Why does the Librem 14 have 2 power ports?

First of all, I really like the Librem 14 and I love what you’re doing for the open source community.

However, I can’t help but wonder why you included two charging ports on the Librem 14. The USB-C port is in the middle of the connector lineup, meaning that powering it over USB-C is going to nearly prevent you from using the USB or ethernet ports right behind it. And, in the regular power spot there isn’t USB-C, but an ugly barrel jack. Even worse, both ports are nearly right next to each other…

It doesn’t make a lot of sense. Why waste money to increase the number of power ports, and put them right next to each other, when you could save money and make a better-looking product just by leaving out the barrel jack?

Or, if money isn’t a problem and you still want two power ports, then why not make a more usable design, putting one USB-C on each side and at least moving it to the back instead of the middle?

The current power setup makes the least possible sense out of all possible designs… except of course 2 barrel jacks right next to each other. It isn’t that bad, but it’s close.

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Umm, there is a usb c on the left side of the device at the rear. I’m not even sure the USB c port on the right side does power delivery. Probably, but I mean the spacing on it looks fine. I really don’t see the problem. As a matter of fact I think the abundance of power options are a huge bonus here.


Are you talking about the Librem 14 or another laptop? The 14 only has one USB-C port on the right side, in front of the barrel jack, USB-A and ethernet.

Do you mean the kensington lock slot? That’s the only thing on the left side at the rear.

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Ahh it looks like you are right. That lock looks like a USB C port. Still I’m having a hard time seeing how the spacing on the right is problematic.

Your issue seems largely cosmetic because I don’t see an actual usage problem as configured.

It’s not just cosmetic at all…

  1. I have at least eight different devices with barrel jacks, and every single one is incompatible with the others. I’m not a huge fan of adding a ninth incompatible power supply to my power supply bucket. I already have a librem 13 and I’m considering buying a librem 14, but personally I’m going to throw that barrel jack charger straight in the bucket as soon as I get it… And it’s kind of annoying to pay for something that I will never use, especially in a device like this. This is why the first thing I check for when buying a laptop is what power supply it uses, and it’s why I’m hesitant to buy another Librem device. Before the Librem 13 I had only seven incompatible power supplies.

  2. I’m not alone in this. USB-C has been successful precisely because there is market demand for a universal power supply. Purism decided to include the universal power supply port (USB-C PD), which is great, but again, they placed it in the middle of the connector lineup, and they also included the barrel jack at the end. When was the last time you saw a barrel jack in the middle, where Purism put the USB-C? Never, because it’s the least convenient possible place to put a power port.

  3. Cost. It costs money to add power ports, and to include a charger which I’ll never use. Would you rather have a laptop with 2 power ports, or one with just one power port and a longer battery life? Or just one power port, and better support Librem 5 development?

If people really liked having the “abundance of power options” as you say (meaning extra power ports), then why stop at two? If more ports is better, then why not 3 barrel jacks or 4 barrel jacks or even more? Do you see how the more unnecessary stuff you add, the more ridiculous it is? Sure, it’s not as ridiculous with only two power ports, so maybe it’s less noticeable, but it still causes problems for people like me.

So no, it’s not just cosmetic. Although having a barrel jack which I’ll never use, an ever-growing bucket of power supplies, and a USB-C charging port in the worst place possible, could be called cosmetic issues as well. But that’s just on top of all the other problems.


Your use case is not everyone’s. I would think that would go without saying. I believe this is the main problem here. Simmer down and consider how your needs and uses are not the only consideration in the design of the product. There will be people that will use their barrel connector just as there will be some using USB c.

Once again I don’t see how the placement of USB C port prevents your from using the L14 in any way.


It’s annoying when someone tells you to “simmer down” when you’re not angry… You should stop doing that.

I never said my needs/uses were the only ones Purism should consider. That’s why I said

I’m not alone in this. USB-C has been successful precisely because there is market demand for a universal power supply.

The barrel jack is there so you can charge the laptop while using all USB ports for something else.


You created a thread to complain about port placement, and based your argument on your use case. I don’t think I’m off base casually saying to simmer down. Also consider that it is just a phrase and doesn’t always mean to that you are angry or really need to simmer down.

At any rate no hard feelings. My intention is not to offend you.


If you (or purism) want two power ports, then why use incompatible ones? Replace the barrel jack with an additional USB-C. There is no rational reason to have two (or more) different incompatible power jacks.

@2disbetter For future reference


At work I have a Fujitsu laptop and two displays from the same manufacturer. One of the displays has a built in docking station. Both displays connected by 1 USB-C cable. The laptop display being able to be used as a 3rd display. At the same time the laptop is charged by the very same USB-C cable and additionally LAN-connection running through it. It is very simple just to have 1 cable to connect and disconnect the laptop, and not a lot of wires on the desk :slight_smile: That would be great to have on the Librem 14.


For your reference your reaction and continued tone seem to be reiterating my point.

Exactly! And, mind you, that’s a third-party cable. We’re soon getting to the point where even if your charger breaks or you forget it at home, you can borrow anyone elses’ charger just like we do today with phones and mini/micro-USB chargers.

Going back to my barrel jack bucket, it wouldn’t exist at all if these devices used USB-C, because they’d all be compatible. Even when one charger breaks, I can use the charger for another device. The Librem is great at avoiding vendor lock-in (with user-upgradeable battery, storage, and RAM) but charger lock-in is the one place where the Librem falls behind even today’s Macbooks.

If a Librem charger breaks (or gets lost in my spaghetti tangle of barrel jacks) then I’m stuck with blocking my other ports with the single awkward middle USB-C until I order a new barrel jack charger from Purism.

Does the Librem 14 support Power Delivery?

If not, then it only has one power port.

If so then you don’t have to use the barrel connector and can even throw away said charger and only use the usb-c charger and not have to worry about the barrel connector at all.

Purism isn’t the only company to have gone down this path and from my experience with my work issued laptop the barrel connector charger is more efficient than the USB-C charger.

Also from a security perspective I’d rather plug in someone’s barrel connector to my charging port than plug in their device to my USB port… Power and ground is a bit harder to compromise than all those lovely data pins.

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It does support PD, but it’s inconvenient to use because of its placement.

Also, USB-C should only be an issue because of DMA, but I thought the Librems don’t enable DMA for their USB-C ports (or otherwise have some sort of USB IOMMU enabled). Is that true or was I mistaken? If the USB-C ports are unprotected, then yeah I agree about the security concerns. I guess I kind of assumed the USB-C ports wouldn’t be included unless they weren’t any more unsafe than regular USB-2.

I suppose a workaround would be to move the one USB-C port to the other side of the laptop, where the kensington lock slot is. That way it’s actually usable as a charger because it’s not going to block any other ports, while the barrel jack is still there on the other side for people who want it.

When using someone else’s USB-C chargers, you can also block data at the hardware level like this: https://www.amazon.com/PortaPow-NA-USB-C-Data-Blocker/dp/B082WDHS22/

Even without DMA I’m not keen on plugging in other people’s USB devices.

As far as that data blocker goes “Not suitable for laptops since they require a data signal to allow charging.”

Edit: USB-C will be limited to 5v unless it can use the data pins to negotiate the higher voltages/amperage. Also in some environments I’ve worked they disable the USB ports entirely so having that separate power option has its place.

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Ah, I see. Honestly I understand the concern about USB-C, but first of all, all the USB-C exploits require physical access, so that eliminates some worry. And USB-C without DMA is going to be similar to USB-2 in terms of security. So using someone else’s charger is going to be about the same amount of danger (if not less) as plugging in a USB2 thumbdrive. Close to zero on linux.

Any way we can ping Purism Staff for more info?

Also, I found this… Librem13 USB-C Charge Hack Thoughts?
Apparently a couple people already opened up their librems to put in a USB-C => DC converter.

Here, if it helps you feel better about charging port placement. This is my current laptop


I’m so sorry…

Eh, doesn’t bother me any. Better than on the back side.