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So i have not bought a GNU/Linux phone for several reasons, one of which is that neither the ecosystem nor the devices themselves seem to be mature enough to have a stable experience.

To begin with, GTK3 is far from ideal on these devices, and many applications have not migrated to GTK4 which does take advantage of the GPUs… more or less. I don’t know exacly what the status of the drivers is like, but i’d assume that the pinephone doesn’t support vulkan.

But i’ve heard that AMD and Samsung will collaborate to bring AMD RDNA2 GPU’s to Samsung devices, which in my opinion, it’s the game changer that we need. This is completely theoretical but we lose nothing by speculating.

So AMD is great on x86 right? you have very powerful graphic cards compared to intel’s which have open source drivers and implementations like intel, namely MESA with RADV, unlike Nvidia, a company that offers very powerful cards with closed source drivers.

I’d assume that these new devices will be able to run a full GNU/Linux distro with open source drivers and all the subsequent tools. You would get finally a powerful device withouth compromising privacy from the software perspective.

I understand that the kill switches are something unique that gives the Librem 5 and the Pinephone an advantage in terms of privacy, but using a real GNU/LInux distribution on a powerful and potentially popular device is a big deal.

What are your thoughts on this?

Camarada Forte
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Linux development took way too much time to enter the market, and therefore will face tremendous difficulties, but it is indeed a step in the right direction. Having GNU/Linux phones can open many possibilities in software development, and most definitely, free software. You’re right about the ecosystem issue, though. I have no idea how they will pull it off, but PinePhone has been able to do wonders with their resources lately.

@lorabe
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Well, my post doesn’t go against the idea of having a true FLOSS operative system on phone devices, quite the contrary.

Regarding the “ecosystem”, as a GNU/Linux user on a Raspberry Pi, i am more than fine with the idea of having and entire ecosystem of FLOSS applications, the difference between GNU/Linux on desktop and GNU/Linux on mobile devices is that the first one has a real ecosystem, the second one is barely developing one. But it’s a matter of time.

Personally, although i appreciate the impact of the Librem 5 and the Pinephone on GNU/Linux as a mobile platform, especially Libhandy now known as Libadwaita, i have to say, one is quite expensive yet not very powerful, and the other one is not expensive yet it’s very underpowered. I think we need a real middle ground.

Camarada Forte
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I get it, you won’t buy because you think it’s expensive. I think it’s expensive as well. Actually, even if I thought the opposite, it wouldn’t make a difference because I don’t have the money to buy something like that to begin with.

What I wanted to say is, even if I can’t afford it, we will benefit from the development of this industry as well. Because the Linux system is an operating system with a vocal (but extremely disorganized) free software community.

RED Vulpix
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I’d say it’s not time to market so much as the mentality of Linux. It’s aimed mostly at professionals, developers, and power users, and therefore not as much effort goes into polishing the UI and making it easy and intuitive to use as Android, iOS, or even Windows. Instead, Linux UIs seem to focus on control, customization, and being able to run on low power hardware.

Granted, Linux being no nonsense is a big reason I love it, but to the average consumer, it’s a flaw.

Camarada Forte
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This could be merely a question of time, any new “paradigm” could make its way into the average consumer if it shows to be affordable and usable. Linux was actually very used in peripheral countries for a while to prevent the abusive fees Microsoft exploit through intellectual property when an institution uses a pirated Windows copy. The government of my country used GNU/Linux for a long time, and we even had a GNU/Linux operating system of our own, Kurumin Linux.

The only reason Windows became so prevalent in peripheral countries after a while is because now manufacturers of computer machines have a clo$e relation$hip with Microsoft’s very fat offers and the sellers become obliged to sell the machines with Windows installed if they do not wish to get heavily fined for it.

Still, Linux accesibility has nothing to do with its design or its ‘mentality’, in my opinion, but it’s admittedly rarely used nowadays.

@quiteStraightEdge
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I kind of agree… But you have to take a look at distributions like PopOS. I haven’t used it much, but it is very pretty, and super fast to install. In 30 minutes you could be up and browsing mindlessly facebook; from start with clean hardware; even if you know nothing about sysops.

@fruechtchen
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i think smartphones don’t need to be powerful. That only means short battery lifetime. I only need my smartphone to communicate with people and some organizational things. I don’t play games, etc.

@lorabe
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I understand your point, but smartphones are and have the capacity to be more than just a phone, reducing their spectrum of capabilities IMO does not solve anything. I also don’t want an RX6700 on a phone device, it would be too expensive, what i am arguing is that if possible, a linux friendly and powerful ARM device would help more than what we have now.

poVoq
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I don’t think the Pinephone is even targeted as “stable-first” users like you seem to be. And to be honest I don’t quite get why a fast GPU with Vulcan support (which the Pinephone indeed doesn’t have) would be a relevant criteria for a phone? For gaming? (hint: there are basically no compatible games) The GPU the PinePhone has is plenty fast to drive an mobile optimized UI like seen with the Ubuntu Touch or SailfishOS ports.

If you never the less want to try out something that comes close to what the PinePhone could offer in theory, get an old UT supported Android device and use the super easy Ubports installer to reflash it.

@PeterLinuxer
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I have an Android phone and my father has an iPhone. Both are sheer crap, really. So I can’t wait for having enough money for buying a PinePhone.

@lorabe
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I will be honest with you, it’s not the same to say “this sucks” because the quality sucks than saying “this sucks” because there are political reasons behind it.

Apple and Android devices have much higher quality compared to what a Pinephone can offer. I am not even talking about the software, the pinephone is a seriously underpowered device. I personally think that regardless of how much the software can improve, we need something more powerful, hence my post.

@ajz
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As far as I understood the Pinephone is a community project which delivers these phones very cheap in order to try to get a community of programmers and testers together to work towards a future with more and better Linux phones development.

@lorabe
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And so far it has worked very well, but i think at a certain point we will need something more usable in terms of performance while providing FLOSS drivers as i assume the Pinephone does, in that regard it’s weird to see Samsung’s new project to be the perfect fit.

I wonder how a Pinephone 2 would look like tho.

poVoq
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A PinePhone2 would likely look exactly the same, but with a more modern Rockchip SoC and maybe a different screen inside. But that is far off anyways.

@ajz
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deleted by creator

@PeterLinuxer
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I don’t know how the OP thinks. But for me there aren’t political reasons. Instead I mean the quality. There are severe bugs (like losing phone contacts) and badly designed GUIs (both Android and iPhone.)

@lorabe
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I use Android as everyone does and some of my family members use Iphones, i pretty much can say that that mobile GNU/Linux will pobably have more severe bugs and a worse UI desing at the beggining, because all the first versions of all products have rough corners. I wouldn’t use mobile GNU/Linux for the current quality, but for privacy and freedom reasons.

@PeterLinuxer
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No, it will have better design decisions from the beginning. What you are talking about are bugs. Yes, first version (of iPhone or anything else) has those bug-problems. But I mean the way the user is treated by the OS. The Desktop GNU/Linux experience is different from the Android Linux or Apple iPhone experience. You like the Android/Apple way (when it comes to practical things), I don’t.

poVoq
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The Samsung + AMD collaboration is about ARM chips, not x86, and likely targeting Chromebooks and maybe tablets.

@lorabe
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Well ARM is not the point, but phone devices, and i don’t think it’s especially targeting Chromebooks, i think Samsung wants to enhance their ARM chips to make competitive smartphones, both Snapdragon and Apple devices have better GPU’s than the Exynos chips.

poVoq
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Yes there might be a market for gaming oriented Android phones, but how would one benefit from that on a Gnu-Linux phone? Ok you might be able to run some Android games though Anbox, but if your device is primarily for gaming its probably better to stay on Android or get a x86 GPD-Win3 i.e. something more suitable for Linux gaming.

@lorabe
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Well it might sound petty, but good 3D effects and smoothness is what makes Iphone devices so popular. I think having fluid GTK apps is important. Mi point is not “we must have gaming GPU’s on GNU/Linux phones”, my point is “we need AMD on the mobile market since they provide really decent drivers”.

poVoq
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The newer ARM Mali GPUs with the really decent FOSS Panfrost drivers are actually quite nice and more than sufficient for good 3D effects and smoothness on a mobile phone. The problem with GTK3 apps is simply that don’t use any of that GPU acceleration and are generally very inefficient.

@PureTryOut
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To begin with, GTK3 is far from ideal on these devices, and many applications have not migrated to GTK4 which does take advantage of the GPUs… more or less.

Luckily most phone interfaces available use Qt instead, like Plasma Mobile. I recommend checking it out 😉

@lorabe
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Well GTK4 pretty much does what QT does and with Libadwaita you can make your traditional desktop app a mobile ready one, so honestly i would go on that direction. But QT seems to be another good option. Now making brand new mobile apps would take more time than adapting already existent ones.

@je_vv
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plasma mobile looks pretty nice, and pine 64 recently selected manjaro as default distro and plasma mobile as default graphics shell… Qt then looks like a pretty good alternative.

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Linux is a family of open source Unix-like operating systems based on the Linux kernel, an operating system kernel first released on September 17, 1991 by Linus Torvalds. Linux is typically packaged in a Linux distribution (or distro for short).

Distributions include the Linux kernel and supporting system software and libraries, many of which are provided by the GNU Project. Many Linux distributions use the word “Linux” in their name, but the Free Software Foundation uses the name GNU/Linux to emphasize the importance of GNU software, causing some controversy.

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