For fanboys/fangirls: Did I make a mistake ordering the Librem 5 USA?

Have you actually tried?
Timeframes for chargebacks vary significantly depending on circumstances. For Visa cards:

Reason Code 13.1

Services Not Provided or Goods Not Received

There are some cases in which delivery of goods or services can reasonably be expected after the actual transaction date. Buying concert tickets a month before the event date, for example. In these cases, the chargeback time limits are calculated based on multiple criteria. The time period used to gauge this Visa dispute time limit starts on either:

  • The transaction date, if the date the expected goods/service delivery date was unspecified
  • The date the cardholder returned or attempted to return the merchandise (if the merchandise was returned due to late delivery)

Also, the dispute must be processed either:

  • Within 120 days of the last date the cardholder expects to receive the goods or services (not to exceed 540 calendar days from transaction).
  • Within 120 days of the date the cardholder was informed that the goods/services would not be provided (not to exceed 540 calendar days from transaction).

My bank seems to have now accepted for processing chargeback for L5 USA order I placed on 5 July 2021. Talk to your bank, explain the situation.

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I disagree, and I think that the majority of the people who preordered the L5 would disagree as well. In my opinion, it is far better to eventually get a phone, even if it arrives late, then to get no refund and no phone, which is where your proposed solution of taking the company to court to force it to pay immediate refunds will lead us, if it provokes a chapter 11 bankruptcy or chapter 7 liquidation.

People who preordered the phone have lower priority in bankruptcy proceedings than any banks who loaned Purism money, any suppliers/contractors who are owed money for goods or services, and any employees who are owed back wages. Stockholders will keep their stock if the company is reorganized under chapter 11 bankruptcy, or get pennies for every dollar that they invested in a Chapter 7 liquidation, but people who preordered the L5 are likely to get nothing in a bankruptcy.

Considering the fact that Purism shipped 1200 L5’s in September and October of 2021 and it looks likely at this point that everyone who preordered will get their phones in the next 12 months, I don’t see why you would want to provoke a court proceeding where the backers are likely to not get their preordered phones.

If another company were willing to buy Purism in a bankruptcy fire sale, it would probably look at the 20 previous attempts at commercial mobile Linux which were business failures, and decide that more investment in the development of the Phosh mobile environment is not rational from a business perspective. It is likely to use the bankruptcy as an excuse to drop the L5, and only concentrate on PCs, since they are the profitable part of the business.

Even if the new company makes the decision that there is a market for Linux phones, it will probably decide that paying for software development makes no business sense, and it will lay off most of the 11 people currently being paid by Purism to work on the L5’s software. No other small Linux hardware company pays for software development like Purism, and once Purism is “properly managed under new management” (as you term it), that paid dev work will end.

What that means is that we have to rely on the work of the volunteers to develop Phosh, which means that we face the prospect of slow development, just like we have seen with Plasma Mobile. Remember that Plasma Mobile has been under development since July 2015, so twice as long as Phosh, yet a poll on the PinePhone forum found that 70% use Phosh vs 16% use Plasma Mobile, and a later poll found that 56% selected Phosh as their favorite interface vs 14% for Plasma Mobile.

The 1/4 million lines of new code that Purism has created for the L5 are vital for the future of mobile Linux, because Phosh is the most maintainable of the available Linux mobile interfaces, since it is designed as a thin overlay on top of GTK/GNOME, which has developers paid by IBM/Red Hat, SUSE, Canonical and Google, and it uses ModemManager, which is much better maintained than oFono. In comparison, Plasma Mobile only has a few developers paid by Blue Systems, and Jolla helps a little with the maintenance of the Maliit keyboard and oFono telephony, so Plasma Mobile has very little corporate support.

The prospects for the other mobile Linux interfaces is far worse. Ubuntu Touch is a maintenance nightmare, and the volunteers at UBports will be lucky just to maintain the existing code, much less add to Lomiri and its apps. Samsung and LG stopped developing Tizen and WebOS for smartphones long ago, and LuneOS based on WebOS is going nowhere. Firefox OS only lives on as proprietary KaiOS. The community has rejected the proprietary Silica interface in Sailfish OS and there is not currently a single phone shipping with Sailish OS preinstalled by the OEM, so it only sold as a 3rd party aftermarket reinstall by I doubt that the Glacier IU for Nemo Mobile will ever be completed, and Hildon, based on GTK 2, is hopelessly outdated.

I don’t like the way that Purism marketed the L5 as if it were ready for non-technical users, and I especially don’t like the fact that Purism retroactively changed its refund policy, but we have to acknowledge that Purism is now shipping phones and it is doing dev work that is vitally important to the future of mobile Linux, which no other company will do.

I don’t know how you can make this kind of crazy comment, considering how the L5 was designed.

The L5 is the first phone with free/open source schematics since the Golden Delicious GTA04, released in 2011. It isn’t hard to verify that the schematics are real, considering that Purism released x-ray photos of the PCBs (for Birch batch), and you can x-ray the PCBs yourself, and see that the parts listed in the schematics match the size and shape of the chips in the x-rays, and you can rip off the metal shields over the PCBs and read the labels on the chips.

The L5 and the PinePhone are the only phones on the market which use 100% free/open source drivers. There is no proprietary code stored in the L5’s Linux file system. No proprietary code ever executes on the four Cortex-A53 CPU cores in the L5, and the only proprietary code that is executed by the i.MX 8M Quad processor is a bit of Synopsys code to train the DDR4 RAM timing during bootup, which is stored in a separate SPI NOR Flash chip and executed by u-boot on the secondary Cortex-M4F processor. At that point during the bootup, I doubt that is even isn’t possible for the code to access your files, which are encrypted on the eMMC. The Winbond W25Q16JVUXIM TR SPI NOR Flash chip only holds 2MB, so the amount of proprietary code has to be small, and it would be very hard to stick an OS in there with a TCP/IP stack and a driver for the BM818 cellular modem or RS9116 WiFi that is capable of communicating with the outside world. Of course, you have the documentation, so you can extract the binary from the Flash chip, and use a hex editor to analyze it to determine if has an OS with a TCP/IP stack or not. You can also compare it with the binary that you can download from NXP to determine whether it has been altered or not.

Purism now hosts most of the source code that it is developing on GNOME servers, and volunteers from GNOME, Mobian and postmarketOS are involved in the development of Phosh, which is a good indication that Purism isn’t deliberately putting backdoors in its code, which you can read yourself. Even if you don’t trust Purism’s software and its compilation of the code, Purism sent the L5 to UBports, postmarketOS and Mobian, so they will make ports for the phone. UBports’ work on the L5 has stalled, but you can try out the postmarketOS and Mobian ports. The postmarketOS port supports Plasma Mobile and Sxmo, so you don’t even have to use Purism’s interface.

Even if you think that there is a backdoor in the BroadMobi BM818 modem, Silicon Labs RS9116 WiFi, STMicroelectronics Teseo-LIV3F GNSS, TI TPS65982 USB PD controller, ROHM BD71837AMWV power management IC, TI BQ25895 charge controller, Microchip USB2642 media card controller, etc., all components in the L5 use serial interfaces that don’t allow direct memory access, and the hardware kill switches make it possible to cut the current or turn off many of the components. You can rip the shielding off the PCBs and take out your multimeter and verify whether the components that have hardware kill switches are really turned off or not.


You’re premising what you write on the assumption that Purism is not teetering on the edge of bankruptcy already, about to go over at any moment.

If they’re not in some sort of trouble, why attempt to restrict refunds?

What you’re seeing now is some people deciding they want their money back before the inevitable happens, rather than waiting until afterwards and losing their money. Especially for the L5 USA, the amount of money is non-trivial.

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Except the vendor didn’t even tell him when he could expect his refund, it hemmed and hawed the same way it did about when it might be able to ship the “in stock” product.

I think the situation with waiting on a refund would be different if there wasn’t ample evidence on this forum that shows that even when following the guidelines Purism sets out, refunds are extremely difficult to get.

There are people who have ordered Librem 14 laptops (that Purism also claims are in stock or have under four week lead times, depending on what definition/semantics you want to use) who have been told they won’t get their refund until May 2022, a YEAR after purchase. Even the most generous reading to Purism doesn’t make that sort of thing defensible (and it also goes against Purism’s own stated policies, because rather than getting a laptop, that person opted for a refund, only to be told it would be six months until he got his money back).

And for OP, time is of the essence. His credit card company is his best chance to get his money back (and his bank will definitely fight to get his money back – if Purism needs a few more weeks to get it to Chase, Chase can take it up with Purism – it could take a billing cycle for his refund to show up on his Chase statement, but provided he has a valid claim, which he does, Chase will absolutely fight to get Chase’s money back), so having documentation of his request, Purism’s responses (or lack thereof), etc. are all really important. The terms of his agreement may allow him more than 60 days, but he’s requested a refund and there is absolutely no reason why they shouldn’t be able to give him a tentative date for when it will be issued.

People who are waiting 6 months for Purism to (presumably) have cash flow to issue a refund are much kinder than I would be. And people outside of the United States who are looking for solutions are the people I have the most empathy for.


I understand where you are coming from and I think most people genuinely want the best outcome for everyone involved. And to a certain degree, you’re right that if given the choice between no phone/no refund or a phone that arrives very late, most people would prefer to get a phone.

But as @SteveC says, that is making an assumption that they have the cashflow to get through this to begin with. And for people who do have ways to get a refund (be it credit card or otherwise), they should absolutely be pursuing that now rather than hoping that things will just work out in the end. For people who are out of their banks chargeback period and who agreed to the more onerous pre-order/crowdfunding terms, well, that’s different. But people either waiting on refunds or waiting on L5 USA shipments (especially if they ordered an L5 USA in the last six months) should probably act now versus later.

And of course, Purism could end a lot of this, at least with new orders (like OP’s situation) by not taking orders for L5 USA phones (or the L5 period) until they actually have chips in stock. We don’t know what the situation is, but given the number of outstanding L5 USA’s we’ve seen on this forum (I think you are one of the few we’ve seen who received yours, and unfortunately you had to send yours off for repair – and I’m genuinely very sorry about that), I don’t think the inference that they don’t have the all the components too complete orders is incorrect. To me, the more ethical thing to do, if you don’t have parts in stock and are unsure when you will have them in stock, is to simply stop taking orders until you have a better projection of when that will be.

Look, maybe Purism is waiting for its own suppliers to fulfill parts it has already paid for (I’m not going to pretend that I know enough about their volume to try to make any sort of guess about what their supplier terms are and how much they have to pay in advance, vs net 30 or whatever), maybe they really do have enough components to make L5 USA phones, they just don’t have a way too run the line so to speak, quickly in the US. I don’t know. I’m not Purism. But it still feels disingenuous to have a product for sale, listed “in stock” (but shipping within 90 days) when almost no one who has ordered one (well after 90 days has passed) has received a product. Obviously cutting off sales would cut off cash flow, but if you do not have the product and don’t know when you can deliver it, that is the ethical decision. Keeping a product listed as “in stock” when your own definition of “in stock” is different from every other colloquial definition, and then not refunding payment for months after is wrong – no matter how good the larger intentions of the company might be.

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— for some reason released only just weeks ago — not before someone, looking at the dev kit schematics, pointed out that the Wi-Fi kill switch was kindly asking to turn off instead of actually cutting the power.

If only all things around us actually were what the are labelled…

I don’t see how such an analysis can prove the negative since malicious code can be obfuscated/encrypted/compressed etc. to prevent visual recognition, and unpacked only at runtime. The only way to be sure is to compile and re-flash your own.

That said, what are you saying in a nut shell — that there is no need for us to trust Purism at all as the absence of backdoors can be proved beyond any reasonable doubt, or, in any event, secured by compiling and flashing/installing custom binaries?

If you are not denying that some level of trust is still necessary even with all the glittering tech openness, that’s exactly where my point goes to: that trust, unfortunately, has been ruined by the ongoing bullshit about the L5 USA stock status and delivery timeframes.

Those schematics were released in December 2019


I don’t read it that way but OK neither of us is a lawyer.

Either way, your 90 days is nowhere near up !

They recently funded $9,8 million.

That’s what they say.

AFAIK it’s very illegal to lie here.

Well, Purism has lied to people about their products being in stock and shipping within 90 days, so it wouldn’t shock me.

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It is. That didn’t stop Elizabeth Holmes though. Why would it stop Todd?

Delaying is not lying. There were good reasons in my opinion:

That is completely irrelevant to a product that Purism (still) lists on their site as being “in stock” and “Now Shipping!” (i.e. the L5 USA). @Greendrake placed his order for a L5 USA on July 5, 2021. 90 days from that would have been October 5, 2021. Purism is actively lying about the availability of that phone, as they have made no change to their advertised shipping of the phone and @Greendrake still doesn’t have have his.

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@Greendrake’s phone was significantly delayed. But it does not mean that new orders will be delayed in the same way. Purism apparently expects that they will be delivered in 90 days.

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If @Greendrake was told his phone would be delivered within approximately 90 days, and it’s been over 150, how is that not lying?

Purism has a history of delays, but it always delivers in the end.


If the intent is to deceive then lying.
If they’re just wrong that is different.

When someone answers a question and is wrong because they don’t know and had to estimate or guess that is much more frequently going to fall under the category of just being factually incorrect than lying/deception.

So without proof of purisms intent to deceive there is a lack of proof they are lying.

The frequency and quantity of times they are inaccurate would, however, be a very reasonable metric to question their competence when it comes to estimating timelines.


" They recently funded $9,8 million. "

Well, in that case they should be willing to issue refunds then, right?