Librem 5 concern


Just wanted to mention that System76 also sells Linux systems and they also disable the “FEATURE” as well. :slight_smile:


I think you are missing my point really. I don’t necessarily disagree with anything you said and I’m not looking for a phone with Facebook and twitter on it and quite frankly these are some of the reasons I hate the iPHone. They seem more interested in freaking emoji’s than in actual features. They raise the prices of their phones (as do everyone else) without providing many more if any features. I’d even argue face ID is a backwards step from finger print detection.

So I want a new phone and absolutely love the idea of it being on Linux. What I was bringing up here though was the fact that it looked like Purism was going to produce the phone in the next couple months but other than having a mostly full spec sheet didn’t appear to be ready to deliver. I don’t mind supporting them and don’t mind the price at all. In fact I may just buy it to help them out as it seems an awesome goal. But I don’t want the phone until it is ready to go and would honestly rather get a development phone to play around with instead.

Anyway, They should take all of the last guys responses and put on their main page as it would eliminate a lot of questions and feelings. Also, remove the “Shipping 3rd Quarter 2019” message. That just makes people think you’re making stuff up because it isn’t going to happen.

My other advise in case anyone is listening is to have an actual video produced showing where the project is with X. not 10 second clips that show nothing. I don’t care if texting isn’t quite there yet. But where exactly are we and what do we have left to do? Where exactly is standard phone calls and what is left to accomplish. Are there things any of us can do to help get it there?

All I’ve been able to find on their site though are more marketing material junk that no one really cares about. The project is supposed to be open sourced and available for everyone to look inside of, so where is that material?

And before anyone gives me crap about not reading X or looking at Y, where are the links on the main pages to get to those things?



Did you watch the video that I gave of the interview with Todd Weaver? I can’t imagine a large tech company wanting to buy a company like Purism, but let’s imagine a world where Purism is selling millions of devices per year and has become the hottest company in the Silicon Valley. Even if this happens, there are several reasons why buying Purism and subverting its SPC charter would be very difficult.

First of all, Weaver explicitly created the SPC to force the company to protect user privacy, security and force the company to release its source code and hardware schematics, and to prevent exactly what you describe. If a big tech company bought Purism and subverted its SPC charter, then any share holder or consumer who bought its products would have grounds to sue, and would have very strong grounds to win in the state of Washington. The clause about releasing the software source code and hardware schematics is very explicit, and I don’t see how any lawyer can talk his way around that clause. Honestly I can’t see any big tech company wanting to swallow a poison pill like the Purism SPC charter, because of the legal risk it poses.

Todd Weaver went out and found investors who agreed with his philosophy, which is why Purism shares aren’t traded on the open market. It is hard to imagine that people who invested in Purism want to sell out to big tech–frankly Purism was not a good business investment at the beginning and even today it is pretty risky. Purism is betting the farm on mobile Linux and Librem 5, but every type of mobile commercial Linux has failed (Maemo, Meego, WebOS, Ubuntu Touch, Firefox OS, Sailfish OS, etc.) and the majority of companies lose money making smartphones. In 2016, Apple took 79% of the global smartphone industry profits, Samsung took 17%, and the rest of the industry lost $3 billion or an average of $5 per phone. The type of people who buy stocks in a company like Purism do it because they believe in free software, privacy, security and user digital rights, so it is going to be really hard to convince the majority of Purism share holders to sell the company.

However, let’s imagine that EvilCorp manages to convince the majority of the Purism shareholders and somehow manages to avoid the lawsuits when it violates its SPC charter. The kind of people who want to work at Purism are self selecting. They chose to work long hours for lower pay at Purism than at other companies and they are idealistic. Half of the employees will quit if the Purism SPC charter is violated. People with tech skills can get other jobs especially in San Francisco, so they won’t stay.

Half of Purism customers will also stop buying its products. What is the point of buying Purism products if they don’t use free software? Who is going to pay for Librem One if they can’t trust the company?

Then, the former employees or some other group which still believes in the company’s original vision will take all the source code and hardware specs and start selling the Librem 5 and Librem One under a different name, and steal most of Purism’s old customers. The value of the company will be destroyed overnight, so any big tech company who buys Purism will have to pretend to adhere to its SPC for business reasons.

Three years of development and over 2 years of crowdfunding is hardly rushing, but Purism is using the free/open source model of releasing and then incrementing. Look at how the company improved the Librem 13/15 over time. The first version wasn’t perfect, but it kept getting better. Software can be improved over time. As long as there are no major hardware failures, Purism can keep releasing software updates for the Librem 5. Releasing the phone early will stimulate the community as well to start porting desktop Linux applications to mobile Linux and growing the ecosystem.

In the interview which I posted above in this thread, Todd Weaver says that Purism is going to release the schematics and software source code, but will use a time capsule for releasing the Librem 5 Gerber files, so that Purism will have time to recover it development costs, before allowing other companies to easily copy the Librem 5. If the Librem 5 becomes a huge success, and other companies start making knock-off copies, then Purism is succeeding in its mission, and there will still be plenty of demand for the original, because history shows that most people still prefer the original and will pay extra for it.

Some people like me will pay extra for the original because we want to help finance the development work, and others will be attracted to the status of owning the original. In the same way that people pay extra for the Thinkpad or iPhone brand name, because those brands say something about the person who owns them, the Purism is acquiring a certain status. If you walk into a company, and all the employees are using Purism devices, then you think that these people care about security and I can trust them. If you meet a programmer who uses a Purism laptop, then you assume that person has the technical chops to handle an important project.

In the open source company where I work in Bolivia, every Linux geek that I know is dying to see the Librem 5. Purism has growing brand recognition among Linux users, despite the fact that Purism explicitly tries to not promote any brand image. Purism’s empty rectangle is already gaining status among a certain woke crowd of geeks and that crowd is growing. It is precisely because Purism tries to not have a brand image that it is becoming cool among people who distrust marketing and the subliminal association manipulation done by marketing.

It reminds me of what happened when Naomi Klein published her book No Logo to criticize the sweatshops of the major clothing brands in the late 1990s, and my activist friends started buying “No Logo” clothes with an empty square.


you are 100% correct about this. The battery life is a major issue that I worry about. It’s a complete unknown at this point. I have done some experimenting running a raspberrypi on a battery with a full linux system and to be honest I didn’t find it to be that bad. However I am thinking we might be looking at 5 - 6 hours of battery life out of the gate without performance tuning with the messing around I have done on other SOC devices. That would not be acceptable.

Honestly this is completely meaningless talk. We need to be at a minimum respectful of one another. Otherwise we are just yelling nonsense at each other and not actually learning anything or having any kind of conversation.


Looking at information regarding the now defunct Ubuntu Touch (runs a mainstream Linux distro on the same kind of hardware), time between charges is at least a few days if not doing much with it. On the other hand, if you are browsing the web like crazy, it’s going to be much less. I don’t know how much tuning went into that.


After watching the above video clip from the owner of Purism I’m left with a few thoughts:

  1. He is big on mentioning that we have NO rights now and won’t until he produces his phone, but he seems to be leaving some major problems out of the conversation. Users want free texting, free email, free pictures… so how would you pay for them to have these things? Because someone has to pay for the chat server to hold all of those messages, the pictures to be stored where others can view them, the videos to be stored and processed so that everyone can freely watch them. As much as I Hate them, Facebook and Google have tremendous technical and financial obligations to continue to keep these things breathing. But all the young kids think it is unfair for them to make a profit and keep their source code private. Yet the guy doing the talking is saying in the same video that he himself isn’t going to release everything because someone else might benefit.

  2. Every service that you guys seem to hate are all in existence because of demand. I agree they suck and I don’t use them, but that is the whole point. If you want to be safe then just don’t use them. Calling Apple unsafe or calling my company unsafe just because we don’t share our source code seems completely childish at best and dishonest at worst. These are the types of things you say to fire up the kids coming out of college but it just isn’t realistic.

  3. He mentions he doesn’t want to share the phone details until later because someone might come along and copy all of their plans and he won’t be able to recover all of his expenses. Is this the way an open source community works? Don’t get me wrong, I totally understand his point, but it doesn’t fit into the whole best for society line he preaches. Wouldn’t it be more fair for him to release it now, get feed back from others that might have better ideas on some things and then improve it as we go.

I could go on but for him to stay in business he has to make a profit. He has to have money in the bank to finance hiring new employees, to give raises, to cover new office space and so forth. He’s no different than any other company in the world. If he didn’t do these things then he would go out of business, period. Does he release his financials so you can see how much profit he’s making on the computers he’s selling? Did he show what it actually cost him to make the development boards that you guys totally financed building?

He also can’t afford to build these phones for just us Linux guys and the fact is, I don’t know a single person personally, other than myself, that would even be interested in this phone. I know most people in the linux world would be, but that would be about it. So what is the business model when this doesn’t become main stream. Can he afford to continue supporting something that doesn’t make the company money? The answer is no, he can’t and won’t. Even though him supporting it would be for the better of society, at some point he will have to quit for the better of his family.

I guess my point is, people that climb on a soap box and talk about how they are saving the world from all the evil corporations, and they plan to do it for the little guy with no benefit to themselves, are not being honest. He could not and would not do all of this for free. Even though he didn’t spend his money to even create the dev kits but instead kickstarted the whole thing, he still refuses to provide all of what he’s doing because he wants to make a profit off the project. So you guys paid the doe for him to claim he’s doing it all for you.

The funny thing is I want the phone and hope he is successful, but it is offensive to me listening to someone preach stupid ideas as if he’s special and he never really explains how he plans to conquer the expensive stuff that he hasn’t even started providing yet. Even his “SECURE” services he is providing on his website cost money for us to use. Google is free and while I don’t like it, it is where everyone is. If I want to talk to my family or friends they are all over there somewhere. If I told them, hey mom, you need to be secure, go pay this guy so he can provide the secure stuff, she wouldn’t do it. Nor would any of my other friends. Because at the end of the day, they are all making a profit off of our hard earned money.

And no matter how much you wish it would happen, even open source costs money.



So far, Purism’s laptop sales have grown steadily and the profits from those have provided most of the funding for everything else.

To get the most out of Librem One, you pay for it. Yes, that means convincing people that paying not to be spied on is better than getting spied on for free. Many people might not agree with that, and so they will stick with Apple/Google, and that is that. But there are people paying for Librem One, so that has now added an additional revenue stream.

We will see how profitable the Librem 5 turns out to be. If the laptops have been profitable so far, then there’s enough of a market for them. It doesn’t seem outrageous to think that the phone may end up being profitable too.

Purism doesn’t do this for free. They charge money for the hardware and mark the hardware up to support the software costs. People have so far been willing to pay that money.


I agree, I guess my point is Apple, Facebook and Google were all a Purism with many followers and helpers for a better this or that. They all grew up and became monsters. If Purism pulls it off they will eventually be that which you do not recognize with. Nothing is forever. So get involved, put up money and time and we’ll eventually get what we want. Just don’t put too much hope in someone else as they’ll always eventually let you down.


While I don’t completely agree with all the details I appreciate the sentiment. I do remember when Google was the new kid in town and just made the best search engine with no ads. That is what drew everyone I knew to them, then came the free email without any analysis of the headers not messages, that came later. So yes Google used to not be evil and it changed over time.

Just because this has happened doesn’t mean it has to always happen, but also doesn’t mean it can’t happen again. I think the more reasonable thing is not to say this will guaranteed happen here but rather to keep in mind it could happen again and to keep our eyes open.


Dude, what’s the point of buying a phone that is specifically aimed at people who want to escape the Facebook/Amazon/Google big tech dystopia just to put those same privacy nightmare apps back on? Just buy a normal android phone, sheesh.
Also, 32gb is what i have on my LG G5. Yeah, it’s not great, but it works just fine.

This phone is not for “most people”. This is the second smartphone you carry around to do hackerman gang shit, not to pay for your starbucks and swipe left on tinder. Is a future librem phone gonna be capable of that? Maybe, who knows. For now the priority is getting this on the streets and the first gens are gonna be niche items for nerds, not like a normal smartphone.

Oh god, why…


Back then, officially Google didn’t have any clue how to monetize their stuff. Maybe they well understood that a large audience is even more valuable than getting profitable quickly, dunno.
Anyway: Google is not (really) a free software company, despite the fact that they would possibly not even exist without the cheap desktop grade Linux machines they used in the early days.
Google has no intention of ever releasing the source of their search engine or other vital components.

Purism opens up everything, even the management layer of the service bundle. If this does not inspire trust, then I can’t help you with that, but ultimately, you don’t have to trust in that.
@amosbatto outlined very well what would happen if they’d turned against their users: They can basically only lose. And that is intentional.


Two weeks ago I was just above Lake Maggiore, Italian side and took a picture of this simple house (built as a monument). The presented phrase (Più piccola è la casa, più grande è la pace) may be translated in few different (self-experienced) ways but to make it simple here let us just agree on one: It is saying the truth! This simple phrase is telling to all of us in which direction is to go (by respecting each other hopefully) and, if you will, that our freedom we cannot buy but our knowledge we might share to make a better world.

Very simplifying: smartphone may be one of the smallest things we possess (to make communication between people happen) but our peace (even though we often wish good health to each other) is never ever to be forgotten. And if someone is systematically driving us in wrong direction (away from our peace) just in order to make profit for her/himself it is nowadays in Europe to expect to be punished, as already stated by Kyle Rankin here. General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) official website states: “Stronger rules on data protection mean people have more control over their personal data and businesses benefit from a level playing field”.
And, I would say (or suggestive: in my opinion) with Librem project it is even more about our Libertà (right to chose) and certainly about our Peace as it is just (and only) to follow Free/Libre and Open Source Software (FLOSS).
@cybercrypt13, common, relax, be yourself and do yourself a favor, and buy one Librem 5 as you have nothing to lose as your support to this community is very welcome (as positive critique, etc.), I am quite sure (even though nowadays I need to reach for my glasses often), as you see most of the things (going on) clearly as well as understand that sitting on two chairs is not something that lasts forever.


In this case though perhaps, the smaller the device, the bigger the nightmare. That’s why we need a phone that puts privacy, and respect for the user of the device, front and centre.


well Snoople doesn’t mind on sitting on ALL the chairs available EVERYWHERE if we agree to it. we are free to LET that happen are we not ?


Purism is trying to offer those web services on an ethical and transparent basis where some people who care deeply about privacy, security and freedom will pay and receive extra services, but the rest of society can use a number of these services for free. The majority will chose not to pay, but some will, and those who do pay are basically subsidizing the system so that the majority can use web services for free.

I have no idea whether the Librem One business model will work or not, but I support Purism because it is willing to take the risk and try a different business model for how to provide public web services. Let’s run the experiment and see whether paid web services will work, rather than automatically assuming that it will fail.

One of the things to keep in mind is that the cost to run servers and paying sysadmins to manage those servers falls on a marginal basis as the number of users grows. Purism will pay a lot per user if there are only 5000 users in Librem One, but the cost per user will be tiny if Librem One grows to 50 million users. What this means is that as Librem One grows, the number of free riders can grow for every paying user, and it will still be profitable.

Let’s imagine that currently Librem One needs 1 person willing to pay its $8 per month fee to finance another 10 people who won’t pay to use it. Because a lot of the administration costs are fixed, as Librem One grows, you will probably get to the point that you only need one paying customer for every 100 or 1000 free riders. Because it costs less per capita, Purism will be able to lower its prices over time. For the service that it currently charges $8 per month, it will probably be able to offer the same service for $4 per month in the future, and at lower prices you will have more and more people who are willing to pay for the service.

Renting an online VPS used to be very expensive, but today companies have figured out how to administer VPS for almost nothing, so they can offer them for as low as $3 per month, and I suspect it is similar with administering web services, because a lot of the cost is figuring out how to automate everything so you don’t need much human intervention and one sysadmin can manage thousands of servers.

You shouldn’t be criticizing Purism if you don’t understand the details, because you don’t understand the magnitude of what Purism is sharing with the world. Purism’s SPC charter says that the company will release all source code for the software that it develops and the schematics for the hardware that it designs.

Look at the source files that Purism has published for the Librem 5 dev kit under the GPL 3.0. They published everything except the .gbr (Gerber output files for manufacturing), .drl (drill files) and .pos (position files for automatic insertion machines).

Do you understand how much detail and information Purism is giving the world on day one? Anyone can take their .sch files, load them into KiCAD and start modifying the design. With a little work, you can recreate the .gbr, .drl and .pos files. Purism will allow any company to take its source files and create knock-off copies of the Librem 5 and legally sell them, but they just won’t make it super-easy for them to do so for the next 3-5 years.

There are 1.4 billion PC users in the world and 1.56% of them use Linux (according to StatCounter), so that works out to 22 million Linux users. If you convince 1% of them to buy the Librem 5 per year, that works out to 220,000 phones per year. Add in some more for the tinkerer crowd. Then add in the hard-core Libertarians who use cryptocurrencies and are paranoid about the government. Then, add in the environmentalists who are concerned about planned obsolescence. Purism can be a successful company just selling phones to niche markets.

Now if you look at what percentage of phone users would like to stop sharing their personal data with Google, Facebook, etc., you probably are talking about 2% of the 3 billion smartphone users in the world, or roughly 60 million. If Purism convinces 1% of those to buy the Librem 5 per year, that works out to 600,000 phones. The growth potential for the Librem 5 is enormous.

Do you even understand the free software/hardware movement? Nobody in the movement is against Purism making a profit. People who care about user rights and digital freedom want to Purism to be enormously successful as a company. I can’t speak for everyone who helped crowdfund the Librem 5, but I give Purism my money because I believe in the goals and practices of the company. I wanted to help finance a company which has the mission of fighting for my digital rights, my privacy and my security. Part of Purism’s mission as a company is educating the public about these issues, lobbying the government to change regulations concerning personal data collection, and pushing for hardware that is works with FOSS up the supply chain.

Todd Weaver never claimed that Purism is doing all of this “with no benefit to themselves.” Did you even bother to watch the interview where he explains the Purism business plan?


I respectfully disagree. I believe this phone will be the only smart phone the FOSS community will carry around (with exception to the pinephone). If everything Purism has described and promised comes true I will happily ditch my aging Nexus 5x.


My major concern here is this indecisiveness on modems to be installed. So far they have picked 1 and considering another (as additional).
The one they already picked doesn’t support a half of the LTE bands on the major networks in US and lacking important frequencies as well.
If they are really shipping in Q3 , they should know all of the hardware details by now. I mean, if they didn’t figure it out by now and not deceptive w projections, I would have to question their competency. By all standards, they should have a finished product in hands and work on the fine OS tuning till shipments starts.

As I switched back to the most reliable network today (vzw) I figured I’m better off just canceling my pre-order (599). No way they gonna go as far to support all of their bands. And I need the phone to work all the time. I’m not talking CDMA, because Verizon is shutting it down later this year, but their superb LTE spectrum.
As I was gonna send a cancellation request , I hesitated, of course. I really root for their success and still hope they may do more. I just can’t afford a $600 spare phone.


Rumor has it that Purism will be announcing something during the beginning of July (July 1 or July 4), so you might want to wait a week before you make your decision.

You also might want to read this thread to understand the difficulties with getting another cellular modem.

Since the Librem 5 is using a standard-sized 3042 M.2 card, it isn’t that hard to replace the cellular modem and add the driver if you are willing to use binary blobs.


Where does this rumor even come from? I keep seeing people say that. But near as I can tell that just comes from people thinking it would be cool if they announce something on independence day and it’s not based on any inside knowledge or anything. Also the price is going to be bumped up at some point so take that into consideration.


Mainly from staff on Twitter. See this and two following, also taking note who liked it.

Also, it was originally said that the sale will end at end of June. This was now prolonged till end of July, probably to get those on board who see the daily videos and those who wait for final specs etc.
Even if the date turns out to be off a bit, it’s about time for an update. :sunglasses: