Arm based line of product?


#1

i’ve read your tweet, any info about it?


#2

We are in the beginning stages of looking into this line of hardware, judging demand, checking with the FSF as to their agreement. More information will be coming in the future. Please spread the word and if demand is high enough we will move forward.


#3

Insufficient information to give opinion. Is this for a laptop-style device or a handheld-fits-in-pocket device? And how much computing power would it have? Bear in mind that some of us have no idea whatsoever of the range of computing power available in ARM CPUs.


#4

i think people interested on completly free and open system (both software and hardware) doesn’t care too much if is running on intel or arm what is important is to have a fully free system and to have the programs they need

i dont know if you are talking about tablet, phone or laptop, and if you are gonna use pure os for everything, or are you considering to use android (please dont)
i think with tablet/phone (if on arm no blobs or closed firmware is required, if trusted zone is not a problem etc) should be good if is good for you (programming, costs etc) you should consider if the arm version of debian/pureos running the same apps of x64/x86? or they need their own version? because if not i think is hard to sell a device with no apps (look at windows phone)

if you are thinking about laptop i think depend on arm cpu power, i dont know how much power arm architecture have, if is comparable to an intel i5 or is more like an atom

you are the developers i’m just a customers, so i’m not into the technical question, i just can tell you what i’m looking for

i’m looking for a phone completely open (hw/sw) without blobs/closed source stuff, with a full free linux system, i have to make “normal” calls and sms, use firefox as web browser, have an offline gps navigator, and a messagging/video calling app. the permission system should be really privacy and user friendly, not as android, i’d like to have a panel where i can see what every app interact with others and with the phone, i’m looking for a system i have the full control
in this case i dont care too much if there is an intel or an arm

then i’m looking for a minipc like the nuc, but it seems you are interested just on laptop, i’m ok with that if i have no choice i can use it as a desktop replacement with external monitors, but please provide at least 2 separate hdmi/display port or a kind of docking station
in this case i think intel cpu help people to choise their favourite distros, but i also think if arm help you to reach “the completly open and free” hardware/software goal, then should be considered but i think customers need a kind of comparisson table between arm/intel cpu’s power

let’s see if other people say what they thing about it, imho the usability is on the top about arm/intel question, in the top of my pyramid there is usability and the open stuff, but there is alot of technical questions beside


#5

Joe - This is what we are wanting to determine. Would there be enough interest in a laptop device powered via ARM, a NAS (which many are already) or a smaller tablet device or 2 in 1? Generally speaking, an ARM powered device is going to have much less horsepower than an Intel based device.


#6

i think people interested on completly free and open system (both software and hardware) doesn’t care too much if is running on intel or arm what is important is to have a fully free system and to have the programs they need

This is actually not true for many people. Running a ARM based device will allow for increased freedom, privacy and security over an Intel based device.

i dont know if you are talking about tablet, phone or laptop, and if you are gonna use pure os for everything, or are you considering to use android (please dont)
i think with tablet/phone (if on arm no blobs or closed firmware is required, if trusted zone is not a problem etc) should be good if is good for you (programming, costs etc) you should consider if the arm version of debian/pureos running the same apps of x64/x86? or they need their own version? because if not i think is hard to sell a device with no apps (look at windows phone)

No android. PureOS for everything. We see an increasing desire from some people willing to use a device with limited apps if it is private and secure. Our phone survey showed that some people are okay with this.

if you are thinking about laptop i think depend on arm cpu power, i dont know how much power arm architecture have, if is comparable to an intel i5 or is more like an atom

Generally speaking, think an atom chip.

you are the developers i’m just a customers, so i’m not into the technical question, i just can tell you what i’m looking for

i’m looking for a phone completely open (hw/sw) without blobs/closed source stuff, with a full free linux system, i have to make “normal” calls and sms, use firefox as web browser, have an offline gps navigator, and a messagging/video calling app. the permission system should be really privacy and user friendly, not as android, i’d like to have a panel where i can see what every app interact with others and with the phone, i’m looking for a system i have the full control
in this case i dont care too much if there is an intel or an arm

An intel based phone would not work in most cases due to battery issues among other things. The ability to make “normal” phone calls via wifi would work, but most (I believe all) basebands for mobile calls are closed and non-free.

then i’m looking for a minipc like the nuc, but it seems you are interested just on laptop, i’m ok with that if i have no choice i can use it as a desktop replacement with external monitors, but please provide at least 2 separate hdmi/display port or a kind of docking station
in this case i think intel cpu help people to choise their favourite distros, but i also think if arm help you to reach “the completly open and free” hardware/software goal, then should be considered but i think customers need a kind of comparisson table between arm/intel cpu’s power

We are considering two lines - our current line of laptops (and potentially other devices) and another line based around ARM but within the same casing. Same externals, different internals. A NUC is something that we occasionally hear from people that they would like.

let’s see if other people say what they thing about it, imho the usability is on the top about arm/intel question, in the top of my pyramid there is usability and the open stuff, but there is alot of technical questions beside


#7

thanks for the answers
i’m bit worried about the missing of cellular/baseband because this will transform the phone in a mini tablet, wifi is not everywhere, and if i have to call someone who have not internet voip i cant, i’m even asking what is the purpose to carry the “minitablet” and another phone for normal phone/sms in your pocket? imho this reduce alot the interest of this prodouct, if is possible speak with some productor/vendor to have an open baseband should be really wonderful for make a complete prodouct


#8

NAS?


#9

How powerful is an Intel Atom these days? I got a laptop with an Intel Atom CPU in 2008 (9 years ago) and using it was miserable, but 9 years have passed since then. I don’t know how much power you are talking about.


#10

A big issue for me is whether Qubes or something like Qubes would ever be able to run on it. This would require ARM v7 or later with the virtualization extensions.

https://wiki.xenproject.org/wiki/Xen_ARM_with_Virtualization_Extensions


#11

i found this about open baseband, i think you should give a check, they are different project

https://osmocom.org/


#12

The Atom chip has come a long way since that time frame. Comparing/remembering my old netbook from around the same timeframe that you mention, to a tablet with an Atom installed today, is like night and day. Vastly improved experience. An Atom from that time frame was horrid to work with and it is vastly different today. That being said, they were never going to be used for anything heavy duty. Of course, this is all a bit of a moot point with Intel depreciating the Atom line.


#13

Thanks! I’ll pass this on to the team.


#14

You’re going to want something more powerful than ARM to run Qubes. Even if there is an ARM version of Qubes, which I’m fairly certain there isn’t, the experience would be miserable. Qubes is very taxing on hardware.


#15

Network Attached Storage or “personal cloud.” Think a mixture of what Dropbox is for file syncing and a server for data backup and file serving, except you run it at home instead of in the cloud - which really means “on someone else’s computers.”


#16

thanks to you and to the team

i just hope you can make a device with a working mobile call/sms and 3g/4g otherwise will be pretty useless imho because will be just a wifi device, and comunication in unknown wifi (so outside of our home) is not safe, and in our home we can use normal pc


#17

I personally would be interested in something adopting the EOMA68 form factor so the cpu part could be easily upgraded. There’s an example on Crowdsupply right now but it’s pretty low powered.


#18

I too would like to see some exploration on the EOMA68 front:
http://lists.phcomp.co.uk/pipermail/arm-netbook/

Both project (Purism and EOMA68) seem to be striving for similar goals, at the very least perhaps sharing notes between the two projects will lead to something good :wink:


#19

Dropping my own opinion - I want security/privacy as much as anyone here, and have been following Purism for a while and asking questions about development etc.

That being said, I don’t think anyone wants a laptop that’s so slow it’s upsetting.

I’d say, use the ARM chip for devices it makes sense to use the ARM chip on - mobile devices like tablets etc.

The laptops and all probably need the Intel chips, which you’ve already made tons of progress on making as secure/private as possible and it wouldn’t make much sense to just abandon all of that progress now unless the ARM chips become good enough to compete on a performance level.

Many people want to install Qubes or other Linux distros, and actual desktop applications tend to take more horsepower than mobile applications, plus there’s just the psychological expectation of getting more speed out of a laptop than a tablet - when you’re using a tablet, ARM/Atom performance is something you just expect and therefore aren’t as upset about. You’d probably be banging your fists at your actual computer having lag spikes or being unable to run things though.

My own opinion though, has always been just to provide more options. Let people choose using a drop-down whether they want Intel or ARM processor, and let them choose between PureOS and other Linux distros pre-installed. Providing choices is good, unless there’s a manufacturing issue that makes doing so difficult.

That’s just my two-cents.


#20

I don’t really see a way to really complete the project of a fully open source computer without using ARM chips. I’d think you may never completely get rid of the Intel ME garbage, and even if you do manage to completely hack it out on one chip, as soon as the next set of chips come out, you’ll have a lot more work to do. And, a chip with Intel ME hacked out of it will probably never be as stable as one that never had that stuff in the first place. And, sooner or later, Intel will make some change that will make it impossible to hack it out. Kind of seems like building Purism’s house on sand.

And I don’t know that I accept the premise that an ARM-based computer needs to be slow. Is that really true? As far as I know, they top out at low clock speeds like 2 Ghz, but that they come in 8 core and even 16 core versions at fairly reasonable prices. At least that is my impression. Is it really the case that am ARM-based computer couldn’t be designed at a reasonable cost that would have pretty passable performance? Plus, my understanding is that you can design custom ARM chips, so maybe there are options there.

Anyways, my suggestion would be that it is definitely something that should be looked into. If it is technically doable, I think that would really catapult Purism into a category by itself for people interested in free software and security. But, yeah, it would need to feel like a modern laptop in terms of performance, and I don’t know whether that is possible or not.