Understandig the giant task Purism has achieved

I think many of the commenters here, should watch the ccc-video (again) to understand what a giant task had to be achieved.
I am very thankful, especially for Nicole, that the starting point of delivering a free and secure phone is finally reached and they are on the way to a more perfect librem5,.
When I think back to the start of the fairphone I, it too had some shortcommings which are solved by now. But the fairphone III is still not a free phone and not a secure phone. So purism had a much greater problrm to solve.


When is the right time for congratulations? When the first phone has been send out to a regular customer? When does Purism celebrate it? And what is the equivalent of popping the corks for non-alcoholics and vegetarians? When is the time to punsh my android device into the trash? And where the hell does those pink elephant suddenly came from?


Purism did some creative lateral-thinking when designing this gnu/linux mobile-compute-device to achieve RYF that’s for sure !


I just wasted 2 hours arguing with the ignoramuses on r/linux who don’t even bother to learn the technical details about the Librem 5, but love to criticize Purism.

Some of the criticism is fair, but a lot of it is based on wrongheaded assumptions and lack of technical knowledge. We really need to educate the public about all the technical challenges involved in making the Librem 5 and why it has such high costs. The two circuit boards, plus the two M.2 cards in the Librem 5 will require 3-4 times more area than the circuit board in a normal phone. I calculate that it will take 1453.7 mm2 of chip packages in the Librem 5 to equal the functionality of one Snapdragon, which is 153.8 mm2 in size.

The Librem 5 is arguably the most innovative phone in a decade:

  1. First phone with hardware kill switches;
  2. First with a replaceable cellular modem and Wi-Fi/ Bluetooth (on M.2 cards);
  3. First with a smart card reader (for 2FF OpenPGP card);
  4. First running 100% free software (not counting firmware in components);
  5. Only current phone on the market to offer convergence as PC without special hardware

and that wouldn’t even be necessary if Snapdragon was open-hardware ( that’s what i meant by “lateral-thinking”) tch them patents and copyright holders always forcing our hand and creating wasted resources in the process. :roll_eyes::face_vomiting:


You’ll never convince the loud, stubborn and the haters.
But there’s always the silent majority including some doubters.

Today I tooted my Promise Delivery Chart & Chronology.
It’s already my most-boosted one (admittedly a low standard :blush:).

I’m a bit proud DigitalCourage and TuxPhones boosted it, which tells me there are knowledgeable people in some of the right spots who understand the importance and magnificence of this project.

Don’t let the others ruin our days :sunglasses:

To the folks at Purism: :champagne: :wine_glass:
Well done!


This is a great thread. People in general just have no idea how hard some of these things are. They see for example a launcher and think psssh, that doesn’t even look nice, and just think it is trivial to fix the UI and rewrite large portions of code. They think because there are 1,000 fart apps in app stores that programming is a trivial affair. No one questions that engineers who builds a rocket are doing hard work, but we have somehow come to a point where the engineering that goes into software is trivialized every day. I think the hardware accomplishment here is amazing and deserves applause and appreciation, but the continued amount of work that will be going into the software here will be nothing short of impressive as well. It will benefit the phone, but will also benefit the Linux community and anyone else trying to make their own Linux phone.


And let’s also think about the foremost respect-your-freedom hardware pioneer guys.

I think the first was a larger venture, still Openmoko suffered from some hardware bugs in their final product, as there were some bug fixing hardware mod services available for the Neo 1973 and Neo FreeRunner.

Then a real open hardware expert wizard, Nikolaus Schaller, and his Golden Delicious Computers shop openly engineered and tested their early boards from prototype production runs to delivering fully working GTA04 boards.

Another venture, the neo900, was trying to piggy-back on the N900 and GTA04, apparently failed to deliver something, though.

May there be even more phone hardware expert experience?


:hugs: to everyone :hugs:

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There was an attempt to make another production run of GTA04 devices a bit more recently (2014?), but almost the entire batch failed due to a last-minute hardware change on one of the chips (the RAM/flash combo chip: the original was 512 MB RAM, 1 GB flash; new: 1 GB RAM, 512 MB flash) - the new chip was apparently an utter nightmare to solder.

I was one of the backers, had my preorder placed and all. Had the manufacturing worked, I’d be using it now and wouldn’t have even considered a Librem 5.

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i’m not so sure that Purism has “achieved” everything it set itself up for but they did put “most” of the stuff together nicely so far and we will happily support them with our $ for as long as they rise up to it.

How so?
Of course it’s not the end of the freedom road (full open hardware), but except for the delivery date they accomplished everything they promised for v1 plus a considerable amount of stuff they wished for (most likely first RYF phone).
The only things that were considered and did not end up in the phone I can think of are NFC and dual SIM, which pales in contrast to this achievement.


Oh production failures, what a setback for a tiny volume hardware project. And that could not be resolved?

Yeah, so many things that need to fit right in place to form a success.

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They tried, but in the end it just couldn’t be done. See here:
http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail/gta04-owner/2017-February/007259.html (the first announcement of the production failure, there’s more in the rest of the thread)
http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail/gta04-owner/2017-April/007319.html (a later announcement that the board production company won’t be going back to do it again because the chips are terrible)
http://lists.goldelico.com/pipermail/gta04-owner/2019-January/007922.html (the most current piece of news, the project manager does want to go back and try to repair the defective batch, but he’s got several other things to do and still isn’t sure how well it’ll work)

Thanks for the pointers, so sad, still fingers crossed for the manual reworking part for you backers!

Interesting, that there, after the successfull production of the first replacement board version series (GTA04A4) the first, machine picked trial production run for the v2 version (GTA04A5) had a volume of 36 devices (6x6, 4x9, 3x12, …).

So your crystal ball, that apparently works good, actually said it was never considered to start the shipping (to the backers, not just developers) with anything different than the prototype testing versions?

Ok, pinephone did it, or no, they ask devs to apply for shipment.

Purism did better than what they originally promissed with the battery so i’m glad i came around when i did …


@Caliga Thank you for posting this video explaining the improvements made over the last year in a very comprehensive way. Hats off to all developers!


I’ve been wanting to make the following points for a while in other conversations, but ultimately didn’t think they were the right place. This does.

I find it a little surprising that in all the complaining over the late delivery of the Librem 5, especially with all the people who appear to work in the software industry, that no one has brought up how frequently software companies are late releasing software. And we’re not talking FOSS. What is all to common, are these companies releasing broken, shoddy and even incomplete software, just to make a promised deadline. I’d prefer to see a later release and have my expectations met, than be handed something that barely works, but is delivered on time.

In the gaming industry you see releases, for major titles, by major publishers, pushed back by 1 to 2 years. It happens for numerous reasons, maybe they want to account for new hardware, maybe they just got access to a next generation game engine, maybe they discovered a huge flaw in their code.

When it’s only software, you can get away with releasing something that’s not 100%, because you can provide updates after the fact. A lot of software has zero-day updates, because they need to get it released. Fact of life.

All of that is just on the software side. Hardware doesn’t work that way.
Purism is putting together an entire cellular telephone. In conjunction with all that hardware there is an operating system and supporting applications. Yes they are largely working from existing FOSS, but that doesn’t mean everything is already done for them. It means they are expanding the community and helping to ease maintenance of things in the future.

When I first heard about this project and when they said they’d deliver, my first thought was, “Wow, that’s ambitious. They must really have their shit together.” I was totally right about how ambitious the project is, a little less so about having their shit together. I think they proved they are human. A fact people seem to overlook when they deal with a company.

I do believe they are, first and foremost, trying to provide backers with a quality piece of hardware. As for their transparency, I have had zero issues with that. They have been consistently slow to provide us information about delays, but they always give us a comprehensive update when they do. They also provide the plan for moving forward, which means, yes, they knew they were going to be late for a while, but they are also not playing chicken little.

Purism, please keep up the good work! I’ve been anxiously waiting for over 2 years, I can anxiously wait a little longer.


The greatest achievement of Purism in my opinion is just being a hardware company that tries to push the ideals of the Free Software Foundation, and has updated those ideals to include user digital rights and privacy in a world of mobile devices and web services based on surveillance Capitalism.

The FSF has always been hindered by the fact that it hasn’t been able to partner with very many good hardware companies to promote its ideals. I was frankly getting depressed by how many people think of the FSF and the GNU project as a bunch of hoary anachronisms which are no longer relevant, but Purism is making people see the importance and relevance of the free software movement and user digital rights in the modern age of surveillance Capitalism.

I’m really hoping for the success of the Librem 5, because it becomes a vehicle to make every reviewer of the phone talk about how we are loosing our right to privacy and how we can fight back. The Librem 5 is a standard to show how important it is for us to control the technology, rather than letting the technology control us.

Since I’m a nerd, I’m fascinating by all the technical details in the Librem 5, but those details matter less in the long run than creating a new market for mobile devices and services that respect our rights. Purism is essential because it is trying to operate ethical web services which respect user rights and helping to create a mobile operating system and an ecosystem of apps which aren’t based surveillance Capitalism (like Android and the Google Play Store) and restricting user rights (like iOS and the Apple Store).