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Fairphone 3 - Libre RISC-V M-Class - A 100% libre RISC-V + 3D GPU chip for mobile devices

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Dear Fairphone and community,

I have a dream/wish that Fairphone would research the possibility to use the work-in-progress 100% libre RISC-V mobile processor in the design of the new Fairphone 3.

There is also another business opportunity with that and that is to design, manufacture and sell that processor for other phones as well, making them more fair as well.

Link: https://www.crowdsupply.com/libre-risc-v/m-class/updates/first-nlnet-grant-approved-to-fund-development

I believe customers and users of FairphoneOS, Fairphone Open and LineageOS would enjoy this.

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Me too - I’d like to see Fairphone use a RISCV processor one day. I don’t think RISCV is good enough yet though, so maybe not in the Fairphone 3.

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You might be interested in this topic here …

https://forum.fairphone.com/t/fairphone-3-specification-speculation-leaks/51886

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Thank you. I’m following the progress of open hardware ARM boards such as nxp by the way. There has been quite a lot of progress there recently. It’s not as free as RISCV, but it’s an improvement on Qualcomm/MediaTek.

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Definitely an improvement over Qcom. Why is Fairphone not opting for these? What is the thought process behind that decision? The Librem 5 is going to sport an i.MX 8 series.

I’ve lost faith in the company promising to make that phone - Purism. They’re way behind schedule with their promise : https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-5-Specifications
I suppose Fairphone is going with Qualcom in an effort to be more competitive. The i.mx series can’t compete on performance per watt yet. Purism had to use the i.mx M version in an effort to reign in power consumption.

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Here’s a little piece on the delay from Purism themselves … https://puri.sm/posts/massive-progress-exact-cpu-selected-minor-shipping-adjustment/

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Me too. It’s why I started the project, so that ethical companies were able to offer an ethical processor. Mediatek and Qualcomm processors are in no way ethically developed or supplied.

Look at the Fairphone 1: several of us in the Software Libre Community warned very loudly, right at the start, about the consequences of using an unethical processor. What happened? Security flaws were found, Fairphone went back to the Chinese ODM, said “we urgently need the source code so we can make an updated image!” And they replied, “oh we never had it, we got given a prebuilt binary image by Mediatek. NOBODY gets the source”.

Only Alcatel Lucent has ever properly complied with the GPL on their phones, because they are big enough to deal with Mediatek direct, and demanded access to the linux kernel and u-boot source.

Result: Fairphone 1 - billed as an eco conscious phone - goes into landfill (unless someone managed to reverse engineer the processor, in the intervening years since I last checked)

This will keep on happening again and again, and I am fed up with it, enough to actually start a processor design that is fully libre.

In addition, the reason for doing a GPU and VPU in the same core is so that there is no proprietary entrapment on the 3D and Video drivers. The situation with PowerVR is just insane. They charge USD 150,000 for “support”, and they ban Fabless Semi customers from compiling up new revisions of their driver code!

By developing everything as libre, the hardware, software, firmware, bootloader, everything, this insanity goes away.

So yes, FairPhone, let’s talk. Sponsorship through NLnet is entirely tax deductible as they have Charitable Foundation status https://nlnet.nl/foundation

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This is a community forum, though, not the company.
@Monica.Ciovica … could you give the proper contact for this?

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I’m definitely buying a few Pinebook Pros for family and friends, as well as whatever else they have to offer before Christmas. I learned about it on this forum. Initial feedback seems to be very positive. If I can find a reasonably priced LTE module for sale then I’ll try getting this to work in the M2 slot. I’m useless at all things technical. I’ll try tethering another smartphone to it anyway for mobile data.

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