Leaving Apple and Google: /e/ is the symbol for “my data is MY data”
As some of you will have already noticed, the project has moved to a new web location, and the project is now known as the “my data is MY data” symbol:
Why such a move?
The “eelo” trademark we have been using so far has been filed by myself in the EU and in the USA. However, some companies have filed opposition to its registration, because they claim that there exists a likelihood of confusion between their prio similar marks and “eelo”.
In some cases, we could arrange a coexistence agreement, by reducing the scope of our goods and services, that was somewhat too broad. For instance, it’s clear that our project is not about producing energy or developing human-resource management software.
But one company that opposed our registration in the EU has refused to even discuss a peaceful coexistence agreement.
This company is Meurs HRM B.V. and owns prior rights on the “eelloo” trademark, in several identical classes as the eelo trademark was filed for.
As we were preparing to file arguments to defend our trademark application with the involved Trademark Offices, Meurs HRM B.V. has requested that we stop using the “eelo” trademark.
Personally I don’t see any similar activity between developing human resources management products and services, and developing a smartphone operating system.
However, my lawyer warned that the case was serious and that it was very likely that they would go to the court, and that they could possibly sue me for “counterfeiting and unfair competition”.
At the moment, I have to focus on the development of the project, and I don’t have the financial means to defend this case in the courts (expected cost for a 3-year procedure could be as much as 50K€).
Therefore I decided that we stop using the eelo trademark.
Now we are /e/, the symbol of “my data is MY data”
I wanted this move to be strong and clearly state who we are, what our project is, and what our values are.
While the project is complex its aims are simple and bold, just like the symbol.
The project website has moved to the “e.foundation” domain name.
Our backers (“/e/ backer level and above”) will receive an invitation to a new email address with a super domain name: “@e.email” (and there’s still time to become a backer!).
/e/ is going to provide a big alternative to the Apple-Google duopoly on the smartphone, and provide privacy-compliant, more ethical, core technologies.
We want /e/ to become a large-scale, global project supported by a large and active community of developers, contributors, a project that is always led by a vision of building something better for the widest audience.
Let us, the defenders of privacy, freedom and democracy, unite around the “my data is MY data” symbol!
And back to work…
As you know, we have an aggressive short term agenda. I wrote a comprehensive status report of /e/ last month, but here are some more updates since then:
- our launcher is mostly ready, with a nice weather widget, but we will add a few new icons and wallpaper options soon too.
- we have started to review the OS settings user-interface. We will do a complete review and launch a big redesign project for this (including redesigning some Android graphical widgets) starting in September, but already we are starting to improve the theme colors.
- we are probably moving from Jelly to Firefox (Fennec actually) as default web-browser. The reason is that Jelly web views don’t support oauth2 authentication, and we need it.
- we are working hard to provide a solution for an “/e/” identity solution. We want /e/ users to access their /e/ email, /e/ drive, /e/ calendar etc with a single sign-on. This is a complex project, and I’m not sure yet it will be ready for our beta release by the end of August, but it definitely raises the bar to a much higher and interesting level than I previously expected for this year.
- we are evaluating using “Magic Earth” as the default Maps application for /e/. This is a nice and efficient application, that is using openstreetmap for map tiles, but the issue is that it is not an open-source application. So I’m discussing with the application publisher to learn more about the privacy of user data.
- shortly we will be adding two new build targets: Samsung Galaxy S6 and Samsung Galaxy S7 to start a partnership with a corporate that could sell smartphones loaded with /e/
At the same time, I’m discussing with several institutions and corporates, to see how we can develop /e/ and raise the funds needed for such an ambitious project. I think we’ll have interesting news before the end of the year.
Anyhow, stay tuned for the beta release in August (and thank you for your patience ;) )
This beta will be a good opportunity to show what we have been able to achieve in little more than 6 months, demonstrate the spirit of the /e/ smartphone OS, and gain early adopters’ feedback.
The next step after that will be to list what we need to add for a v1, in terms of privacy and security features, and user experience.
And as a non-profit project, we still need your support! :)