Does the average Joe "need" the USA edition?

If you care about labor rights, it isn’t absurd. The PCBs for the Librem 5 USA will be made by a company in the San Diego area and the phone will be assembled in the Carlsbad Fulfillment and Assembly Center in a suburb of San Diego. California has a minimum wage of $13 per hour for companies under 25 employees and $14 per hour for companies with 25 or more employees. We can trust that workers in California will be protected by OSHA standards and they have the right to form independent labor unions.

Labor standards in the US are hardly great, but they are a lot better than in the factories of Shenzhen. Take the time to read this article:

Chinese workers are less likely to be exposed to dangerous chemicals on the job than in the past, but workers can’t form independent labor unions and the government conducts wide-spread surveillance on Chinese citizens to keep them inline.

I worked for a while in an auto parts factory in Indiana in the late 1990s, and it was the worst job I ever endured. 40 hours per week of repetitive assembly line work left me feeling numb and brain dead. I can’t imagine doing that kind of work 14 hours per day and only having 1 day off every 14 days, but that is what factory workers in China endure. The way those workers are treated as second class citizens who are shipped in from the countryside is frankly disgusting.


Yes, I also hear about USA camps for Latinos at the Mexican border and the brutal separation of children and parents. Also know the country with the world biggest prisoner population. All this did not prevent me from supporting Purism (an USA company).
By the way I expect you support BDS.

Why now so critical of other countries labor standards? These are difficult to compare and depend on local conditions. I myself, from the EU, regard USA labor standards as hardly existing. It’s easy to point to a splinter in somebody’s eye and disregard the beam in your own.( Luke 6:39-42).
Sorry for this, but I’m sick of all this hypocrite and jealous pointing to adversaries. Please keep this forum focused on L5 technical items.

Jan, I suspect the EU country you live in feels the same way as many here. Ask Germans if they prefer buying German products made in Germany. Furthermore, wanting to support US made products is not evil or narrow minded. It means you care about the industry and jobs available in the country you live. I would hope every nation’s citizens would feel similarly.

There was a time when all products from US companies were made in the US. It didn’t hurt anything and was the reason our economy boomed. The move to China was about greed and exploitation. There is NO other reason why the move was made.

Now the US manufacturing infrastructure is in ruins. We could barely build our own computers.

This is not a slight to China or the amazing fabrication and manufacturing they are capable of. I have a 1 Netbook Onemix 3pt, which wouldn’t have been possible without China. It is an amazing UMPC.

The price of the Librem 5 USA model is expensive. There are real reasons for this, and most of them are good. I would buy one, but since i already ordered a normal one, I’ll wait until version 2 is ready, and then will try to get one of the US made ones.

This is not because I have a problem with the Chinese people or their skills. 1 of my bucket list items is to visit China. I love their cuisine, and I think their language is very interesting. People are generally good, and governments corrupt.


This is not exactly the same. There is (still) a rule of law in the US and you can win in a court, even if you go against NSA. There is are no freedom of speech or laws in China except those which CCP like and the application of those laws is also as they like it. China is not a democracy and they are definitely trying to bring their model to the rest of the world, step by step. I don’t like the USA attitude either, but it’s just not comparable.

Also, currently 90% (?) of production occurs in China. If it was 50/50, you could have a point.

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I value the input of everyone’s opinions but these are the facts I was looking for. I very much appreciate the clarification! Thank you!! :pray:

I think the regular Librem will fare me well if I opt for the USA modem option. With the $1200 I save I could basically buy their laptop as well…which was where my head was at to begin with. If the hardware was basically the same, I could buy the regular Librem AND the laptop for almost the same price as just the USA model.


From where I live this is exactly the same. We see no difference. Only de USA propaganda is better (and way more expensive).

But everything is in the eye of the beholder …

My guess is, it isn’t the same. It isn’t the same for very many empirical reasons.

While you focus on the politics here, most of us are talking about working conditions and supporting the families and people around us, instead of exploiting others.

But I don’t mean to get in the way of your agenda. Nevermind me.

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Yes it is hard to compare between countries, but some objective comparison is possible. 600,000 Chinese die every year from overwork. As bad as Amazon warehouses in the US may be, they aren’t nearly as bad as a Chinese factory where people work as much as 14 hours per day for 13 out of every 14 days. In my time in a US auto parts factory, I never saw anyone working those kinds of hours and I never saw the kind of repression of workers described in Julie Green’s article about Shenzhen factories.

I grew up in the US, but I have spent the last 15 years of my life living in Peru and Bolivia, and have little patience for jingoistic nationalism. It is worth reading Benedict Anderson’s book Imagined Communities to understand how nationalism is used to manipulate people’s sense of identity. My criticism of the Shenzhen factory system is based on my concern for labor rights, not some jingoistic desire to prove that the US is superior to China.

By the way, I believe that we should make buying decisions based on labor conditions, environmental impact, and other “externalities” that are normally ignored. The Purism SPC charter appears to agree, since it states:

The Corporation will source, and manufacture the highest quality hardware. The Corporation will endeavor to source the best component parts that operate using free/libre and open source software. When considering the selection of parts, The Corporation will weigh such issues as privacy, security, freedom, ethical working conditions, environmental impact, and performance, among other factors.


This is exactly the reason why the USA version peeked my interest to begin with. I don’t blame China for wanting to profit from manufacturing…I blame greedy corporations here in the United States for literally selling out the very people who are their customers. Let’s be real here if the tables were turned the United States would do the same thing that China has… Not to bring politics into this but that was the foundation of the MAGA “movement”. To bring American Manufacturing back to America. However, the way CCP treats its “citizens” is horrific and I will never stand for violations to the most basic human rights just to fuel political and corporate greed.

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THIS!!! :star2: :star2: :star2: :star2: :star2:


Ahem… just scroll down a bit on the product page for a table of the origins.

You might call it an argument from silence, but I’d say it’s pretty clear that only the modem is really a different one, else they would state it.
Of course, the US-made PCB might slightly differ in looks, but is surely made from the same Gerber files.

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In that Table of Origin they say
Component -> Electronics
Origin of Declaration -> USA

If “Electronics” means what I believe it means - resistors, capacitors, ICs, etc…, - then Librem 5 USA seems to use different parts than Librem 5 China (not only PCBs).

How about the screen and the battery…?

In view of Anderson’s theory of “print capitalism”, this is less off-topic than it might appear at first sight. Sometime, I must look into whether anyone (or indeed Anderson himself) has developed his theory further for the internet age, and/or explored the relationship between print capitalism and surveillance capitalism.

As for nationalism in that part of Latin America, I once met a Chilean who told me that she had found herself in Bolivia at the time of “Día del Mar”. When anyone asked her where she came from, she felt compelled by her instinct for self-preservation to pretend to be from Argentina…

Well different in only that they are domestically sourced. Same way you can buy a car part made domestically or elsewhere, still the same part. However, the attention to detail and/or quality of build materials can be assumed to differ. Understandably domestically sourced materials and production would cost more, I just trying to justify more than double the price. Both sides are upsetting being that it’s cheaper because of how terribly mfg employees are treated in China, and it’s much more expensive built here because we’ve allowed so much of it move out of the US. We’ve shot ourselves in the foot…

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Sure, that’s what I also meant regarding the PCB. The parts might differ on the outside, but should have the same specs.

Since that table was published, I think the capacity of the battery has changed at least once, maybe twice :slight_smile:
So, pretty sure it has been omitted because it wasn’t clear.
I think for both components Purism will use what is available, for both variants.

I’m actually wondering, how many of those components (display, battery, electronics/ICs) could realistically be sourced from the US (meaning, factories exist, the needed specs are produced there, capacity is available. Price would probably be the least problem).

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None of us will get the non-US version during the next Sino-US war.* May as well get your cheap one now.

  • This presumes the non-US components are made in China.

I had to check. It looks like Purism purposely made sure that none of the 67 integrated circuits on the two PCBs in the Librem 5 were made by Chinese companies. However, the battery and screen (and its two ICs) are all made by Chinese companies:

  • Zhongshan Tianmo Battery Co. 1lCP10/55/47 3600mAh 3.8V (13.68Wh) li-ion polymer battery (for Dogwood)
  • Zhongshan Tianmo Battery Co. 4500mAh li-ion polymer battery (for Evergreen)
  • Mantix MLAF057WE51 X 5.7″ IPS a-Si LCD, 720×1440 pixels, 16.7M colors, 282 PPI, 1500:1 contrast ratio, 90% sRGB, MIPI DSI.
  • Goodix GT5688 Touch IC
  • Focaltech FT8006P LCD controller in the Mantix MLAF057WE51 X display

We need people who get the Librem 5 USA to take detailed photos of their PCBs so we can compare. I have been asking people who get the Librem 5 (China) to take detailed photos and nobody has so far. I will post photos when I get my Librem 5 (China), but that probably won’t be until Q3 of 2020.


I’ll take a gander that the battery models are also made elsewhere. e.g., if a battery dies, you can replace it with say … a Mexican model.

(Or to continue my joke, three triple-A’s.)