Still no hope for EU reseller?

See previous topics and remarks:

Edit: Also note that VAT is not charged on shop.puri.sm so it needs to be paid regardless of your shipment coming from Europe or the US.

Having VAT already payed on site and covered from original purchase is still waaayyy better than dealing with customs in the country I live in. I would prefer that. I can handle reading a 100 wikis on 7 tabs on 3 desktops while I play minecraft on my other monitor trying to figure out how to get 5 fps more but dealing with customs makes that nothing in comparison. I have had deals with saying I will not get it and will be returned as I wasn’t at the door although they never rang or gave an original note saying to pay duties, when I have already payed up and then get charged some other made up tax and it is just horrible. Pls get setup in the EU because north america isn’t the entire world and the EU is a thicc boy and would be very nice to be here.

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Yes Purism would need to charge VAT. A 3PL in Europe is about faster deliveries and clearer pricing for everyone (seller and customer) i.e. understand the VAT inclusive price. Purism could send goods from US delivered duty paid, but very complex to figure out. Or carry on from the USA and the customer has to deal with taxes, but this is sub-optimal experience and generally only works for short-term. A 3PL is easy to setup and may even save a business money.

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I know it has been discussed in the past. By myself too. But I think this issue must re-appear from time to time, so that it does not get forgotten :wink:

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If there is no way to have Purism products being send inside Europe it would maybe be interesting to bundle the phones from a batch to a country/region.

DHL Express charged me 14€ fees for putting my last shippment through customs. This can be avoided by arranging with DHL Express in advance that customs can get the money directly from ones account - as far as I understood.

If there are 50 Librem5 going to Germany it would be already 520€ that could go to a charity instead of feeding DHL Express shareholders. O.k., minus the effort to everybody to register with DHL or to one person to do that for one big shipment.

Besides the importing side of things, I can imagine the USD to EUR conversion rate (and subsequent increase of VAT and other costs related) does not contribute to people ordering from Europe.

Would it be likely to see the ‘Fir’/Librem 5 V2 to be priced competitively?

Fully supporting the Purism ideology buying a Linux phone is still an extreme luxury product. Although the numbers produced on the V1 versions and development costs may hardly been covered by V1 sales (mostly relatively low crowdfunding pledges), would there be any chance at all the scale of economics could kick in to have the V2 be more affordable?

If the Librem 15 is any guide, Purism lowered its base price from $1899 to $1599, but has stayed at that price since then with occasional sales like right now. Based on that, I predict that Purism will keep its prices high to be able to pay for more developers, which is what is needed for mobile Linux to be able to compete in the long run.

I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that the PinePhone + Ubuntu Touch model isn’t sustainable in the long run. If we want mobile Linux to actually have success as a mobile OS against the Android & iOS duopoly, we need to pay developers to work on it.

To see what happens when you don’t have the budget to pay developers, look at the PinePhone, where postmarketOS and Ubuntu Touch don’t automount the microSD card and the Mobian devs are asking people on the PinePhone forum to try out different RAM speeds to figure out which speeds are stable.

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This sounds like this approach is not worth a try or valid. I’d say there are two different developments out there and both are helpful and they positively influence each other: pinephone aka “through some hardware at the community and watch what they’ll make off it” and on the other hand librem5 “try to deliver a complete product and let the customer pay part of the development”.

I’d suggest any technical interested person with some knowledge in using linux on sbc like raspberry pi to get a pinephone while waiting for the librem5. It is not a product, yet, and it is not really stable, but it is a good starting point to get a feeling about what is possible yet and which software to use.

@amosbatto
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this.

I think that a lot of people are starting to realize that the PinePhone + Ubuntu Touch model isn’t sustainable in the long run. If we want mobile Linux to actually have success as a mobile OS against the Android & iOS duopoly, we need to pay developers to work on it.

That’s the conclusion I have drawn as well based on my Ubuntu Touch experience thus far. Depending on voluntary work it does not bring any of the supported device to full fruition. I agree that the only way to have successful Linux mobile devices and software/apps is by paying dedicated developers.

To cover that a high-end price seems justified imo. However, in order to get the device and its OS to go mainstream and to be really competitive as an iOS/Android replacement I believe it takes a mid-range product (quality/price wise) for it to get known and accepted in the market. Otherwise it’ll remain a niche market for the select Linux users, not attractive to the increasing number of people wanting to move away from the duopoly.

I’m curious to know what Purism’s approach will be when the L5 has been rolled out to those who have pre-ordered, how to get the additional sales going and to keep production running.

The concept devices and Phosh looks to be going really sustainable. Once the Evergreen batch is delivered I hope Purism will be using the momentum to offer additional models and differentiating for a strategic product range for mobile phones.

I’m fine to pay taxes and premium to let purism do their job, what i dislike and make me don’t buy their laptop or mini is the need to handle with customs or dhl, i’ve done it once and it was a pain in the … I’m not asking for an eu selling point or warehouse dispatchment to buy it for less but for convenience of customs/dhl and shipping time.

I didn’t phrase my argument very well, so let me try again. My argument is that a pure community development model based solely on volunteer labor doesn’t work very well.

You have to have some paid developers to maintain a good project, that is capable of attracting outside community developers. If you look at who actually maintains the Linux kernel, PHP, Apache, PostgreSQL, and most of the FOSS projects that work well, there are a number of developers who work at companies which pay them to spend part of their day working on these projects. Maybe they are working at a chip company or a company to creates web pages or a database services company, but part of their paid jobs is contributing to FOSS projects which are needed by the companies. When a FOSS project is well maintained and useful to people, it will attract more unpaid volunteers to work on it.

I think the mixture of paid and volunteer devs is what makes FOSS development work well. I don’t think that a pure community development model with nobody being paid works well, when trying to do core development of a new mobile desktop environment like Phosh. Ordinary volunteers may develop an app or two, but it is hard to attract quality volunteers to jump into the hard-core development of phoc, phosh and libhandy.

Ubuntu Touch isn’t really functioning right now, because it can’t attract these kinds of quality volunteers that can do development of the core system. It only exists because Canonical created it. There are only 9 users registered to make commits to the UBports’ project on Github. There have only been 29 commits to the Ubuntu Touch project since UBports took over in May 2017 and only only one of those happened in the last year:

Does that look sustainable? The same is true of LuneOS which has almost no commits, and basically just picked up the pieces of WebOS abandoned by HP. Maemo Leste, which also picked up the pieces of Hildon left by Nokia, only has 4 developers, according to a talk given by one of the devs last year. Glacier UI used by Nemo Mobile has been glacial in terms of its development speed.

The only mobile interface whose development is sustainable and is based on a community development model is KDE Plasma Mobile. It is mostly volunteer labor, but it is getting some corporate help from Blue Systems, plus Qt Group, SUSE and IBM/Red Hat contribute to the KDE Plasma libraries and some of the Kirigami apps that uses. With mostly volunteer labor, it is worth considering how far Plasma Mobile has advanced in 5 years, compared to how far Phosh has advanced in 2.5 years.

According to this poll, only 9% of PinePhone users are using Plasma Mobile, whereas 51% are using Phosh and 16% are using Ubuntu Touch. In other words, the two mobile interfaces that were developed by companies have almost all the users. (All the people who selected “Other” in the poll appear to either be using the command line or desktop interfaces, so they don’t count in terms of mobile interfaces.)

I don’t know how many new developers have been attracted to the Plasma Mobile project from outside KDE, but it is clear to me that Phosh has done better at attracting outside community developers than Ubuntu Touch. I count two devs from GNOME, two devs from postmarketOS and two devs from Mobian that now contribute to Phosh. When a project is advancing because it has paid developers doing the heavy lifting (but who are willing to work with the community), it tends to attract quality community volunteers who want to participate in a project that is making progress and making something useful.

Let’s ask where would the PinePhone be if it only relied only on a community development model. The only mobile interfaces it would have would be Plasma Mobile and Glacier IU, which currently only 9% are using. The PinePhone is viable, because it relies on the paid work done by Canonical in the past and Purism in the present.

Of course, Purism also needs the PinePhone, because it is bringing more users and developers to Phosh, and they are doing the work of porting Phosh to different distros, which is critical for the long-term success of Phosh. However, if PINE64 is going to play the role of attracting a larger user base to Phosh, then Purism shouldn’t play that role. Instead, Purism should play the role of paying for the core development, and in order to do that, Purism simply has to charge high prices for the Librem 5. If Purism stops paying developers, then we are in a situation like Plasma Mobile, where development won’t advance very fast.

My interest is getting mobile Linux to the point where it is useful for normal people. As I see it, we won’t get there if we wait for the community development of Plasma Mobile or if Purism abandons development of Phosh and hopes the community will take over. Our best shot at making mobile Linux a viable alternative to Android and iOS is if Purism is paying for the development of Phosh, but trying to build a larger community to contribute. In order for that to happen, some segment of people has to be willing to pay high prices for their Linux phones, because there aren’t hundreds of thousands of users to distribute the costs of paid software development. At some point, Purism may be able to sell 250k phones per year and charge a mid-range price for the Librem 5, but as long as Purism is selling 10k phones per year, it simply has to charge a high price if we expect Purism to be be able to pay for any serious dev work.

Currently Purism is only able to pay 7 software developers to work on the Librem 5, which isn’t enough in my opinion. To make Phosh into a mobile interface that can attract tens of thousands of new users to the platform and hundreds of new developers who will create apps, I think that Purism needs to be able to pay the salaries of at least 20 developers.

Remember that the goal is not to get a cheaper Linux phone next year, but to make mobile Linux into a viable alternative to Android and iOS and Phosh in my opinion has the best shot of getting us there of all the existing mobile interfaces. If we truly want mobile Linux to succeed in the long term and to expand software freedom and the right to privacy on mobile phones, we need to get Phosh to the point where its functionality is good enough to get people to switch from Android and iOS. We want the major phone makers to jump into the Linux phone market and adopt Phosh. To make all that happen, we need a lot of software development over the next couple years, and I think the fastest way to make that happen is for some customers to pay high prices for their Linux phones to cover the development costs.

For these reasons, I don’t think it is a good idea for us as buyers of the Librem 5 to demand that Purism aim for the mid-range with the Librem 5 v2–not if we are thinking strategically about the development of mobile Linux as a viable platform. I suspect that $799 is too high of a price on the demand curve to get the maximum profits to pay for the most software development, but microeconomics was never my strong suit, so I may be wrong. Still the principal remains that we should be thinking about what Purism needs to be able to pay for more developers.

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I agree with you. DHL is probably the worst case. Worst service ever in my country. Customs is also a bad experience. So an EU selling point is for convenience. I decided to support Purism to create a Linux phone but I most probably will not buy anything else in the future because I can not put myself in the pain of dealing with customs (at least I hope I will be given the chance to avoid DHL and choose USPS).

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Let’s not derail this topic with Purism’s price policy.

Having to deal with customs, currency conversion and calculating VAT is an obstacle. But the question is, how much of an obstacle is it to not buy a product.

Thinking of this in a capitalistic view: Opening an EU reseller is only profitable, if the profit of the sales generated by it are equal or higher to the costs of the EU reseller.

Everyone who already bought a product and only wants to have this product to be shipped from the reseller, is not generating more profit but would generate extra costs. This means that those of us (including me) who already bought the product have kind of no say :wink:

It’s the same for gaming on linux. If you buy the windows release even though you want to play it on linux, what’s the incentive for the developer / publisher to create a linux build?

As Purism already had an EU reseller but closed it with the explanation of having too high efforts in paperwork. Support in EU for Laptops
I interpret that for the previous situation the sales did not justify the costs they had with the EU reseller. Based on the little information shared here on the forum, I suppose (only my opinion) that there will also not be an EU reseller in the next years.

An option where I see an EU reseller to appear soon

Maybe in a world where the Librem 5 would compete with Apple and Android for the masses and the average Joe from Europe isn’t capable of handling customs and stuff and only wants to buy it like from a local store or amazon and Purism has bathtubs full of money because of the money the generate all over the world in dedicated Purism shops and writing software is only very little expanse as they are selling millions of devices :wink:

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That is exactly what I meant. I’m bought a Librem5 to support the work done by Purism, but what you wrote about the pinephone sounded like it would be a competing project and to me it doesn’t seem to be.

Purism puts paid development work into a product and by doing so publishes code that advances the idea of having mobile linux devices. Pine64 releases cheap hardware that can be used by a growing community for development and testing.

Put together it might be the driver for success to

Which is mine, too.

I had a personal email exchange with Gigaset Germany, slightly related to this topic. (It’s totally not about managing shipment, it’s more about a strategic coalition, about building a phone licensed or simply supported by Purism.)

Gigaset builds a smartphone branded “Made in Germany”, which is targeted at the low-price segment hence using established, cheap Android phone components. Assembly and packaging is done 100% in Germany, hence the label “Made in Germany”.

I tried suggesting them to explore possibilities of building a Linux-based, free smartphone. To allow for independence from Big Tech (and The President’s daily mood), a value we should strive for to make the European technology sector stronger and less affected from decisions of other markets. Specifically, I suggested to talk to Purism or Pine64, depending what fits their market strategy better, or even both for comparison of future potentials.

Unfortunately, my conversation partner was “just” corporate communication (info.presse@gigaset.com), who dismissed my suggestions purely on the “current fact” that “iOS and Android together have 99.4% of the market share”. But he agreed to hand my suggestions on to the product development.

Email excerpt: (German, sorry!)

Sehr geehrter Herr Bittner,

vielen Dank für Ihre Nachricht. Es freut uns, dass Sie die Entwicklungen, die wir im Bereich Smartphones machen, als positiv bewerten. Allerdings kann ich Ihnen relativ deutlich zurückgeben, dass es “mehr als unwahrscheinlich ist”, dass wir uns in diese Richtung bewegen werden.

Android erreichte im Juli 2020 einen Marktanteil von 74,6 Prozent, Apples iOS erzielte einen Marktanteil von 24,8 Prozent. Das sind aufsummiert 99,4 Prozent der weltweiten Marktes. Alle anderen Betriebssysteme rangieren bestenfalls unter dem Begriff “Exoten”.

In einem Markt, in dem der Großteil der Kunden sich - anders als Sie - vor allem für den billigsten Preis entscheidet, ist es Gigaset unmöglich ein neues Betriebssystem zu entwickeln (auch nicht in Kooperation) und erfolgreich am Markt zu etablieren.

Entsprechend habe ich Ihre Mail natürlich an die Kollegen der Entwicklung weitergegeben, ich denke jedoch, dass es unwahrscheinlich ist, dass diese zu einer anderen Einschätzung kommen als ist.

Das Problem ist nicht das “Wollen”, sondern die Milliarden Marketing-Dollar, die Apple und Google sowie tausende andere Smartphone Anbieter in iOS und Android pumpen…

Hochachtungsvoll,
Raphael Dörr

(Some clarifications of mine followed, mainly referring to the potential future of the phone market, 5-7 years ahead. Then:)

Sehr geehrter Herr Bittner,

danke Ihnen - ich habe unseren gesamten Austausch an die Kollegen weitergegeben.

Beste Grüße
Raphael Dörr

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For people who don’t read German (like me), here is the translation of @bittner’s letter:

Dear Mr. Bittner,

Thank you for your message. We are pleased that you rate the developments that we are making in the area of ​​smartphones as positive. However, I can tell you fairly clearly that it is “more than unlikely” that we will move in this direction.

Android achieved a market share of 74.6 percent in July 2020, Apple’s iOS achieved a market share of 24.8 percent. That adds up to 99.4 percent of the global market. All other operating systems rank under the term “exotic” at best.

In a market in which the majority of customers - unlike you - primarily opt for the cheapest price, it is impossible for Gigaset to develop a new operating system (not even in cooperation) and establish it successfully on the market.

Accordingly, I of course passed your mail on to my colleagues in development, but I think it is unlikely that they will come to a different assessment than is.

The problem is not the “want”, but the billions of marketing dollars that Apple and Google and thousands of other smartphone providers are pumping into iOS and Android …

Sincerely,
Raphael Dörr


Dear Mr. Bittner,

thank you - I passed our entire exchange on to my colleagues.

Best regards
Raphael Dörr

@bittner, I doubt that any phone manufacturers are going to switch to Linux in the short term, but we should have a great deal of hope in the long term:
How does mobile Linux have any chance against Android and iOS when other OSes failed?
Why buy the Librem 5 when there are no apps for it?

If Purism can get Phosh to a good enough state, it will actually cost phone makers less to use Linux than Android, because they won’t have to pay licensing fees for Google Mobile Services, and they will freed from Microsoft’s patent racket which forces them to pre-install Microsoft’s apps.

It is worth pointing out that Gigaset is the manufacturer of the Volla Phone, so Gigaset is already making a Linux phone. I wonder if Raphael Dörr knows that someone is already doing the work to port the Gigaset GS290 to Ubuntu Touch and Sailfish OS, plus an AOSP derivative.

In my opinion, Gigaset is a poor choice for making a Linux phone, because they use MediaTek SoC’s which will never be supported by mainline Linux, because MediaTek refuses to release the source code for its kernels. This means that Gigaset phones can’t be supported long term, because MediaTek only supports its SoC’s for a couple years. Since the Mediatek Helio P23 MT6763 (16nm FF+) in the GS290 was released in Q3 2017, that means that the SoC is nearing the end of its support cycle, so it is unlikely that MediaTek will release driver or firmware updates for the chip. It is likely using Linux 4.14 (released in Nov 2017), which was the newest kernel supported by Android 9, and the kernel version is unlikely to ever be updated.

In addition, Gigaset is technically a violator of the GPL, because it is selling hardware with MediaTek’s Linux kernel without releasing the source code. Sadly, because Volla Phone isn’t the original manufacturer, it probably doesn’t have access to MediaTek’s original source code, so it can’t help us, although Gigaset could release the source code but Gigaset probably signed an NDA that prohibits it. For more info, see Comparing Linux Phones and download the spreadsheet.

If Gigaset had used Snapdragon, it could have avoided these problems, which is why I’m not excited about Volla Phone, even though I want the company to survive, since it seems to have its heart in the right place.

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I would like linux, and all the related computer world, to be known but, as I read in the company’s reply email, Apple and Google spend a lot of money on advertising. And this is true. People (I mean those who are not infomatics or who do not have this passion) do not know what linux and open source are and they do not know the idea and the exploitation that, instead, large commercial companies make of it. Buy the most advertised mobile phone or one similar to that of your friends and which is of the best known brands.
Personally I believe that a continuous media campaign should be organized in order to raise awareness of linux, and its uses and advantages, in the only way we users could collaborate: by sharing information media. I believe that more or less we all have telegram or twitter or facebook etc. If (for example) the FSF launched a worldwide information campaign, trying to involve as many users as possible, it would be enough to re-share a video published by FSF on our twitter, facebook, telegram accounts. A small average, changed weekly, for a whole year published on our accounts.
Regards

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It’s a huge market. 0.01 percent of it is not attractive enough?

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Ahum…Are we continuing talks about Linux phone markets and pricing? I’d like that, but as per @maximilian comment I don’t want to further derail the thread if it bothers others.

I added this question to the Community FAQ:
Will the Librem 5 be offered through an EU seller?

(That way everyone will know the history of this question.)

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