No longer listed on the Qubes website's certification page?

I had readied a much longer statement (six pages long, in fact) explaining in great detail the formal partnership and our decision to end it (which in part explains why it took a while for us to respond here) but I shall keep it to myself, not to be used unless we are being attacked in public by this partner (as has been done sometimes in the past, sadly). While the “extended” statement is purely factual and nothing but respectful, I know that publishing it first might be akin to a provocation. Although I have the Dusk Shard, I know when it is best to simply strive for peace.

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@bp2 — you would not happen to have bookmarked the page you had not seen again, would you have?

@ArloJamesBarnes
It’s the same page, just before it was changed. You can see it in the web archive :

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I am also interested in this as the Qubes certification was a major reason for me choosing Purism. If it’s due to petty politics then so be it, but if it’s due to some technical reason I’d like to at least have a brief explanation.

Thanks for your time and hard work!

Looks expensive to certify a laptop. Give them 2 laptops non returnable, pay them monthly. But I will say that brief stint on the Qubes certified page is why I am here as well! Perhaps 3 or 4 users like you and me do not justify the cost! Would be good to know how many users requested qubes and how many use pureOS.

Obviously they have those numbers and probably figured it’s not worth it.

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@zak, @thomas.chiantia I’m not sure about the numbers, but I think it’s something around 10 users per month requesting qubes to be pre-installed, I may be completely wrong about that figure though.

But regardless of that number, the way their proposal was written, undergoing certification also meant paying for ‘technical consulting’ services, and the involved costs were :

  • 1,000$/month per product to be listed on the website
  • 10,000$/month for “conceptual and planning consulting”
  • 35,000$/month for “technical consulting”

Also, because one of the above ‘consulting’ has to do with helping to design the laptop, that means they get shared ownership on the design of the laptop, and if we were to retain the ownership on the design, the above priced would have to “increase by up to 200% as fair compensation for the foregone value of the IP.”.

Oh and yes, as @thomas.chiantia pointed out, “give them 2 laptops of each model for each revision, that will not be returned” is already somewhat expensive… but that’s just one of the many costs here. I think there were some other stuff too, like a 10,000$ flat free for providing us with the OEM installation image. And I think that was on top of the existing deal which gives them 100$ per unit sold with qubes preloaded. Overall, not a great deal for a startup company.

Maybe we misunderstood something about the new certification contract, but that was my take away from it, and I believe that’s what everyone at purism understood from it.

so… yeah, like the blog post said, the costs involved are not financially justifiable for us. And yes @zak, the reason for the non certification is not a technical one, but as you can see (I think is pretty obvious from the above) is a financial one. .

@thomas.chiantia I don’t know if @jeff will share the other post he wrote, but other than explaining in details the existing deal with Qubes and how OEM stuff works, I think the core of the data you’re curious about is what I just shared above. Well, his post is plenty interesting but I think I’ve answered the main question here of why we have decided not to get certified.

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Paying $100 per unit (existing deal)? Fine, no problem.
Paying a new $1,000 monthly fee for the listing to remain on the Qubes website? Eh, maybe. Debatable.

But adding the plethora of other costs @kakaroto mentioned, on top of it all? And continuing to deal with a heavily involved process that complexifies our operations and gets us frequent public criticism? Well, at that point, that sudden new proposed “deal” made the partnership no longer attractive for Purism as an organization with limited resources.

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Sorry to hear about the fallout - that is an expensive proposition.

Still looking forward to my laptop. Doesn’t seem like anyone else is certified either.

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Joanna Rutkowska @rootkovska

Replying to @dangillmor
I’m not involved in any laptop engineering/hardening with Purism. All they do is offer compatible laptops for Qubes 3.2, nothing more.
1:59 pm · 22 Jun 2017

Could the new librem13-v2 may be certified anyway (I mean with only one USB host and an Ethernet USB adapter instead of real Ethernet port)?

@bp2: That’s a weird tweet… and I’m not sure what was her point, or yours in pasting it. Could you expand on it?

@Bruno: certified, I can’t say for sure, but compatible, definitely. There is no requirement that I could see about having a PCIe Ethernet adapter. My understanding is that it’s more of an annoyance to users because of having to assign the entire usb controller to sys-net or something like that (from a quick google search), but nothing prevents you from simply using wifi. Either way, ethernet is not part of any certification requirements, so I don’t think it would affect it.
You can see the full requirements for certification here :


I am currently way too busy to be looking at that in any more details but according to the EPT link from that page, it looks like the v2 comes with a CPU that does support the EPT virtualization they require. We do come with coreboot as well and no extra binary blobs other than the qubes 4.x certification allows. However, I am unsure about the DMAR ACPI table. I’d have to check that at a later time (and if it’s not created in coreboot, it would be trivial to do it).
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Thanks for the explanation! That certainly puts my mind more at ease at least : )

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5 posts were split to a new topic: Librem 13v2: Qubes fails to resume from suspend - original

hi folks, Michael here from the Qubes OS project.

I was part of the original effort of talking with Purism to get their laptop certified. Since everyone has had some distance now, it is maybe good time to clarify what should be already pretty clear.

First, the Qubes OS project is happy to currently have two manufacturers with certification. Certification is a well-thought-out process with benefits to the manufacturer and to the free-and-open-source Qubes OS project.

The current process makes clear the conditions for certification, in particular that the manufacturer offer to customers the same configuration for at least a year. This point was made explicit out of the experience with Purism and the Librem 13, which went through a number of hardware changes as the company worked to stabilize its laptop offering while at the same time already selling it to end-users.

Maintaining a hardware certification while changing the hardware is not possible, and troubleshooting and re-certifying each new hardware iteration was seen as cost-prohibitive to the Purism team, so they dropped seeking certification for their laptop.

I think for both projects it was a learning experience, and we wish the best to the Purism team.

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I don’t use Qubes, so I don’t have a dog in this fight, but the fact that the only certified laptops are rebranded Thinkpad X230s, which were originally released in May 2012 with third generation Core processors, tells me that the Qubes certification process does not work for Linux hardware sellers who produce new products (as opposed to rebadging used laptops from 9 years ago that will never change their hardware).

I don’t know the details of what happened with Purism, but the fact that none of the Linux hardware companies that sell new SBCs, tablets, laptops, desktop PCs and servers has gotten certified tells me that Qubes needs to take a step back and evaluate whether its certification requirements are really helping its users select the right sellers.

Qubes is an operating system that works best with lots of cores and lots of RAM, so it seems to me that the organization is not helping its users, when it recommends laptops which have two slow 3rd-gen cores and a limit of 16GB DDR3 RAM. The Librem 14 with six 10th-gen cores and a max of 64GB DDR4 RAM is going to run Qubes far better than the X230 from 2012, and the same is true for the other Linux laptops being sold by System76, TUXEDO Computers, ThinkPenguin, Slimbook, Star Labs, ubuntushop.eu, laptopwithlinux.com, Juno Computers, Entroware, ZaReason, Linux Certified, Dell, etc.

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and Purism doesn’t intend to ship the same firmware/BIOS on any products for a year without updating, that’s just silly given how often Intel releases critical microcode updates (ignoring other fixes/improvements we may want to ship as well). The requirement is simply poorly thought out given the way modern hardware works.

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@michael.qubes if you want to resume any kind of discussions on the certification program please feel free to email me.

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certification is a process that involves active involvement with the manufacturer, it is not something the Qubes project applies to a device that it finds compatible. it might be worth reading the difference between Qubes certification, compatibility, tested. reviewing the page on Qubes certification will make clear our intention with it: “We hope these hardware requirements will encourage the development of more secure and trustworthy devices.

we’re a FOSS project, please feel welcome to help us reach out to these manufacturers – since certification requires open-source BIOS, that reduces the list to System76 and Star Labs (didn’t know about Star Labs, thanks for sharing). if you want feedback on any drafted emails you can share them with me or the qubes-project mailing list.

…as stated, the requirement came out of the experience of the manufacturer. if you want to show it’s not necessary, only one way to do that :wink:

while it wasn’t my intention, will do!

thanks all – if you want to further discuss Qubes OS, I encourage you to stop by the Qubes community forum:

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As a Qubes and Purism user, I can say that I would love for both parties to find a mutually beneficial way to work together. I know that I, for one, will be throwing Qubes 4 on my Librem 14 first thing. One often wants one’s friends to be mutual friends as well.

I didn’t realize that Star Labs now offers Coreboot. That is good news. TUXEDO Computers and Slimbook say on their websites that they intend to do Coreboot ports for their devices, so you may want to contact them as well.

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