Questions about Librem 5


Well, we already have Android so it is no big deal …


I seriously doubt that MS would swap out the NT kernel for the Linux kernel. Backwards compatibility for even the strangest cases is the core of their whole empire. While Wine works surprisingly well, it’s not perfect. Break that perfect backwards compatiblity, and there goes the entire reason to stick with Windows.


Back in the early 1990’s, I was a hard-core Commodore user. When my employer went in deep with Windows (3.11 for Workgroups), I knew that I had to buy a PC and learn Windows to stay ahead of the curve. But I soon learned how to predict Windows crashes, much to the amusement of my co-workers. It was laughably unstable.

I saw an ad for OS/2 v2 that “runs Windows better than Windows”. I bought it and found that it was no idle boast. IBM achieved this by running a modified Win v3.11 in a Virtual DOS Machine. You could run each VDM in its own memory space, so that even if Windows crashed, it wouldn’t take down your system. You could run a Windows program from and integrated with the OS/2 Workplace Shell desktop. Win v3.11 could not mulitask, but Win-OS/2 did. OS/2 v3 did this on a mere 4MB of RAM!

This was a direct result of IBM and Microsoft working together (didn’t last long, though) and IBM having access to the Windows codebase. Fast Forward 25 years and Microsoft has a chance to redeem itself, using Linux in place of OS/2. Last time, they stabbed (a blind and stupid) IBM in the back, because they were perceived to be an enemy/rival. My fear is that this time, they could stab the Linux community in the back.

Nadella’s Microsoft does seem to be playing nice, so it is entirely possible for them to create an Explorer desktop project for GNU/Linux, and tightly-coupled Windows VM to run on it. This would give them a path to bridge their customers while they create native Linux versions of their business software. I’ve even heard variations of this plan floated on a couple of Linux podcasts whose hosts have relationships with Microsoft developers. This would be a net benefit for my employer, but as for me, I’ll stick with FLOSS.

Given all that, I’ll add my 2 bits, to @Tatatirci’s 10 cents!


My bad. Except for the first 2 lines, the whole text was supposed to be under quotes. I just translated it from the site @nhu shared. :slight_smile:
Gonna correct that now, so I don’t cause more confusion.


Embrace, extend, and extinguish is something else that Microsoft could be doing (again). Basically, entice the industry to move to its version of Linux. When it becomes complete enough, make a case that having more than one kind of Linux (namely, any non-Microsoft version of it) is wasteful, because why support more variants than you have to. Then extend it in ways that only function on their version of Linux. These extensions might require patents that free software cannot use. After everyone is dependent on Microsoft’s version of Linux, migrate everyone to something propriety / non-free.

This probably will not completely work because there will always be an ecosystem that Microsoft cannot support, and Linux will. But they might be able to recapture a portion of the market share this way.


This is not even too farfetched. Remember how anti-Linux MS used to be? Who would have guessed at the time of the Halloween documents that MS would be a platinum member of the Linux Foundation someday?


It’s very farfetched. At this point, Purism is insignificant. At any later point, Purism does not hold any intellectual property that could be bought. Plus, the SPC prevents any purchase that would water down on that. The SPC, for example, is not allowed to produce proprietary software.
To buy out Purism one would have buy their employees, who chose a free software company for a reason.

The threat is different: People who think the PinePhone is already free enough and cheaper drain the funding of companies who want to go much further.
More Linux phones will appear. Cheaper, possibly more powerful, but less free.

Why take a RISC for full freedom when you consider well ARMed already good enough?


I hope Caliga is right about MS. Keeping the SPC is a good idea.

When it comes to cheaper but less free phones it is difficult to see what the future brings. I think the problems with security and privacy will grow very much and for each scandal there will be more support for phones like Librem 5 where no compromises are made (except for those inevitable att this moment). People are very concerned about privacy but they have little knowledge what to do. With Librem 5 they will have an alternative when other phones are hit with this or that scandal. Sometimes price is not the most important thing.


totally agree (20 …)


The bigger threat that we should worry about is the movement toward ARM laptops running Chrome OS (or Android or Fuchsia) and Windows 10 in S mode, because many of these laptops won’t allow unlocking of the bootloader and the installation of other operating systems. They will be totally locked down, so the user can’t uninstall the preinstalled software. The business model of both Google and Microsoft with Windows 10 is to monetize user data with targeted advertising, so neither company wants users to be able uninstall the pre-installed spyware. All the software that you need will be provided for free either through apps or on the cloud, but it will all be designed to spy on you and collect your personal data.

The same thing that has happened to mobile phones and tablets is going to happen to PCs, so that you will no longer own your PC. The tech press will tell us how wonderful it is to use a laptop that is always on, so it can watch and listen to you 24/7 in order to collect your personal data.

The next big thing after ARM laptops will be convergent ARM devices with folding screens that do triple duty as smartphones, tablets and PCs. The tech press will tell us how convenient it is to only have to carry around one device that spies on us all the time. Yes, the brave new world will be wonderful.


So was MS being a platinum member of the Linux Foundation. But then it happened.

It seems unlikely that MS would infiltrate Purism the same way it did Linux, but I’m not making any predictions. I do not have a crystal ball.


I agree that this is a threat to libre software and hardware. Though at the same time it’s also an asset: people who might otherwise not be able to buy a GNU/Linux phone and would settle for an Android or iPhone can now at least buy the PinePhone.