[POLL] Is there customer demand for the Monitor Kit? (sold separately)


Are the monitors, mice, and keyboards made by Purism? It only says that they’re compatible.


I’m quite certain the monitors, mice, and keyboards are not made by Purism. I expect they are buying and reselling existing stuff. If you buy the monitor kit, you are presumably aware that you are paying more than you need to, but that the extra cost is going towards Purism’s efforts to make the world a better place.


What I would really want would be a portable monitor, to use the Librem 5 with my own keyboard and mouse but with a bigger screen.

Edit: Also, if it did not have HDCP on it that would be awesome. I do not like DRM…


Perhaps, if this keyboard is a compatible one rather than being custon-made, it could be a nice Linux keyboard like the HHKB.


That is an interesting point. I remember spending a fair bit of time 10 years ago looking up LCD monitors which did not have any kind of HDCP hardware, and bemoaning the fact that any graphics card faster than a Geforce 7900 did (and this is one reason why I’ve still got 4 of them in a box somewhere).

However, there is a flipside to this. While HDCP has been broken quite some time ago, it is still an encryption scheme. The purpose of any encryption scheme is to remove all useful patterns in data - to make it look like noise. For a set power level, noise does not travel as far as a well-defined signal - meaning that an HDCP link provides some resistance against Tempest attacks.


I guess, that you have no idea what it takes to make a phone from a scratch and what kind of the resources a small company like purism needs to sustain the business.
You think that the total sum for purchased parts equals the total expenses to run it? It’s far from that.


You have to calculate the cost of paying 20 developers to work on the Librem 5 for 2+ years, then paying them for a couple more years to get everything working correctly.

Look at the number of companies who failed trying to produce their own mobile operating system:

  • MontaVista (Mobilinux, stopped development in 2009)
  • Motorola (EZX > MOTOMAGX, 2003-8, based on MontaVista’s Mobilinux)
  • Nokia (Maemo > Meego, 2006-11; Symbian)
  • JollaSoft (Sailfish OS still exists but nobody sells phones with it)
  • Microsoft (gave up on Windows 10 Mobile in 2016)
  • Intel (Moblin > Meego > Tizen)
  • Samsung (Bada > Tizen)
  • QNX (sold off to BlackBerry Inc.)
  • RIM/BlackBerry Inc. (BlackBerry OS > QNX > Android fork, then gave up and sold brand to TCL)
  • Palm (Palm OS > webOS, sold off to HP)
  • HP (bought Palm, then sold webOS to LG)
  • Psion (EPOC > Symbian), sold off to Motorola Solutions
  • Canonical (gave up on Ubuntu Touch)
  • Mozilla Foundation (gave up on Firefox OS)
  • Cyanogen Inc (Android fork, went bankrupt)
  • Yandex (gave up on its Android fork)
  • Alibaba (gave up on its Android fork, Aliyun OS)
  • Amazon (still maintains its Android fork, Fire OS, but its phones have been failures and its tablets are subsidized to sell books)

Almost every mobile operating system except for Android and iOS ended up being a financial failure and most of them have disappeared. If they exist, they only exist as community projects online. Although technically Tizen, webOS, Sailfish OS, and Fire OS still exist, good luck trying to buy a mobile phone with any of those operating systems preinstalled.

The few monitor kits that Purism sells will in no way cover the cost of developing convergence for the Librem 5. Given the dismal track record of mobile Linux, we do need to worry about Purism’s finances and how it will pay for developing mobile Pure OS (Linux/Wayland/GTK/phosh).

Purism is going to have to charge very high prices on its hardware to have the kind of margins that make it possible to pay for its development work and its small scale with high costs per unit.

If I were wealthy, I would gladly pay $1k extra to help finance the development costs of convergence, because I think it could become one of mobile Linux’s killer features that pulls new users to the platform.


This is a very sad part of the mobile OS history. A minute of silence to remember what could have been… :cry:


The one advantage we have today is that Purism won’t lose faith and give up like Nokia did under Stephan Elop.

I think the essential problem for JollaSoft, Canonical and Mozilla is that they didn’t produce their own hardware and they were unable to find strong hardware partners that believed in the mission and weren’t deterred by setbacks.


Jolla originally made his own hardware (The Jolla phone), and it was really good. Unfortunately was the first and the last.


i’d rather have a donate button than pay for something that i probably won’t use and producing it is quite taxing on the environment (the panels). donations are eco-friendly :wink:


Maybe they just didn’t get enough sales / didn’t make enough money on it.

If you are looking to stem cash burn, you have to make hard decisions about what to continue with and what to abandon.


The Ubuntu Edge had $12.7 million in preorders, but Canonical thought that it needed $32 million, so it abandoned the project.

In contrast, Purism only thought that it needed $1.5 million in preorders to commit to the Librem 5. Developing hardware cost more 6 years ago than it costs today, but the problem seems that Ubuntu was talking to Western companies about their costs, and not going directly Shenzhen and talking to the suppliers, because it probably could have done it for much cheaper than $32 million.

I think another problem was that Canonical didn’t see the Ubuntu Edge as its central mission, and instead thought of developing the OS as its mission, so it gave up on the hardware. Canonical was never able to find very good hardware partners. Meizu and BQ weren’t really committed and didn’t invest much in marketing their Ubuntu Touch phones. They also didn’t market them correctly to the Linux enthusiast market. They didn’t capture the same excitement that existed for the Ubuntu Edge. It takes time and a long commitment to make a new mobile OS, and you have to offer a compelling reason for people to endure the privations of a new system.

I think Canonical could have made it work if it had been the company’s central mission, but it wasn’t. In the end, Shuttleworth decided that Canonical could make a profit in the cloud and Open Stack and changed the focus of the company.


The nice thing about PureOS is that the platform isn’t necessarily PureOS itself, but Wayland/Linux (along with GNU), meaning that it is not nearly as isolated as it otherwise would be. It also allows for convergence with a lot of desktop software, although that didn’t keep Windows mobile afloat.


If this was an open-source friendly alternative to DisplayLink, I would happily pay up to double what Plugable charges. But it’s not so I won’t.


The reason many of them failed is exactly what Purism is trying to break (the hardware layer) by mainlining their phone OS/kernel. Jolla is a userland built on top of libhybris built on top of android kernel. hybris introduces own HAL making it non-native linux (eg not exposed to /sys, no ioctl, etc). So it’s a bit problematic even rolling out sailfishos on real linux (eg vm) as it still needs HAL.
So while librem5 will also be single-soc phone (like jolla phone) it will use native linux api/abi which enables it to be used on any other generic kernel once SoC support is implemented.


If I was on a tight budget that only allowed for a smartphone, service provider and the smartphone was to be my only computer, then yes, this is a fantastic idea. I could see where this would appeal to minimalists. I would really like to try the Librem 5 via a mouse, monitor and keyboard configuration. Who knows, might turn me into a minimalist.


Canonical is not an SPC as far as i know so it’s entirely possible for them to turn 180.


Canonical is gearing up for an IPO. As far as I can tell, Canonical is becoming no different than Red Hat (division of IBM) and SUSE (of EQT Partners) in terms of its focus on the cloud and enterprise customers.

Canonical lost money for years trying to promote desktop Linux, and both Red Hat and SUSE failed at the desktop as well. If Purism is going to be successful as company, it seems clear to me that it needs to follow Apple’s model of selling hardware and software together in a package that people value enough to pay a premium for it.

The challenge is doing that in a way that is ethical and doesn’t violate users’ rights like Apple does. In order to pay for the high development costs, Purism needs to avoid the commodification trap that has driven the profits out of the phone industry. For the next couple years, we don’t have to worry about the Librem 5 being commodified, but that might change once mobile Linux starts getting thousands of apps and Purism and PINE64 have proven that there is a market for Linux phones.

I think that Purism’s best defense is the fact that other companies which jump in the Linux phone market probably won’t be willing to design phones like the Librem 5. They will use chips that require proprietary firmware in U-Boot and the Linux kernel. They will solder down the cellular modem and Wi-Fi/BT.

I imagine that companies like Fairphone, SHIFT and Gemini will be the first to offer mobile Linux as an alternative. Then, bigger companies like Archos, BQ, Sony and OnePlus will see their success and start offering Linux as an option.

Imagine Purism trying to compete with OnePlus which is offering a future Linux phone with a Snapdragon 895 processor (3nm, 8x 3.0GHz Cortex-A79 cores & 8x 1.8GHz Cortex-A59), 24GB of RAM and 2TB of storage. Purism can’t win on performance, so it has to focus on a different group of consumers:

  1. People who want 100% free software
  2. People who care enough about privacy and security to pay for hardware kill switches and separate components and carry around a brick to get those features.
  3. People who use crypto-currencies
  4. Tinkerers and people who want to play with open hardware
  5. Radio tinkerers
  6. Environmentalists and people who care about planned obsolescence