No more ethernet port?


#1

According to https://puri.sm/products/, the Librem 13 no longer comes with a built-in rj45 ethernet port. Is this correct? If so, why?

I prefer having a 15-inch laptop, but there is no ethernet on the Librem 15, so I planned to get the 13-inch model instead. Now, with the most recent updates, it looks like the 13 doesn’t have ethernet either. This is a deal-breaker.

A usb-to-ethernet adapter is not an appropriate substitute for a built-in PCI Express ethernet device. Relying on a usb networking device compromises the security assumptions of QubesOS. Even if you are willing to accept the security issues, setting up usb networking is still a major pain. The Librem 13 is supposed to be a “Qubes-certified laptop”, so having this limitation is very disappointing.

Is there any way to get a new Librem 13 with an ethernet port? Are there any of the older models with ethernet ports still available? Will any future models come with an ethernet port? If the answer is “no”, I will have to go elsewhere.


Waste of resources to ship your own OS?
#2

Bob, it’s not going to be a usb ethernet adapter, it’s an actual ethernet PCI controller built-in in motherboard, but the connector is not an RJ45 connector (due to the low profile/thickness of the laptop) but a mini-ethernet port. So an adapter is provided to connect to this slim-sized connector into a full sized RJ45 connector.


#3

That is excellent news then. An external adapter is fine as long as it is still a pcie device. I did not know that such a thing existed. Do you have any pictures?

Will we be able to buy extra adapters? I have a bad habit of losing adapters like this and forgetting to bring them with me, so it would be nice to have a backup.

Are you considering doing something like this with the 15-inch model? I might be willing to wait for a newer revision of the 15 if it had pcie ethernet.


#4
Do you have any pictures?

Not now, I’ll see to post some, later.

Will we be able to buy extra adapters?

Not at first, but later probably yes.

Are you considering doing something like this with the 15-inch model?

Perhaps in the future revisions, but not with next batch which will come this summer.


#5

In February, it was reported in this thread that the ethernet adapter for the Librem13 is “not going to be a usb ethernet adapter … but a mini-ethernet port”.

But now that a new batch of Librem13 laptops is shipping, the products page states that there is no ethernet port, and that a “USB Adapter” is provided.

Should the products page say “mini-ethernet adapter” instead of “USB adapter”? Or was the plan to include a mini-ethernet port abandoned?


#6

Indeed it’s a USB adapter now, much simpler/standard/etc.


#7

i really hope you are gonna change your mind giving us back an eth port
another company (i dont say the name for respecting you) have a kind of mini eth who “grow the hole” when the eth cable is inside
this is good for the standards and eth speed and stability and also because we have one more usb port avalaible for devices


#8

Ethernet port means one less USB port.


#9

i know but one usb port is alot in librem 13 where there is only 2usb 3.0 and 1usb 2.0 and not so good also on librem 15 with 3usb 3.0 and 2usb 2.0 thinking about to be used also as desktop replacement considering there is no purism desktop setup i can buy


#10

This will be really annoying for Qubes security unless the external USB ports are not all connected to the same USB controller so that attackers that have compromised the networking via Ethernet do not get access to external USB drives.

Please tell me the external USB ports are not all on the same controller. If they are this would represent a serious decrease from v1 to v2 in how secure the Librem 13 can be.


#11

Agreed ^^

The change from pci-e ethernet to usb ethernet makes a big difference for Qubes users. Qubes has to assign an entire usb controller to a given VM, and not individual usb ports. Setting up a proper usb VM to handle the ethernet adapter prevents the normal usage of generic usb devices such as a mouse or an external hard drive.

If the laptop has more than 1 usb controller, it would be possible to manage a way around this problem, as the ports on one controller could be dedicated specifically to the ethernet adapter, and the ports on the other controller could be used for generic devices.

Do either the 13 or 15 inch models feature multiple usb controllers? Are all the ports controlled by the same pci-e device or are there multiple? If you don’t know, the easiest way is to just open a terminal and run lspci, which will list all of the pci devices on the machine. If you can post the output from that, we can interpret it. Posting the lspci output would actually answer a lot of detailed hardware questions that people have been asking.


#12
Posting the lspci output would actually answer a lot of detailed hardware questions that people have been asking.

I could be wrong, but I suspect that people who require detailed hardware specifications aren't the customers that Purism is targeting.


#13

From watching forum messages since the beginning of the forum, it is clear that a significant portion of the potential customer base are extremely interested in such technical details, and even more so when those details have security or privacy or freedom implications.


#14

Here’s the lspci output from one of the Librem 13 v2:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Skylake Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 08)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation HD Graphics 520 (rev 07)
00:04.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Skylake Processor Thermal Subsystem (rev 08)
00:05.0 Multimedia controller: Intel Corporation Skylake Imaging Unit (rev 01)
00:08.0 System peripheral: Intel Corporation Skylake Gaussian Mixture Model
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP USB 3.0 xHCI Controller (rev 21)
00:14.2 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP Thermal subsystem (rev 21)
00:17.0 SATA controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 21)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP PCI Express Root Port #5 (rev f1)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP LPC Controller (rev 21)
00:1f.2 Memory controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP PMC (rev 21)
00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP HD Audio (rev 21)
00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP SMBus (rev 21)
00:1f.5 Non-VGA unclassified device: Intel Corporation Device 9d24 (rev 21)
01:00.0 Network controller: Qualcomm Atheros AR9462 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)

#15

Thanks Jeff. The output there lists only 1 usb controller, so all the USB ports have the same pci device. Can you post the results for the 15 model also?


#16

Uh oh. :frowning: What’s the camera connected to? If it’s connected to the USB controller to which the Ethernet is connected then there is no safe way to use both. It doesn’t help if you avoid using them simultaneously, because you have to assume that the VM that handles the network has been compromised. Rebooting the VM doesn’t help because the attacker can persist code in the USB controller firmware.


#17

Also the Librems were marketed as flosh (is that a used term?) that is friendly to (for instance) user-serviceable upgrades — basically good-faith, non-warranty-voiding hacking (aka customisation). So details ought to be very available and gladly offered. Tony is right that they were supposed to be ideal for non-technical users too, but that really just means good UI and sensible defaults.


#18

Heya, got my hands on a test 15" unit:

00:00.0 Host bridge: Intel Corporation Skylake Host Bridge/DRAM Registers (rev 08)
00:02.0 VGA compatible controller: Intel Corporation HD Graphics 520 (rev 07)
00:04.0 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Skylake Processor Thermal Subsystem (rev 08)
00:14.0 USB controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP USB 3.0 xHCI Controller (rev 21)
00:14.2 Signal processing controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP Thermal subsystem (rev 21)
00:17.0 SATA controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP SATA Controller [AHCI mode] (rev 21)
00:1c.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP PCI Express Root Port #5 (rev f1)
00:1d.0 PCI bridge: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP PCI Express Root Port #9 (rev f1)
00:1f.0 ISA bridge: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP LPC Controller (rev 21)
00:1f.2 Memory controller: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP PMC (rev 21)
00:1f.3 Audio device: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP HD Audio (rev 21)
00:1f.4 SMBus: Intel Corporation Sunrise Point-LP SMBus (rev 21)
00:1f.5 Non-VGA unclassified device: Intel Corporation Device 9d24 (rev 21)
01:00.0 Network controller: Qualcomm Atheros AR9462 Wireless Network Adapter (rev 01)
02:00.0 Non-Volatile memory controller

As for what exactly the camera is connected to, I have no idea personally. I’m not a hardware/PCB designer.


#19

The camera is connected to USB. If you are worried about the camera being hijacked, there is a hardware killswitch against that. As for persistent code in the controller firmware, I don’t think that’s possible since the there is no firmware for usb controllers that I could see (at least, on Intel, I believe there is usb firmware on AMD systems). I might be wrong baout that though.


#20

Perhaps a PCMCIA/ExpressCard/something-else slot would help enable an ethernet port on future Librem products?