Desired Improvements For The Librem 15v4

I’m glad that Purism is advancing and I want to take a part as a customer.

Overall, Librem 13/15 specs is awesome as I’ve read. But, I’m waiting for an HiDPI version, fair enough to replace Macbook Pro. It doesn’t need to be 4K (real 4k wide pixel), as long as the pixel grid is invisible that makes pleasant on eyes (I’ve compare non-HiDPI screen with HiDPI, it just… way different on eyes!).

Hope you hear me Purism :slight_smile:!

Anyone here whose have Librem, how do you describe the current screen?

For what it’s worth, Purism tried to include 4k in previous revisions, but I think they were unsuccessful in meeting the minimum order quantity the supplier required. Or maybe they were able to do a limited batch, but it wasn’t worth the cost.

Either way, I think 4k is on Purism’s radar, and as they grow and get more customers, their ability to get the components they need increases. I think 4k on a future revision is very likely.

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Ryzen would allow for ECC memory (though unregistered I believe, though maybe Ryzen Pro is more compatible with reg ECC). And it would also help with Spectre/Meltdown.

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My 1st gen Librem 15 laptop already got this taken care of :+1:

Details :

My wishlist for 4th gen Librem :slight_smile:

  1. Non-Intel CPU : Intel messed up with their Spectre & Meltdown response. Not their first, and probably not their last. And AMD is looking good with their 7nm chip. A multi-core, open source, free from proprietary blob, ARM chip would be ideal - but this will take some time.

  2. Multi-core CPU (more than 4) : Linux rocks with many cores. Let’s make it so.

  3. 4K bezel-less monitor : at least bezel less on left & right :slight_smile: gorgeous.

  4. Thunderbolt 3 port : at least 4x PCIe lanes. This will future proof the laptop, by making it possible to even plug a eGPU (external GPU)

  5. Improved Wifi : this is a serious problem with my Librem 15, I had to buy USB wifi dongle.

  6. Trackpoint : yes I still want it :slight_smile: once you’ve tried Trackpoint, it’s hard to get used to a touchpad.

  7. Secure hardware : ECC memory, No spectre / meltdown prone chip, etc

  8. Case : silver case, silver keyboard buttons : just like Powerbook :slight_smile: beautiful.

  9. USB-C charging port : making it easier to charge our laptop.

  10. 14 inch form : My 15 inch laptop attracts attention because it’s usually the biggest AND ate most space in a shared desk (conference, workshop, etc) :sweat_smile: 13 inch is too small for me tho, so looks like 14 inch is the sweet spot.

  11. Better battery life : ability to work a whole day without charging would be a real bliss. Sometimes in a conference/event, there may not be enough power socket.

  12. Better GPU : Intel integrated GPU sucks. Please use something else.

  13. 2 storage slots : at least. I’ve seen laptops with 4 slots too. Perhaps 3 slots ? 1 x SATA, 2 x M.2 ? That’d be awesome.

  14. Kensington Lock slot : so we can work even in public space with peace of mind.


either make it so that ethernet and wify happilly coexist inside the main chasis. or make them BOTH separate and external (preferably).

detachable with extension ready external antenas for reliable wireless signal and implementation of MUMIMO.

full featured external usb 3.1 gen 2 10gig wired NIC with proper dual teaming RJ45 port supporting power saver technology for future compatibility and backwards compatibility and serviceability.

AMD vega APU instead of intel for base models. AMD ryzen 12nm or newer arhitecture with dedicated pro radeon VEGA GPU for high end models. 2020 + maybe.

and for GOSH sake - hot-swapable batteries on all devices. no more screws please on the batteries. and no more slim profile mania please.

My suggestions regarding USB-C charging:
I would like to see one USB-C Charging Port on the left and one on the right side.
This way it would you can use the port which is nearer to the power supply in each situation.

I really hope they don’t go with 4k.

It’s not as simple as “decrease the resolution.” Power consumption on 4k displays is enormous compared to regular ones. The retina display is one of the biggest reasons (maybe only reason) why the macbook air has a longer battery life than the retina macbooks, in spite of the 4.5 watt cpu and funky battery.

Please make the 4k display optional, if you must have it. IMO retina is a terrible idea on any laptop with a LCD.

You guys do realize that with the enormous list of features you’re requesting, this is going to take at least 2 years to design and will cost at least $10,000 per laptop, right? I understand requesting a meltdown/spectre fixed CPU, more cores and better wifi, and that should be doable without a significant cost increase… But a Bezel-less display? Dual USB-C charging? AT LEAST 4x PCIe lanes with Thunderbolt 3? ECC memory? 4K/120Hz display?

This isn’t legos, it’s a laptop made by a small company with most resources currently diverted to their upcoming phone product. Even if Huawei or Dell wanted to make a laptop with those specs, it would take a couple years of design and cost over $5,000, and Purism is operating with a much smaller product volume, design team and resources.

Be a little less demanding guys. Half of those features are probably acceptable for Librem 15v7 or v8, assuming they’re even good ideas (IIRC USB 3 is a security vulnerability anyway due to DMA, and why would you want ECC and Xeon CPUs unless you’re a bank that can get sued for a memory error?)

I’ve seen good companies before get huge feature requests and then huge complaint volumes when these sort of impossible requests are made and then unfulfilled.

It’s ok to say “it would be nice if…”, but don’t expect all this in the next version. :wink:


Completely agree, this is a great point. As a small community, we should focus on our key hardware priorities, and @gnulligan hit the nail on the head with a meltdown/spectre fixed CPU, more cores, and better wifi performance.

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I honestly don’t care about resolution anymore. 1440P would be nice though, but I know 4k has scaling problems with Linux since I don’t think Linux has all the built-in scaling stuff that Windows does.

I think my eyes were opened by having a nice 1080p IPS monitor. This is fine, I like it and it’s easy for my hardware to drive. I think if anything the Librems should be made with an IPS display if not already, and that’s it.

I’m more concerned about things that can improve security. Namely - A processor that’s Meltdown / Spectre fixed at the hardware level, and maybe ECC if at all possible. For the record ECC just appeals to me for being more resistant to certain kinds of problems (like that one video where you could end-up at the wrong web address due to errors) and making certain types of attacks more difficult (like rowhammer).

That said I kinda dropped talking about any of it for now. The reason being that I think Purism is way more focused on the Librem 5 for now, and that I don’t think Intel is going to release mainstream chips with Meltdown/Spectre fixed until IceLake in 2020 (and lets not forget DDR5 memory!). So it’s all kinda seems like we’re just rambling to ourselves… need to wait until upgrading makes more sense.

I might make a new list of ideas when it seems like a 15v4 is closer on the horizon. Right now it doesn’t feel like there’s really much to do with the v3 yet, unless they want to go ahead and push-up to the 9th Generation Intel CPUs. I don’ think they’ll come with security fixes but they’ll still be an upgrade of course (8 cores, more performance per core, more efficient, and AVX-512 instruction set).

So if Purism wants to put out a v4 that’s really just a CPU/Chipset upgrade and some fixes for things like the WiFi problems people have been having, I’m all for that of course. I’m just afraid to make any big requests like that without good reason because I know that cleaning the Management Engine for a new CPU line is a lot of work for Kakaroto and whoever works with him on that. I’m pretty sure he mentioned in a blog post a while back that cleaning the ME isn’t a process that can just be copied from one generation of chips to the next and that he has to redo the entire process for every generation or something of that matter. So I just hate asking him to do that every time Intel decides to pump out a new generation of CPUs and instead to do it only when Intel releases a new generation that actually makes a big difference.

That said, if they switch to the 9th Generation they’ll be switching from dual-core CPU to Octa-Core CPUs… yeah that’s kind of a big deal on it’s own really, security stuff aside. So I’m all for it if they’re feeling up to making a new Librem line with 9th Gen hardware.

Literally the only thing stopping me from buying a librem is the crappy resolution.

In 2018, 1080p just isn’t enough.
I don’t want to go back to the bad old days of multiple monitors just to see two browser windows at once, so unless the resolution is at least double 1080p, librem will miss out on users like me.

I understand that y’all want something like a thinkpad, but librem is dropping the ball for the macbook/XPS/etc. users that might otherwise consider swapping.

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I really disagree with this statement now.

If you have a huge monitor or TV then 1080p starts to suck. But if you have something like my 23.8 inch screen it’s perfectly fine.

It seems that when I was writing this post I completely forgot about pixel density. At 15 inches 1080P will be more than okay. In fact it’s excellent for a screen that small.

Also you have to know that on Linux there won’t be any of the automatic text/application scaling that Windows does to make 4k more presentable/usable. The result would be that everything would look super tiny. On a 15 inch screen you need like 200% scaling to make 4k resolutions usable.

So I think the resoultion is fine. Maybe a bump to 1440P would be nice but I won’t demand it. If anything in regards to the display - just focus on the quality of the display in other factors (panel-type, color accuracy, contrast, brightness, etc).

I’m running ~4k on a 13" screen (Dell XPS), and it is vital to my productivity

It’s also running without scaling. This allows me to have 3-way splits in my editor with ~100 lines visible on screen.
It also allows dual web browser windows side-by-side.
Neither of these things are possible on a 1080p screen.

You’re a different market, just like those people that want an ethernet port in-built.
Their current offering is an awkward half-way between the thinkpad demographic and the XPS demographic.

To tempt the XPS demographic over, they will need to offer a hiDPI screen.
Given they’re going with a svelte form factor and minimal ports, it does seem like that’s the demographic they’re after.

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@darko I think you (and a few other people) are missing the entire point of the Librem.

The Librem is NOT meant to be an XPS competitor. Purism is not competing with Dell.

Purism’s ENTIRE target demographic is privacy and security enthusiasts, who are willing to pay a premium for a sophisticated computer that respects their freedom. Most of these people are Purism customers for ethical reasons. This means that performance, price, and yes, even screen DPI are all secondary to security and privacy.

If Purism did what you are requesting, and actually started competing with Dell, they would lose the entire demographic that made their company in the first place.

On top of that, Dell would automatically win, because they have a larger budget, larger development team, and aren’t concerned at all about privacy. Purism’s XPS clone, if they decided to make one, would be released a generation later and at a higher price. So they wouldn’t even make a new demographic to replace their old one.

Do you want to play games or use photoshop at 4k resolution on your laptop? Then the Librem is a terrible choice. The CPU is two generations behind and it doesn’t even have discrete graphics. Even if it had a 4k display, it would max-out the iGPU just with GUI transparency effects.

So, keep using the XPS for productivity.

Do you want to prevent corporations from spying on you? Are you a journalist in a totalitarian country? Do you want to make a positive difference in the world? Are you tired of Microsoft or Apple recording every medical problem you’ve ever typed in on your keyboard and sharing it with their “third parties”? Do you want to support those who are trying to bring privacy and security back to regular people like you and me?

Then get the Librem for security and privacy.

There’s nothing wrong with having the Librem as a second computer, for those reasons alone. My main laptop is 2 years old and costed $700 new, and it is much faster than the Librem, with discrete graphics and a 7th-gen CPU. I use that laptop for productivity.

And still, I bought a Librem anyway, because my main laptop isn’t secure or private. I also feel good about giving my hard-earned money to someone who actually cares about privacy, instead of Dell.

If you’re not concerned with privacy or security then it sounds like you’re not in Purism’s target market. That’s fine, but complaining that the Librem isn’t as cheap/fast/high-DPI as the XPS just wastes everyone’s time. Their market and business model is for privacy and security. If they started listening to these sort of complaints, they would lose all of their current customers, including me, overnight, and we’d have to wait for another company to make another private-and-secure-laptop on kickstarter.

TLDR Don’t tell Purism how to run their business. It would be corporate suicide to “tempt the XPS demographic over”.


I think you are missing the context within which my comment was made.

I’m referring to the subsets of the FOSS community.
I want a RYF laptop, which is all-FOSS.

Librem are obviously looking beyond just that, or else they would have released something ugly and boxy like a thinkpad.

Ideally I’d be after something running an open platform like OpenRISC, but it’ll be a while until that’s viable for laptops.

My insistence here is because people who are happy with low resolution keep saying they don’t want anyone else to have the option of a modern laptop that respects your freedom, because frankly in 2018 1080p is archaic.
It would be like insisting that SSDs are nice and all, but they don’t improve security, so stick with HDDs.
Yes, a higher resolution draws more battery.
But by only offering a 1080p screen with no hiDPI option, they are drastically reducing the real-world capabilities of their machines.

I don’t think anyone is advocating that laptops should only be available in hiDPI, merely that the option be reconsidered following the large amount of interest it gathered before it was ruled not yet possible.


I think you’re wrong about the demographic they’re after. Truthfully the Librem is about appealing to us tinfoil hats. I believe the nice design is more of a “why not?” thing where if they’re going to go to the trouble of making an entirely new design why not just make it good, too? I think it has literally nothing to do with any intention of competing with big-name companies. In fact, Purism is so small that even dreaming of competing with mainstream names would be entirely arrogant. This whole project is just a bit better than a kickstarter project really.

The project exists simply because before Purism there was no real way to get a fully free system except for buying an ancient ThinkPad with Libreboot on it. I’m pretty sure that, specifically, you needed to get a pre-Intel ME machine, which meant going for something like an old Core 2 Duo… Well, that method became more and more unreasonable as time moved along and that technology became more and more antiquated.

Purism exists to attempt to bring us a fully FOSS/Libre system with modern hardware. This is, however, really hard to do because modern hardware seems to be riddled with deeply-interlaced close-source components and code. The Intel Management Engine and it’s siblings throughout the tech world is, frankly, quite creepy. Makes me wonder what happened around 2008 that kicked this whole “Mangement Engine” trend… I have a nagging feeling it might’ve been an order from high places in government(s), not a corporate-desired thing like they claim (especially since even Google really wants to get rid of it).

And let’s be clear that - You say you want a “fully FOSS” machine. Well, bluntly, Purism isn’t there yet, and it may be some more years before they are. They’re still working on freeing parts of the system, and the Librem line is not “RYF” yet.

Anyway, if you want performance per dollar, you’d be way better off just buying from a different manufacturer and installing Linux on it if you need it. You can still make a machine that’s mostly FOSS, the caveat is the BIOS/UEFI, FSP, drivers, and all that other real low-level stuff. But aside from that you can just throw Linux on most any laptop that Dell, HP, ASUS, or what-have-you throws out there. There’s no need to go out of your way to spend more for less just because of your tinfoil fears.

In the end you have to ask yourself whether or not you really care about this whole conspiracy-theory stuff to shell out money to buy lower-end hardware for more just because of this kinda stuff. If productivity is #1 in your book then maybe something a bit more powerful and user-friendly would be more up your alley.

I fully disagree with the idea that they’re trying to compete with anyone. If anything - “if you’re gonna do something, you may as well do it right”.

Also, 4k is not “standard” by today’s terms, 1080p is still the standard (heck many laptops are still less than that) and 4k is the high-end stuff. Plus if you did get a 4k monitor from Purism it’d almost certainly have to be a 4k TN panel and not a nice IPS panel or anything.

I also do kinda question what’s so “vital to productivity” about a 4k screen? I wouldn’t really see a Linux machine as being great for stuff like productivity software use - even once I have a Purism machine, I’ll still be using a Windows computer for video editing and games and stuff, surely. Unfortunately I don’t think I’ll ever be getting away from Windows and closed-source software when it comes to games and productivity software - all the games and the best software are all closed-source and Windows / MacOS only. But I still want a Linux machine for browsing, communication, and handling sensitive files.

In any case, HiDPI is really still very experimental in Linux as a whole anyway. Most distros don’t have it at all and the few that do are in a highly experimental stage with it. It’s just not there yet.

If performance is your priority, I’d suggest getting a good laptop and installing Windows 10 LTSB on it - it’s Windows 10 without all the BS like Cortana, “Apps”, or the Windows Marketplace. If you want to further lock it down (at the risk of messing something up) you can look into various privacy tools like BlackBird. In fact, here’s a whole slew of them. It’s basically how I “make Windows usable again”, and the final result is a pretty no-nonsense version of Windows 10 for the most part - I just wish it were the mainstream (seriously, everyone I do it for is so much happier with it than the mainstream Win10 versions which are all complete crud). It’s still closed-source and it always will be, Linux will always be best for privacy and security (in experienced hands), but I think I at least made the best out of a bad situation anyway. I’ll always need a Windows machine laying around to run certain kinds of software in any case.

As for how to get the LTSB version of windows without a license, well… it’s easy of course, but I’d probably get banned for mentioning the method I use, hah. You can take an educated guess and probably be correct.

Anyway, all in all I don’t think Purism is trying to compete with anyone else, and I don’t think 1080p is “archaic”, it’s still the norm and is fine. But if you disagree then you disagree, that’s fine. I doubt they’re going to put a 4k screen into these anytime soon though.

my 2 cents about screen resolution
says that on a 15.6" with 1366x768 you get exactly 100ppi

  1. a higher diagonal size and a higher resolution introduces more battery drain on each single increment added.
  2. current gnu-linux distributions have poor support for high ppi displays. gnome 3.30 will be a little less restrictive in this department
  3. the majority of software GUI is optimised for 92ppi - going higher means less readability and more eye strain on text and important screen elements (fitting more information on the disply is not neccesarrily a good thing unless you can mantain the ppi around 90-100.
    for example

Power On Mode : <5.78W***
Power Saving Mode : < 0.5W
Power Off Mode : <0.5W
Voltage : 100-240V, 50 / 60Hz
Phys. Dimension with Stand (WxHxD): 377.8mm x 280.7 x 189.4 mm
Phys. Dimension without Stand (WxHxD): 377.8 x 235.9 x 44 mm
Net Weight (Esti.) : 1.4 kg
Panel Size : Wide Screen 15.6"(39.6cm) 16:9
True Resolution : 1366x768
Display Viewing Area(HxV) : 344.23 x 193.54 mm
Display Surface Glare
Pixel Pitch : 0.252mm
Brightness(Max) : 200 cd/㎡
ASUS Smart Contrast Ratio (ASCR) : 50000000:1
Viewing Angle (CR≧10) : 90°(H)/65°(V)
Response Time : 10ms
Flicker free
Touch Screen : Yes, Capacitive 10-point multi-touch

point beeing if you hardware calibrate it you can reach 4w of active power drain from the wall

Good points Alex

I might add, with LTSB you are going to get zero feature updates for 2 years, and since most companies assume you aren’t using LTSB you’ll start running into all sorts of problems if you’re trying to use LTSB on a regular computer. For example, even graphics drivers generally will not work on LTSB if you’re trying to keep them up to date. Basically, M$ has noticed that most people would rather use LTSB than have cortana and ads shoved down their throats, so they are trying to make it as uncomfortable as possible to use LTSB for a desktop scenario.

NTLite is a much better option, and can make much smaller and lighter installations than even LTSB. 2 Gigabytes final installation size is possible if you know what you’re doing. Also, assuming your computer came with Windows, using NTlite would just count as a “reinstall” and you won’t need to worry about how safe/ethical your “FREELTSBnovirusipromise.iso” file is… :yum:

That’s not true. Tinfoil hats (and those who really have higher security requirements) as well as FOSS advocates may be the primary target to get it going. But privacy is not and should not be something that is exclusive to tinfoil hats. Just as @darko said. They look beyond that. Todd Weaver envisions a future where Librems sit next to Windows laptops at your favorite retailer. It should be a normal thing to buy a a safe and secure computer, that does not require extra effort and expertise. That is the vision.
I mean… look at the Librem 5 campaign page. It literally says “privacy, security and freedom for everyone”, depicting a happy family. Not a hacker in his basement.

So @gnulligan yes, performance, price, and yes, even screen DPI are secondary. But secondary is still quite a good place in a priority list, right? :wink:
In case you don’t know, a 4k display for the Librems was almost a thing. They tried hard, but (were) failed. Such things will happen less as Purism grows and gains leverage. Another reason why Purism has zero interest in staying in the tinfoil hat niche forever.

Everybody who buys from Purism currently, invests in a future where it is a normal, non-elitist thing to own devices that respect our freedom. Currently, this involves some idealism regarding price and features. But the price and feature gaps will close as Purism continues to grow.

I’m often surprised when I see laptops with taped cameras. It really has become a thing amongst “normal” people, who have no in-depth knowledge about computers. So, there’s a target group. And then, there are some of us Linux guys who install Linux on the computers of those who always beg us to fix their problems, to ease our pain. So there’s a target group. Why would we first buy a machine with a Windows license and then replace it with Linux?