Purism Launches Librem One, a Suite of Privacy-Protecting, No-Track, No-Ad Apps and Services

Some time back, the folks from Purism sent me a question: "Would you like to record some voice-over for a little commercial we're making?"

"Sure," I say. "Why not?"

They give me a script, show me a rough cut of the footage, and I record a few lines. Easy peasy.

The only problem? The commercial was for something that I think is a really great idea. And, the finished commercial gave me a serious case of the giggles. Yet I couldn't tell anyone about it. I was sworn to secrecy.

For a person who runs his mouth for a living, secrecy isn't always so easy. Keeping my big, dumb mouth shut was downright painful. Painful, I say!

Luckily, I can now, as of today, spill the beans without getting into trouble.

Purism has just launched an online service it has dubbed "Librem One", which is, as Purism calls it, a "suite of apps and services designed to provide users with convenient alternatives to Big Tech products".

There are two components of Librem One that are offered free of cost (or, at least, choose your own price): Chat and Social Media.

The chat component—the aptly named "Librem Chat"—is built on Matrix (which I am also a big fan of) and includes end-to-end encrypted text chat plus audio and video chatting. And, since it's built on Matrix, it has access to all the other users on Matrix out there. Which may not be as big of a user pool as, say, Hangouts or something, but the user base is growing. Quickly.

The Social Media component is built using Activity Pub and Mastodon (a federated, free software social network system).

I want to pause right there a moment, because this is really interesting to me.

That means we now have a social media server that is supported via a subscription model.  Not advertisements. Not data collection. Subscription. Which, in my opinion, is just a much better way to build a social network that respects user data and privacy.

Plus, this solves one of the biggest problems with picking and utilizing a Mastodon server up until this point—that they've mostly been run by hobbyists in their spare time. Thus, servers could go up or down or lose data at any time (which happened to me more than once). A professionally administered Mastodon social-media server supported as part of a subscription online service? Heck yes.

Then there are the services that aren't part of the free (in cost) tier, the ones you'll need to pay to gain access to: Librem Mail (encrypted email), Librem Tunnel (a VPN service), and, according to the Purism folks, they have plans to add a few additional services to Librem One in the future: