A lot of really cool stuff is happening in the linux ecosystem right now. We have the linux on mobile projects (Pinephone and Librem 5) that are shipping beta hardware to consumers. We have fedora’s silverblue. There are many alive mobile os projects. And most recently we have the currently being crowd funded elementary os - app center for everyone.

In this article I’d like to cover - in brief - what these technologies are, why they are important, and how I think they should be used together.

Project Overviews

The phone hardware projects, the phone software projects, silverblue, and the elmentary os app center.

Linux Phone Projects

The librem 5 is a privacy and security focused smart phone being developed by purism. The pine phone is a community supported smart phone that is being put together by pine64. The librem 5 comes with PureOS running a custom shell built on the GNOME stack called phosh. The pine phone currently has no default os, but has many linux mobile projects developing for it.

I’m more excited for the pine phone. Mostly because it’s a lot less expensive.

Linux Mobile OS’s

There are a surprising number of linux mobile os projects. I’ll only mention a few though.


Fedora silverblue is a project that features:

App Center for Everyone

The guys behind elementary os have launched a crowd funding campaign. Basically, they want to re-write how their current app store works. What makes their app store special is that you can pay the developers money through it.

The some of the goals of this re-write are:

Why Are They Important?

Well, in short, they are either fixing problems with the ecosystem or are otherwise creating something that wasn’t there.

Smart Phones

Smart phones are important. Most people keep them with them at all times and store their important data on them. Having a smartphone that you can own to a degree not currently possible with either apple or android is what is being created here.

Smart Phone OS’s

Smart phone os’s are needed for smart phones. And having open source one’s allows scrutiny of those devices.

Silverblue’s Read-Only File System

A read only file system makes it harder for malicious people (and also dumb users, such as myself) to break your system.

As far as atomic updates are concerned, I believe the implication of atomic updates is that it becomes easy to roll back to a previous update if the current one isn’t stable.

Sandboxed User Applications

This makes it harder for malicious programs that you may have installed, to hurt you. (not impossible, just harder). It also allows you to have the applications run time code sepparated from your operating systems code. This means you can have the latest version of an application and you don’t have to wait for your distro to update.

Elmentary OS App Center for Everyone

The elementary os app store is important because developers can be paid by using it! people like to be able to eat and live a normal life. Just because something is open source doesn’t mean that the people writing the software don’t want to get compensated. Also, getting paid is a great motivator for developing apps. It means we’re likely to have a larger and more diverse ecosystem.

The new app store is important because the technology for it is built on and will itself be open source. Meaning any other distro can use it. It also means you don’t need to use elementary os to use elementary os apps that you’ve paid for before (no vendor lock in).

Putting Them All Together

What I’m envisioning is mobile linux os’s that have atomic updates and an app store where people can pay for apps. Ubuntu touch already has the atomic updates and read only system, but looking into libostree I feel they have a better model. Also none of the other mobile os’s have this as a staple feature yet. As for the app store where you pay? It would be nice if I could use the same app store across distributions without loosing my apps.