Librem 15v3: First Impressions

This week I received my Librem 15v3; 512gb NVMe Pro; 16gb RAM.

My intended work-flow is operating systems research, automated theorem proving, crypto* and AI/ML. Most of my workflow is (thankfully) platform agnostic. Additionally, I travel for academic conferences and need something that, even if customs demanded to see it or it got stolen, it would be of little use to them. I do not need a discrete GPU nor a bleeding edge CPU or ludicrous amounts of memory (I have a desktop already, and plan to use the laptop as a thin(ner) client to do work on, and compile on the other computer).

The initial boot-up and installation went swimmingly. I turned off the computer and restarted it. It does not boot in verbose mode (which I generally prefer, and I can modify GRUB to disable “quiet” boot).

It took less time to install than it did to remove the plastic overlay that was affixed to the screen for shipping.

Upon my second hard boot, I ran into a disk decrypt issue. My password was not seen as valid. I went to the Purism forums and the tracker. This is apparently an issue. I fussed with it for a few minutes and the issue went away and has since not re-occurred. I do not know how to replicate this issue.

The terminal included with Gnome has pop-up error (didn’t suppress warning nor try to fix); using the terminal to install software I need for my work, I ran into zero issues. I will eventually fix this pop-up, but it is jarring to encounter this on a fresh install.

On sleep (induced by pressing power button):

  1. network killswitch toggled from “on” to “off” but the network light remains lit-- is the kill active? Or am I connected to the network? Was I to begin with? A hard state change should be reflected full-stack all the way up to the LEDs.
  2. keyboard light goes on when keys are touched–normal-- and the screen goes to the login screen; but ignoring the computer doesnt make the keys dim/go dark, is it waiting for longer? When will it go back into sleep mode? My expectation is sub-60 seconds. It turned out that the machine went back to sleep 10 minutes later (in accordance with the settings). This isn’t really an issue, but if the laptop accidentally turned on while in my bag, it would be better on the cooling and battery to go back to sleep within a minute rather than follow the “normal” policy.

Impressions on hardware:
Genuinely and generally impressed but the back of the hinge has an uneven moulding line. If it really bothered me I could try filing it down, but it’s not something I interact with enough to warrant doing this to a piece of hardware that I otherwise really like. Picking up the laptop, whether the lid is open or closed, feels good, it feels balanced, and I know that I can get some good typing done with it. At this time I have not opened up the machine; I intend to install an SSD at some point to install non-essential applications and archive my code.

An issue I have, however, is I prefer a hard-click on the trackpad translating to a click, and enjoy being able to turn off the “lightly tap to click” functionality that tends to be the default. This is an issue with Gnome not Purism; Gnome doesn’t have a way to disable this (to me, unwanted) functionality. I will look into manually editing settings.

This is a really good machine, and the issues I did note have more to do with Debian and Gnome than with Purism itself.

I plan to do more stress-testing in the coming days (screen tests, color fidelity, compiling various compilers over and over again).

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Overall, nice review. I just wanted to say that you can definitely disable tap-to-click in GNOME (I hate it too and always prioritize disabling it).

Open Settings --> Devices --> Mouse & Touchpad, then scroll down to the Touchpad section and disable “Tap to Click”.

There is also a separate setting for how right-clicking is handled, though this is in GNOME Tweaks.
Open GNOME Tweaks --> Keyboard & Mouse, then look for the Mouse Click Emulation section and choose how you want your clicking behavior.

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