Are there or will there be schematics for the Librem devices (5, 13, and 15)?
If there are, can someone assist my search fo them?
If there are not, but there are plans and permissions to provide them, Is this something one could lend efforts to create? I have no previous experience creating schematics but have used them often and I am a willing and persistent learner.
This is where they’re supposed to be: https://wiki.puri.sm/hw (accessible from puri.sm via “Support” > “Hardware reference”)
Unfortunately that wiki looks like someone spent 5 minutes copy-pasting a bit of Wiki.js script, changed the model referenced on each corresponding page, and never came back to it. Every “Specs” section says to put
what chipset and featuers [sic] are present
and every “Tips and Tricks” section has a helpful reminder to the Purism developers:
Don’t list problems
So, horrible wiki with no information on it aside, the answer you’re looking for is in the third-to-last question in the FAQ:
Q: Can I have your motherboard schematics?
A: We cannot share the schematics nor design currently because it is copyright encumbered from Intel reference designs. In the future, on future versions we plan to be able to release those.
Purism can’t release its laptop schematics as long as it uses an Intel reference design. Hopefully one of the next steps after the eventual release of the Librem 5 will be to develop an in-house design for the laptop motherboards that can be shared with users.
Here is the hardware source code for the Librem 5 Dev Kit under the GPL 3.0:
You can open the .sch files using KiCAD. It looks like to me that everything is there except for the .gbr (Gerber), .drl (drill holes) and .pos (position files for pick and place machines). The Purism Social Purpose Corporation filing says that the company will release all the software source code and hardware schematics that the company creates, so Purism should also release the source files for the final Librem 5.
See this article about how Purism designed the Librem 5 using 100% free software:
I didn’t think that it was possible to only use free software in hardware design, so hats off to Purism for doing it. (When I worked in a hardware design company in the late 1990s, I remember the guys who worked on hardware telling me that the free software tools were never going to be good enough for designing hardware, so times have changed a lot.)
Todd Weaver said in this interview that Purism won’t release its Gerber files until the company has recovered its development costs on the Librem 5, which he estimated would be within 3-5 years.
Unfortunately, Intel won’t let anyone publish their modifications to the Intel reference designs which are copyright encumbered. It would be awesome if someone would sit down and try to recreate the schematics for the Librem 13 and 15 by looking at the motherboards. According to this post, the Librem 15 v3 is a modified Clevo U953. As far as I can tell, everyone who makes Linux x86 laptops (System76, Tuxedo Computers, Slimbook, Purism, Station-X) uses Clevo, but Purism is the only one (that I have heard of) which has modified the Clevo motherboard and case.
The one company that didn’t go the x86 route was Pine64 in creating its PineBook, which is probably why Pine64 was able to publish its schematics in PDF (but no free/open source license), whereas none of the others have. I assume that Rockchip doesn’t have the same restrictions on publishing modifications to their reference designs as Intel.
I really hope that Purism will make an i.MX 8 laptop after this, so we can finally have a free/open hardware laptop.
Now that Qualcomm has become a major investor in SiFive, the company is predicting a RISC-V smartphone in 2 years and a server in 5 years, but only the CPU part is likely to be open hardware, whereas the GPU, VPU, DSP, ISP, Wi-Fi and cellular baseband will be proprietary and those other parts will probably require binary blobs, so Purism might not be able to use it. However, Intel is also investing and Intel is much more friendly to open source, so hopefully we will see a RISC-V CPU paired with an Intel GPU and no Wi-Fi or cellular baseband, so Purism can use the chip.
Step by step
Given enough interest, maybe in a few years Purism (maybe in a joint venture) could work on a free GPU.
There also seems to be some base to build on. Quick search turned up gplgpu (github) and MIAOW which seem to complement each other nicely, but I think there are others, too.
But more important than the source might be to get the people who worked on such experiments.
That’s an interesting reply i’m getting really curious about it
I think an open gpu would be awesome, and i hope in the next 2-3 years to see more open hardware such cpu (power/risc-v) open gpu (nothing available yet, probably just vivante afaik) an ssd with open firmware. A complete open hardware system, without binary blobs it’s something we all want i think.
I cannot write this post without remember to purism europe is a thing, i know some of you like @nicole.faerber are european, and you know how bad is to buy from usa, so i hope you will fix asap making or finding an european reseller, keep in mind if you sell a product in usa at 1k$ whould be nice to find the same product in eu at 1k€ that is more than 1k$ but fair enough
The EU thing is a tad more complicated than it might seem at the surface. Also here I can not give details yet but I can assure to you that we are working on this for quite some weeks already. We have not yet made a final decision which path to follow, that why I can not give details, but we are aware of the problems and are working hard on solutions. So, stay tuned
in 5 years, but only the CPU part is likely to be open hardware, whereas the GPU, VPU, DSP, ISP, Wi-Fi and cellular baseband will be proprietary
The is the Risc-V gpu project, that is looking to move VPU and GPU functionality onto the RISC core, by adding vectors and building the toolchian to place the chip as a Vulkan target, sort of like LLVMpipe. It won’t be fast or impressive, but it should be servicable. https://libre-riscv.org/3d_gpu/
The radio stuff is both easier and harder. Easier in that all the specs are out in the open and SDR’s already can implement some of the protocols, harder in that the regulatory stuff is harder. You’d have to set certain parameters in a ROM and make sure the module couldn’t operate outside of them.
Jumping into a mesh protocol could solve some of the issue, but in a way that’s even harder, as it’s not that useful without wide adoption.
SiFive recently signed an agreement with Imagination Technologies to use the PowerVR GPU and a neural network accelerator, so we have to assume that that is what they are planning to use when they talk about mobile SoC for smartphones in 2 years time. The PowerVR GPU sucks because there is no free driver.
SiFive could have gone with Vivante if they had cared about free software. Still, it is good to know that their long-term plan is a free/open hardware GPU.