Support Cycle for Librem 5?


#1

Hello,

I realize this might be an odd question and perhaps it’s too soon to get a definitive answer much less a complete one but I am wondering on what the planned support cycle is for Librem 5.

To give better perspective, let us consider Android phones for a second (gasp).

To my understanding, most Android (smartphone) vendors today drop support (i.e. Android updates) for a particular device after about 2 years. After those 2 years, the phone becomes EOL and the do-gooder has either the option to flash their device with a custom ROM to continue getting support or buy a new phone.

I don’t like that I’m constantly dishing out ~$300 every two years simply to keep my phone secure. I understand why companies drop support for all the phones they have and at the same time think they’re simply shooting themselves in the foot.

Anyway, what I wouldn’t like to see the Librem 5 phone do, is follow the same support model.

I realize It’s very, very unlikely what I’ve described above would happen on a pure Linux phone but I’m not a developer and I’m also a bit of a novice when it comes to Linux.

With all that said, can I expect to use my Librem 5 till it bricks out on me (not taking into account of minor hardware issues) and continue to receive security updates till that same point?


#2

interesting question


#3

I hope to read an official reply, because this is important on different point of view. For customers and enviroment i.e. and as social purpose company i do not expect any kind of planned obsolescence both hardware and software.


#4

The question is not odd, but I think it is reasonably answered by everything that we know. From the campaign page:

“Planned obsolescence of Android and iPhones made me understand how important the free software movement is for everyone. Now, I refuse to buy another phone that I do not control and am not the owner of.”
— François Téchené, Director of Creative

I trust that Purism will try to not disappoint their early customers. Even if the phone will be discontinued, I would expect a few years of support. I don’t expect an official statement of the sort “we guarantee 5 years of updates”. It’s more like, if the Librem 5 v2 or v3 will also use an ARM core, they will use the exact same software. The drivers should be in the mainline kernel by then, so in case Purism would drop support some years down the line, you could go with stock Debian or the likes.

You could also say, it’s similar as with the laptops. If you buy a Purism laptop, you probably don’t really worry about how long it will be supported. It will be a very long time until you’ll be unable to install new Linux distros on them.


#5

I think that this is reasonably the answer


#6

This is a very underrated point about the Librem 5 IMO. Support for this device will be possible for as long as a phone ecosystem exists for Linux ARM platforms because it’s all upstream. Even if Purism fails with this phone it will be very easy to make other distros have support for this phone since it is all upstream (and that’s the reason why it’s easy for Plasma Mobile and UBPorts to port to it compared to adding support for android phones).


#7

I agree. It’s more like buying a laptop. If support ends for the version of Windows it comes with (for example)*, then you can install a newer version, or switch to any number of different Linux distributions. Eventually it becomes obsolete because you want to do more with it than the hardware was physically capable of, not because the manufacturer decided it was EOL.

I think two things that make planned obsolescence such a strong force in mainstream smartphones are:

  • (sometimes) locked bootloaders
  • proprietary, binary blob hardware drivers, which fail to keep up with future changes in the OS after the manufacturer abandons them, and which are likely to have legal restrictions on distribution by third parties

The Librem 5 doesn’t have either of these limitations.

*Of course, you should buy a Librem, not a Windows laptop!


#8

I’d rather get a System 76 but that’s just me.

In the end, I think we can all agree that it should be ventured to obtain a Linux machine over a Windows machine if we’d like to keep our system running for a long while without purchasing a new OS.

For smartphones, I can’t wait to get my hands on the Librem 5 (if I can). I can’t wait to ditch Android for good. :grin: