Librem 5 Fir Batch

Any phone SoC will definitely have blobs. The only way around that is to do what Purism actually did. Perhaps Fir could use a bigger CPU. But the Librem 5 will always be bigger and draw more current than mainstream phones, because there is no SoC available anywhere except those that use blobs.

The only way to get a fully opensource phone SoC would be for the opensource community to design an SoC and then have a foundry FAB it for them, probably with funding from a campaign like the one used to launch the Librem 5, only with a much higher financial target. But the development work to design a phone SoC would also be huge. A big semiconductor company would find it difficult to pull that off, much less a group of volunteer programmers and analog designers. And there would be no way to compensate such a company if the project is open source. So the task goes back to a group of highly skilled volunteers. Assuming that such an army of highly skilled volunteers steps-up, and works for free, then just having the lithography masks made would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Given nearly unlimited resources, just getting a new phone SoC to work at all would be a miracle. The production quantities would have to be very large to make the SoC be affordable. Once you have a new phone SoC in-hand, you still have nothing. Then a company like Purism still needs to build a phone based on the new SoC. Only then can revenues from the end user start. Without a profit motive and a viable business plan, the overall task is impossible. Unless Bill gates or Elon Musk wants it to happen and is willing to lose a lot of money to make it happen, it’s not going to happen.

Personally, I highly doubt we’ll see a Fir batch any time soon (if ever). It’s fair to say Purism bit a lot more than it could chew with the Librem 5 and has underdelivered in virtually every aspect - at least compared to their original promise. I don’t dispute that they put real effort in both hardware and (especially) software development but for a project whose crowdfunding started in 2017 (I signed up in October of that year), we’re now in the final months of 2022 and the common tone in the comments of this forum is a phone that can’t be used as a daily driver.

I really think they woefully underestimated the challenges and cost of developing and delivering a Linux phone and that the past 5 years have cost them dearly both in money and customer good will. Pine64 is doing much better in this task, albeit with more compromises and taking advantage of Purism’s software development.

For the record, I did not request a refund for my phone but asked them for a convertible note instead during one of their funding rounds, making myself an “investor” in the company. I can’t help feeling they’re in a catch-22 situation; without a phone they’re just a Linux laptop/pc manufacturers, of which there are many. Evergreen is unlikely to generate new interest and a major sales surge, even if all the issues are ironed out and a 2nd phone is impossible without serious funding. I wish them well but can’t say I’m optimistic.

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Have you seen this topic?
Librem 5 — Promise Delivery Chart - Librem / Phones (Librem 5) - Purism community

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Yes I have and I view this list and the delivery assessment as highly subjective. The camera e.g. is marked as “overdelivered”, how are those video calls working for you? In any case, I’m not here to argue with anyone. If you think Purism has delivered on the phone, great for you, I’m sure you have a Librem 5 and are happy with it.

For me and certain others I’m sure (maybe I’m in the minority) selling hardware prototyping iterations (the Aspen, Birch, Chestnut and Dogwood “batches”) is not good business practice and ultimately, the phone is not at a maturity stage where the average Joe (me) can use it as a daily driver. As simple as that.

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This is reasonable argument. But it kind of contradicts with your previous post.
Isn’t this exactly what PinePhone does and you claim that

Pine64 are managing the customer expectations much better by just telling everybody that they are selling gadgets for developers and not consumer ready products and they are successful in manufacturing in numbers that satisfy the demand.

If you think about it, a failure on the free market means:
You have a product. And people don’t want to buy it at the price that makes sense for you.
In case of Librem 5, people actually bought even at a price (way) higher than PinePhone (Pro) way more units than Purism are able to manufacture. This is also a problem, but a different kind of problem.

This problem could also lead to failure of the project. I hope that everything will be fine. We will see in the future.

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I think you wrote a very balanced view above. I will disagree slightly with the contradiction you assign to me; as you said, Pine64 has done a lot better in managing expectations and product delivery while I believe Purism overpromised and ultimately underdelivered. From that point, yes, Pine64 has done a better job.

Also, success on the free market is not simply people wanting to buy your product, it’s enough people
wanting to buy your product so you can fund your R&D costs, salaries, overheads, service your debts and make a profit. My impression (I have no way of proving it since Purism is privately owned and under no obligation to publish its financials) based on the successive funding appeals issued by Purism is that it’s not yet a profitable company. I hope and have a vested interest in it, that it eventually becomes profitable and delivers a Linux phone with a Ux that makes it usable for the average Joe (me).

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It is more likely, in my view, that following is about to easily ensure that Fir edition runs stable fast Pure System: “TSMC’s 16/12nm provides the best performance among the industry’s 16/14nm offerings. Compared to TSMC’s 20nm SoC process, 16/12nm is 50% faster and consumes 60% less power at the same speed. It provides superior performance and power consumption advantage for next generation high-end mobile computing, network communication, consumer and automotive electronic applications.

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Except for the fact that those batches were clearly billed as not ready for prime time, and everyone got to choose which batch they wanted. Some even chose… FIR – which is likely years from production!

The “Average Joe” should not have purchased one of those batches, not even Evergreen. Pay attention and caveat emptor.

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What from here: https://puri.sm/posts/librem-5-shipping-announcement/ indicates to the average Joe that evergreen is not the final production product that was previously (and I’m nearly certain still is) advertised to them as being intended for them?

Edit: yep, pretty unambiguous that this is intended for the average Joe.

https://puri.sm/products/librem-5/
" This phone was made with you in mind

This device is for anybody and everybody interested in protecting his/her data, communicating privately to your loved ones, or supporting a future of protecting your digital rights."

Also no, everyone did not get to choose the batch they wanted, they got to submit a preference and the overwhelming majority never had an option other than Evergreen/Fir even if they wanted Aspen - Dogwood.

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I believe the point is that one was able to opt to not get a “development phone” and wait for the “production phone.”

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My prediction is that we will see a “Fir” batch after Purism finishes delivering all its Evergreen pre-orders, but it will just be the current design based on the i.MX 8M Quad with the RAM increased from 3GB to 4GB and the eMMC increased from 32GB to 128GB and a few other minor tweaks.

I say this because the 14nm i.MX 8M Plus doesn’t support DisplayPort, which is essential for outputting video to an external monitor, and has a worse GPU and VPU performance than the 28nm i.MX 8M Quad, so the Plus would be a downgrade. NXP still hasn’t released a quad-core SoC for the i.MX 9 series which can match the i.MX 8M Quad and it will probably be years before a new i.MX 9 SoC is adequately supported by mainline Linux. After investing so much dev work into the current design, I really doubt that Purism is going to switch to another chip like the Rockchip RK3566. It wouldn’t want to use the same SoC as the PinePhone 2, because Purism can’t compete with PINE64 on price.

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I wonder if they could offer the 8M Plus as a sort of L5 S? Lesser performance but greater power savings? Or is the GPU and VPU that bad?

Except

So they shouldn’t have picked A-D because there might be hardware changes before “prime time” production. And they shouldn’t have picked E because its not ready for the average person even though it was and still is marketed as being for the average person.

Opting out of A-D doesn’t really address the second issue raised, that even if opting for Evergreen the phone is in development but is not marketed as such.

Issue 1 was selling prototype hardware.
Issue 2 was that currently

And yes, we do have at least one objective/positive statement, this thread/topic related (rather closely related):

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I agree with everything you’re saying, but I was speaking without the benefit of hindsight because at the time nobody knew what was coming.

That’s exactly what it is. If you are crazy enough to order something unknown you are not the “Average Joe”.
Even now, after delivery, as I still cannot make a phone call (L5 hangs up immediately: “call ended”). I’m happy with my L5 and hope for next updates… I love the way to the current product, with all the discussions en progress, etc.: the path to the goal is more important then the arrival.

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  1. It is not crazy to order something unknown, people do this all the time, new companies and products come out all of the time…
  2. Absolutely the average person orders things they’ve not encountered before based on marketing… otherwise marketing wouldn’t be seen as profitable. The whole concept of “surveillance capitalism” is that the average person will spend money based on marketing.
  3. It is the uncommon thing for people to dig into forums to find out about product details, those of us that do this digging are the exception not the rule.
    And the concept of “buyer beware” or “caveat emptor” is generally paired with disclosure requirements for given products/markets imposed by regulations that stem from the average person being exploited as the average person is expected to be able to rely on accurate product information from the manufacturer/seller.

I’m not sure what hindsight you could be referring to here beyond the hindsight that the librem 5 was not as ready as it was marketed to be? Except Purism would have been well aware of that… this isn’t about production delays/challenges/etc. This is primarily software that is still not as far along as the marketing suggests. If they had shipped on their original timeline the software would have been even further behind and even less ready for the average person to use.

I mean that at the time people were given the choice of which batch they wanted their phone to come from, it was reasonable to expect that “not Evergreen” was a development batch and “Evergreen” would be the production batch, and in that way the choice was given to customers to opt-out of a development phone and have a production phone. I think we’ve deviated pretty far from the point I was trying to make, though, because now I can’t remember why I was bringing that up in the first place.

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I really recommend to P u r i s m to create a DD Delicious Design for Fir batch.

  • i.MX8M Plus, plus will increase cpu to 1.8ghz
  • 8 RAM
  • 128 ROM
  • 5000 battery
  • NFC
  • Male pogos under the hood but easy access
  • FM radio capable
  • Reduce thickness
  • built-in mini Fan for Convergence, this will keep the cpu 100% running safety.
  • Add Sony G Lens to improve photos of aberration.
  • Print GNU and Purism Logo in PCB plus add Revision Number visible from PCB to Bat cover.
  • Nokia N900 SIM socket
  • Keep Display Port whatever if need a new controller for.
  • Remove the big L5 smooth framer to the same unsmooth framer desing for Sony Xperia Pro-i. Will improve grip and passive heat sink for undocking use.
  • Reduce blobs controllers for RYF
  • Add to LockDown Mode circuits to shutdown all speaker.
  • Make sure that SPI pogos male it ready to Burning Chipsets.
  • Make the Fir the best ever device over the OpensourcePinephonePro-1,2,3.
    IMHO