Librem products from Purism "best" alternative right now?

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GrevenGull
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Joined: 12/18/2017

So I've been using my T400 from Minifree quite a while and have been satisfied for the most part. Except for the fact that it's noisy, which is a big deal to me (I just made a post about it on the Trisquel users forum).

So now I am looking at alternatives. As I asked in the Trisquel users forum, the noise issue could potentially be solved be replacing the HDD with an SSD.

However, I am wondering if any of you people have first hand experience with some of the "new" products on the market, like the Librem products from Purism and if you could share some thoughts about this.

Or if there's any other new up and coming products in the Laptop/phone world?

Masaru Suzuqi
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Joined: 06/06/2018

I almost always wear silicon earplugs (MACK'S). It is comfortable, by the way. You might like it.

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

Purism products are okay. Just keep in mind that they are misleading and market their products as something it isn't.

The issue that all free-hardware manufacturers are facing is that Intel i-Gen CPUs, i3 i5 i7, are coming with something called the 'Intel Management Engine'. It's a blackbox which could be running any manner of code on the machine, the US government actually is the only entity to be able to order Intel i-Gen CPUs without the ME.

Purism laptops Coreboot, and then 'clean' the ME to the best of their ability. However it can't be completely removed, if it is completely removed the computer will kill itself in 30 mins. Their laptops cannot be Librebooted.

If you want an upgrade to a T400, have you not considered an x200? I am using one with an SSD and the fans are not noticeable without 100%'ing both CPU cores. Even then it's still fine.

GrevenGull
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Joined: 12/18/2017

>

Purism products are okay. Just keep in mind that they are misleading and market their products as something it isn't.

The issue that all free-hardware manufacturers are facing is that Intel i-Gen CPUs, i3 i5 i7, are coming with something called the 'Intel Management Engine'. It's a blackbox which could be running any manner of code on the machine, the US government actually is the only entity to be able to order Intel i-Gen CPUs without the ME.

Purism laptops Coreboot, and then 'clean' the ME to the best of their ability. However it can't be completely removed, if it is completely removed the computer will kill itself in 30 mins. Their laptops cannot be Librebooted.

If you want an upgrade to a T400, have you not considered an x200? I am using one with an SSD and the fans are not noticeable without 100%'ing both CPU cores. Even then it's still fine.

Thank you! Yes, I was looking at an x200 earlier today, is that a better/newer machine than the T400? I noticed it has little faster CPU?

Beko
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Joined: 08/31/2019

Sorry! It seems actually that they are almost the same except that the T400 is in a larger chassis. They have the same GM45 chip, so same CPU. I was mistaken when I wrote upgrade...

However a x200 is definitely cheaper than T400.

If you are still looking for an upgraded CPU then I'm afraid Purism is what you are looking for, with about 99% of the machine being free.

GrevenGull
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Joined: 12/18/2017

> Sorry! It seems actually that they are almost the same except that the T400 is in a larger chassis. They have the same GM45 chip, so same CPU. I was mistaken when I wrote upgrade...

> However a x200 is definitely cheaper than T400.

> If you are still looking for an upgraded CPU then I'm afraid Purism is what you are looking for, with about 99% of the machine being free.

I see, thank you for the help regardless :)

koszkonutek
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Joined: 03/19/2020

> However it can't be completely removed, if it is completely removed the computer will kill itself in 30 mins.
Actually, it's like this: Intel ME consists of some boot code + minix kernel and its userspace. Without boot code computer will not even start.
The 30min poweroff You mentioned happens when one leaves the boot code and removes/modifies other parts of the image.
However, a bug was found that causes Intel ME to enter an error mode once booted, where it won't shut the computer off.
Additionally, a switch (probably made for the NSA) has been found, that, when set, makes the ME disable itself at some early stage.
Intel ME in Purism's laptops is both neutralized through HAP bit (that switch I mentioned) and crippled by removal of parts that are not needed to boot. Kill-itself-antifeature plays no role at this point.

> Their laptops cannot be Librebooted
True. And it's not just Intel ME. Last time I checked, they still haven't replaced the FSP (Firmware Support Package) blob in their coreboot port.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

A PineBook Pro would be much cheaper, if it fits your needs.

GrevenGull
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Joined: 12/18/2017

But that's not available, is it?

chaosmonk

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I am a translator!

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Joined: 07/07/2017

According to their website, orders placed now are expected to ship next month.

https://store.pine64.org/?product=14%e2%80%b3-pinebook-pro-linux-laptop-ansi-us-keyboard-estimated-dispatch-in-december-2019

However, I would contact them or check the Pine64 forums to see if this is still the case. I'm not sure whether the website reflects any disruptions to their shipping schedule due to Coronavirus.

strypey
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Joined: 05/14/2015

I recently ordered a PinePhone (the UBports community model), which Pine64 expect to ship later this month. The Pine64 blog has a monthly update which has been very transparent about how the COVID-19 outbreak has affected their manufacture and shipping:
https://www.pine64.org/2020/04/15/april-update-ce-fcc-software-update-and-diy-router/

chaosmonk

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I am a translator!

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> I recently ordered a PinePhone (the UBports community model), which Pine64 expect to ship later this month

Nice. Out of all the desktops I've tried on the Pinephone, Ubuntu Touch is the most polished so far. UBports recommends a lot of non-free garbage that I assume you'll notice and know to avoid. Their "app store" consists mostly of web app wrappers around non-free services like Instagram, Facebook, Netflix, etc.

PsychicEcho
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Joined: 04/05/2020

Cheaper is good.

My stupid intel chipset is preventing me from going linux-libre . Would a PineBook be the way to go for poor people? Trisquel runs smoothly on it?

Magic Banana

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Joined: 07/24/2010

You are referring to a Wifi chipset, aren't you? The cheapest would then be to acquire a freedom-respecting Wifi card or USB adapter: https://ryf.fsf.org/products?category=7&vendor=All&sort_by=created&sort_order=DESC

Masaru Suzuqi
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Joined: 06/06/2018

My AR9271 USB Wifi adapters work with Trisquel and one was around 3$. I always wonder if it works with a free driver on Trisquel, why I need those RYF certified relatively expensive adapters?
About ear plugs, I forgot to say this but the MACK'S ear plugs are really good, but if you keep wearing them for more than 2 years, it would depend on the hardness of your bones though, maybe it will deform your ear bones to a bit inside... how should I say? my ear holes got thinner. Normal size earpick or q-tip does not go inside of my ears already. Because MACK'S just cover the entrances of your ears, like normal ear plugs, you do not have to stick them into the inside of your ears. So if you use silicon ear plugs, I recommend you to use sometimes normal ear plugs to spread the size of your ear holes.

Magic Banana

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Qualcomm liberated the firmware for the AR9271 chipset (the "open-ath9k-htc-firmware" package in Trisquel's repository), thanks to the advocacy of Christopher Waid, ThinkPenguin's CEO. The problem is: unless you buy second-hand and the seller indicates the chipset, it is hard to know what chipset is inside the Wifi device you buy. Manufacturers sometimes change the chipset in a same model. To not have to modify the wrapping every time they do so, that wrapping does not specify the chipset, which is all that matters when it comes to the availability of a free firmware. If a user recently purchased a model that works, it is likely that the chipset has not been replaced since then. To be certain that the chipset you will get is freedom-respecting, there is https://ryf.fsf.org/products?category=7

Masaru Suzuqi
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Joined: 06/06/2018

If you can afford to buy some normal colors and a normal cardboard, and an ability to write the normal alphabet, it is 100% impossible for the custom, or the deliverer or whoever, to open the cardboard and tamper the WiFi adapter which Mr. Christopher sends to his customer. It seems to lack reasonableness to sell a VPN service for $15 per month, and to create the own desined wrapping of a WiFi adapter or a router adapter if he has an ability to sign for the wrapping. I think there is a big difference between imposed a heavy tax and willing donation or contribution. I do not intend to critisize the way of their business. It is no longer none of my business. I just suppose that so maybe after all what I had to do was to buy a Raptor's $1000 board on a 20-months loan from the beginning. So I would recommend GrevenGull to buy the $1000 board, or if he can afford to buy, a several thousands dollars desktop computer, not a laptop though. If it is a matter of reliability, maybe he should sacrifice the portability of laptops/mobiles for it. If you want a thing which actually guards your rights, not just respects your rights. Just thought.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

How do Purism laptops compare in terms of graphics cards? Video acceleration, 3d for games?
I have a T400 Librebooted. How does it compare?

Thanks.