High Priority Projects: 2017 Progress Report
PROJECT: Free phone operating system
Replicant 6.0, the latest version of the only fully-free Android software distribution, more than doubled the number of supported devices, making it accessible to way more users! It also has important security fixes and other much-appreciated improvements. Replicant is supported through our Working Together for Free Software Fund; please donate to support this project at u.fsf.org/1h1.
Purism Librem 5 phones, now available for pre-order, will run a GNU/Linux-based operating system called PureOS by default, and will allow users to install a different GNU/Linux distribution if they choose, potentially making this the first phone on the market with fully libre userspace. Purism emphasizes privacy and security, with features that include encrypted text and email support, hardware kill switches, and more. They've already overshot their fundraising goal, indicating that there is a serious audience for a fully free phone. Unfortunately, at the time of this writing, Purism has not committed to avoid nonfree blobs – please help us encourage them to do so.
PROJECT: Decentralization, federation, and self-hosting
In our Spring issue, we interviewed an author of Mastodon, a federated social network platform compatible with GNU social, about its explosion of interest and users. It is now approaching 1 million users, with over 132 million posts!
In September, Mastodon announced support for the federation specification ActivityPub. ActivityPub achieved World Wide Web Consortium Candidate Recommendation status in September, and will be used by the decentralized media sharing platform GNU MediaGoblin, among others.