I would love to be able to recommend librem but here are the problems


#1

First the Good:
I love what Purism is attempting to do and would want to support the company. The hardware choices that were made were excellent, especially with the integrated kill switches and the ability to have two internal hard drives in a laptop each up to 2 terabytes. Not to mention a computer architecture that lends itself to protecting your privacy & security build from the ground up, which is truly unique in the market place.

The Bad:
Your web site needs to be revamped when it comes to describing your Pure OS, your not giving potential customers enough information to make a buying decision. What I want to see spelled out is a list of specific software titles by category that your OS supports. I have also been looking through the forums and it seem like there are still a lot of kinks to be worked out, and I would need better response time from your staff than I am seeing. The other issue is I think you need to strike a balance between staying true to your purism vision and the needs of potential customers. Many of your potential customers have no love for Microsoft and their business practices, never the less are dependent upon many proprietary windows based software programs for their business and when dealing with their clients. Ideally what I and many others would like is to be able to have two hard drives in our laptops cable of dual booting without compromising security or privacy. Similar to what Apple use to do with their boot camp program back in the day. Many of us would be fine with a stable Pure OS version on one hard drive for ourselves and a bootable Windows 10 OS on the other internal drive this way we can continue to use our existing software we invested in while also maintaining our access to the larger selection of software available on the market. There should be a seamless way of achieving this built into the Pure OS, similar to what Apple once did.


#2

I agree. There isn’t enough information for the average bear to understand what they would be getting into with a switch to Librem

IDEA!!!

Remember those switch to Mac commercials?
Why not something similar for switching to PureOS?
At the time, Apple also had a great switching to Mac video and text tutorial site.

Purism has done a great job making the reason to switch clear, but a very bad job at explaining how to make the switch for average people.


#3

Exactly, they have done a terrible job at marketing and considering we are in the social media age its not like they have to spend millions of dollars to market themselves the way apple did. I also understand these guys are a start up with limited resources. So in their Pure OS they need to create an app that is searchable and list the most common trouble shooting issues with Librem and solutions because right now they don’t have the staff to get back to people in a timely fashion.


#4

you wanna boot windows, and seabios can do it.

Or you need tianocore? Personally I hope very much librem’s coreboot can be shipped with optional tianocore payload, however, if what you need is to boot windows, you can.


#5

There is that… common issue troubleshooting, though it could be expounded upon and not so buried. (pureos issue tracker wiki).

I think making resources like that more obvious and robust, as well as adding a basic switching guide like Using Microsoft Office? Try LibreOffice. Using Photoshop? Try GIMP. Using Darkroom? Try DigiKam. Need a backup? Try DejaDup. Need to Email? Try Evolution. Etc.

Making the path to truly switching easily understood.

It could even be a series of simple videos, much like the “Works on Librem 5” videos are now, demonstrating one Linux alternative at a time. Combine that with a better marketed and more robust wiki, and I think they’d have a useful and inexpensive solution to this issue.



Truly, there should be help.puri.sm, much like Apple’s knowledge base. That kind of info is out there, spread between this forum, the pureos tracker, and the wiki. It needs to be consolidated and add in the material for switchers.


#6

They need to really do a conversion video that addresses a lot of the concerns of potential buyers because lets face it, this is basic stuff. Most people are going to want to be able to buy their librem and just have it work. Not have to search for work arounds and if you have a business your not going to risk migrating to a Pure OS platform unless your comfortable a lot of these concerns have been first address.


#7

I know about the issue tracker but they should integrate it in to the OS with automatic monthly updates. So that a knowledge base is being build on their users machines. It would also cut down on the number of questions they receive.


#8

And try to avoid mentioning all the different open source names, it’s dazzling when you’re not familiair with them. Keep it simple: Librem powered by Purism

  1. Librem One
  2. Librem Suite
  3. Librem Tools
  4. Librem Media

#9

That’s very true especially if your hoping to reach a broader audience for your product.


#10

Maybe you are right, but things like librem is currently more for enthusiasts. Sometimes we do not want to mention it, but freedom comes with a price.

Actually I do think purism should pay more attention to spreading their fame among enthusiasts. I have been a linux person for long, however I have never heard of purism, pureos and librem before this year (maybe I saw pureos in that fsf’s “free gnu/linux list”, but I forgot it just because it is debian based :slight_smile: ).

Linux fans, cryptography fans and free software fans are always coming first in purism’s target user list. This is simply the truth.


#11

Where as I have never used Linux and have use Macs mostly than PCs once Apple started to become like everyone else. But there are a lot various business programs I have to be able to use especially since I have existing financial models that are based on them. With all that said I am a huge proponent of consumer privacy but I do not want to spend a lot of time getting my computer to do what I need it to do. So I guess Purism has to decide what they want to be, do they want to be a niche product or are they looking to take things to the next level and attract a wider audience. I found out about them through their kick starter for the phone.


#12

That might be true, but that isn’t the message their Why Purism? page sends:

“Being a social purpose company means doing social good for society before maximizing profits, and that makes us quite a different company indeed – one started because our founder and CEO, Todd Weaver, wanted to change the future of technology so his two growing daughters could participate in a digital society that respects them, rather than exploit them.”

Reads like they are aimed at the average person to me.


#13

average free-software supporter maybe :smiley: ? not so much for big tech bear huggers …


#14

You might be right, than in that case they will remain a niche player with a tiny market share. Which would be unfortunate because I think they definitely have the potential to be more than that.


#15

“they” definately do. and they don’t impose restrictions if that’s what you mean. if you CHOOSE to put proprietary stuff on the L5 it’ll be less than free-software and the world will be none-the-better for it …

again proprietary is not “more-than-that” because it enables convenience. it’s simply there for the taking if someone doesn’t care about free-software.


#16

Their main attraction for me is the hardware I like the security features being build directly in the hardware like the kill switches and the ability to use the Purism Librem token key. I also need a desktop replacement and a sleek laptop capable of holding two 2 terabyte drives is a huge selling point for me. Using all free software is not that important but being able to us a non-windows OS on one of the drive for my personal stuff is. Windows hard drive will primarily be for work and some software I already have.


#17

My perspective: I’ve generally been using various thinkpads for the past several years. So I’m comparing the librem 13v4 to something like the x390. Notably, my laptops are usually paid for by whomever I work for, not me. High-end configurations put them at comparable price points.

Good:

  • The librem is designed to run linux. Even though the hardware support for lenovo laptops has been very good, this is a definite plus.

  • Two SSD bays. I love it.

  • I’m not a huge privacy nut, but the various kill switches are nice. Definitely preferable to those little covers to put over your webcam.

  • We need more laptop vendors in general, and I approve of what Purism is doing.

Neutral:

  • PureOS: I don’t give a shit. I’ll almost certainly throw it away and use Arch Linux.

  • Doesn’t come with windows. I generally go through my lenovo laptops without ever even booting windows, but having it just in case is better than not having it. I’d order them without windows if it saved me money, but that’s not an option, and given that the price points are comparable, the fact that you can get the 13v4 without windows isn’t really an advantage.

Minor Bad:

  • Small company supply chain issues meaning if I wanted one right now, I’d have to go with the UK keyboard instead of the US keyboard. This is probably no big deal; just have to tell some bit of cfg to ignore it’s autodetection info and force US layout. I’m sure that would work fine. Arguably, this pulls the librem somewhere closer to the lenovo’s not-technically-designed-for-linux, although not quite as bad obviously.

Very Bad:

  • I have to give up the Lenovo Clitmouse (or, as they insist on erroneously calling it, the Trackpoint). This device pairs extremely well with keyboard-centric little-to-no-mouse UIs and workflows. I often turn off the touchpad on my laptops just because occasionally using the clitmouse is all I need, mouse-wise. Seriously, these things are beyond awesome, and it’s not like they’re patented or something. An option to add one would be huge.

  • It’s not clear if the 13v4 supports any external display output other than a single HDMI port or, if it does support usb monitors, whether it supports using both HDMI and usb simultaneously. My one lenovo laptop with usb-c has no difficulty with this, and previous laptops have done simultaneous HDMI/DP just fine. Some answers in the forum have suggested that the way to go for multi-display is multiple monitors from the single HDMI output (daisy-chaining? cable splitter?), although I don’t know if this is official. Either way, this represents a dangerous level of uncertainty I’d have to have resolved before buying one.

  • CPU. Compared to the top-end x390, which is 4 core/8 thread, the 13v4 is a measly 2 core/4 thread. This is unsatisfying. It’s particularly troublesome when one wants to run lots of virtual machines in parallel. I understand that it may be expensive for a smaller vendor to buy blocks of high-end chips at a good price point, but I’d be willing to pay a bit of a premium for the 13v4 if it came with an excellent CPU (it’s usually my company paying anyway, not me, so who cares?)

Misc Bad-ish:

  • 10% restocking fee on returns. If there was no return fee, or a trivial return fee, I’d probably have ordered one today (once again, it’s not my money), and who knows, I might have kept it. But unlike just ordering a particularly expensive machine, ordering one that it seems like I’m likely to return at a 10% tends to require more justification. I can’t say this is a definite bad thing, since I don’t really know what it costs to offer next-to-free returns (it may only make sense for huge vendors), but I presume somebody on the business side of Purism would want to know this.

Conclusion:

As unhappy as I’ve been with the ordering-from-lenovo UX, I’m still going to go with them this time (unless they screw up my order again, in which case I’m falling back on the 13v4). However, I’m likely going to have another laptop bought for me by some company or other in ~1.5 years, and I’ll still be just as price-insensitive then.

It strikes me that it really wouldn’t be hard for anybody to more or less permanently own the market of people like me (engineers who frequently buy high-end linux laptops they don’t personally have to pay for). Like, I often think that it’d be a good side business, given how unsatisfying so much of the competition is. Unfortunately, I have a day job, and I’m not exactly drowning in capital. Still, I would welcome Purism taking this market from Lenovo with open arms.


#18

what ? paying the M$ tax just to “have” it as an option is a neutral point ? whooo … why then, wouldn’t a donation to the FSF (in a similar oem amount) be a similar neutral point to a M$ “regular” ?

see this kind of mentality is what is wrong in this system. if paying the M$ tax is just neutral then how come it swallows everything up like a black-hole ?


#19

@reC this isn’t an ideological issue for me. For one, I don’t care about the “M$ tax” because it’s usually not me paying for it anyway. Second, as I explained, there isn’t actually an option to save money by not getting windows. There’s the option to buy a thinkpad with windows, or an option to buy a librem without windows. The other differences between these two options have much more practical importance to me.

In any case, I get that you’re apparently some sort of free software partisan, which is totally fine as far as I’m concerned (I like it myself). However, this sort of undirected hostility towards the various companies you don’t like and casting aspersions on unenlightened “mentalities” doesn’t really serve any useful purpose. I’m not offended, I just think you’re wasting your time. If anything, it just makes the free software/hardware world a less friendly place.

Look at it this way: I came to Purism because I thought it would solve a practical problem for me. I need a high-end linux laptop for work. I don’t need windows. So it’s a good option for me, and the money I’d spend would further the development of free software/hardware. By contrast, how will you hectoring me for insufficient ideological purity further these goals? I mean, it’s not going to stop me from exploring Purism as an option, but are there other people who would be turned off by your attitude? It might be more than zero. It might be more effective to praise people for every step towards 100% free tech instead of what you’re doing.


#20

so if my reply offended you i apologise it wasn’t my intention. but there is this thing that you got wrong and it’s kinda’ the root of the problem … sry

here it is “I don’t care about the “M$ tax” because it’s usually not me paying for it anyway” - who is paying for it then ? because at the bottom of the rabbit hole there is almost always WE the $ payers or tax-payers however you want to call it.

whoa - where the guns at ?