How does the new mini support Bluetooth?

I read on the web site that for the new mini desktop:
“Ar3k Bluetooth 4.0 (optional)”
is supported.

How did Purism do this, when the Librem laptops still don’t have non-proprietary drivers?

I don’t understand what your question really means.

AFAIK, I cannot get a free Bluetooth driver for my Librem 13v3. As I understand it, no Purism device has a free non-proprietary Bluetooth driver.
The new mini web site seems to indicate that it does have a driver. But perhaps they are once again trying to fool unaware buyers by indicating that they have Bluetooth hardware and failing to mention that it doesn’t have a driver (like they did when I bought my Librem 13v3).
So, I’m asking for clarification of that which I quoted.

I am not super in the know about this but it seems spicy. Waiting for some dev to reply.

NO. they are using ONLY free-software (firmware, drivers the whole spectacle). no proprietary or closed source code here dear …

use the search function in the upper-right corner … you’ll be surprised at what you can find …

edit: yeah it seems that’s not entirely true at-the-moment … my apologies :face_with_monocle::shushing_face:

It looks, to me, that there are 2 things going on.

[strikethrough]1. It appears to me the mini uses a different chip than the 13/15 so there may be open source drivers for this other device.

  1. The efforts from getting the Librem 5 to be FSF certified by connecting the Bluetooth chip in (I believe USB mode but I don’t remember the exact mode) allows the non-free code to be isolated in an acceptable way. This knowledge may have impacted the changes made to the mini to allow for working Bluetooth and free software to coexist in a way not possible on the current gen Librem laptops.

It may even be a combination of the two,[/strikethrough] I haven’t figured too deep into this as I’m not in the market for a mini, but these are the things I would look into if I were concerned about Bluetooth functionality on the mini.

Edit: Nicole seems to have confirmed they did neither of these things even though they were my first impressions.

OK, matter of fact is we use the same M.2 WiFi/BT card in the Mini as we use in the laptops, i.e. the AR3k Bluetooth chip is there. But yes, truth is also that this will not work out of the box with PureOS as long as you do not install the non-free AR3k firmware blob from some other source.



You’re not Purism staff, are you? I need to hear Purism say that about the mini.

1 Like

edited above ! thanks !

I think the Librem 5 contradicts the quoted statement. ?

1 Like

I received my mini yesterday and can confirm that I needed to install the proprietary ar3k/AthrBT_0x11020100.dfu firmware.

The info was a bit confusing about bluetooth (the web page describing the mini mentioned it was optional, but the page where you configure the machine to buy it doesn’t offer any bluetooth option), so I asked Purism about it and they (more specifically Mladen Pejaković) very promptly responded:

Yes, this is a chip on a wifi card. But you will have to use proprietary firmware
for this to work, and it is not shipped in PureOS.


Perhaps instead of the specs page saying " Ar3k Bluetooth 4.0 (optional)" it should say " Ar3k Bluetooth 4.0 (optional - requries proprietary drivers)" - although I don’t think you’ll get FSF endoresement with this kind of thing, probably better to remove any mention of bluetooth from the marketing page and stick it in the user docs instead.

You can download the Debian driver here.

Although it is proprietary, it does not cost anything to install or use. No user agreements and so on. It’s about as free as you will get. I believe this is the same driver in a Raspberry Pi. Regardless, It works just fine in the Mini as I use a Bluetooth keyboard/mouse pad with no dongle and it works great

I think you’re misunderstanding the point of Purism’s products. We want free as in freedom, price is not the issue.

Bluetooth is a proprietary device. Not just the driver. Somethings are not “free” and there is no getting around it. Someone owns the patient and has commercialized it. The only choice you have is to not use it if you want to keep your system free of proprietary software or you can just use a Bluetooth dongle. Sorry. I did misunderstand the issue but I do understand the point behind purism products or I wouldn’t have bought them.

1 Like

But there are bluetooth devices that respect your freedom:
They should at least clarify that the bluetooth doesn’t work yet. I’m suprised so many here are eager to put proprietary drivers. Isn’t the whole point of using purism to avoid this?

At the time of this thread, there were no option for the hardware installed on the Mini v1. To be honest, I do not know if there is any free options for the Mini yet. It really depends upon the device and driver available. The L5 Bluetooth is free which is a different device than the Mini v1. I can not say about the v2 since I don’t have one. The Bluetooth radio and WiFi radio are on the same chip if I remember correctly. I don’t use the Bluetooth radio on the Mini. if I need Bluetooth, I can use it on my phone. Purism builds the products. People can use them however they please free or not because the own the device unlike Windows, Apple and Google devices and one can install whatever they wish.