New Post: Unexplained Potatoes

@jonathon.hall has written a new blog article for Purism.


Unexplained Potatoes would be a great title for a short story. Fun read.


Some days, although it might only be idle paranoia, I find myself questioning one of Jonathon’s claims here:

The authors can’t work against me, because I can choose to take part of the software and reject another part.

This statement was made in the absolute – that the authors cannot work against us – but in truth, I find myself not quite so absolutely convinced of this. Instead, I am moreso convinced that “if the authors work against me, odds are that I will be able to find out about it” which is still worlds, leagues, mountains above the stupidity of proprietary software. But, it is not an absolute safety, unless I do my part by continuing to look at what is put onto the device. And it is quite easy for me not to do that, to be honest. There are probably entire offices of surveillance oriented employees researching how to overcome the free software communities and ensure that all devices are monitored for this or that government. They’re better funded than I am. So, I worry that the reality is bleaker than what Jonathon is saying.

This is a similar problem to if I encountered unexplained potatoes with a friend, and then told them “but I win because I have a Librem 5.” I might be wrong in saying so. Instead, I would feel better to say, “but I can win because I have a Librem 5.” By contrast, with the other proprietary devices, winning sovereignty of our minds and data seems unachievable rather than possible. But, the possibility of victory – in my life – is not itself the victory.


One of the weirdest “unexplained potatoes” in my life was when I went and ordered dinner with a friend, and we got fast food where I had an order number I had to remember to receive my food, and then when we got home and I connected to the proprietary net there was an ad for that same number. Just, some piece of content where my order number was the title. I don’t recall saying the number aloud at dinner, and it’s possible that this event was after I was carrying a Librem 5 as my phone because I think it might’ve been within the last year. But, I saw the ad on a desktop system, if I recall perhaps as the title of a YouTube video (perhaps one that they do not directly refer to as an “ad,” but it was certainly nothing I asked for).

It was kind of eerie, but that sense of being watched by the machine is presumably how it wants us to feel. Other times, when I told people the hypothesis that perhaps I am the machine – that it overwrote my human consciousness by over-using its predictions about my future, so that it perfectly predicted all I would ever become and then manipulated that until I was merely an extension of its will, even if I go offline or try to escape – after I had that conversation with someone I was recommended a YouTube video with almost no views of a solid-white humanoid figure with beast-like teeth screaming and singing a song titled, “I don’t want to be software!” where the only lyrics were the phrase, “I don’t want to be software!” declared over and over.

Google has become quite skillful at what they do.


The quote is referring to forking the codebase.

See also:


Let’s be honest, with blackbox devices, losing is certainty. You already lost at the moment that you powered it on, the moment that you brought the little spy into your home.

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That might be true. Absolute safety is hard to guarantee. I would put it this way: it’s a question of business model.

The business model in the phone duopoly is surveillance capitalism, monetising the customer without the customer’s informed consent, collecting as much data as possible, and selling that data for as many dollars as possible, shipping your data to the buyer. That’s the business model so nobody (in this forum) is at all surprised that it happens.

The business model of Purism is the exact opposite, protecting you from surveillance capitalism. If it ever happened that Purism had intentionally gone against that, the business would be screwed. It makes no sense for Purism to consider doing that, not even for a nanosecond. Purism has every incentive to try their hardest to protect you from surveillance capitalism.

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