New Post: Manufacturing the Librem 5 USA Phone in the United States of America

Making a phone that avoids Big-Tech spying is one thing (yep, we did that). Making a convergent operating system that is not Android nor iOS is another (yep, we did that too). But manufacturing that phone in the USA is a feat that few thought possible (yep, did that just now). Not only have we proved it’s possible… it’s shipping.

The Librem 5 USA Now Shipping

The Librem 5 USA

Made in USA ElectronicsOne of the many industry-changing goals Purism had set—and now accomplished—was to manufacture our Librem 5 phone in the USA, including doing all electronics manufacturing in our facility (note: we have already been doing this for a few years with the Librem Key—Made in the USA). The Librem 5 USA is a revolutionary phone with immense differentiators compared with the rest of the mobile phone industry. Making the most secure phone demands being able to have full verification of all steps from releasing schematics, using Made in USA electronics, releasing all source code, isolating hardware components, and running an Operating System that is under the full control of the customer—that is not cryptographically forced into Big-Tech’s oppressive and exploitative control—The Librem 5 USA is all of those things.

The first Librem 5 USA manufactured in the United States

Read the rest of the post here:

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Congratulations are in order to all of Purism for their vision and their tenacity in overcoming so many obstacles in bringing to market a desperately needed product. Hats off to you all!

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I love it, just wish I could afford it… :roll_eyes:

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I’m kind of curious about these GNU/Linux based SMT machines. I’m assuming that is referring to the pick-and-place machines. Are these custom built/modified in house? Or does someone sell GNU/Linux pick-and-place machines?

I also liked the “Texas-based Instrument and parts maker” part. :sweat_smile:

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tl;dr Hardware is hard.

I appreciate how in-depth this post was, as someone who knows a lot about software and nothing about hardware. I’m sure for some this is considered very high-level stuff, but to me it was a good deep dive.

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It is really exciting to see the first phone being made in the US, since the Motorola Moto X. I remember when Motorola shut down its factory in Fort Worth, Texas in 2014, and announced that it was too expensive to make phones in the US. I remember reading about the bugs in the Golden Delicous GTA04, released in 2014, and that was the last free/open hardware phone before the Librem 5.

The Librem 5 USA is a remarkable achievement, and I wish that I had the money to buy it.

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Good article, honest-ish to a point (much better than past marketing BS)…

Having a production line in USA it is a very important achievement, so congrats!

Still, be aware for their omissions, like: the Gemalto modem is not ready yet, so the Librem 5 SUA comes for now with the same Chinese modems as Librem 5 China.

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I’ll believe it after I see it. This is a slap in the face to those of us who have been waiting for two years and are now put at the end of the line, for at least another half-year while a version of the phone that didn’t even exist when I placed my order, ships. Next, we’ll see a super delux extra extra USA version of the Librem 5. It’ll be $5K and all of the shipping of the ordinary Librem 5 USA orders will be put on a half-year hold while the latest group of new suckers sends their money in to Purism. You guys have no scruples.

You need to put your celebration and self-congratulations on hold just long enough to honor many other commitments going back two years now. Remember those?

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This isnt a HUGE concern for me, as long as purism will ship that modem out to L5 USA owners free of charge when it is available. After all, I paid 2 grand for a smart phone, I expect them to give me that modem when its available or not ship it out until they can put them in the L5 USA.

I can understand the frustration of waiting for your Librem 5, but I wanted to comment on this statement. There are two lines, not one, and we were up front about that.

Up until the pause, we had been going through the (long) Librem 5 line. Until now, the Librem 5 USA line was not moving. From the beginning (the very first announcement) we’ve made it clear that the Librem 5 USA was being made in parallel to the Librem 5 at a completely different facility in the US. While from the standpoint of the schematics the PCBA electronics are essentially the same, it’s a different, premium product with a different US-based supply chain, in some cases with different but compatible components (due to the US supply) and it costs more than the Librem 5.

We also announced back then that it would start shipping “shortly after” the Librem 5 started shipping. In practice it took us much longer to track down all the parts for the parallel supply chain, and get through the rest of the steps we listed in this post.

The Librem 5 USA line is currently a much shorter line than Librem 5. As such we’ll probably get to the end of the current line in a matter of weeks, and depending on how many new orders we get (and how many people choose to upgrade their Librem 5 orders), we might hit shipping parity around that time (6-8 weeks) as well.

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The components for your non-USA L5 got stuck in the Suez Canal end of March they should have just arrived.

However the chemicals used in the manufacture of your non-USA L5 just sank off Sri Lanka.

Discussion on Hacker News: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=27369548.

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Great article and nice phone. Thanks for sharing, I appreciate that! :+1:

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Actually, I’d only ever buy a smartphone not made in the USA. Anything made in the US is guaranteed to have NSA backdoors or spyware.

Now, the NSA is an extremely capable organisation and it’s possible that they manage to get their malware even into devices manufactured in China. But at least with devices made outside the US, you have a chance at getting an NSA-free device. With a phone made in the US you have no chance.

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It’s open source. Show us where in the sources are the backdoors and the spywares.

And Purism promises to stop winking at you if something is fishy. See: https://puri.sm/warrant-canary/

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Cybersecurity isn’t limited to the software. With the complex devices in modern hardware, malware can be present in the firmware and even in the hardware itself. This is a huge and complex subject, if you want to know more, there are online courses (I took one from the U of Maryland offered on Coursera in their Cybersecurity specialization but I’m sure there are others equally good).

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I almost certain the hardware has schematics, even each chip should have one.

Firmware even if open source, is still download at inception.

In concert with what you just said, customers have to believe the schematic of the hardware and the code of the firmware are the same ones they have been sold. Not many customers have a lab to test each circuit on each chip nor the wherewithal to read the firmware code.

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Yes, some multi-letter U.S. agency could get malware embedded in Chinese product. Just the same way some other multi-letter U.S. agency can fund “gain of function” research in some foreign lab. Who would have thought that could happen? The cat is out of the bag now.

(Let’s see how long this post lasts before it is scrubbed by a corporate censor.)

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It’s not as simple as that.
A modern CPU or GPU chip has over a billion transistors. Excluding the cache (which is somewhat simple because it’s regular and repetitive) there can be tens of millions of gates. The chip designers don’t lay out individual gates, they use libraries of functional subsystems containing tens of thousands
to hundreds of thousands of gates. Malware can be inserted either by the chip designer, or by the designer of the subsystem libraries that the designer is using. There are people who try to analyse hardware designs for security flaws (accidental or intentional), but it isn’t easy. A gate-level schematic for a 100,000-gate component would fill an entire wall of a large office. and there could be several components of that size on the chip, plus hundreds of smaller components.

I did not say it was simple. I was in agreement. 3D modeling would of course have the schematic drill-able down to the component. I’m also retired from the Fort Fumble crowd and have been in manufacturing working with doc control.

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