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    I, too, am really excited about this phone, and hoping to receive mine soon. Everyone should care, because if the community is able to make it a good experience for end users, it may be the only phone where you as an individual can truly have control of your own privacy. I’m aware of the Librem 5, and it is also a worthwhile undertaking, but the Pine64 community has managed a much higher bar of openness, publishing schematics, CAD files, and bootloader source code. I’ve become convinced that the only sustainable way to oppose corporate intrusions into our lives is for technology to be community-driven. Phones have a wealth of personal data on them; it’s nice to not have to pick which multinational corporation to trust with it.

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      This phone has me really excited. The price and specs seem good enough and I am super hyped for mobile Linux. But I think I will wait until some more things are polished before I get one myself. It is stuff like this that kind of makes me wish I was better at low level programming so that I could help develop this into a more polished user experience.

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        The best way to learn is by doing.

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          That is a good point. I currently have some other side projects on the back-burner (learning Haskell and Toki Pona). After the holidays and after I make some more headway with those projects I will seriously consider getting a pinephone and hacking on it. Maybe see if I can write some simple applications in something interesting like Zig or Rust.

          Thanks for the article, I always enjoy your content!

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            Potentially also check out Nim.

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              Nim rules!

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          You might not need to be doing particularly low level programming to add value. The ecosystem will need quality mobile-friendly apps; I suspect there will be a lot of opportunities without having to dig into systems programming.

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          I ordered one last week. I’m pretty excited to see where this goes. It doesn’t have to take off, it just needs to build enough of a community to be sustainable.

          This seems like a much more pragmatic design than previous attempts at a linux phone. It’s using well understood and easy-to-source hardware with existing drivers, is produced by a company that is already profitable via other avenues and isn’t attempting to build a new software platform from scratch.

          I saw the author of https://github.com/NixOS/mobile-nixos has one already and now @ddevault is getting into it too.

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            A compellingly optimistic review! Might try one out myself once they’re refined a bit (by people like you ;-). Any thoughts on or interest in the Pinebook? It looks neat but I fear for the build quality of a laptop that cheap.

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              I have a Pinebook (which I was given for free by Pine64), and it’s pretty decent, if your workload is light. I use a lightweight desktop and offload a lot of intensive work to servers off-site (when I’m doing load intensive work at all, which isn’t often). Video playback is dubious but it handles sway, some music, a web browser, and a bunch of terminals just fine - which describes my typical workstation well.

              That being said, I don’t use it today, for a few reasons:

              • I was given an EU power cord and pulling out an adapter is annoying.
              • I’m madly in love with my old school thinkpads and the Pinebook isn’t going to change that.
              • When I was opening up the Pinebook to tinker with the insides a bit, I broke the plastic on the hinge, which makes opening and closing it really cumbersome and fragile. Tip: if you open the Pinebook up, do not bend the hinge without closing everything up again first.

              This was my experience with the original Pinebook, I haven’t tried the Pro.

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                I don’t own one, but a friend brought a Pinebook Pro to the club some time ago.

                I first thought it was a new Thinkpad with improved build quality. The Pinebook feels sturdier than 90% of what you get to buy from other vendors where you often pay 20 times the price.

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                  Spend a little, get a little, but if you’re mindful of how little you spent it can be worth it :).

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                    At that price point it’s competing not with other new laptops, but with used thinkpads.

                    Ideologically there’s more to like about the pinebook, but other than that it’s a hard sell vs a T420s.

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                    I have a Pinebook Pro that I generally like, particularly as a replacement for a general browsing experience like on an ipad or other tablet. I prefer having a keyboard available, and I happen to like the form factor of a laptop. It’s a solid case with a nice keyboard and a pretty good monitor for the price. The battery life is pretty good and it shows the processor percentage being used in the taskbar by default, which is nice.

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                    The eMMC is 16G and, side note, had seventeen partitions on it when I first got the phone

                    Well, if it came with some version of Android, that shouldn’t be surprising. Modern Qualcomm Android phones (especially with A/B Treble) have like 64 partitions.

                    I have been working on some components of a mobile-friendly Wayland compositor, based on Sway

                    I understand the drive to reinvent everything very well, but like… Purism is building Phosh with wlroots already. And they have a layer-shell keyboard. Why not use their stuff?

                    (btw: what’s the protocol to make soft keyboards pop up when you focus a text field? Is it input-method?)

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                      I am using some of their stuff - I actually use a personal fork of their older virboard OSK right now. The main issue with their stuff is that it’s heavily GNOME-centric, implicates lots of dbus, and so on - not the kind of design choices I’m interested in for my personal environment. And the more the merrier, eh?

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                      I’m planning to test Lisp development with mine.

                      I think it should be fairly straightforward to set up a Common Lisp environment to build mobile apps interactively on a PinePhone.

                      • Steel Bank Common Lisp for ARM64 running on the PinePhone.
                      • SWANK running on that.
                      • SLIME in Emacs on my Linux or FreeBSD dev machine, connected to SWANK on the PinePhone.
                      • Use McCLIM to build the UI.

                      We’ll see just how straightforward it proves to be :)

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                        How can I follow your progress?

                        I’ve just gone back from using SailfishOS as my daily driver for 1.5 years to a Huawei P30 Pro because camera, but if I could put LineageOS without Google on it while keeping the camera app I would do it in an instant.

                        Anyway, Lisp development on SFOS was a bit too much hassle for so I’m curious about your experiences on the PinePhone.

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                          I’ll be using this (currently skeletal) repository:


                          If you Watch that you’ll be notified when the phone arrives and I start hacking.

                          I have a RPi3 knocking around, so may start experimenting with CL on that before the PinePhone arrives.

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                            FYI the PinePhone arrived (and it’s lovely hardware!). Hope to start hacking on it soon, have just been playing around with it at the moment (trying to get voice calls going so I can switch to it as a daily driver).

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                          I have a Samsung phone that has been annoying me for a while, but at the same time very other phone just seems worse or just as bad. Since I’ve been looking into the pinebook, I might think about this too – if it turns out to be stable.

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                            I ordered one to replace my aging Note 4 running Lineage. Seems like it’ll be a challenge using it as a daily driver, but the fun sort of challenge :)

                            The only kind of person I would recommend this phone to is a developer who believes in the phone and wants to help build the software necessary for it to work.

                            Sign me up :)

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                              This is so, so exciting. I am counting down the days until I can replace my phone with something FLOSS. That day now seems to be appearing on the horizon. Sway Mobile sounds just wonderful.

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                                Wow, thanks for posting this. I didn’t know this existed and I’m really excited! Especially compared to the price of the Librem 5.

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                                  What happened to interest in the Librem 5?

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                                    The cost.

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                                      Honestly, the cost isn’t too bad for the intent - the Librem 5 wants to be a ready-out-of-the-box device with an ecosystem, whereas the PinePhone wants to be a tinkers’ device. Of course, the problem is that Purism has botched things (per former CTO) and is running like a pyramid scheme. Pine’s is cheaper and far less ambitious, but less risky.

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                                        When you are doing shoestring budgets, there are a lot of robbing peter to pay paul moments in budgeting. It may be that they actually are a pyramid scheme as well, but I’m not sure the verdict is out on that yet.

                                        I agree the intent of the Librem 5 is a finished, usable phone, so you do expect a bit more $$‘s over a hackable unfinished phone like the pinephone, but the librem 5 is 3-4x the cost of the hardware(where I’m suggesting it’s ~ $200 MSRP for the hardware), which is a bit steep. Is it in the ballpark? debatable.

                                        For me, currently, it’s the cost(and not being in the market for a new phone atm).

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                                          I think librem, like previous linux phone attempts, have tried to jump too far in one step by going straight to a mass-market device.

                                          Whereas the pinephone is taking an incremental approach by aiming at the tinkerer marker, where they have a decent chance of creating a self-sustaining niche ecosystem in the same way as desktop linux. And then maybe by pinephone 3 or 4 the software will have matured enough that we can start talking about a mass-market device.

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                                            Even previous unambitious attempts like the Freerunner were underwhelming. I loved my N900, not because it was a GNU/Linux phone, but because it was a legitimately great phone even without that factor.

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                                              I loved my N900 because it was a GNU/Linux phone and a great phone. But fuck PowerVR. It would still be a viable device (though definitely not for the masses) if not for that GPU.

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                                                I think the extremely constrained 256 MB of RAM (despite the generous 32 GB of eMMC for 2009!) is a far bigger factor, TBH.

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                                                  I can run postmarketOS on my N900, and the lack of 3D accel is a major problem moreso than running out of RAM.

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                                                    What are you running on it? Even in 2013, the small amount of RAM was more directly impactful in trying to use the browser than a desktop that wasn’t even 3D accelerated.

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                                                      Hildon requires 3D acceleration.

                                                      I have run a music player (thus), netsurf browser, i3wm.