Last week I got the PineTime, a free/libre smartwatch. In the past months, I’ve been working on MyGNUHealth and porting it to the PinePhone.
Why doing so? Because running free/libre operating systems and having control of the applications on your mobile phones and wearables is the right thing to do.
Yesterday, I told myself: “This is the day to move away from Android and take control over my phone”. And I made the switch. Now I am using a PinePhone on Manjaro running KDE plasma mobile. I have also switched my smartwatch to the PineTime.
The mobile phone and smartwatch were the last pieces of hardware and software to liberate. All my computing is now libre. No proprietary operating systems, no closed-source applications. Not on my laptop, not in my desktop, not on my phone.
Facing and overcoming the social pressure
At the moment I ditched Android, I felt an immense sense of relief and happiness. It took me back 30 years ago, early FreeBSD and GNU/Linux times, being in control of every component of my computer.
We can not put our daily life activities, electronic transactions and data in the hands of the corporations. Android phones shipped today are full of “bloatware” and closed-source applications. We can safely call most of those applications spyware.
The PinePhone is a libre computer, with a phone. All the applications are Libre Software. I have SSH, most of the cool KDE plasma applications I enjoy in the desktop, I can have them now in my pocket. Again, most importantly, I am free.
Of course, freedom comes with a price. The price to face social and corporate pressure. For instance, somebody asked me yesterday how to deal with banking without the app. My answer was, I never used an app for banking. Running a proprietary financial application is shooting at the heart of your privacy. If your bank does not let you do your transactions from any standard web browser, then change your bank. Quick digression… the financial system and the big technological corporations are desperately trying to get rid of good all coins and bills. This is yet another attack on our privacy. Nobody needs to know when, where and what I buy.
A brighter future depends on us
Some people might argue that this technology might not be ready for prime time, yet. I would say that I am ok with it, and the more we join, the more feedback we provide, and the better end result we’ll get.
The Pine64 project is mainly a community-oriented ecosystem. Its hardware, operating system and applications are from the community and for the community. I am developing MyGNUHealth Personal Health Record to be run on KDE Plasma, both for desktop and for the PinePhone and other Libre mobile devices. It is my commitment with freedom, privacy and universal healthcare to deliver health informatics in Libre, privacy focused platforms that anyone can adopt.
It depends on you to be prisoner of the corporation and massive surveillance systems, or to be in full control of your programming, health information and life. It takes commitment to achieve it… some components might be too bleeding edge or the camera might not have the highest resolutions and you won’t have the Whatsapp “app” (removing that application would actually be a blessing). It’s a very small price to pay for freedom and privacy. It’s a very small price to pay for the advancement of our society.
It’s been many years since I’ve been in the look out for a truly libre phone. After many projects that succumbed, the PinePhone is the first one that has gained momentum. Please support the PinePhone project. Support KDE plasma mobile. Support Arch, Manjaro, openSUSE, FreeBSD or your favorite Libre operating system. Support those who make Libre convergent applications that can be run on mobile devices, like Kirigami. Support InfiniTime and any free/libre firmware for smartwatches, as well as their companions as Siglo or Amazfish.
The future of Libre mobile computing is now, more than ever, in your hands.
Happy and healthy hacking.