The FSF has sold out and endorsed purism

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Taiidan
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In exchange for money they are now advertising and endorsing a maker of fake libre hardware by letting them have a booth at libreplanet an endorsing their debian copy "PureOS"

https://libreplanet.org/2018/sponsors

"Grassroots: Purism, makers of fine free hardware" - OLD STATEMENT
Purism is NOT free hardware and certainly not "grassroots" as their mysterious founder somehow has a bottomless pit of money to burn on hardware costs and propaganda campaigns.

After myself and others contacted the FSF about this they claimed it was a "mistake" on their end and todd made one of his usual twitter posts "Ouch, that was not an approved statement".

Here are posts that help explain the purism situation better than I can.
https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-Still-Blobbed
https://www.reddit.com/r/linux/comments/3anjgm/on_the_librem_laptop_purism_doesnt_believe_in/
https://goblinrefuge.com/mediagoblin/u/onpon4/m/what-purism-s-road-to-fsf-ryf-endorsement-chart-should-look-like/

While purism's newer laptops come with "coreboot" all the hardware initiation is performed by Intel's FSP binary blob, and while they claim to have "disabled" ME (by running ME cleaner which they didn't make) they have not as disabling ME is both impossible and illegal.

(archived due to the powers that be removing these posts after receiving political pressure)
https://web.archive.org/web/20161010040458/https://blogs.coreboot.org/blog/2015/02/23/the-truth-about-purism-why-librem-is-not-the-same-as-libre/
https://web.archive.org/web/20161010100959/https://blogs.coreboot.org/blog/2015/08/09/the-truth-about-purism-behind-the-coreboot-scenes/

Other companies are shipping brand new legitimately libre hardware (TALOS 2, Novena, etc) with performance and feature pararity to their non-free cousins so don't believe purism when they say we-are-doing-the-best-we-can.

Isn't it strange that purism receives so much coverage in the tech press but real freedom hardware gets none at all?

Purism donates to their own crowd-funding campaigns to make them seem more successful and whenever negative facts about them are posted on the internet some random guy shows up to insist that the person is mistaken.

I encourage everyone who cares about the future of free computing to contact the FSF about this and demand that purism not be allowed to falsely advertise their faux-libre hardware at libreplanet, that all literature be pre-approved, that there be a disclaimer next to their booth stating that their "LibreM" hardware is not at all libre and a list of companies that sell real libre hardware such as raptor engineer/computing systems and bunnylabs.

Purism has continually pressured the FSF for airtime and to ruin the RYF standards so their laptops can be certified - it needs to stop.

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SuperTramp83

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I welcome you to the Trisquamello forum, fellow libre software enthusiast! My cheers go to you. I admire your post. I also admire Onpon's chart :)

Librem is an obvious scam. No man should support teh pozzed Librem if they are in their sane mind.

Too bad I can only upvote you one time. I'm almost tempted to create 10 accounts now (in the style of teh technoetical owner, you know..) in order to give you + 10

Anyway, have +11

I will throw a mail to the excellent RMS linking to your mighty post.

o/

jxself
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Not to defend them but more a point of clarification. "Grassroots" is a sponsorship level, not a description of the organization. Just like they have "Partner", "Supporter", etc.

It's not the first time the FSF has organized things into levels. They also do that with people that donate: Contributors, Sustaining Contributors, Patrons. See https://www.gnu.org/thankgnus/2018supporters.html for that.

strypey
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Taiidan wrote:

>> The FSF has sold out ... In exchange for money they are now advertising and endorsing a maker of fake libre hardware by letting them have a booth at libreplanet an endorsing their debian copy "PureOS" <<

This is a sensationalist (and potentially libellous) claim against both Purism *and* the FSF. Do you have any evidence that the FSF endorsed PureOS because Purism gave them money, rather than because it meets the usual high standards for certification?

It's also pretty lame to say that PureOS is a "debian copy". It's a bit like saying Trisquel is a "debian copy", or that Debian is a Slackware copy. It's an empty smear that trivializes the significant work that goes into maintaining any GNU-Linux distribution, even a derivative one (as I'm sure the Trisquel devs will attest).

I've been wondering for a while why some people seem to go to such lengths to attack Purism in these forums, even though what they're offering is a significant improvement on any Windows or MacOS laptop, or even the Ubuntu/ Fedora/ whatever ones offered by companies like ZaReason. Comments like this one just make me take those attacks (and the people making them) even less seriously.

Taiidan
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How is what purism offers better than the honest thinkpenguin?

The FSF said they would never certify PureOS, then purism becomes a sponsor and they get it certified? how is that not the least bit suspicious?

PureOS is just an angle to help sell their non-free laptops.

You have very low standards for freedom if you think purism is a good company.

Tell me, what makes them significantly better than thinkpenguin?

GrevenGull
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I believe you misunderstood strypey.

strypey
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>> How is what purism offers better than the honest thinkpenguin? <<

I didn't mention ThinkPenguin, or MiniFree or Technoethical for that matter. My understanding is that Purism offers higher-end hardware than any of the other companies that supply *only* FSDG-compliant OS. If there is a company selling Libreboot laptops as powerful as the Purism products, I'd like to know about it (I'm currently in the market for a new libre laptop for media production and gaming). My point was that Purism is an improvement on ZaReason and other companies that sell similar high-end hardware, but with Ubuntu and other GNU+Linux+proprietary-spyware distros.

>> The FSF said they would never certify PureOS <<

When?

>> then purism becomes a sponsor and they get it certified? how is that not the least bit suspicious? <<

Unless you have evidence to the contrary, that's called a coincidence. The announcement was an output of an auditing process that's been carried out on a publicly-archived mailing list since 2016
https://lists.gnu.org/archive/html/gnu-linux-libre/2016-06/msg00005.html

>> PureOS is just an angle to help sell their non-free laptops. <<

But if that's true, why not just do what ZaReason do and sell off-the-shelf hardware with blobbed distros? Why bother obtaining high-end hardware that can at least run Coreboot, so the Linux kernel itself has no blobs? Why go to all the trouble of creating a new FSDG-compliant distro, and getting FSF endorsement for it? Why is it so hard to believe that this company genuinely wants to serve the software freedom community?

Until 2013, it wasn't even possible to supply a laptop any freer than the Librem. Setting up a hardware business takes time, especially when you're developing new, bespoke products for a niche audience. So the Librem products were probably well into the planning stages when Libreboot was released. If Purism haven't announced a new line of non-Coreboot laptops by 2023, then it might become plausible to claim that they are just using software freedom concerns to shift units.

>> You have very low standards for freedom if you think purism is a good company. <<

You have very low standards for any kind of integrity if you think attacking both the FSF and Purism with salacious allegations you can't defend or prove is acceptable behaviour in this community.

Taiidan
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Purism claims their laptops have "open source firmware" but this is not true - their coreboot contains many binary blobs and the hardware initiation process is entirely performed by binary blobs as explained in the reddit link.

Thinkpenguin etc are honest they don't claim to be selling what they aren't selling.
Minifree, raptor, bunnylabs etc are selling real libre firmware products - sure the laptops aren't modern x86_64 systems but its almost impossible to have a brand new libre laptop without tons of money even just creating libre firmware on an existing ARM owner controlled laptop costs at least $100K.

(see below for my laptop reccomendation almost as good performance wise as purism's junk)

"With proprietary systems, you do not know what is being sent to whom. There is a real and tangible threat of your own devices being used to spy on you"

Sentances like this and also naming their laptops "Libre-M" they are implying that their hardware is open source which couldn't be further from the truth.

"Meticulously designed chip by chip to respect your privacy"
Modern Intel chipsets don't and will never respect your freedom/privacy.

Their laptops are not at all bespoke, you can't do custom motherboards for the volume and money they are dealing with nor would there be a reason to.

There is only so much customization one can do with a modern intel chipset either you have all the ports possible or you don't - it isn't like in the old days where you have many things you could change.

My issue is not that someone is selling non-free laptops that are slightly better than a dell the problem is their false advertising, implying their laptops are bespoke/special plus the history of attacking competitors and pressuring the FSF to lower their standards so that their laptops can be "RYF" with modern intel chipsets.

As long as purism keeps up with their faux-libre marketing they suck money away from their legitimate competitors and prevent the creation of a statup that sells real libre laptops such as high performance ARM design or even a POWER laptop.

Why would purism request the FSF remove the RYF microcode update rule if they weren't planning on going all the way and completely ruining the RYF standard> - simply removing the microcode rule would still leave their laptops very far from an RYF standard that a modern intel laptop simply can't reach.

When they were first created there were plenty of modern performance laptop chipsets available such as AMD's Pre-PSP FT3 with quad core CPU's slightly slower than the dual core skylakes they are currently using.
Slightly faster skylake CPU vs real freedom....gee tough choice.

Purism is on a idiotic path as x86_64 can't and won't ever be free, not only is it impossible to disable or run your own code on ME/PSP it is also illegal in the USA where they are based as those are DRM mechanisms and any method would be quickly patched - purism exists to sell brand new intel laptops but at the same time

>>>>>>WHAT TO BUY INSTEAD?<<<<<<
If one is in the market for a freedom respecting laptop I highly encourage you to buy an pre-PSP Lenovo G505S which is the last and best owner controlled x86_64 laptop, it has an IOMMU and such is qubes capable.

G505S with Coreboot:
Make sure you get one with an A10 quad core CPU which is only slightly slower than purism's cpu choices despite being from 2013 - it is also quad rather than dual core.

There is a blob for video and power, you also need microcode updates to avoid several serious bugs as it is using an AMD piledriver processor however other then that you have open source hardware initiation for the RAM/CPU etc which is much better than purism's entirely blobbed coreboot.

You can get one used for around $150 or new for $400 or so - I reccomend buying one whilst they are still easily available and lenovo is still making replacement parts (till the end of 2018)
There are a few other AMD FT3 laptops that coreboot supports with the same freedom level but the G505S is the most popular and the quality of the port is much higher people are even working on an open source EC firmware.

Purism has ruined the idea of a libre laptop in everybodies head, now people think that it is somehow possible to have brand new high performance hardware that is open source without the backing of a major OEM and a ton of money.
Somebody sees purism's slick laptops and a minifree laptop right next to theirs, I mean what do you think they will purchase? The average power-user has no idea what the difference is.

The only example I have ever seen of brand new hardware that is *actually* libre, fast and owner controlled is the TALOS 2 - without the assistance of IBM and other companies it would have been impossible for raptor to release something that has feature, performance and freedom supremacy compaired with a xeon system in the same price range.

Custom laptops are significantly more complex and costlier than a workstation/server board where you don't have to fit as much in a tight space nor make and design the rest of the components (remember almost all of them have to be custom to fit - there is no laptop ATX type standard equivilants)

Why doesn't purism sell AMD FT3 stuff? it could be sold for a lot less whilst only being slightly slower. Why doesn't purism make a real libre ARM design or even POWER? How come their marketing is fourtune 500 levels of slick? where does all of the money come from including that contributed to their own crowdfunding campaign?

I have never met someone who wasn't confused by purism's shady marketing, all prospective customers who I have conversed with thought that their laptops had entirely open source firmware, a disabled ME and even open source hardware - make no mistake thie is truly impossible even google was un-successful when they attempted to get intel to open source ME and or make it owner controlled.

SuperTramp83

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>As long as purism keeps up with their faux-libre marketing they suck money away from their legitimate competitors and prevent the creation of a statup that sells real libre laptops such as high performance ARM design or even a POWER laptop.

THIS! +12

Magic Banana

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Slightly faster skylake CPU vs real freedom....gee tough choice.

I believe Pursm's main reason to go with Intel processors is their CPUs but their integrated graphical chipsets (that Linux-libre perfectly drives).

strypey
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You began this thread by claiming that "The FSF has sold out and endorsed purism". This is simply incorrect, FSF has endorsed *PureOS*, not Puri.sm the company - big difference.

You then claimed (or at least implied) that the FSF had accepted a bribe to lower their standards. This is libel, until you have some evidence to back it up. When asked for such evidence, you reply with a long rant about what you dislike about Puri.sm, which is beside the point, and makes it clear you don't have a leg to stand on. I could pick through what you've written, pointing out all the bits where you strawman my arguments, and thus miss the point I was making, but it's clear that it's not worth my time. Case closed.

Taiidan
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I am not a troll.

Search Taiidan or my name at gmx dot com - I have been providing tech support and spirited debates on many mailinglists and forums over the years.

This place had a well informed purism thread in the past so I thought I would post this here.

I can't believe some of you guys think it is fine that they are going to be peddling fake "open source firmware" "privacy respecting" laptops at libreplanet.

The future of freedom computing is at stake - while real brand new libre firmware products like novena, talos 2 etc fall by the wayside purism and their slick marketing and tons of press attention soldiers on.

Mark my words in a few years their latest blobbed up firmware / not actually disabled ME intel system will be RYF certified and todd weaver will be FSF senior management if people just sit back and do nothing.

ivanB1975
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I agree with "strypey", I think Purism is doing a good job. Only the fact that it releasing the laptops with coreboot and with the intel ME removed is already a good thing. They invested time and man work in doing that. It is far more complex than selling old laptops with libreboot. I also think that if they would not care about the free software community at all they would not invest any time in try to address the problems to achieve a free system.
Regarding PureOs and the fact that is endorsed by the FSF means that it passed their standards. Everybody is free or not to use it.
I would focus more on other problems like what about the firmware in the SSD and so on...
That's bother me much more that PureOS....

onpon4
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I understand that you're irritated by Purism's propaganda,[1] and I don't like it either. But I'm not concerned about the FSF's relationship with Purism. PureOS has been approved as a libre distro, but that's because it genuinely meets the FSF's criteria. The FSF has to approve a distro that meets the GNU FSDG requirements regardless of what its members may think of the distro's maintainers, because the FSF is required by law to be non-discriminatory. And besides, there's no problem with having another libre distro, regardless of who maintains it. I'm not going to use PureOS (basing on Debian Testing is a bad technical decision in my opinion), but it's a perfectly valid option.

On the other end of the scale, I think those who say that Purism has proven itself to be 100% trustworthy are mistaken. They continue to host those aforementioned propaganda articles, and furthermore, Purism has never done any meaningful work toward making more hardware freedom-respecting. The Coreboot port was done by a volunteer. The ME "neutralization" trick was discovered by a random person with no connection to Purism. Even PureOS is not developed by Purism; it's developed by volunteers (according to the footer on the PureOS website). So in effect, all Purism does is sell hardware that's about as good (from the perspective of freedom) as Think Penguin's hardware, then exaggerate how good it is with propaganda.

This is the way I see it: Purism is a company selling products. If they offer good products for your purpose, buy them; if not, don't buy them. There's no sense in going on a witch hunt against them, but at the same time, there's no sense in blindly supporting them.

[1] https://puri.sm/why-purism/

ivanB1975
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Mhm I would like to make some correction to your post since you wrote wrong information. I was reading a little the Purism website and I found out that the way you presented things are a little bit biased. For example regarding coreboot in here you can find all needed https://puri.sm/coreboot/timeline/. I cite some of the page to clarify things. At first they used the help of 3 people and donate them 4 laptops to start the port of coreboot:

"Todd Weaver met again with various coreboot contributors (including Stefan Reinauer, Ron Minnich, David Hendricks, and a few others), handing them four Purism Librem 13 units to help continue the porting efforts. Using this donated hardware, Duncan Laurie made an initial port of the Librem 13 v1 to coreboot. Purism was notified that the essentials of the port were done and that Purism should test, finalize and package it as a product (note: there is a big difference between “It should work” and “It has been tested, bugfixed, packaged and shipped as a product)."

Later on they hired a person. So the final port is done all in house:

"At the end of 2016, Purism hired Youness Alaoui to pick up from where Duncan left off, and run the last mile: finish and test the coreboot port, build a preconfigured ROM, write documentation and findings about the whole process, write instructions on how to configure/build/flash it, and create the entire package required for easy one-click distribution to users. The porting and testing work was completed in February 2017 for the Librem 13 v1."

Regarding the me_cleaner random guy please next time use his name. The random guy is Nicola Corna. The fact that Purism uses this tool is a great thing. You should not minimize it. I used as well and I can tell you it is not so easy to do that. Technically is the same that librebooting a laptop, so please next time don't minimize the fact that Purism use this tool. Having a laptop with a neutralized ME is equal functionally to a laptop without ME. In addition they didn't write that they developed it, but only that they used it. Here (https://puri.sm/learn/intel-me/) for example they wrote:

"While finishing our first coreboot port, we have successfully neutralized (zeroed-out) a very significant portion of the Intel ME, thanks to the great work of the “me_cleaner” project."

I don't care about Purism but I care about honesty and correctness. It is why I corrected your post.

To finish I can tell you that porting a new device to coreboot is technically challenging. The fact that Purism did that is a great thing since people can have a more recent hardware with that additional value.

chaosmonk

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I'm not a fan of Purism either. While I'm glad that someone is selling Corebooted and ME-cleaned laptops for people who believe that an X200 with a SSD and upgraded RAM isn't good enough for them[1], educating and informing users is more important to the free software movement in the long run. The damage Purism does by spreading ignorance far outweighs the little good they do by selling laptops that are freer than most with similar specifications but are ultimately a dead end.

That said, I'm skeptical of your suspicion of PureOS receiving FSF-endorsement. PureOS follows FSDG (it would take effort not to since it is based on the already free Debian main repo) so I see no reason for the FSF not to endorse it. If the FSF were to endorse Purism's hardware then that would indeed be concerning as they would be compromising their standards, but the FSF announcement endorsing PureOS was clear that it was not an endorsement of any of Purism's hardware.

You mention ThinkPenguin, who is indeed a very ethical company who has made real contributions to the free software movement. However, I can't find information on what BIOS their laptops use. Do you know if their laptops are Corecooted and ME-cleaned like Purism's?

I wonder why nobody Coreboots, ME-cleans, and resells X230's similarly to the vendors who libreboot and resell X200's, T400's, etc. They would be just as free as Librem laptops and not nearly as expensive.

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirth%27s_law

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Magic Banana

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There is https://directory.fsf.org for free software (but no translation). There is http://fsf.org/ryf for "Respect Your Freedom" hardware (but no translation either).

Magic Banana

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Well, there is much free software. The Free Software Directory is certainly far from complete and the descriptions can always be improved. You can participate: https://directory.fsf.org/wiki/Free_Software_Directory:Participate

On the contrary, there is not much "Respect Your Freedom" hardware because the endorsement criteria are very strict: https://libreplanet.org/wiki/Group:Hardware/Certification_criteria

http://h-node.org is a great source of information on any hardware, answering the question: does it work with only free software? You can contribute.

Magic Banana

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I believe ThinkPenguin desktops/laptops have proprietary BIOS. Otherwise the company would tell it in their technical specifications on the website.

khanh_duong
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ThinkPenguin computers use proprietary BIOS. I think Coreboot, ME-clean are what make Librem laptops expensive.

onpon4
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No, the Librem laptops were always more expensive than Think Penguin's offerings.

strypey
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After some reflection, I want to apologise to Taiidan for attacking the person not the argument in my last comment, and falling into a somewhat aggressive tone. I can and will do better.