There are thousands of Linux applications that can run on Linux smartphones like the Purism Librem 5. The problem is that most of them are desktop applications that aren’t really optimized for devices with small touchscreen displays and cellular capabilities.
But Purism has announced a new Fund Your App program that asks the community what apps they’d like to use with their Librem 5 smartphones… even if those applications are not free and open source software and not currently available for Linux devices.
As the name suggests, this isn’t just a poll. Purism is also asking for donations to help fund development.
Here’s the idea: click on the apps you’d like to use with a Librem 5 and make a donation. Purism will use the money raised from the campaign to invest in the development to make the most popular apps available on the Librem 5, possibly by porting from a different platform, adapting a desktop app, using emulation or cloud streaming, or optimizing a web app to act like a native app.
If you absolutely can’t live without Lyft, TikTok, Gmail, and WhatsApp on your phone, you can also order a Librem 5 along with your donation and Purism will offer the option to only ship your phone when your preferred app is ready.
But it’s also interesting that a company that’s already charging $750 for a Linux phone with mediocre specs is running what’s essentially another crowdfunding campaign to raise money to help bring useful apps to the platform.
Then again, Purism’s work on the Phosh shell user interface for the Librem 5 has already benefited other Linux phones like the PinePhone, and it’s possible that money raised through this initiative could also help folks running other Linux phones with other Linux operating systems.