and eventually stopped using the laptop dock altogether. Why did I and everyone else abandon this solution? Because it was fake convergence disguised as real convergence.

For the last decade we have had phones that can connect to a display and show a larger version of the phone screen. Sometimes the applications can even take advantage of the larger screen, although in many cases “tablet mode” just means doubling the phone UI to fill up the screen. Fake convergence doesn’t live up to the promise. It doesn’t solve the problem convergence was supposed to solve because it approaches it backwards. As a result we are all left unsatisfied having never realized the dream of a desktop in our pocket. Instead we have a phone connected to a monitor.

What Real Convergence Looks Like

Real convergence means bringing your desktop computer with you wherever you go. When we talk about how we have invested in convergence at Purism with PureOS we start with the desktop OS and shrink it down to your pocket.

PureOS on the Librem 5 is the same OS we use on our other products with the same applications as our desktop–just with a special kernel, shell, compositor, and a small set of other tools needed to run the OS on the phone hardware. Firefox isn’t some custom mobile fork, it’s just desktop Firefox. If you want to know more, this post does a good job of explaining the unique pieces in PureOS on the Librem 5 and how all these pieces fit together.

Avoiding Fragmentation

Fake convergence promises on other platforms has led to a common misconception that PureOS on the Librem 5 is yet another custom “mobile Linux OS” to add to the list of fragmented platforms developers have to port applications to. Developers who are already in the mobile ecosystem and used to fragmentation often ask us: “How do I port my Linux desktop application to the Librem 5?” The answer is “You don’t have to.” Instead, just make sure your desktop application works when resized to the phone’s screen resolution. No need to maintain a separate “mobile only” version of your code.

We want the whole Linux desktop ecosystem to be convergent, and so much of the investment Librem 5 backers have put into Purism has gone directly into innovations that bring convergence to the Linux desktop. We developed libhandy so that Linux application developers would have a common set of GTK libraries they can use to make their own desktop applications adaptive. We developed phosh and phoc so that applications would have a lightweight desktop shell and compositor that adapts to a phone screen. If you are familiar with the Linux mobile ecosystem, you have already seen the huge impact and wide adoption these tools now find in our community.

How Many Apps?

We often get asked “How many apps does the Librem 5 have?” One way of answering the question is how we answered it last year with an Application Compatibility Chart–a list of desktop applications that are either already adaptive, or otherwise fit on the Librem 5 screen.

Yet that answer is also misleading. Because we are focusing on real convergence, the actual answer is that we have thousands of applications on the Librem 5, today, many of them simply don’t yet fit on the small screen. Even the applications that don’t yet fit run fine when you either scale the screen or connect to a monitor.

Investing in Real Convergence

At Purism we believe real convergence is the future of personal computing: a single, portable computer that has your data and applications and that can be a desktop computer, a laptop or a pocket computer. We have invested in this future heavily and the Librem 5 is the realization of the convergence promise so many others have failed to keep. If you believe in real convergence, invest in the future you want to see. Help us continue to advance adaptive applications to bring desktop Linux to your pocket.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Preorder now

The post Investing in Real Convergence appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at July 15, 2020 19:58

Purism Librem 14

The next generation of Librem laptop brings a lot to the table. Gigabit throughput over native RJ45 enables you to enjoy blazing-fast download speeds, security, and reliability. Compared to the Librem 13, the Librem 14 has a similar device footprint while the Intel 10th Gen Comet Lake i7 is much more powerful.

The Librem 14 is expected to ship early Q4 2020, preorder now, and save $300.

The post Purism Librem 14 appeared first on Purism.

by David Hamner at July 15, 2020 16:57

/e/ foundation

Leaving Apple & Google: microG’s development is now officially supported by e Foundation and /e/ smartphones soon to be back in stock

Leaving Apple & Google: microG’s development is now officially supported by e Foundation and /e/ smartphones soon to be back in stock

e Foundation announces official support of microG development

Although the core Android mobile operating system is open source software (AOSP), being able to run Android applications requires too often the presence of some Google proprietary librairies, needed to access Google online services APIs.

This prevents many Android applications to run seamlessly on non-Google open source mobile operating systems based on AOSP.

microG addresses this issue by rewriting a free and open source implementation of those libraries.

As e Foundation recognizes the value of microG, we had already started to support microG’s development earlier in 2019 by allocating some internal resources to this project.

More recently, we have started to directly sponsor the Founder and maintainer of microG, Marvin Wißfeld.

As a result, Marvin will be able to spend more time on microG’s development, while being an advisor for driving internal microG related development work at /e/, and its integration in /e/ OS.

/e/ smartphones back in stock soon!

The wait is soon to be over!

We have been low in stock for the past 7 days, but new batches of /e/-Fairphone 3 will be available this week-end again at esolutions.shop.

/e/-Galaxy S8, S9 and S9+ are also available. The S7 is harder to find for now, but we hope to receive some units before the end of July.

How to contribute and support the /e/ project?

We are often asked how to contribute to the /e/ project and we are pleased to answer this question because users’ contributions are key to the success of an ambitious project like ours.

The time is now! There has never been so many questions and comments about user’s data privacy, Google, Apple and alternatives to regain control over data privacy… The timing is great and you can contribute in many ways:

Test /e/OS, report bugs, contribute to patches!

Anyone is really welcome to report issues with /e/OS, and possible solutions. Just make sure you can reproduce the problem, post appropriate context information, possibly some “logs”, and ideally… a solution 🙂

Help others! Join the global community!

We have a growing community of users who are discussing their experience with /e/OS. Join now, you will be able to help others answer common or uncommon questions they have about /e/:

Join /e/ Community Forum
Join the Support Channel

Join discussions, spread the word!

It’s important to share your experience on our forums, tell us about what you like, your frustrations… It helps us to identify improvements for the product and make it a premium mobile ecosystem.

Also, please share the word! Every day, new users discover /e/ and love the project. We need everyone to ensure that as many people as possible learn about the project. We can’t count on mainstream media for this!

So share with friends and your community channels, talk about /e/ on social media, say why you like it!
You can also share what we post on Mastodon and Twitter

Contribute financially

With your help, we can support a growing team of passionate contributors, keep /e/ completely independent and make /e/OS sustainable over time.

Every donation helps the project to pursue additional development, rent servers for compilation and to host your e.email account or the community forum, pay for domain names and other key expenses amongst other things.

If you can afford a recurring donation, become a /e/ Patron!

Otherwise, choose from the different donations options, and get a reward in return!

Subscribe to our Telegram announcement channel to get latest news!

Follow us on Twitter and Mastodon: @e_mydata

by Alexis Noetinger at July 15, 2020 16:40

Pine 64

July Update: biggest update in months!

I cannot remember the last time I had this much to report. With so many announcements and highlights, I ran out of time and didn’t cover a handful of topics that happened this month. If I find the time, I’ll make a complimentary post later this month to cover the outstanding topics. Before we get into it, I’d also like to thank JF for his contribution to the text.The big announcement of the month...

Source

by Lukasz Erecinski at July 15, 2020 13:24

July 10, 2020

Purism

Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3

The Librem 5 Dogwood batch has finished our manufacturing and is finalizing testing and fulfillment all from Purism headquarters before shipping to those who are part of this batch.

With this launch of Dogwood, we see user-facing software improvements. One of the biggest visual differences is app thumbnails are displayed when switching between apps.

The cellular network can now be configured directly from the top drop-down menu.

On startup, you’ll be greeted with a new splash screen.

Dogwood has seen the most hardware changed of any batch. The CPU has been flipped to the opposite side of the PCB (now facing the screen). This change has improved heat dissipation and charging reliability.

Dogwood PCB CPU side upDogwood PCB CPU side up

The battery shipping with dogwood is 3600mAh, roughly 80% more battery than previous batches. Combined with early kernel optimizations usage is now measured in multiple hours, and with additional kernel work will continue to see leaps forward.

A diffuser has been added between the screen and the indicator light. This makes notifications easier to notice at extreme viewing angles and provides an overall better appearance.

The volume buttons have been replaced with a volume rocker, increasing usability.

In previous versions, the headphone jack was recessed and not centered. In Dogwood it’s now flush with the top of the phone and centered in the frame.

Once we finish the verification process and ship out Dogwood, we can focus on the delivery and production of the Evergreen batch and Librem 5 USA.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Preorder now

The post Librem 5 Dogwood Update 3 appeared first on Purism.

by Purism at July 10, 2020 17:39

Privacy Browser

Privacy Browser Will Never Monetize the Default Search Engine

This morning I received the following email.

Hi Soren,

I hope all is well. I’m Chris – CMO at Startpage and I came across your Privacy Browser as I was looking into F-Droid.

I saw Startpage on the screenshots on https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.stoutner.privacybrowser.standard
I assume you’re a fan and wanted to reach out to hear what you think of Startpage and how it is currently integrated in Privacy Browser.
If possible I would like to help you in monetizing the searches coming to Startpage from Privacy Browser.

I look forward hearing from you.

All the best, Chris

Christiaan Solcer
CMO

Privacy Browser will never monetize the default search engine for the following two reasons.

If the search engine is monetized, decisions about the search engine are no longer made in the best interest of the users

I currently select the list of search engines included in the browser, and the default search engine and homepage, based on what I consider to be best for users. You can read the rational for switching to Startpage as part of the 3.2 release. As noted in that post, there are things I don’t like about Startpage, and it is likely I will switch to something else in the future if I can find something better.

But if I formed a financial relationship with Startpage, that would unduly influence any decision to switch to a different default search engine in the future. Instead of making the decision based on the best interests of the users, it would be made on which search engine offered the most money.

Once you monetize the search engine, there is a huge incentive to not block privacy invasions

Mozilla makes almost all their money by monetizing the default search engine in Firefox. In 2018 they made $435 million. Do you think search engines would be willing to pay them that much money if they couldn’t track what individual users are searching for? For example, if I responded to the email above expressing interest in receiving money for using Startpage as the default search engine, do you think they would be OK with me continuing to block their trackers?

Naughty, naughty.

My personal belief is that the primary reason why Mozilla only makes token attempts to protect user privacy is because they are financially tied to allowing the default search engine to track users. For example, they do not disable JavaScript by default. They have an exceptionally lose Referrer Policy. They don’t integrate an ad blocker into default installs.

This corrupt relationship between search engines and browsers is the primary reason why I started development of Privacy Browser. There is no chance that I will ever monetize the default search engine, no matter how much money they offer.

by Soren Stoutner at July 10, 2020 11:01

July 09, 2020

Purism

Mobile App Stores and the Power of Incentives

Recently I was reading an article on Vox by Sara Morrison that explained how some of the hidden trackers in modern smartphones work and how they are used to capture and sell your data. This article was written in the context of the growing awareness of location data tracking in smartphones as that data has been used to map COVID-19 responses by the public:

In the earlier days of the coronavirus pandemic, an animated map from a company called Tectonix went viral. It showed spring breakers leaving a Florida beach to return to their homes across the US, as a series of tiny orange dots congregating on a beach in early March scattered across the country over the following two weeks.

“It becomes clear just how massive the potential impact of just one single beach gathering can have in spreading this virus across our nation,” the video’s narrator said. “The data tells the stories we just can’t see.”

But there was another story there that most of us can’t see: how trackers hidden in smartphone apps are the source of incredible amounts of specific data about us, much of which gets sent to companies you’ve never heard of. This has been going on for years and is an essential part of the mobile app economy. But it took the Covid-19 pandemic to bring some of these companies, and what they’re capable of, to the forefront.

The whole article is a fascinating read and I recommend checking it out, but I wanted to spend some time in this article talking about a sentence that jumped out at me in the above quote:

This has been going on for years and is an essential part of the mobile app economy.

The Power of Incentives

If you want to understand how a system works and especially if you want to change how a system works, look to the incentives. Human behavior is driven by a series of rewards and punishments, carrots and sticks, and the same holds true for business. While you can certainly look to regulations or user education to change behavior, ultimately those measures just factor in to the risk/reward calculations a business or user takes.

For instance, delivery drivers in big cities routinely flout parking regulations. Why would they do that when it’s against the law and can cause a fine? Enforcement isn’t guaranteed (you only get fined if you get caught) and the added cost of complying with the law is much greater than the cost of the occasional ticket.

This means if you want to change how businesses treat privacy, you have to change the incentives that drive them. Applied to the mobile app ecosystem, even with privacy regulation, privacy settings, and user prompts, companies will weigh the risks and costs of getting caught against the reward of capturing and selling user data and as long as the reward is enough, many will take the risk.

The Most Powerful Incentive: Money

The fact is, the current app ecosystem on Android and iOS is designed to facilitate the collection and selling of user data. Every incentive points a developer in this direction. This ecosystem is full of free (as in cost) but proprietary software that makes money either by showing you targeted third party ads (customized based on your shared personal data) or by collecting and selling your data to third parties to add to their own databases. In particular with Android the (free to vendors) OS itself along with the complete Google software suite (which vendors are required to install to be part of the ecosystem) are also funded by collecting and selling user data.

Users also find money to be a powerful incentive. When browsing through the hundred different apps that all perform the same function, there is a strong incentive to pick the free app with ads over the $1.99 one, even if the free app might capture your data (after all, there’s no guarantee the $1.99 app won’t too). Of course, since the applications are almost universally proprietary software, you can’t really know for sure what data they collect, only whether they ask for permission.

The Second Most Powerful Incentive: Laziness

The path of least resistance provides a powerful incentive. User interface designers understand the power of defaults and the same goes for software development. The above Vox article goes into quite a bit of detail on the various Software Development Kits (SDKs) that companies have provided to make it easy to develop mobile apps. Most applications have a common set of features, and using an existing SDK means you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.

Of course these SDKs also make spying on users the path of least resistance, as it’s much easier to just request full permissions for your app on a user’s phone than it is to start with no permissions and figure out which ones you truly need. Why does a flashlight app need access to your location and contact list? Since so many applications are designed with selling user data in mind, even a well-meaning, ethical, privacy-conscious developer might find it hard to identify and remove all third party tracking if they base their application on existing examples and popular SDKs.

Users also find laziness to be a powerful incentive. Many application developers take advantage of this by requiring users to opt-out of tracking, often via hard-to-find settings buried deep within the application. Many if not most users don’t bother to tweak their privacy settings, and many companies share your data without your consent.

Fixing the Incentives

A large part of our work at Purism is focused on creating a healthy, ethical, privacy-preserving alternative to the current mobile app ecosystem. This is one of many reasons why the Librem 5 doesn’t run Android nor iOS but instead runs PureOS–the same secure, privacy-preserving, Free Software Foundation-endorsed operating system that we use on our Librem Laptops and Librem Mini.

While users are free to install any third-party applications they want, applications in our PureOS Store must be free software and protect user privacy. As Purism’s founder and CEO Todd Weaver says: “Every line of code is a moral decision.” Making privacy and free software a default changes the incentives to encourage ethical behavior by developers. It’s much harder to hide tracking features in your application if anyone can inspect the code and create a version that removes those features.

Todd testifying to California Assembly

Purism is also working to change incentives through targeted regulation. Requiring applications to make tracking “opt-in” instead of “opt-out” would go a long way toward protecting privacy by default. Purism is part of a group of organizations including the EFF and DuckDuckGo who have asked the California legislature to require companies to get consent before using user data.

Of course, the strongest way to change the current app ecosystem is by changing the financial incentive. That’s where you come in. Each technology choice you make is a vote for the future you want to see. Voting with your dollar to support companies like Purism that are building hardware and software that protect your privacy sends a message to other companies that privacy matters to you and if they want you as a customer, it should matter to them too.

The post Mobile App Stores and the Power of Incentives appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at July 09, 2020 21:23

July 08, 2020

Tutanota

Data retention - the fight continues.

German governments have tried to pass data retention laws twice already. Each time, the law has been successfully fought in court and declared unconstitutional. There is no data retention in Germany at the moment. In a free democracy, data retention can never be a proportionate method to prosecute criminals as it puts the entire population under general suspicion. While everyone understands how data retention could help to solve crimes, it is much harder to explain why data retention is dangerous for every citizen.

July 08, 2020 22:00

/e/ foundation

Leaving Apple & Google: Important message to /e/ users: ecloud.global is back online

Important message to /e/ users: ecloud.global is back online !

Dear all,

ecloud services are back online!

Our team has spent tremendous amount of time solving the different issues they discovered in the last few days, and we’re pleased to let you know that all services are now back online!

Your personal and individual ecloud space is now fully accessible again via https://ecloud.global and your data will sync normally again with your phone with no extra effort.

Our cloud infra structure is now running on Next Cloud 18, giving us the opportunity to roll out new services in the future. Stay tuned!

Maybe even more. Due to the revert with non-destructive sync, some files that had been deleted the last days may still show up and occupy quota. Just remove them again if you see such case.

We wanted to take this occasion to thank you all for your patience and for the kind messages of support we received during this maintenance.

Our apologies again for this inconvenience.

Sincerely.

The ecloud team

Subscribe to our Telegram announcement channel to get latest news!

Follow us on Twitter and Mastodon: @e_mydata

by Alexis Noetinger at July 08, 2020 14:04

Jolla

New forum for Sailfish OS discussion

Your voice is important

The together.jolla.com (TJC) website has served us well, with the first question inserted back in December 2013 just after we released the first Jolla smartphone. Since then it has been the place for discussion around Sailfish OS, carrying our core message of building an independent mobile OS – together. We are now at the point where we will upgrade the discussion platform. There are different reasons why the upgrade has become a necessity. First and foremost, we would like to enable a better platform for developer collaboration. TJC has not been the optimal forum for serving developers’ needs. Topics are often not in question-and-answer form, but require discourse and deeper analysis of the situation. On the other hand, we are very pleased with the active and productive dialogue with our Sailfish X users that TJC has facilitated, and we do hope this new forum will maintain this relationship we have with the community. We’ve also come to the conclusion that the technology running TJC (Askbot) is not aging well; the site requires a lot of unnecessary maintenance effort from our Service team.

You can start using the new forum immediately at https://forum.sailfishos.org. We invite you to start using the new Sailfish OS forum for the topics we’ve identified in the categories list. This forum is for you to discuss all things Sailfish OS, ask questions and share your thoughts. We welcome reviews, insight and analysis – in relation to Sailfish OS. We have built this forum to increase the Sailfish OS community’s knowledge about the open mobile development landscape and to help build Sailfish OS – together.

During the transition period TJC can be used for discussion related to already-existing topics. Over time we will migrate the content from TJC to the new Sailfish OS forum. The transfer is expected to be concluded during fall this year.

This also has an impact on the developer mailing list. The mailing list archive will be available for reference, but we will stop accepting new posts and we won’t be making announcements there. Discussion on development-related topics should be transferred to the new forum.

The new forum has its own section dedicated to site feedback, so if you have ideas about how we can best serve the community with it, please do share them there.

Sailfish OS – Developed by Jolla, its customers and the Sailfish OS community

The post New forum for Sailfish OS discussion appeared first on Jolla Blog.

by Jussi Maaniitty at July 08, 2020 08:18

July 07, 2020

/e/ foundation

Leaving Apple & Google: Important message to /e/ users: ecloud.global is down until further notice

Important message to /e/ users: ecloud.global is down until further notice

Dear all,

We are currently experiencing technical problems and our online services are down for now. Our teams are working to get the service back online as soon as possible.

During our scheduled migration we encountered several issues that might have broken down the system in a few days or weeks and decided to solve swiftly to avoid future issues. The migration has therefore been postponed.

The online service restart is taking longer than planned. Our current server is too small to handle the total traffic load with normal connections, we are actively looking for more space.

We decided to reduce the amount of services available for now to ensure a minimal continuity of service and limit the inconvenience.

Email service is not impacted and can be recovered via a local email client, access to webmail via https://ecloud.global isn’t possible for now.

Your data remains safe and backed up.

Please get in touch with us if you need urgent access to your files.

We will update our communication channels when services are back online, additional information will be share on our community forum on this post.

Our apologies for this inconvenience.

Sincerely.

The ecloud team

Subscribe to our Telegram announcement channel to get latest news!

Follow us on Twitter and Mastodon: @e_mydata

by Alexis Noetinger at July 07, 2020 13:21

Purism

Librem 14 Launch FAQ

There has been a lot of excitement ever since we announced the Librem 14 last week. There has also been quite a few questions. In this post we’ll go through some of the most Frequently Asked Questions for those of you still deciding whether to pre-order and take advantage of our $300 off sale:

Q: When will the Librem 14 ship?
A:
Early Q4 2020

Q: How long will the sale continue? Are there coupon codes?
A: We haven’t set an official date yet, but will make an announcement on social media and on this site at least a few days before the sale ends. The discount is automatically applied at the shop while the sale is active, no coupon codes are necessary.

Q: How many RAM slots are there?
A: Two. There is a small chance during final mechanical design testing that we have to drop back to one, but we are confident from our early MD testing it will work so are offering two RAM slots, up to 64GB of RAM.

Q: What about international keyboard layouts?
A: At the moment we will only be providing the Librem 14 with the current keyboard layout. We might consider other keyboard layouts at some point in the future if there is sufficient demand to justify keeping a large number of that layout in stock.

Q: What is the screen brightness? How far can you open the screen lid?
A: The screen brightness is 300 cd/m2 and you can open the screen lid almost 180°.

Q: What are the video out options? What about Thunderbolt?
A: The Librem 14 will be able to drive up to two 4k displays using the HDMI2 port and the USB-C port. The USB-C port will have power delivery and DisplayPort support but will not be a Thunderbolt port.

Q: What is replaceable?
A: Like with previous Librem laptops, the RAM, disk, WiFi module and battery are replaceable. The WiFi module is the same one we’ve used in past laptops.

Q: Will there be other CPU options (such as cheaper, less powerful i5 CPUs) for the Librem 14?
A: All Librem 14s will use the i7 10710U CPU.

Q: Does each M.2 socket have its own x4 PCIe-3.0 connection?
A: Yes!

Q: Will Coreboot, PureBoot and the Librem Key work on the Librem 14 like on the Librem 13 and 15?
A: Yes.

Q: What about my very specific question about other specifications?
A: We are working to squeeze as much power and as many features as we can into the Librem 14. We will provide more detailed specifications on anything we haven’t yet put on the Librem 14 product page as final specifications are confirmed.

The post Librem 14 Launch FAQ appeared first on Purism.

by Purism at July 07, 2020 09:45

July 06, 2020

Purism

Getting Started with the Librem Mini

With the Librem Mini shipping, we put together this short quickstart guide so you can know your hardware before it arrives. Dive into how the Librem Mini protects your digital freedom as well as look at the technical specs here.

In the box, you should expect to see the Mini itself, as well as a power adapter. All of which are covered by a one-year warranty. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from expert support staff ready to ensure your Mini runs well.

PureBoot

For those that need a tamper-evident way to power-on their Mini, the PureBoot bundle secures your freedom and boot process. In addition to the Mini and power adapter, you’ll receive a Librem Key and a Librem Vault.

If you’re still thinking about buying a Librem Mini, take a look at what you can do with the hardware and order your Librem Mini now.

The post Getting Started with the Librem Mini appeared first on Purism.

by David Hamner at July 06, 2020 23:36

Tutanota

Webmail: Get a new email address now.

Webmail has become incredibly popular. Everybody has at least one free webmail account: Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook.com, and GMX are some of the most popular webmail services. However, as we learn how the web works, how companies manipulate us, how free email services abuse our data, the time has come to sign up for a secure alternative.

July 06, 2020 00:00

July 04, 2020

Replicant

Late report from FOSDEM 2020

On the 1st and 2nd of February 2020, 4 Replicant contributors (FilBerg, GNUtoo, GrimKriegor and dllud) attended FOSDEM 2020 in Brussels.

FOSDEM (Free and Open source Software Developers’ European Meeting) is an annual conference organized by volunteers, to enable users and contributors to meet and promote the widespread use of free and open source software. This helps communities take decisions and also enables various communities and people to collaborate together.

Part of this comes from FOSDEM allowing projects to book rooms in order to have meetings and presentations (dubbed as a BoF, Birds of a Feather). Replicant contributors held such a BoF, and also gave a talk at another room and wandered around the exhibition’s rooms talking to people at the stands of relevant projects.

As it is a conference, the FOSDEM also features talks by various members and contributors of the free software and open source communities which range across many different projects and areas. Listening to the talks (which are often recorded as well) is a way to get the latest news of what’s happening in the free software world.

This is a (late, sorry for that) report with the relevant information that Replicant contributors leaned during the event, alongside with a summary of the discussions that took place during the BoF. This report is published both here in the blog and in the mailing list. Comments are gladly welcomed on both mediums.

Before Replicant BoF

Technoethical

Technoethical is a store that sells devices pre-installed withofficial versions of Replicant and also Replicant merchandise. It is featured at Replicant’s website and donates a percentage of its sales to Replicant.

We went to the Technoethical stand to discuss the idea of only requiring a percentage of the sales for bigger companies, which wouldn’t include Technoethical. According to Tiberiu from Technoethical, Technoethical didn’t agree toformally give any percentages of the sales to Replicant, but they instead do it voluntarily.

Wikidata

We had a discussion with someone involved in Wikidata about how to describe hardware like smartphones in Wikidata.

For instance there is an entry for Replicant in Wikidata, and we want to be able to more precisely express that a given software, like Replicant 6.0 0004, or the Lima Linux driver, is compatible with a given smartphone or GPU.

Right now this seems to be done through the Platform property. Unfortunately, this property by itself cannot tell precisely which version of Replicant is compatible with say the Galaxy Nexus (GT-I9250). We were told to look into the qualifier to see if we can find a way to express that.

After looking at it we found that it’s possible to add a platform qualifier for a given version, for instance to tell that Replicant 6.0 is compatible with the Galaxy SII (GT-I9100). However, after this, it is not possible to add an extra layer of qualifiers to tell for instance that the Galaxy SIII 4G (GT-I9305) is compatible with Replicant 6.0 except for its modem.

The goal here is to be able to use Wikidata as a database for storing information about hardware and software. This way we could reuse that information easily in various tools and/or in MediaWiki after having migrated to it. We already have a very rough tool to experiment with that and print some information about Replicant versions and the devices they support.

Replicant BoF

Like last year we also had a Replicant BoF this year.

Organization

This year we improved the organization of the Replicant BoF:

  • Most of the people in the room seemed really engaged and interested in it, whereas last year we got the impressions that people were less engaged and interested.
  • While things were more organized than last year we still need to improve on it. For instance we lacked a precise schedule for the BoF in order to properly cover all the topics we needed to. The consequence is that we usually try to rush at the end in order to cover some topics we didn’t have covered yet.
  • We also had the ability to remotely listen to the BoF through Mumble and participate through IRC. At the beginning we tried a setup that was too complex, with speakers, to enable remote participants to speak. This setup took too much time, so when enough people were in the room, we started without that and fell back on IRC for participation instead. As we were late to start, and were rushing to make the more complex setup work, we also forgot to record the meeting.
  • Properly organizing a BoF is not that easy as we typically are short on time and also need to organize many other things in parallel such as the talks we give in other rooms.
  • For next year, we need to decide on weather or not we could fund or reimburse travel costs for someone from the Replicant community, like Kurtis Hanna, that has a deep enough knowledge of what is going on in Replicant, to help us with the organization of the BoF.

Build system

During the BoF, we did a quick presentation of the issues we were having with the Android build system. More details on the issues are available on the “Android’s build system is messier than your distro’s” talk that was presented at 36C3.

GeckoView

We also did a quick presentation of the freedom issues we were having with WebView. As with the build system, more details are also available in a presentation (“The Chromium mess meets Android”) that was held at 36C3.

We then got questions and ideas on how to solve that issue.

One of the ideas was to go for the lowest hanging fruit and implement the easiest part of the WebView API with GeckoView, which should suffice for some applications.

Once this is done we would still have the problem of making the F-Droid applications use it: the application developers will probably not include GeckoView in their applications as it would increase the size of the package by around 20M (which is a lot).

But even if they do, it would still be an issue as each package using WebView (and there are many) would have its own GeckoView, which would probably increase RAM consumption.

There are kernel features like CONFIG_KSM which reduce the RAM usage by finding duplicate regions and making the duplicated pages point to the same region until the data is modified. However, this may not be a proper solution, especially if the GeckoView builds shipped with each app are not exactly the same. It may also increase CPU consumption as CONFIG_KSM has to scan the RAM for duplicated pages.

Several solutions were proposed by Replicant contributors and people attending the BoF:

  • Make Replicant ship a GeckoView that is ABI compatible with WebView (even if not all of the WebView is implemented).
  • Use F-Droid to build and distribute GeckoView.
  • Develop software that would automatically recompile all the F-Droid applications that link against WebView to link against GeckoView instead, and automatically publish the result in a dedicated F-Droid repository.
  • Applications could potentially be tagged with supporting or not supporting a given incomplete WebView implementation implemented through GeckoView.

Upstream

Replicant only wants to supports devices that reduce the amount of harm for users freedom, privacy and security. For instance all device ssupported by Replicant 6.0 and onward have some form of modem isolation.

However some people might still want to support devices that attack users freedom, privacy, and security more than the ones already supported by the current Replicant release. So we explained that while such devices could not be supported by Replicant, the Replicant project is open to collaboration with other projects like LineageOS to add support for such devices.

This is relevant to Replicant because Replicant 9 uses a Linux kernel that has very few patches on top of the upstream Linux. So while Replicant 9 is not ready yet, when it will be, most of the Replicant 9 code will probably be reused to support smartphones and tablets that have good support in upstream Linux. So, even if for smartphones with different modems, more work would be needed to support the modem, there will probably be some people interested in reusing the Replicant 9 code.

This means that we would need to work with other upstreams to find the best ways to deal with it and share the maintenance of the code. Unfortunately there weren’t any contributors from other Android distribution in the room.

Galaxy SIII (GT-I9300), Replicant 9 and LineageOS

As ChronoMonochrome is also working on porting the Galaxy SIII to LineageOS, we collaborated together when it was possible, as we were both trying different approaches.

On Replicant 9 we were focusing more on the 2D graphics, and on the modem, which doesn’t work yet with LineageOS.

Once we have something usable on Replicant 9, it would also be very interesting to find time to work on upstreaming the modem driver as well:

  • In several cases the kernel maintainers refused patches for drivers lacking free software userspace for using them.
  • As Replicant has a free software implementation, it shouldn’t be a problem.
  • Similar modems are already supported by the Linux kernel, like the N900 modem, but the kernel interface is different from the one exposed by the kernel shipped by Samsung.
  • As LineageOS functional requirements to support a device are more strict than Replicant, if the Galaxy SIII modem driver is merged upstream, and LineageOs wants to use libsamsung-ipc (and libsamsung-ril) to use that driver, they would probably have some interest in helping to complete the libsamsung-ipc implementation as well.

F-Droid

We have already removed F-Droid from Replicant 6.0 after the 0003 version. This is due to the F-Droid repository not being compliant with the Free System Distributions Guidelines, because of applications like Yalp.

If there were no means for users to collaborate on workarounds, each user would need to review by themselves each application they are considering to install.

So we created the F-DroidAndApplications wiki page to share the work on reviewing F-Droid applications that meet or don’t meet the Free System Distributions Guidelines.

We started reviewing some applications. Unfortunately, even when the source code should be fully free, we are not sure if the resulting builds meet the guidelines, as we would need to make sure that it’s possible to compile the same application with a distribution that meets the FSDG guidelines.

We need to look more into it and/or to write to the licensing team at the FSF.

Documentation and migration to MediaWiki

We briefly talked about the rationale of migrating the wiki from Redmine to MediaWiki. The main advantage is that it will avoid duplication of information. For instance, the fact that the Galaxy SIII has a MAX6673 chip is mentioned in many different wiki pages such as:

This happens because that chip is involved in many different things, ranging from power management to managing the switch behind the USB connector which enables to get access to the serial port.

It is therefore relevant to know about that chip in many different contexts.

MediaWiki has ways to avoid the duplication of some information through templates, and it’s also possible to interface it with Wikidata in various ways.

Someone mentioned that Sphinx handles such requirements. However, as not everyone that contributes to the wiki knows how to program, and as the contributions of such people are quite substantial (many edits, creation of pages, etc), and that we do want to enable people not knowing programming to edit the wiki, we will probably consider switching to MediaWiki instead of tools like Sphinx.

Release schemes

Someone pointed out that upstream Android continuously gets security updates. To keep up with that, we would need to do Replicant 9 releases very often.

While some people pointed issues with rebasing our work, it’s probably still achievable to do that, as porting our work forward from Android 9 to the next Android versions is supposed to be easier.

Someone also pointed out that, for a given Android version, LineageOS was backporting security fixes longer than the Android Open Source Project (AOSP).

This information made us reconsider some design choices in Replicant: once Replicant 9 has been released, the fact that LineageOS doesn’t have stable tags for releases becomes less relevant as we will need to find ways to rebase and release often, in order to have the latest security fixes.

Vulkan

Someone mentioned that the Vulkan graphics API will become mandatory after Android 10. This would mean that the graphics stack we’re developing for Replicant 9 would no longer suffice. Both Lima, the free software driver for the Mali GPU present on the Galaxy SIII (GT-I9300), and llvmpipe, the software rasterizer planned to be used as fallback on all other devices, only support OpenGL ES.

A possible workaround would be switching the fallback software rasterizer from llvmpipe to SwiftShader, or using it just for apps that need Vulkan support. We are actively making sure that SwiftShader works on Replicant 9, therefore this should be doable without much effort.

Note: someone suggested using a translation layer that runs Vulkan on top of OpenGL ES, but that does not exist and probably never will. Vulkan is a lower-level API than OpenGL, with finer-grained control of the GPU memory and likes, making it really hard to implement OpenGL on top of it.

A nice tip we got is to keep using a compositor (SurfaceFlinger) that works with OpenGL ES. Current SurfaceFlinger still doesn’t have Vulkan support. Acceleration is still done through OpenGL ES or an hardware composer. As such, compositor performance and compatibility won’t bean issue for the time being.

After the Replicant BoF

Replicant contact address

We found that Fil Bergamo, who is part of the Replicant Steering Committee, didn’t receive emails from the Replicant contact address.

We need to setup a new email infrastructure in order to properly address this issue. Currently the contact address is hosted at PaulK’s personal email server. Paul no longer has time to maintain it and thus we must transition to a new server, hosted in a VM at the FSF servers, that can be administered by several Replicant contributors, in order to avoid a single point of failure.

Legal advice

The FSFE is helping NLnet by giving legal advice to the people beingfunded by NLnet to work on free software.

After the Replicant BoF, we met Lucas Lasota from the FSFE who offered legal advice, probably through the ifrOSS institute, to the people being funded by NLnet to work on Replicant (or the Replicantproject at large?).

The Replicant project is already getting legal advice through the FSF, and the FSF also has a very big expertise on compliance with certifications like the Free Software Distribution Guidelines, but the FSFE legal team and/or ifrOSS legal team probably also have some very interesting knowledge about European law.

For instance Till Jaeger who is/was involved in the ifrOSS institute made a very interesting talk years ago on what constituted derivative work under the European laws and directives.

Necuno

After the the Replicant BoF, we discussed a bit with someone from Necuno. They were supposed to make a device that could be used with only free software. The hardware only had the following issues:

  • On the I.MX6 System-On-a-Chip they chose, the firmware for the audio/video decoding offload is nonfree, but in many cases that can simply be ignored as that kind of thing is done by default on the main CPU.
  • The I.MX6 DMA engine probably had a nonfree firmware but it was completely optional, as the Linux kernel knows how to use the builtin DMA engine ROM instead.

So the device would have been completely usable with fully free software. They also stated in several places on their website that it would have been possible to run fully free software on the device.

This was also made possible because the device wasn’t a smartphone and would not have any modem or WiFi chip.

But they are now are planning to add a WiFi chip, and to ourknowledge, all the WiFi chips made for smartphones and tablets require a nonfree firmware.

While Replicant is not redistributing any nonfree software, it still loads the modem firmware into the modem. In addition, all the devices currently supported have many more freedom issues, from forcing users to run nonfree software at boot, to having their location tracked by the network, at all times, with a precision of 10 or 20 meters.

In the long run, for the WiFi firmwares, it would be a good idea to have people working to get free WiFi firmwares and really solve the issue for good, instead of finding workarounds that don’t solve the problem.

In the mean time, the workarounds still have the benefit of making clear what is free software and what is not; this clear separation enables us to claim at the same time that Replicant itself is fully free software while the devices it currently supports do not respect users freedom, and do run nonfree software as well.

Necunos also told us that they had some underlying issues because their devices would be “dual use” devices. This is related to the fact that they are also targeting some markets like the Finish defense or secret services, but we didn’t understood what it meant practically speaking.

NLnet and the Android build system

We discussed with Michiel from NLnet the issues we were having with the Android build system. He pointed again to us that NixOS is working on being able to build Android components.

At some point we would need to look more into it as we want to mix Android and GNU/Linux components together. If we want Replicant to scale and be able to support more devices, it would be a good idea to be able to reuse some GNU/Linux userspace components that make hardware work, like oFono, BlueZ, etc. This would also allow us to share more work with GNU/Linux.

There are more details on the Replicant wiki about issues GNU/Linux distributions are having for packaging Android components like adb, which depend on the Android build system and libc.

Maemo Leste

On the last day we also met someone from Maemo Leste. At first when hearing of Maemo Leste, we feared that nonfree components from Maemo would be reused, as Maemo had a lot of nonfree components. However, according to the people we met, only the free software ones werere used. Still, nonfree software not coming from Maemo, like thenonfree WiFi firmwares or nonfree GPU drivers for some phones, were still used.

We also saw Maemo Leste on a PinePhone. On this device, the graphics stack was using the free software Lima driver and the graphics were fast enough. We can’t remember if Lima was stable enough for daily use but it looks really promising at least, because the whole graphical interface used it, and we saw no rendering artifacts while briefly testing it.

GitLab

GitLab was first built upon a framework that did most of the work onthe server side, but at some point they switched to a framework thatdoes client-side rendering with JavaScript.

As we had an opportunity to talk with people from the GitLab team, weasked them whether they would be open to accept patches that fix this. They explained us that such would require to double the UI work for everything, but that it might be possible to do server side rendering with the same JavaScript that’s used on the client. The issue is that it cannot make requests from buttons like that, so in addition to the page rendering that could happen through server-side JavaScript, introspection could be used to rewrite the buttons.

Batteries report

In Paris (France), last year, batteries for phones compatible with Replicant could easily be found in second hand shops, and in a chain of shops specialized in replacement batteries. But we got a more recent report that it was not the case in similar shops in a smaller city.

Talks

Extending the lifetime of smartphones with Replicant

This talk was held at the Hardware Enablement devroom.

It quickly introduced Replicant and the smartphones ecosystem, and then proceed to look at what affects smartphones’ and tablets’ lifetime and how to increase it by making Replicant more sustainable.

There was also a small, satirical play in the middle this talk. Its goal was to show how the current market trends in smartphone design and construction severely impair those that look for privacy, software freedom, and reduction of electronic waste.

Video and slides are available at the talk’s page in FOSDEM’s website.

Extra

Fun

Fil Bergamo started making a song about Replicant.

Previous conferences

If you enjoyed reading this report, you may wish to take a look at the reports from previous conferences that were (only) published on the mailing list:

There’s also a wiki page that lists all talks about Replicant that happened in several conferences throughout the years.


GNUtoo and dllud

by dllud at July 04, 2020 11:39

July 03, 2020

Purism

Librem Mini Shipping with Active Cooling

There’s nothing like making a public announcement to ensure that a situation will change. That’s certainly been true in the case of our Librem Mini. Just over a week ago we announced the Librem Mini was ready to ship and highlighted one issue we intended to solve with a future software update:

If you ordered a Librem Mini, you will receive an email confirming your order status and shipping information. As with any newly brought to market product, the Librem Mini running PureOS will have software updates to apply as we continue to refine the firmware. One forthcoming software update that we want to bring to your attention concerns the fan speed control, as currently the CPU is passively cooled and may throttle down under heavy load. Full active cooling will be coming in a firmware update so we highly recommend following our published announcements. If you are uncomfortable with applying a firmware update using our coreboot firmware update tool, you also have the option for Purism to hold the order until we release that software update. If you desire that, let us know when we contact you to confirm shipping information, otherwise you will be enjoying your Librem Mini soon!

Well it turns out that while we were contacting all of the Mini customers to determine whether they wanted their Mini immediately, or whether they wanted to wait for a firmware update, we resolved the fan speed control issue! As we ship out all of the Librem Mini orders, they will all have fully-updated firmware and active cooling.


Thank you everyone for your patience and if you were waiting for active cooling to place your own Librem Mini order, order now!

The post Librem Mini Shipping with Active Cooling appeared first on Purism.

by Purism at July 03, 2020 17:44

July 02, 2020

Purism

Librem 14 Thoughts From a Librem 13 Early Adopter

I’ve been involved with Purism in one way or another since almost the beginning. Originally I found out about Purism and Todd back in 2014 before the end of the original Librem 15 crowdfunding campaign when I reviewed the Librem 15 prototype for Linux Journal Magazine. While the Librem 15 was far too big for my tastes, I was really impressed with Todd and his mission and started helping out a bit behind the scenes with advice (and later on, with early PureOS install tools). When the original Librem 13 campaign was announced, I immediately asked to review it for Linux Journal as it was right up my alley in terms of form factor. My Linux Journal review summed up my feelings pretty well:

I want one. Maybe I’ve just spent too long on older hardware but it’s nice to be able to use a laptop with modern specs without having to compromise on my Open Source and privacy ideals. The Librem 15 was definitely too big for me but while the Librem 13 is bigger than most of my personal laptops, it’s about the same size as a modern Thinkpad X series (but thinner and lighter). I’m more than willing to add an inch or so to the width in exchange for such a nice, large, high-res screen. Even though my X200 is technically smaller, it’s definitely heavier and just feels clunkier.

I ended up backing the crowdfunding campaign. The Librem 13v1 I got in 2015 was actually also one of the first prototypes for our anti-interdiction service, with hand-written custom text over stickers covering the plastic around the laptop and with pictures of that and the motherboard sent to me out of band. One interesting thing about the Librem 13v1 was what an improvement it already was over the Librem 15v1 I had reviewed only about six months before. It had the darker anodized finish that we now associate with Librem laptops and in my opinion had even better build quality than the Librem 15v1. It was also different from more recent Librem 13 revisions: it had hardware kill switches on the display hinge instead of the side, and it had a pop-down RJ45 jack with a Gigabit network card.

Early Librem 13 kill switch prototype

Five years later, that Librem 13v1 is still serving as my personal laptop and is still running strong although I did invest in a RAM upgrade a year or so back to better handle recent RAM-hungry QubesOS upgrades.

Librem 13 Generations

Now that I work at Purism, I’ve used just about every generation of Librem 13 laptop either as a lab device or as my own work laptop. Each Librem 13 generation added improvements and refinements such as upgrading the CPU, moving the hardware kill switch to the side of the laptop, integrating a TPM chip by default for PureBoot and replacing the RJ45 jack with a USB-C port.

Of course most of the changes to the Librem 13 were incremental. The overall appearance of the laptop has been the same throughout the generations like you might expect–why reinvent the wheel with each revision? Yet sometimes it does pay to revisit a design and start fresh. Planning for the Librem 14 allowed us the opportunity to start from scratch and design a “dream laptop” based on our own wishlist combined with the wishlists you have given us over the years. This dream laptop is precisely what we built with the Librem 14.

Introducing the Librem 14

There are many things about the Librem 14 that remind me of the first generation of the Librem 13. By popular demand we have brought back the gigabit Ethernet card with an integrated RJ45 jack. Even though I use wireless networking as well, whenever I need to backup my laptop I always plug it directly into my local gigabit network. And as someone who recently got gigabit Internet access, I have even more reasons to connect to a physical cable.

We added the RJ45 port while retaining the existing HDMI, USB-A ports and USB-C ports, but in the case of the USB-C port, it now supports video out as well as power delivery so I can either charge it with the same standard barrel connector I use for the rest of my Librem laptops, or use a USB-C charger.


Kill Switches Are Back On Top

After we moved the hardware kill switches to the side of the laptop, we heard from a number of you that you preferred the kill switches on the laptop hinge. For some this was because it was easier to see the state of the kill switches without having to bend your head over to the side of the laptop. Others commented that sometimes they’d accidentally flip a kill switch when inserting the laptop into a backpack or sleeve.

Regardless of the reason, we hear you and we’ve moved kill switches for the Librem 14 back on top so you can easily see the state of your webcam/microphone and WiFi devices at a glance and know that they will retain their state when you put the laptop away.

14″ Screen in a 13″ Footprint

Laptop footprint is very important to me. I’ve owned ultraportable laptops like the Toshiba Libretto 50CT and the Fujitsu P2110, and a 13″ laptop is right at the upper end of what I personally consider “portable” and a “laptop” (although of course tastes and lap sizes vary). As we worked on the design for the successor to the current generation of the Librem 13, one of the things that came up was screen size. I personally would not have been in favor of increasing the Librem 13 footprint to accommodate a 14″ screen, but current advances in laptop design meant we were able to squeeze a larger screen in the same footprint by reducing the size of the bezel. A win for everyone.

Seriously? Six Cores in a Laptop?

I admit that personally, the new i7-10710U CPU is what I’m most excited about with the Librem 14. While some desktop use cases may not necessarily take advantage of parallelization, I use QubesOS (a high security OS that makes heavy use of virtual machines to isolate applications from each other) as my primary OS both personally and professionally. While Qubes still runs fine on my five-year-old personal Librem 13v1, and also runs well on the Librem 13v4 I use for work, using Qubes means you might end up running four to six (or more) web browsers at the same time, each isolated into their own virtual machine. Modern, bloated web applications spread across multiple browsers with virtualization overhead can take a toll as they share time on a 2-core CPU so I’m looking forward to seeing how Qubes performs when each browser can have a core of its own.

Stay Tuned

We are all very excited about the Librem 14 and have so much more we want to share with you about it. Over the coming weeks we will be publishing more information about specific features in the laptop (along with some surprise features we haven’t announced yet!) so watch our site for more information. Do take advantage of the early-bird pricing for the Librem 14 while it lasts and pre-order now!

The post Librem 14 Thoughts From a Librem 13 Early Adopter appeared first on Purism.

by Kyle Rankin at July 02, 2020 19:54

Purism Launches Librem 14, Successor to Security-focused Librem 13 Product Line

SAN FRANCISCO, July 2, 2020 — Purism, a security-first hardware and software maker, has launched the Librem 14 laptop for pre-order, the successor to its popular Librem 13 laptop line. The Librem 14 was designed based on Purism’s experience with four generations of Librem 13 laptops along with customer feedback. It retains popular security features such as hardware kill switches to disable the webcam/microphone and WiFi and supports PureBoot, Purism’s high security boot firmware. The laptop comes preloaded with PureOS–Purism’s operating system endorsed by the Free Software Foundation.

The most distinctive feature of the Librem 14 is the new 14″ 1080p IPS matte display which, due to the smaller bezel, fits within the same footprint as the Librem 13. Other upgrades and improvements include:

  • Intel Core i7-10710U CPU with 6 cores, 12 threads
  • Gigabit ethernet card with built-in RJ45 connector is back by popular demand
  • Support for two external monitors via HDMI and USB-C
  • USB-C power delivery in addition to the standard barrel connector

Customers also have the option of leveraging Purism’s anti-interdiction services for added security in transit to verify hardware has not been tampered with during shipment.

“I am beyond excited to see the Librem laptop journey arrive at the build quality and specifications in the Librem 14. This fifth version of our line is the culmination of our dream device rolled into a powerful professional laptop. We have invested heavily so every customer will be proud to carry our laptops, and the Librem 14 will be the best one yet.” — Todd Weaver, CEO and founder of Purism.

The Librem 14 is available for pre-order now with an “early bird” base price of $1199 and will ship in early Q4 2020. For more details on pricing and hardware specifications for Librem 14 visit https://puri.sm/products/librem-14/.

The post Purism Launches Librem 14, Successor to Security-focused Librem 13 Product Line appeared first on Purism.

by Purism at July 02, 2020 08:00

This Week in F-Droid

.yml is the only metadata format, the others will be removed

Back in September, we announced that the F-Droid ecosystem is moving fully to YAML formats. That means the old .txt custom metadata format as well as the JSON metadata format will be entirely removed from all the tools, like fdroidserver. The upcoming 2.0 release of fdroidserver will only support .yml metadata files.

Now is the time to convert! Thanks to the hard work of @uniqx and others, it is easy:

$ fdroid rewritemeta --to yml

The .txt. and .json formats will only be available in fdroidserver 1.1.x releases from here on out.

by F-Droid at July 02, 2020 00:00

July 01, 2020

/e/ foundation

Leaving Apple & Google: New smartphones support & end of life schedule, shipping to the US, /e/ Mail app blocked by Google…

Leaving Apple & Google: new phones & end of life schedule, /e/ mail app blocked by Gmail, why we don’t ship (yet) to the USA

/e/OS smartphone support: new devices, Android upgrades and end of life schedule

Today, /e/OS supports more than 90 different phones.

Some phones are very old, some are more recent, some are used by many, others are used by few…

If we want to include the latest security updates, we need to stick to the latest Android versions.

So we factored all these dimensions and worked on a roadmap. Our goal is to clarify which phones will be upgraded to the latest Android versions, which phones will be supported in the future, and which phones won’t receive any more updates in the future.

Which phones will be supported? Upgraded to a new Android version? Dropped? Discover and discuss our first iteration of this process on our community post.

/e/ email app blocked by Gmail: how to fix?

Yesterday, some /e/OS users warned us about a communication sent by Google about Gmail access from the default /e/OS mail application, a fork of the open source K9-mail application.

In short, Google announced that the /e/OS Mail app wouldn’t work any more with Gmail very soon.

Read more here about this issue, and how it can be (easily) fixed.

Why don’t we ship /e/-smartphones (yet) to the USA?

It is nearly one year now that we started to ship our first phones with /e/ OS, the pro-privacy, deGoogled, mobile ecosystem.

We ship our range of /e/ phones (Galaxy smartphones: S7, S7 Edge, S8, S9 and S9+, and more recently the Fairphone 3) all over Europe. And this is already a huge market for us.

Every week we receive requests to open to more countries and despite great demand from North America, we still cannot ship there. Yet.

Read more about the reasons and our plan in this blog post.

/e/OS phone range front and back

By the way, all our /e/ smartphones are back in stock!

Break free from Google with /e/OS Fairphone3, Galaxy S7, S7 Edge, S8, S9, S9+…

And did you know? VoLTE, VoWifi and SIP calls are available on /e/ Fairphone 3! (if the feature is offered by your carrier)

Order your brand-new /e/ smartphone today.

How to contribute and support the /e/ project?

We are often asked how to contribute to the /e/ project and we are pleased to answer this question because users’ contributions are key to the success of an ambitious project like ours.

The time is now! There has never been so many questions and comments about user’s data privacy, Google, Apple and alternatives to regain control over data privacy… The timing is great and you can contribute in many ways:

Test /e/OS, report bugs, contribute to patches!

Anyone is really welcome to report issues with /e/OS, and possible solutions. Just make sure you can reproduce the problem, post appropriate context information, possibly some “logs”, and ideally… a solution 🙂

Help others! Join the global community!

We have a growing community of users who are discussing their experience with /e/OS. Join now, you will be able to help others answer common or uncommon questions they have about /e/:

Join /e/ Community Forum
Join the Support Channel

Join discussions, spread the word!

It’s important to share your experience on our forums, tell us about what you like, your frustrations… It helps us to identify improvements for the product and make it a premium mobile ecosystem.

Also, please share the word! Every day, new users discover /e/ and love the project. We need everyone to ensure that as many people as possible learn about the project. We can’t count on mainstream media for this!

So share with friends and your community channels, talk about /e/ on social media, say why you like it!
You can also share what we post on Mastodon and Twitter

Contribute financially

With your help, we can support a growing team of passionate contributors, keep /e/ completely independent and make /e/OS sustainable over time.

Every donation helps the project to pursue additional development, rent servers for compilation and to host your e.email account or the community forum, pay for domain names and other key expenses amongst other things.

If you can afford a recurring donation, become a /e/ Patron!

Otherwise, choose from the different donations options, and get a reward in return!

Subscribe to our Telegram announcement channel to get latest news!

Follow us on Twitter and Mastodon: @e_mydata

by Alexis Noetinger at July 01, 2020 13:58

June 30, 2020

Fairphone

Meet the changemakers: Fairphone Ambassador Pascal Egli

We’re on a journey to change the electronics industry – and we’re not alone. While the Fairphone is a physical expression of the possibility of change, it also happens to be a great storytelling device that connects us with inspiring changemakers from all over.

In this series, we want to shine a light on our ambassadors: A group of bright individuals that share our vision of a fairer future and contribute to sustainable change in their own meaningful way. First up is Swiss mountain runner and ski mountaineer Pascal Egli.

 

Who is: Pascal Egli?

Hi everyone in the Fairphone community. My name is Pascal and I’ve grown up in the Swiss pre-Alps. For the better part of my 32 laps around the sun, I have been running up and down mountains. Beyond that, I’ve dedicated myself to studying Environmental Engineering and am currently working on my Ph.D. in glaciology (topic: subglacial streams) in Lausanne, Switzerland. When I’m not hitting the books, you can find me competing in all sorts of mountain- and skyrunning races. Among my proudest achievements are winning the Skyrunner World Series 2018 and a silver medal at the 2017 Mountain Running long-distance World Championships. Besides competing I also enjoy exploring nature as a (ski-)mountaineer and climber. Through my connection to nature, I’ve become very passionate about projects and companies that try to reconcile technological progress and sustainability.

Speaking of which, how did you first learn about Fairphone?

Great segue! My friends and fellow Environmental Engineers told me about it. And I was immediately fascinated by the idea. From there it was only a short step to contacting you guys, as I wanted to support your cause as an ambassador.

And we’re glad you reached out! Taking a step back though, what is a turning point in your life that made you act or think more sustainably?

Honestly, there has never really been an actual turning point for me. My parents did their best to instill environmentalist values in me from the get-go, so even as a kid, I already had this mindset. We never had a car, a TV or even a dishwasher. For family holidays, we always took the train and never went further than the Swiss Alps or neighboring countries – You can take great trips to Paris, Florence or other places by train. The next big moment for me was around 2005, when we learned about climate change in high school. You could say that the mindset of my group of friends back then was already quite similar to the Fridays For Future movement nowadays.

Wow, you’ve got quite the track record then. Any concrete tips for anyone trying to live more sustainably?

Since you’re reading this on the Fairphone blog, you’re already on the right track. But seriously, my first point would be to start with small changes in your daily life. Every step is valuable in the long run. If you want to go beyond that, I’ve got a little list for you: The single easiest way to live more sustainably is to eat less meat. The second tip I can confidently give is to travel less, and with different means of transportation. The third one is to buy less in general, especially things you don’t really need. And the final suggestion is to make your home more sustainable, if possible: better insulation, installing a heat pump instead of petrol heating and other home improvements.

One small change we really appreciate is that you’ve switched to a Fairphone a while back. How does it fit in your everyday life?

The Fairphone 3 is my daily driver for nearly all tasks, both in my private life and professionally – from chatting with friends and family, to social media, training uploads on Strava, way-finding and capturing memories on the road. More importantly though, it’s the only phone out there that actually supports my mission to live more sustainably. You can imagine that mountaineering can be quite hard on your equipment, but if something breaks, I can just swap out the module or battery, instead of having to buy a new phone entirely. I also love the dual-SIM slots, because I can just use a second SIM-card when traveling to other countries for a skyrunning competition, for example.

Ok, well you’ve set it up, so we have to ask: Can you share your favorite shots taken with the Fairphone 3 and give us some behind the scenes info?

Sure! Hard to choose, since my gallery is already quite full, but here we go:

1. Camp 2 at 5500m on Aconcagua in Argentina

 

The evening light was marvelous and those small ice pinnacles in the background, called penitentes, are a very unique sight to behold.

2. On top of the Americas – The summit of Aconcagua at 6962m

 

The feeling of standing up there is indescribable! I got lucky because someone reached the summit just in time to take this picture of me jumping. The crazy thing was, it was below -20°C, but the Fairphone 3 was still working without a hitch.

3. Timer-Selfie in the Swiss Grisons Alps

 

Self-isolation, training weeks and study time all in this beautiful setting.

4. The view from Leysin Ski Resort to Lake Geneva.

 

These are my home training grounds in Switzerland. It’s the place where I spend most of my time training, and you can even see my working place (town of Lausanne) on the right-hand side, on the shore of Lake Geneva.

Thanks so much for your time, Pascal. 


We highly recommend having a browse through Pascal’s website or his social media feeds. Especially his Instagram channel is an inspiring visual logbook from his many expeditions and a great window into his life.

For more on Pascal and our other Fairphone Ambassadors, stay tuned to this blog or head on over to our community page >>

(Covershot by Alessandro Tomiello)

The post Meet the changemakers: Fairphone Ambassador Pascal Egli appeared first on Fairphone.

by Lora at June 30, 2020 15:43

Tutanota

New anti-encryption bill worse than EARN IT. Act now to stop both.

US authorities have long waged a war against encryption. Now the so-called crypto wars have reached another devastating height with the introduction of the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act by Senators Graham, Blackburn, and Cotton. This bill is worse than the previously introduced EARN IT bill. As a secure email provider focusing on protecting everyone's right to privacy, we strongly oppose this law. Act now to stop EARN IT and the Lawful Access to Encrypted Data Act.

June 30, 2020 00:00

June 29, 2020

Purism

Librem 5 May 2020 Software Development Update

Librem 5 May 2020 Software Development Update

This is another incarnation of the software development progress for the Librem 5. This time for May 2020 (weeks 19-22). Some items are covered in more detail in separate blog posts at https://puri.sm/news. The idea of this summary is so you can have a closer look at the coding and design side of things. It also shows how much we’re standing on the shoulders of giants reusing existing software and how contributions are flowing back and forth between upstream and downstream projects. This quickly gets interesting since we’re upstream for some projects (e.g. Calls, Phosh, Chatty) and downstream for others (e.g Debian, kernel, GNOME). So these reports are usually rather link heavy pointing to individual merge requests on https://source.puri.sm/ or to the upstream side (like e.g. GNOME’s gitlab).

Adaptive Apps

This section features improvements on adaptive apps, GTK, and underlying GTK based widget libraries like libhandy:

Short and instant messaging

Chats (aka Chatty) handles SMS and instant messaging via XMPP. It has experimental support for various other formats via libpurple. Cleanups and bug fixes continued during May:

  • Introduce a ChattyMessage class to handle different message types consistently: chatty!326
  • Cleanup ChattyConversations: chatty!332
  • Emit ‘avatar-changed’ if associated buddy avatar changes to handle avatar updates: chatty!333
  • Utils: Format time as per the current user settings: chatty!334
  • API to get and/set encryption and use it to simplify encryption handling: chatty!335
  • Window: Fix selection flicker when chat is updated: chatty!336
  • List-row: Limit message preview to a single line: chatty!338
  • Window: Set selected flag for row only if not folded: chatty!339
  • Chat: Strip client information from get_name(): chatty!340
  • Use ChattyAvatar in main window headerbar and user info dialog: chatty!341
  • pp-buddy: Avoid updating avatar often: chatty!342
  • Silence compiler warnings: chatty!343
  • Tests: Don’t set MALLOC_PERTURB_: chatty!346
  • Window: Show an error dialog if creating SMS with modem missing: chatty!347
  • pp-account: Use purple_core_get_ui() to get ui string: chatty!348
  • Fix various memory leaks: chatty!350 chatty!372
  • Manager: Make sure the user sees errors right away: chatty!353
  • Different UI fixes crammed into one merge request: chatty!354
  • New-chat-dialog: Reset search text when showing dialog: chatty!356
  • New chat dialogs: Handle pressing ‘Enter’: chatty!357
  • Don’t allow messages rows to get the focus. This eases keyboard navigation: chatty!361
  • Use GObject properties and signals more: chatty!374
  • Settings-dialog: Call idle users that (not offline): chatty!375
  • Use GAppliation more. This makes chatty more a regular GTK+ application: chatty!376

Lurch plugin

The lurch plugin is responsible for OMEMO encryption within libpurple:

  • Notify user when a message can’t be decrypted instead of silently dropping it: lurch!5
  • Unbreak the build and run tests during the build: lurch!6

Phone Calls

Calls (the app handling phone calls) now shows notifications on missed calls and emits haptic feedback and saw a long list of translation updates (fa, sv, uk, it, ro, fr, pt_br, jp , thanks Danial Behzadi, Anders Jonsson, Yuri Chornoivan, Antonio Pandolfo, Daniel Șerbănescu, Valéry Febvre, Rafael Fontenelle and Scott Anecito) but there were other small improvements:

  • Build calls against Debian bullseye to make it future proof: calls!112
  • add gbp.conf to make releasing less error-prone: calls!121
  • po: Update po file list and make sure fail CI if we forget to do so in the future: chatty!345
  • Skip i18n for plugins: calls!132
  • Stop busywork for translators: calls!133

Compositor and Shell

This section highlights progress in Librem 5’s GTK based graphical shell name Phosh and its wlroots based compositor Phoc:

Phosh

  • Blank the display on idle: phosh!300. This finally glues the wlr-output-power-management protocol and GNOME Settings daemon’s power plugin together and can be seen in here.
  • Translations were updated for uk and zh_TW – thanks YuriChornoivan and Yi-Jyun Pan!
  • Phosh now triggers more haptic feedback e.g. on button release and when selecting an activity from the overview

Phoc

  • We fixed way too early unblank: phoc!151
  • Nícolas F. R. A. Prado fixed compilation with -Wswitch: phoc!148
  • Phoc now automatically enables new outputs to make them ‘plug and play’ again: phoc!152 (diffs)
  • We made test execution in CI more robust to not frustrate developers: phoc!149

On-Screen Keyboard

Gnome Control Center (Settings) / GNOME Settings daemon

Sadiq enhanced several panels upstream:

Feedbackd

Feedbackd is responsible for haptic, audio (and later) LED-based feedback:

  • Feedbackd now picks up the configured sound theme: feedbackd!18
  • Feedback is now ended/canceled when invoking lfb_uninit: feedbackd!19 This makes sure feedbacks are stopped when an app quits
  • Rasmus Thomsen fixed a compile race that could lead to build failures: feedbackd!15

Linux Kernel

The process of upstreaming our Linux kernel work progress is covered in a separate report. The current one is for Linux 5.7 so this is mostly about downstream improvements:

Releases

These were the releases during May for projects we’re upstream:

Lambda

If you made it down here and want to start contributing join us on matrix. We certainly welcome patches and issue comments on https://source.puri.sm/. If you want to grab an issue and can’t think of a particular problem, check the easy and help wanted tags in our GitLab instance. See you next month.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Preorder now

 

The post Librem 5 May 2020 Software Development Update appeared first on Purism.

by Guido Günther at June 29, 2020 17:01

June 25, 2020

Fairphone

Digging for change

Part two of a guest feature by  David Sturmes, Director of Programme and Operations at the Impact Facility.

In 2018 Fairphone has partnered with global lighting company Signify, the Chinese cobalt refiner Huayou Cobalt and the Impact Facility (TIF), a social business dedicated to improving the livelihoods of artisanal miners in poverty-ridden communities, to build a program that addresses the complex challenges around ASM cobalt production in DR Congo. Through the Fair Cobalt Alliance (FCA), the companies join forces to offer technical expertise to and channeling investment into the communities living and working at two mine sites in the mining city of Kolwezi: Kasulu and Kamilombe.

Our plans do not only focus on improving the working conditions of miners on the ground, but also aim at contributing to the regional issue that is child labor, as well as addressing the current lack of viable alternatives to mining to combat widespread poverty.

Currently, the selected sites provide a livelihood for roughly five thousand artisanal miners. Kasulu stood at the center of Amnesty International’s 2016 report “This is what we die for”. Investing millions of dollars, Huayou Cobalt has since supported the professionalization of the independently operated ASM site, putting in place a wall and management measures to exclude children from the operations. Working closely with the cooperatives managing the sites, occupational health and safety have much improved, as is corroborated by independent monitoring companies. Yet, both Kasulu and the close-by Kamilombe site are often hazardous places to work and require significant investments and further professionalization before the operations could reasonably be described as meeting acceptable standards.

 

Realizing that there is little to no literature to describe how mines like Kasulu and Kamilombe operate, we decided to publish some of the insights we gained as we developed our cobalt program. The result: Digging for Change

The underlying assessment was never intended as a due diligence assessment, a forensic audit, or a statistical analysis of the circumstances of children and mine workers in the Kolwezi area. Instead, our goal was to paint a landscape of the issues associated with cobalt ASM and their possible solutions to design and develop a program of work that has ultimately resulted in the establishment of the FCA.

Having talked to relevant stakeholders on the ground, refiners, and downstream companies, we have drawn a few conclusions that served as a starting point for our program.

Creating decent working conditions

The imperative to make ASM sites safer

Our collective priority should be to improve working conditions at ASM sites. The only way to engage ASM constructively is by addressing safety and security issues in the sector through a systemic overhaul of production practices at the mine level. Currently, people working at the mines are at risk of severe injury or even death by mine collapse.

Focus on market transparency, rather than wage levels

Many mine workers are concerned about how much they earn. Usually, their incomes depend on how much cobalt they are able to produce. Consequently, it is challenging to positively impact their income due to the volatility of the international cobalt price as well as the complexity of compensation schemes. While we cannot artificially raise the prices, we see an opportunity to work on enhancing workers’ terms of employment and trade through the provision of transparent and fair buying practices at the trading stations (or depots). Such efforts should include but not be limited to the provision of independent purity and weight measurements, and potentially guidelines for pit-owners regarding the social welfare provided to injured and sick workers.

Supporting the surrounding communities

Aiming at child labor-eradication in the region and pursuing the goal of ensuring that the region prospers and benefits from its resource endowments, a landscape approach is needed. Consequently, we expanded the scope of our program to the entire mining community rather than focusing exclusively on on-site mine improvements.

Photo of children playing on a dirt path

Fostering access to education for children & vocational training for youth at risk of or in child labor

As long as the region is characterized by widespread poverty, child labor will remain an issue. At mine sites, children can and should be banned from entering the premises by implementing systems that control the ingress of workers to ensure child-labor-free cobalt production. This does not help to solve the systemic issue of widespread child labor, however.

We have long-term ambitions to contribute to a thriving, diversified economy, boosting workers’ incomes and reducing the need for children’s financial contribution to household incomes.

In the short term, our program will support local organizations’ efforts to identify children in (hazardous) child labor and support them to (re)join formal primary and/or secondary education. At-risk youth will be targeted through offers of vocational training and be supported in finding formal employment upon reaching the age of 18.

Weaning Kolwezi off its dependency on ASM

Due to advances in the recycling of cobalt, because deeper deposits are best recovered mechanically, and because the price of cobalt has a history of fluctuation and creating uncertainty for the price of cobalt ore, the long-term future of recovering cobalt in Katanga region is unlikely to be through ASM. Rather, industrial mining is more likely to expand its market share of extracting the raw material. Large scale mining offers significantly less direct employment at mine level and mostly to skilled workers, many of whom come from overseas. Former ASM workers will need to find economic alternatives. Therefore, although artisanal mining of cobalt will be a feature of the sector for some time to come, it is timely to start thinking about what a ‘just transition’ of ASM workers to other economic activities should look like, to avoid the shock of mass unemployment.

Supporting entrepreneurship as the path forward

The Impact Facility suggests a strong focus on exploring options for and fostering access to economic alternatives in the artisanal mining communities of the region. One opportunity to highlight is the agricultural sector. The history in the region is one of agricultural abundance and soils known for their deep and fertile growing horizon, yet ironically the region currently depends heavily on imported food. As a result of decades of mining, a large share of the community has developed a culture that embraces the immediacy of cash payments as a central advantage of mine work. Many interviewees doubted that the average mineworker would ‘go back’ to subsistence farming given its uncertain and only delayed returns on investment.
For this reason, we believe that a well-planned program that fosters local entrepreneurship and offers employment in sectors that have comparable financial prospects is the best way to provide safer, and child labor-free working conditions in alternative sectors. Which specific sectors this could involve, and the time it will take and the investments needed to grow such opportunities, warrants further investigation.

 

All this said, we are committed to making ASM working conditions better, to improve household incomes in the region and to protect children’s rights, while putting in place the lodestone for the longer-term ‘just transition’ to alternatives to ASM. However, we can’t do that by ourselves. A systemic value chain approach is needed to incentivize and catalyze sustained positive change of ASM cobalt mining practices in and around Kolwezi. To achieve improvements across the region, the responsibility to finance, implement and monitor should be spread along the cobalt supply chain from operators of ASM sites, to manufacturers, and, ultimately, to retail brands.

We are working hard to kick off investment into the mine sites in the coming weeks. We will start communicating more frequently about our plans, the program and the impact we achieve and will continue to recruit others to join us, leading the charge for change in the cobalt sector!


Editors note: In case you’ve missed it, here is David’s first guest blog “The charged debate around cobalt”.

We go straight to the source to make sure we’re creating positive change. One material at a time, we’re working to incorporate fairer, recycled, and responsibly mined materials in our phones – to increase industry and consumer awareness. Right this way to learn more about how we’re making a positive impact >>

The post Digging for change appeared first on Fairphone.

by David Sturmes at June 25, 2020 15:23

The charged debate around cobalt

Part one of a guest feature by  David Sturmes, Director of Programme and Operations at the Impact Facility.

Few if any minerals have polarised the public as much as cobalt. The battery metal allows us to store energy more efficiently, stabilizing batteries and allowing frequent recharging – an essential attribute for EVs, mobile phones, and large scale energy storage. Given its utility, cobalt has been praised by many as the key to a green energy transition. As global speculation around cobalt had led to unprecedented price spikes, international NGOs and media came out with sobering reports uncovering hazardous working conditions at artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) operations in DR Congo and, among other issues, a strong association with child labor.

This creates a dichotomy between cobalt as a key to reach a clean, carbon-free future on the one hand, and its production, being characterized by systemic child labor, hazardous working conditions and a dismal reputation for the protection of human rights.

Contributing as much as 20% of national cobalt production, cobalt from artisanal and small-scale mines finds its way into complex, global supply chains. Despite it providing many thousands of jobs directly and contributing to the livelihoods of even more households indirectly, current practices at ASM cobalt-mining sites do not always meet the expectations of international supply chain actors and brands regarding working conditions, mine site governance and environmental management. Locally, however, artisanal miners have few viable alternative income sources that are as easily accessible or with similar levels of pay and providing ready cash flow.

 

Four years after Amnesty had published its report cobalt prices have gone back down to pre-speculation levels. While the number of workers has gone down significantly, there are still several ten thousand families that continue to rely on cobalt mining as their primary source of income. In regards to working conditions, little has changed on the ground, warranting the question of what can be done to help improve working conditions.

Only a few companies have taken steps to get involved on the ground. On the contrary, various EV producers and technology companies have announced their intention to reduce drastically and if possible even eliminate the use of cobalt in their batteries instead, pouring millions of dollars into finding a viable alternative. In all fairness, the costs and potential scarcity of the mineral, as well as its significant environmental footprint, undoubtedly played a role in the decision to reduce the industry’s dependency on cobalt, a potent driver, however, appears to be the desire to distance themselves from the harsh reality faced by the artisanal mining communities.

 

This tendency towards disengagement from ASM cobalt and even the mineral at large, however, has fueled concerns by organizations like the OECD and Amnesty International, appealing to industry actors to seek constructive engagement with ASM instead. Downstream disengagement from, or a ban of, ASM cobalt fails to constructively address the issues leading to child labor and hazardous working conditions, denying any responsibility of supply chain actors to contribute to jointly developing a viable solution instead.

Fact is, as of now, we are yet to find a replacement for cobalt. Even when factoring in various new mines starting operations outside the DRC and cobalt recycling becoming more efficient (which marks an essential step towards circular economy), experts anticipate significant production deficits in the coming ten years, as global demand is expected to skyrocket. A more professionally organized ASM sector could be an essential lever in addressing the growing demand for cobalt, and equally, marks an opportunity to ensure that local communities can transform some of their mineral wealth into lasting prosperity for their community.

Find out more about our approach to finding solutions in part two: Digging for change


About the author and the Impact Facility:

UK-based social business, The Impact Facility (TIF) has the mission of convening industry, public sector and local communities in areas where poverty and hardship persist despite significant mineral wealth. Over the last decade, we have learned that the provision of technical assistance and access to formal markets is essential to challenge the status quo. Seeing many well-intentioned ASM development projects yield limited success, however, made us realize that the key to achieving lasting change lies in, additionally, providing access to finance and equipment, offering miners fair and transparent terms.

For the last three years, TIF has been working in partnership with Fairphone driving the production of responsible gold from Uganda. Since then we have started expanding our collaboration to cobalt, a mineral associated with ASM operations located in the Copper Belt of DR Congo. Together with my colleagues, I have spent the last 1.5 years building what now has become the Fair Cobalt Alliance, a multi-year program to address hazardous working conditions, child labor and low incomes among artisanal cobalt miners. We are actively recruiting additional members to support our vision. Many companies, however, are hesitant to engage with ASM, afraid of being associated with negative impacts upstream of their supply chain.

 

The post The charged debate around cobalt appeared first on Fairphone.

by David Sturmes at June 25, 2020 14:51

Volla Phone Blog

Impulses from the Community

30 participants from Germany and abroad took the opportunity at the Volla Community Days in June to inform themselves about the status of the project and to contribute their ideas, 22 of them online. This means that the event had a total of three times as many participants as last year. This time the focus was on the Volla Phone, its user-friendliness and the protection of privacy.

by Hallo Welt Systeme UG at June 25, 2020 09:47

June 24, 2020

Tutanota

German court stops Facebook's data collection mania.

Facebook just lost an appeal in a case stating that the social media giant violated antitrust laws. The Federal Court of Justice in Germany confirmed a prohibition order by the German Cartel Office that leads to strict regulations and ultimately stops the unlimited data collection of Facebook.

June 24, 2020 00:00

June 23, 2020

Privacy Browser

Liberapay Account

F-Droid turned me on to Liberapay, which is similar to Patreon, but with a focus on open source principles. As such, it is right up my alley.

I have created a Liberapay account and listed it on the Donations page.

by Soren Stoutner at June 23, 2020 21:46

Purism

Librem Mini is Shipping

The Librem Mini is Shipping!

We were excited to see so much interest from the community in our Librem Mini pre-order campaign and we hit our initial goals within only three weeks. Since then we’ve been testing hardware and porting coreboot over and now we are ready to start shipping Librem Mini pre-orders to customers.

As you may know the Librem Mini is revolutionary in that it supports Purism’s PureBoot out-of-the-box in addition to our default coreboot firmware and can work with the Librem Key for ultimate security. It is the ideal home server or secure workstation, and is fully backed by the support of Purism.

If you ordered a Librem Mini, you will receive an email confirming your order status and shipping information. As with any newly brought to market product, the Librem Mini running PureOS will have software updates to apply as we continue to refine the firmware. One forthcoming software update that we want to bring to your attention concerns the fan speed control, as currently the CPU is passively cooled and may throttle down under heavy load. Full active cooling will be coming in a firmware update so we highly recommend following our published announcements. If you are uncomfortable with applying a firmware update using our coreboot firmware update tool, you also have the option for Purism to hold the order until we release that software update. If you desire that, let us know when we contact you to confirm shipping information, otherwise you will be enjoying your Librem Mini soon!

If you were waiting until the shipping announcement to place your order, now’s the time! Click here to order your Librem Mini, to be shipped within approximately 10 business days.

The post Librem Mini is Shipping appeared first on Purism.

by Purism at June 23, 2020 16:25