/e/ & 2021: the year everything is going to change (1/2) — Introduction

4 min readMar 24, 2021


Credit: unknown

Three years after /e/ - the Google-free ecosystem - came to be, things have never moved as fast as they are now. We’re seeing a lot of traction in terms of new users, of new /e/ accounts, and of /e/-smartphones sales. We’re also getting noticed in many posts and press articles and we’re having more and more incoming requests regarding possible partnerships and business inquiries.

An /e/-smartphone. Credit: /e/

This is great, and we feel we’re headed in the right direction. This direction is clearly about delivering better products to users, products that are both useful and efficient, products that convey better and more ethical values in terms of privacy and more generally in terms of global sustainability. /e/ aims at delivering human products.

We’re part of modern trend where many archaisms of the past are being disrupted. People now have access to an unlimited amount of information. They can gain a better understanding of how the world works, understand that some ways are more fitting than others to build a better world. A world that will not go better only for the privileged, but also for the biggest majority of human beings.

Here we are talking about equality of opportunities. We are talking about personal wealthfare. We are talking about personal health and personal well-being. All of this flows from better education, better information, better use of technologies and energy. It also stems from a decrease of our negative impact on the planet.

Individuals make trends: everyone can influence how things are done!

Without speaking of politics, our biggest individual power is to choose what products and services we use, because using a product is also supporting the system that produces it.

We should ask ourselves: which system am I supporting when I’m using Google? Facebook? Or a smartphone that was made in harmful conditions that pollute the planet and that keep some children and their families in poverty?

Credit: unknown.

It’s easy to skip those questions, sometimes by ignorance, sometimes by resignation. Often by laziness. Sometimes also because some products are so useful and efficient, or just cool. And free. So we don’t see why we would use something else, that isn’t quite as good, and often with a cost.

But if we think big, in the longer term, the choices we make today have a huge and lasting impact so it’s easy to understand that we should really choose the more ethical way: the short-term perceived value is often much lower than the long term value, even on an individual perspective.

Organic food & electric cars

For those who still aren’t convinced about this, just think about organic food and electric cars.

What is the immediate benefit of organic food? None.

It’s more expensive, it doesn’t necessarily taste better. And you cannot exactly predict if it’s going to save you from cancer or other illnesses, compared with non-organic food.

Credit: Shutterstock

But many, many people have an intimate feeling that eating something that was produced naturally, without chemicals that kill soils, insects and all micro-organisms, is probably better for everyone than something that polluted everything during its production, better than something that can regularly make air like poison and kill people with cancers, better than something that kills so much just to produce a little more and make a little more profit.

Same for electric cars: they are way more expensive than fuel cars, they have to be recharged every 300km for a long time, and you don’t know how long the battery will actually last over time. But again there is something like an intimate feeling that tells you that they are probably a little better for everyone and for the planet over fuel cars in the long run.

Auditable data privacy, energy & ethics: /e/ is “tech for good”!

Let’s face it: the world and humans are far from being perfect. But we can chose the direction in which we want to go to.

Today, we are part of a growing group of humans who strongly support the idea of making the world better and more sustainable for the most people possible, without regressing to the stone age (which would not exactly be progress), and that today is the perfect time for action.

Some are focusing on ecology, some on energy, some on social issues. /e/’s primary focus is on user’s auditable data privacy(1), because we think that personal data privacy is a fundamental right that makes freedom and democracy possible. But /e/, by being more frugal in terms of energy, and by extending older smartphones’s life span also has a positive impact on our common project for a better world.

Continued: /e/ & 2021: the year everything is going to change (2/2) — New product roadmap to a V1 and a new brand name.

— Gaël Duval

Follow me on Masto: @gael@mastodon.social / On Twitter: @gael_duval

(1) auditable data privacy: /e/OS and related online services are fully open source




Software engineer, Entrepreneur: Mandrake-Linux 1998, Ulteo 2006, /e/OS & Murena 2017, Open Source advocate. https://gaelduval.com/about-gael-duval/