Laptop died, goodbye Purism

Thank you for this post! I’ve been considering Purism for some time and was about to cave to the image.

But it’s an expensive platform for what you get. While I support their values, I can’t afford to sacrificially do so. The current laptop is currently under powered for at least my purposes and not priced competitively. I feel their foray into a Linux phone race has been a major distraction from their core laptop line. Making an impressive, privacy first laptop with a solid supported Linux distro is a sizable and ambitious enough task for a small company.

Purism’s marketing is slick. They put themselves out there like they’re a Linux version of Apple: laptop, phone, and secure apps for everything you need! But they do not begin to have those kind of development resources to lean on, nor customer base. I wish they did, but that doesn’t change anything. I’d say “nor hardware quality too”, but as a long-time Apple user and dev, I know Apple’s hardware is in steep decline.

Perhaps they plan to abandon the laptop line to focus on for the phone and their privacy apps? If they can get it to work, I would be interested.

All the worthy values of Purism’s approach to privacy are only realized when I can toss my old device and really use one of theirs. Currently, for the phone and this laptop line, I can’t. Still, I’m pulling for this company and I appreciate their effort at transparency for the phone.

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Some versions of Puppy Linux work without a Video card, or driver. Might be a way to test what is wrong?

Wonder if it would work if you put the original parts back into it?

Since a lot of manufacturers might put odd things in their firmware, I can guess that is why the Biwin was used.

I always suspect companies of going on the cheap and substituting cheap parts. Now I must worry about a part being privacy compromised.

I would hope they lean into laptops further. I feel that they quickly lost interest in them.

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Me too, I mean I get how they could believe that the phone is a more efficient way to appeal to a broader spectrum of customers, but I also think it is muddy water and harder to truly compete in.


I agree. A phone is a second rate computer in my mind, currently forth rate if running Linux. I’m in the market for a good privacy honoring laptop and always will be, but old flip phones are looking better and better for making voice calls.

Hello, here is happy owner of Librem13 - v4, and also a FSF member.

I bought it few months ago and it works perfectly, from HW and SW point of view, including the boot that is super fast. They delivered to me in France from US at no cost. I contacted many times support team due to some delays caused by coronavirus and they replied always quickly via email (1 to 2 business days). I understand the challenges that small businesses can encounter as highlighted by @amosbatto, they can’t scale they investments in HW and SW over a large base of customers, but I appreciate the effort of transparency they did and the investment in providing a product like that to the FOSS community relying just on few staff.

Said that, I would like to ask @jukebox why he did not try to repair/replace pieces in his country (which one ?) . Was the guarantee of Purism already expired ?

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I was happy as well when I bought it, let’s talk again in 2 years.

I pointed out already that I see no point in investing into a poorly made laptop which seriously failed already. It would require to replace the whole CPU, which I expect will probably cost 50% of what I has paid already, this is simply not economically viable.

The warranty is 1 year and of course it has expired. My current laptop is under 3 years warranty…

I am happy my topic spurred discussions about Purism’s approach to quality. Hope they will read it and make some conclusions (but most likely they will not, people are going to buy their laptops, no point)…

I’m glad you brought the thread up as well. If Purism wishes to truly succeed it needs the community to help steer it clear of practices that harm their ability to reach their social goals.

I was a diehard Thinkpad fan who saw the line continue to erode and fell away. That is what got me interested in Linux and the hardware to begin with.

Come full circle, and I’ve finally understood something. The customers which buy Thinkpads drive ALL of their design decisions. The neck beard with their 2000-ish Thinkpad isn’t paying any of Lenovo’s bills. However if you look at their current thinkpad line, and contrast that with other laptops from other vendors, you’ll see that the Thinkpad is still the best laptop in many ways. Thinkshutter, display shader, wireless kill switches, etc. are all features that have existed for a while and before Purism, for example.

I’m waiting for the X13 Yoga to finally release and I’ll be upgrading my x230.

I just renewed my Librem One account, so i’m still supporting Purism, but I really hope they learn from their hardware faults. I will buy a v5 when they’ve demonstrated that the hinge is no longer anchored with plastic, for example. One thing I’d also really like to see is a 13 inch model that is actually 13" and not a 13" screen in a 14" body. If Purism came out and said they were trying to become what Thinkpads once were, I do believe, i’d stick with them for as long as it took. hahahaha.

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I agree, that would be the perfect solution. We are aware that Librem 13 inch = 325×219×18 mm is bigger in size than SLIMBOOK PRO X 14 inch* = 320×210x16,8 mm.

*The slim 4.2 mm bezel gives you a screen ratio of 86%, currently one of the highest in the market even above of the 81% from the DELL XPS 13 2019.

What? You mean a robust business laptop with a keyboard that’s actually usable for stuff other than “watching Netflix”? Where do I sign? :wink:

[EDIT] Oh yeah, and that unfortunately excludes your X230 for me… :confused:

I’ve thrown down on the L5 along with my L13v3. And I have the NitroKey. If they want a repeat customer, they have to meet your stated criteria for me to buy. So we are in accord. Give me a laptop that can last 36 - 60 months and I’ll be content.

Sidenote - I live a stone’s throw from a small airport where DC-3s and 6s take off on a regular basis in the summer. One of those planes flew drops over Normandy. It’s crazy to consider what’s considered long life in the digital world compared to other realms of technology.

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I also hope that Purism continues to make laptops. I purchased a Librem15 v4 back in January 2019. I had a few issues with my machine early on, but they since subsided.

A few months ago, I purchased an OryxPro 17 inch laptop from System76. I had it built with cutting edge hardware. I think System76 builds high quality machines. Purism builds good machines as well.

The real difference is that Purism builds machines that are 2 iterations behind all other manufacturers, as was noted earlier in the post. Purism is able to do this since they emphasize security.

For me, I have two machines. My Purism is my go to, somewhat more portable and secure machine. My System76 machine is a desktop class machine with tons of high end components for when I program in Python, HTML, and some Java. Granted, I did not need as high as I purchased, but I wanted to play the occasional video intensive game.

It would be sad if Purism feels they are better suited to leave the laptop space and concentrate on phones. To concentrate on phones is very murky. Purism would be better suited to make laptops and keep the phone aspect a side project until the phones prove their worth to Purism financially.

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There is no indication that Purism plans to stop making laptops. @MrChromebox said on r/purism that Purism is planning on releasing the new Librem 13/15 v5 models by the end of this year and they will have at least 4 cores. (I’m hoping that it will have a 10th gen Comet Lake-U processor, since that processor has a Coreboot port.) Considering that Purism just announced its new Librem Mini, the company is doubling down on the PC business, not getting out of it.


I used to be like that. I have a X220T as well that my wife now uses as she can take advantage of the wacom hardware. The keyboard on it is magical. I got a x230 there because I could find a x220 at the time. I have to be honest, while the 220 and earlier keyboards are better, the x230 keyboard is still fantastic. Out of all the laptops Ive owned since then, nothing has come close to the 230s keyboard. This is the same one used in future models. I mean I’m not saying the reduction of keys or removal of unction functionally is good, just that the keys themselves work really well.

Oh, I’m sure the keys feel better than what’s the norm on laptops nowadays. For me it’s more about the layout: I hate it when I need to hunt for “lesser used” keys such as pgup/pgdown/… because laptop manufacturers keep moving them around.

The main reason I hate this: I don’t want to relearn how to type every time I get a new laptop.

Granted, the Thinkpad line is better in this regard since they don’t move it around between different models within the same brand. But I love how the X220’s keyboard has all the keys in the same location as my regular desktop keyboards. Except for the larger Del key with the Ins key to the left (which I can live with) and the swapping of Ctrl and Fn, which can fortunately be undone in the BIOS. But still, it’s moving away from the desktop layout, which is in muscle memory, for no good reason.

You and I are in agreement there. The Thinkpad keyboard has been a master stroke for some time. It was a sad day when it ended. And it doesn’t matter that the keyboard is still the best in the laptop arena. (well it does for those of us who still need a good productive laptop, but I digress.)

Part of the appeal of a Thinkpad was that it didn’t feel like you were working on a laptop. It felt like you were on a desktop. Muscle memory was vindicated and productivity blossomed.

Little things like navigation function keys being absolved also made no sense with the chicklet island keys. However, even though things are soldered now, the thing is you can still repair them, because Thinkpad will sell you all of the parts for them. (After your up to 5 year warranty expires)

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