New Post: The Ball and Supply Chain

This is, for me, very very demoralizing news


I think that one of the main things we have learned during the last several years is that things aren’t as stable as they seem. We are becoming more dependent on each other, which is a generally speaking a good thing because we won’t start a war against each other because we want to make business with each other.
However, we are not only becoming more dependent on each other, things have to work perfectly so that they work. This is clearly a bad thing, as we are forgetting one of the most important things in IT, which also works for other parts of society: Make Backups. Things will go wrong. You need redundancy, if you do not want to get into trouble. We all know, redundancy costs money, an immersive amount of money. If we want to have more security, we have to be willing to pay more.
This is no problem of Purism, this is a general problem. I think that we shall invest as society gigantic amounts of money into the resistance and resilience of our economy because this Virus won’t be the last Crisis of this century, climate change & other problems will bring more troubles for sure.

Inventory on the shelves get taxed, so a few decades ago someone came up with this bright idea of “just-in-time” delivery of parts. It reduces the tax burden and your warehouse does not have to be as big. Go figure. But with the law of unintended consequences, it also opens up to the risk that any one link in the supply chain can be broken.

Folks in the Pentagon wargame this out when targeting critical infrastructure. Business could save time by also gaming this out to find alternative solutions.

Example, two links below how a Supermarket gamed their supply chain LAST YEAR:

“Still nothing prepared it for the rush on TP.”


I couldn’t see that because I used a mobile browser. Everyone should use the desktop version of the website. There is more to see.

Didn’t Purism mention the semiconductor supply issues the whole world has?
Didn’t Purism mention that this may affect shipping?
Didn’t Purism tell that they try hard to get hands on parts?
I assume that they tell us of concrete shortage of supply became clear, namely that of the Librem key and that of the L5 CPUs. Both shortages lie in the future and they continue to ship ATM. So they told us beforehand. Didn’t they?

When would you liked to hear about that?


There are no new L5 for a month already, they do not ship anymore. They told us this fact 4 weeks after stop shipping.


Someone just got a shipping notification for a 2017/10/01 order :slight_smile: So some non-Librem 5 USA orders are still being shipped.


Not some, only one after a break of 4 weeks. Maybe they have found one CPU in the dust below the table :slight_smile:


Let’s not forget the scale of the whole Purism customer base and that of the forums. Less than 5% (numbers may even be closer to 1%) of customers post on forums about their orders. And with such a small sample size, we are due to miss some things. If 1 person here had their order shipped, I’m willing to bet at least 50 more did as well


Last month when I looked, none of the electronics suppliers that I checked had much in stock of the i.MX 8M Quad and the lead times to get new stock were ridiculous:

I had hoped that Purism had already bought up a supply of the i.MX 8M Quad, but it looks like it hadn’t, but if Purism is getting it in October it must have an outstanding order, because none of the electronics suppliers that I checked can get those processors that fast. Arrow has increased its lead time to get the i.MX 8M Quad from 26 to 52 weeks, but Mouser and Digi-Key are still saying half a year.

It is looking pretty grim out there. When PINE64 put its PinePhone back on sale, I ordered immediately because I wasn’t sure whether that I would be able to get it again this year.

It looks like the price of the Librem 5 is going to increase from $799 to $999 if I’m interpreting that table correctly. My advice for anyone on the fence is to order now. I’m glad that I ordered back when it was $599, because I don’t think that I can justify paying that much for a phone, as much as I believe in the cause.

  1. No shipping in April
  2. May
  3. June
  4. July
  5. August
  6. September
  7. October

Looks like half a year until we get the ball rolling again too…


I smell a very optimistic prediction in that table.

No new CPUs come in until October (and then manufacturing and shipping needs to take place), we are now shipping (one) order from Oct 1, 2017.

And shipping parity is predicted to be reaching in October 2021? I wonder how those 3-5k devices are going to be assembled and shipped around the world in the last few days of October.

I fully understand the delay (even if it is a pity). It is a sad situation as it will deprive of revenue that it needs to keep the software improving. But I sincerely doubt that we will see shipping parity in 2021.

I would be happy if proven wrong.


FYI, for those who need something to play with in the meantime, there are several Pinephones for sale or auction on eBay at the moment.

for some reason NXP can meet the order of the factory located in the US but not the one for the factory located in China.

According to Purism, the L5 USA is made with US-sourced components, including the iMX 8M CPU ( ). NXP has fabs in Austin and Chandler AZ ( ) so I suppose that L5-USA’s CPU likely originates from one of these fabs.

I also suppose that the US-sourced processor costs more than those made in NXP’s Asia-Pacific fabs, and this is reflected in the greater price of the L5 USA. Shipping the US-made processor to China would add to the overall cost of the base L5 model (shipping costs (likely a small amount) plus increased fab cost), a situation that probably was never anticipated by Purism and therefore was not built into its pricing of the base L5.


This may sound a bit odd, but maybe purism could start soliciting and accepting donations to keep their supply chains moving during this tough economic time, even if shipping at below expected shipping levels. Those who believe in the social purpose could make their donations in blocks of $50 in Purism’s store.

The only thing that those who donate would receive in exchange for their donations might be information (broadcast in this forum by Purism) about exactly what means Purism is using every week, to use that donation money to get their hands on more of the needed chips, using any legal/ethical means possible to ship out a specified (disclosed) number of additional phones that were made possible because of the donations. The disclosed information might say something like “…last week donations to (name of) fund allowed Purism to purchase an additional (exact number) number CPUs, even though we paid double the market price to get them. As a result, we shipped an additional (exact number) number of Librem 5 phones this week”.

I would be willing to donate to such a fund and maybe on a regular basis, or more than once, if as a result, I could see the tangible effects of my donations. If I see reports of twenty more phones going out occasionally and occasionally a few people who receive those phones show up here saying “I just got my Librem 5 yesterday”, it’ll be worth donating, as opposed to waiting until October or longer to see people starting to get their phones again. Purism wouldn’t have to disclose the total number of phones shipped as they receive these donations. Only those additional phone-shippings that were made possible by the donations would need to be reported on as ‘additional phones shipped’. Purism’s actual costs would not increase this way as Purism would pay whatever it costs to keep shipping some phones, while being supplemented to make up the difference. As with any charity gift, the donors want to see the results of the good that their gift did for others. Purism’s regular reports would fulfill that need. Notice, I didn’t suggest anyone getting moved to the front of the line in exchange for money. Even if I donate, I’ll also wait my turn in line.

A shipping delay until October or later will hurt Purism and thus, the social purpose. Maybe those of us who can afford an extra $50 or more (maybe much more in some cases) can help grease the skids to keep more Librem 5’s shipping until the chip shortage is over.

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Like that?

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Yes, like that. I am inclined to want to donate right now. But I also want to see a commitment by Purism to use that money to keep shipping phones now, and most importantly, to share specific information with us about the effectiveness of our donation money in that specific direction. That commitment and follow-through means everything.

I am on the board of a public charity. The charity is funded solely from donations. Communications mean everything. When people see good things happening, they ante’-up. When people see a general request for donations, they don’t respond. When you send them a letter explaining how their donation helped others, you typically get more money without even asking for it.

Quite frankly, Purism has done badly about keeping us informed. Letters like this one from Todd really do help a lot. But why stop where he stopped in the article? I relate to his problem and I want to be a part of the solution. But I only ask for accountability in exchange.

This is the perfect opportunity for Purism to push past this blockage, at least to some degree. Maybe others here will agree with me. Maybe Purism could raise $5K in donations next week (for example), just to start if enough people respond. Or we could just go with whatever people donated through that link last week. It all depends on Purism’s willingness to make commitments, to communicate, and to be accountable.


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My advice would definately head to the opposite direction. Do not get trapped by announced price increases resulting in uncertainty when to be delivered or being delivered at all. As @spaetz revealed in his comment the story is just not consistent. And communication never was and potentially never will be frank and unambiguous.

  • Wait until shipping parity is really reached
  • Observe, if phone is really finished until then (camera, MMS, etc. pp.)
  • Order (not pre-order) and get delivered on short notice
  • Pay (100 $ + X) more, but save spare your nerves

Well, Purism has always shipped, sooner or later. I don’t see how nerves are relevant here (if you have already decided that you need this phone).

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The “Fund Your App” is good. I guess we’re all different when it comes to what motivates us. I figure that the “Fund Your App” will mean a lot more to me after I have my Librem 5. But if Purism waits until after next October to start shipping Librem 5’s again, I see that as an existential threat to them. Too much non-performance, regardless of the excuse, valid or not is really a bad thing.

The social cause is good. But early adopters shouldn’t have to wait that long after production has started, to receive their pre-paid product. This is especially true when there are people with money wanting to see them succeed.

Purism should at least publish exactly which chips they need, along with corresponding quantities of each one. Let us try to help them source the parts. Some of us have connections. Purism should increase funding through donations and pay whatever the market extorts for an ‘I need it now’ price. To some degree, we’re on the same team.