We need to bootstrap the project and pay developers for initial development work to reach a first viable “privacy-enabled” /e/ product that users will be able to install on their own phones or order on quantity-limited pre-installed /e/ smartphones.
Then we will be able to attract more contributors and the project will become naturally sustainable as it iterates to new releases.
/e/, a mobile OS and web-services, in the public interest
/e/ in short
Your data is YOUR data!
/e/ recognises the need shared by everyone for better data privacy. The /e/ project will provide an alternative mobile operating system and associated web-services, including email, cloud storage, and online office tools. /e/ is an open source, non-profit project, in the public interest.
The /e/ genesis
In 1998, I created Mandrake Linux, because I was both a Linux fan and didn’t like Windows. It’s been a long time, and I’m very pleased to have been one of the actors who contributed to make the Linux desktop a credible option.
Since then, the smartphone has emerged. And it’s now a “companion of life” for many of us. But I realized this year that I was using an iPhone, a Mac and Google services more and more. I realized that I had become lazy and that my data privacy had vanished.
And I’m definitely not happy with that situation. I’m not happy with this situation because iOS is proprietary and I prefer open-source Software. I’m not happy because Apple is going crazy with their latest products. They are more and more expensive, and not really exciting.
I’m also not happy with Google and others like them. They have become too big and are tracking us by capturing a lot of information about what we do. They want to know us as much as possible to sell advertising. Like millions of others, I’VE BECOME A PRODUCT OF GOOGLE.
I want to stop that, at least for myself. People are free to do what they want. They can choose to be voluntary slaves. But I do not want this situation for me anymore.
Reconquer my privacy
I want to reconquer my privacy. My data is MY data. And I want to use Open Source software as much as possible.
But at the same time, the alternatives that exist at the moment don’t exactly fit my needs. First of all, I don’t want to use stock Android: it’s Google everywhere and I don’t like its default user interface. There are other initiatives too that fall short of what I’m after. I want something consistent and comfortable to use, like iOS or MacOS are. I want something I could recommend to my parents or my children. And I want something that respects my privacy.
What I want could be built from existing bricks in a reasonable amount of time and it would come along with nice online tools such as office, cloud storage and email services.
Let’s build something new: /e/
This “new thing” will be – as much as possible – open source. And for me and others to enjoy using it, it needs to be attractively designed.
At its foundation, it will be forked from LineageOS which is open source and can run mainstream Android applications. On top of that will be layered great open source modules to form a consistent mobile and web system.
I’ve called the project “/e/ ” because eels are small fishes that can hide in the sea. That’s perfect for my quest for more privacy. And we have a nice logo:
A project in the public interest
I want /e/ to be a non-profit project, a project “in the public interest”. I strongly believe operating systems and web services should be a shared resource: as I explained a few years ago, they are infrastructure – just like phone networks, rail tracks, and roads.
And as a community project, /e/ will welcome contributors.
We already have first results
The /e/ project will release attractive-designed “privacy-enabled” smartphone ROMs and smartphones for the average user, with associated web-services.
Our first positive results at proof-of-concept stage are described on this page.
First /e/ prototype smartphone OS
/e/ vision: devices and web services with privacy respect
How is the money going to be used?
In order to reach the targets described on our roadmap, we need to:
- pay the development team
- pay the servers
- pay the different goodies and services we offer in return of contributions
- hire strategic people to reach a fully operational team
The /e/ team: from 3 continents
Gaël Duval is the project founder, and lives in Europe. Gaël is an open source advocate and has created two significant open source products: the Mandrake Linux distribution and Ulteo, an application and desktop delivery platform.
Hathibelagal Ashraff is /e/‘s lead developer, and lives in India. Hathibelagal is a programmer, writer, and inventor. His interests include mobile app and ROM development, machine learning, and data mining.
Rhandros Dembicky is /e/‘s artist in chief, and lives in Brazil. Rhandros is a UI/UX Designer with a solid background in mobile products. For more than 10 years he has worked with big players in the market creating digital products such as PlayKids, one of the world’s most famous apps in the kids category.
Véronique Loquet is /e/‘s head of communication and she lives in Europe. For twenty years Véronique has been helping hackers and IT doers in the open source and security fields to organize their media relations and events, all over the world.
And we’re helped by several advisors on various aspects of the project.
Impact of /e/
We think that /e/ can have a global, worldwide impact as a major open source project in the public interest. It will help freeing users from personal data spying and advertising.
/e/ is about freedom and privacy in the digital world.
Other ways you can support /e/
Contributing to this crowdfunding campaign is a great way to support /e/‘s first stages of development. You are encouraged to share this campaign as much as possible, to friends, on internet forums and on social medias.
You can also register at our website or contact us as a potential contributor. We’ll need engineers, testers, translators, and people who can spread the word everywhere.
By contributing to the /e/ crowdfunding campaign, you help fuel early development and increase our chances of releasing software and services that will be made available to all. The biggest reward for all of us is the benefits the /e/ project can bring to the world.
But at the same time we have worked on some cool rewards. Depending on your level of commitment, you’ll get stickers, t-shirts, and as a /e/ official community member, you will be better connected to us and we’ll listen to your voice carefully. Last but not least, there will be a few early “/e/ smartphones” available for the biggest contributors!
/e/ is in the news
Since the beginning of the /e/ campaign, we have received an awesome amount of support from people who like the project and who want to contribute. We also started to get some media coverage! We hope to soon be in the Washington Post, Elle and Vanity Fair, but meanwhile you can find us on a number of IT news sites, including ZDNet, Wired.it, Slashdot, HackerNoon and AndroidHeadlines.
/e/ Thanker (4€)
/e/ Supporter (8€)
/e/ Lucky Sixteen (16€)
/e/ Contributor (32€)
/e/ Power Member (64€)
You really care about our mission to protect humans more from big corps’ and govs’ ears. You become an official member of the /e/ project. We’ll listen to your needs carefully and you’ll get a sheet of /e/ stickers!
/e/ Backer (128€)
/e/ Maker (256€)
/e/ Transformer (512€)
You really want to contribute more and we see you as a hero: you get all the above plus an early 100GB secure cloud drive.
/e/ Hero (1024€)
You want to contribute and change the story significantly! You get all the above plus a nice 5 to 5.5″ mid-range smartphone (such as a Xiaomi Mi 5S or equivalent) preloaded with a functional early /e/ system..
/e/ Super Hero (2048€)