Free-licensed and secure phones

You Say Goodbye, and I Say eelo

© Lead Image © innovari, fotolia.com

© Lead Image © innovari, fotolia.com

Article from Issue 208/2018
Author(s):

With the eelo project, Gaël Duval has big plans for a free-licensed phone, with an accompanying app store and online services.

Suddenly, efforts to produce secure, free-licensed phones are everywhere. One of the most likely to succeed is eelo [1], a project that aims not only for a free phone, but the app store and online services to accompany it. The project's Kickstarter campaign [2] reached its original goal of EUR25,000 (~$30,000) in less than a week, and, as I write with nine days left in the campaign, it has collected over twice that amount with EUR69,000 and has a strong chance of reaching EUR100,000 (~$119,000).

One reason why eelo has a high chance of success is that it is being headed by Gaël Duval [3] (Figure 1). Long-time free software users may remember Duval as the founder of Mandrake (later Mandriva, and the ancestor of Mageia, PCLinuxOS, and OpenMandriva), the distribution that, around the turn of the millennium, led in Linux usability. Duval left Mandrake Software in 2006 and has since been a serial entrepreneur, involved in such startups as Ulteo [4], as well, he says, as investing "in a dozen startups last year." Although some of Duval's ventures have had only modest success, they should give him a familiarity with business that is rare among those attempting to develop open hardware.

Figure 1: Gaël Duval, the founder of the Mandrake distribution, is now creating the ambitious eelo project.

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