I just wanted to make it clear that Meltdown / Spectre is being addressed on a silicon-level by Intel in upcoming processors. I see no sense in pushing out a new line of Librems until these CPUs are released and properly installed, regardless of whether or not that pushes their release date to 2019 (it likely will).
It’s also worth continuing talks with Intel in the meantime and work towards a “ME-less design” that simply ships-out without an Management Engine - reducing the workload Purism has to deal with and not having ANY remaining ME code or foundation. It’ll probably also get rid of bugs associated with the ME removal methods.
Best case scenario is we’ll have a ME-Less design by 2019 without the existence of Meltdown/Spectre.
Worst case scenario, Purism still has to remove the ME as best they can themselves, but at least we get a new line of more efficient processors (and all the new features that come with it) and these security issues will be correctly addressed at the hardware level.
The best / worse-case scenarios entirely depend on Purism’s ability to negotiate with Intel. But even if Purism can’t get anything done with them, at least we’ll get a processor with Meltdown/Spectre completely fixed and no longer need to rely on microcode and kernel patches, or live with the performance hit and bugs associated with them. And of course as usual we get the improvements that come with it - Icelake has some pretty big rumored ones - highlights being that it’s just overall more efficient and will get a sizeable upgrade to the integrated graphics.
I’m hoping it’ll have hardware support for AV1 as well, as the industry will be moving from H.264 AVC to AV1 over the coming years in all likelihood. Hardware support for it will mean less lag and CPU power wasted on decoding videos and far less time encoding as well, if you do that. However, I understand that’s a real stretch, being that the bitstream freeze just happened not long ago, and the first hardware to officially support it will likely not come out until mid 2019 onward.
I also kind-of hope Purism will make (a perhaps limited supply of) Icelake-based Xenon models available so that those of us willing to pay a bit more for a Xenon and get ECC DDR4 memory with TRR enabled (please do your reading on the memory - this is important to those of us that want rowhammer mitigations - ECC DDR4 with TRR is the best there is it seems) will be able to - but I know that’s also a stretch so I won’t hold my breath.
I just wanted to say all of this because I just don’t want Purism to jump the gun on a new release. There’s tons of reasons to simply hold-on and wait for Icelake rather than blow resources on a new revision too early. I think it’s fine to just stick to the current revisions until a major CPU change like this comes out.