Rob Braxman's review of the Librem 5

OK, that shows me that Sony is upgrading their kernels, so I will eat crow on that one. I didn’t do an internet search for them, although I should have since they do publish the AOSP source for their phones.

Sony currently represents 0.24% of global mobile web browsing market share, according to StatCounter, with 5.5% in Japan, 0.44% in Europe, 0.04% in N. America and 0.06% in S. America, so it is no longer a significant vendor except in Japan.

I encourage everyone to keep posting their Android kernel versions on the other thread to find out if there are any other Android phone manufacturers doing the same.


I disagree with the shills from the spyware phone makers attacking the Librem 5.

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That’s ad-hominem. You’re saying who you don’t agree with (i.e. are attacking them) and are not addressing their criticism. i.e. You didn’t answer my question. Did you watch the whole review? What did you disagree with?

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A valid and important question. I find that a lot of people purporting to be security experts really don’t have any credentials to back up their claims either. The ends and outs of encryption alone is bewildering to most people. It is very complex.

On the same token, what are Rob Braxman’s credentials? Because they way he says things feels an awfully lot like some snake oil salesmen tactics.

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There was definitely a time in the past when this was an occurrence - but this just makes me think all the more that he was running a phone with out-of-date software and hence the review is not useful.

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I got curious enough to do a comprehensive search surrounding their public identity and came up with nothing substantial regarding their formal credentials; all of it seems to be self-proclaimed. That being said, considering this is someone who has some experience with security/privacy/anonymity, I am not altogether surprised if it affected the strict management of their brand’s credibility.

Browsing their product catalogue suggests that they are an Amazon affiliate, but they do not disclose that anywhere on their website.

Note the shortened Amazon URL at the end of this particular product.

While navigating their website, they also use trackers appended in the URL, but they are not familiar to me compared to Matamo/Piwik or Google Analytics; here is a list of a few examples:

All of this and more goes against their claims in their first paragraph right on the main page:

I could go on, but I think this is enough. Besides, my “Review of Rob Braxman” is off-topic.


Good question. Personally, I don’t think he’s all that insightful or sharp. IMO he covers interesting topics, but has lots of misinformation and tends to fearmonger. I don’t like him. His github page is more interesting than Nikka’s. There are some comments that have been made to his youtube channel that he uses an alias … so I think it will be hard to look up his credentials.

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I disagree. I think it is on-topic. While it doesn’t discuss the review itself, I think a bit of background of the reviewer provides context.

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There is hardly anything worth reviewing from their background: they still manage a Google-backed YouTube channel; sells Google Pixels running Calyx OS (among other devices); then when something like the Librem 5 threatens their business model; they produce a “review” that slams the Librem 5 while ensuring the credibility of their business remains positive and profitable to their target demographic.

There is not much of a point with my “review” of Rob Braxman, as long as there exists those who place trust, faith, and/or credibility in his intent to “commit to preserving privacy”. I only did this to satisfy my curiousity, not to challenge misinformation or contradictions; people are free to believe whatever they want in spite of my actions.

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That’s definitely a red flag, especially for someone who claims to care about privacy and user rights. Right?

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I think this is the primary point here. Agenda is completely possible, bias as well. I like Rob, and I think some of what he says is important. But I think this should discredite what he is saying. Beyond that, I have an L5 and it is working VERY well. This flies in the face of what he is saying as well. BTW, he says he is on XMPP, but despite trying to contact for over 3 years numerous times, I have never received a response.

Snake oil I think is apt here.

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Does it make any sense to put the word “definitely” if you are still questioning your own moral stance by the end of your sentence?

I’m not questioning my moral stance.

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Okay, so if you are asking my perspective about these claims contradicting their actions, then yes, I see red flags. That being said, I see anything coming out of YouTube as a red flag anyways, so it does not matter what the content claims to be or who uses it.

I totally understand why people are using YouTube as platform to get visibility and I’m fine with it. And sometimes it’s more important to be visible to spread your message than doing things in the right way without being visible. But nothing is easier than upload videos to a 2nd platform, too. I agree that this counts especially for people who say they’re privacy respecting. It’s not a big deal to upload videos on YouTube and on PeerTube for example.

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You said it beautifully. Ad-hominem.
Falsely attacking the Librem 5. False because he did not do the updates, prior to evaluation.

As I said before, the phone was nearly up-to-date. He may missed updates of 2-3 weeks (also 2 or 3 important ones, but that does not matter in our context).

Not so. You do not know what version updates were loaded. You guess 2-3 weeks it could be 2-3 months.

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I understand, but since the question seemed to be directed at me, I answered it from my perspective. It does not matter to me what sort of justification or reasoning is made for those that use YouTube; I stay far away from it at all times.

The big challenge that I see for the Librem 5 is the financial eco-system in which it resides.

So Google creates a phone, a software development platform customized for the sole purpose of making it easier to develop apps for that platform, gives the platform away for free, and offers to let those who use the platform make money selling their apps that they develop on that platform.

Meanwhile, the Librem 5 uses mostly outdated codecs. No one gets paid for writing apps for the Librem 5, or for adapting existing apps to work on the Librem 5. Gorden Gecko said “greed is good”. He was right. We have a worthy social purpose and a lot of altruism here, but no greed. Google app developers get paid. Librem 5 developers generally don’t get paid. Purism can steal some dollars away from hardware sales to pay a handful of app developers to build Librem 5 apps. So whereas Purism has a handfull of developers, Google has a global, well funded army of app developers, all competing and getting paid for their work… only if their software is successful and in demand. Greed is good. Purism needs to create a viable business model to compete with Google on app creation. Otherwise, neither the Librem 5 nor any other GNU Linux phone will ever provide benefits comparable to an Android phone.