Is this Librem13 fully free this time?

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pogiako12345
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https://www.crowdsupply.com/purism/librem-13?utm_medium=ref&utm_source=puri&utm_campaign=librem13&utm_content=referral
AFAIK, a similar project or perhaps the same project has failed due to it not being fully free and was heavily criticized by the Trisquel commmunity - which was months ago.

Chris

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I'm not sure why you think this has failed. It looks like it has 12 days to go. Todd has always been a fraud. Sadly not enough people are speaking up in protest to the news outlets he's speaking to. I'd suggest not linking to anything in regards to this as it'll increase the publicity, Google ranking, etc.

Mzee
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I guess he or she wanted to state that the previous campaign failed. Why do you think this campaign or that guy is a fraud?

Legimet
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No, it isn't.

Legimet
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Mzee
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Thanks for that link. There is even a lengthy post from the coreboot team about this issue: http://blogs.coreboot.org/blog/2015/02/23/the-truth-about-purism-why-librem-is-not-the-same-as-libre/

On the other hand, Purism claims that all of that is just a big misunderstanding: https://puri.sm/posts/about-purism-and-librems-and-cake/

Chris

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Todd's entire company is one big fraud. He had been intentionally vague and deceitful from the beginning of this venture. For those who don't understand the details it looks like he's pushing things forward. The problem is he isn't and doesn't honestly care about the issues he's purporting to care about. The evidence is all over the place and very clear to those knowledgeable about the issues.

Originally his design called for including an NVIDIA graphics chip. There was never any chance of the code being released or the chip being supported by the free driver. Todd basically wrote it off saying you don't need the proprietary driver and that it would increase sales. If you include a chip when you don't absolutely have to your promoting proprietary software in contradiction to your claims. It's that simple. The NVIDIA graphics chip would never have worked on Trisquel. So either he would have included a proprietary driver in contradiction to his claims or he would have shipped something that didn't work.

He's also implied that he's talked to Intel about getting code released in crucial components. These talks were little more than speaking to a sales rep at an Intel event. There was never any genuine talk with Intel. Sales reps are going to tell you what you want to hear and won't understand what your talking about. The whole thing was basically just to fabricate this image that he's done something to "make progress" on the issue.

In theory if this was done right there may be some benefits to designing a laptop more from the ground up. However the last thing your going to do is build off Intel/AMD. While you'll probably end up with chips that need non-free software to fully utilize it's an unavoidable situation. The key word being fully utilize. You'd gain in that you don't need a proprietary BIOS or bootloader, but you'd lose having full support for one particular component (3d accelerated graphics). With Todd's laptop the NVIDIA component was avoidable even though the BIOS was not. Had he not included the NVIDIA chip then it might have been about as free as what we sell at ThinkPenguin. Again this was the original design. He changed it in response to the reaction he got from people calling him out. It was just too blatant a lie that even ordinary people figured out it was a scam. He had to change it to keep his con going.

The coreboot inclusion is also a farce. I've been told from people who received the laptop it's just a standard AMI BIOS. Prior to this there was some talk about him using coreboot as a payload to running a proprietary BIOS. It doesn't get rid of the proprietary BIOS at all. At best it's something maybe an "open source" advocate or maybe a proprietary software advocate would champion. Not a free software advocate as all this does is maybe add functionality- but does nothing for freedom. The reason he is doing/would be doing this though is to give people the impression that he's done something to free the laptop. He hasn't.

There have been some other things that lay question to his motives including claims about how long he's been a "free software advocate". A prior venture for instance that he owned and operated advertised *proprietary software* on the about page and was a *key* thing in what he was selling. This was all within the period he claimed to be a free software advocate too in posts elsewhere. If he had been promoting / using something then fine, but this was promoting his own proprietary solution and is contrary to everything being claimed now.

There are lots of other problems with his claims that make it more than just a misunderstanding. Todd knows what he is doing. If he actually does do something for freedom (which I doubt will ever happen) it'll only ever be in reaction to stopping the claims of those calling him out and making him look bad. It won't be because he genuinely cares about free software.

I don't like some of the approaches others are taking in that they largely are dead ends, involve criminal actions, or are swapping one bad thing for another, but so far I haven't seen anybody else intentionally defraud the people in our community. Actually thinking about this again I can think of one other example... but none-the-less. The majority thus far are still not.

tonlee
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I guess you can backup your claims. I read what you write. It is important what you write is right. On librem 13's crowdfunding page it says 'We hope that the FSF will grant the hardware exemption for the CPU microcode, a non-free binary blob that is cryptographically signed and locked down'. Could that happen?
I regard Appelbaum a point of reference. Why has he joined purism? Does he not know better? Should you not warn him?

jxself
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"Could that happen?"

It is incredibly unlikely. Considering that they required it be removed from libreboot as a condition of endorsing the X60 machines, they have no reason to backslide.

Chris

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I'm not sure what the story is with Jacob Appelbaum, but the reality is you can't trust *anything* that comes out of Todds mouth. I'd like to hear from Jacob Appelbaum personally or read something that says he's not working for Purism and it was all a lie. However I haven't communicated with Jacob Appelbaum and I'm only loosely following what is going on via the way of other people (mostly). The last thing I want to do is let Todds actions get in the way of me and others who are doing *something* getting stuff accomplished. What I can say is Todd is wasting the time of a lot of people who are actually working on stuff. He's mostly just a distraction.

Legimet
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No, Jacob Appelbaum has confirmed that he joined Purism: https://twitter.com/ioerror/status/612214488163590144

Chris

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If someone has a twitter account please link Jacob Appelbaum to the coreboot blog post and the phoronix article:

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-Still-Blobbed

http://blogs.coreboot.org/blog/2015/02/23/the-truth-about-purism-why-librem-is-not-the-same-as-libre/

I also want to point out that Jacob Appelbaum "joined Purism as an advisor" according to the Twitter post which is quite different than employing Jacob Appelbaum. If Todd is saying he's hired Jacob Appelbaum elsewhere that would be quite misleading as of the facts of the situation per the quote on Twitter anyway.

SuperTramp83

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We can not and must not believe anything this dude Todd says. He's obviously a deluded, unethical opportunist. His claims have absolutely no value at all. He has earned some money with the Librem 15. But that's it. The fiesta hopefully and very probably ends here for Todd. The librem 13 funding ends in a few days and he hasn't collected but 1/3 of the money. The reason is, I think and hope, finally people have seen it clearly beyond his nonsense and bs delusions.
As I already said, the true problem with people and projects like this Todd dude and the Purism is that all this money could have been employed to advance (financially and consequently de facto technically) true libre projects like the libreboot community and gluglug.

EDIT: And now I just found out the campaign for librem 13 was extended. Now they have 52 days left to fail..

Chris

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I'm really getting sick of this guy is all I can say. He's doing nothing for those who actually care about freedom. If he had a laptop out and wasn't claiming freedom I'd not be so annoyed. However he is taking advantage of people who aren't getting the information they need to make an informed choice and then being defrauded at that. There *are* people working on freedom respecting hardware- or working to release code-or otherwise clean up code- or reverse engineer. None of these people have ever gotten any credit. Not in any meaningful way. For Todd to swoop in and claim he's done something when he's not is sickening.

tonlee
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I wrote Appelbaum this email.

----------------

name at domain

Appelbaum

On twitter you announced, that you are part of purism computers. This email wants to inform you, that Chris from thinkpenguin and coreboot have concluded, that purism will not be able to deliver what they have announced and that their computers probably are a hoax.

You are asked to read https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-Still-Blobbed and http://blogs.coreboot.org/blog/2015/02/23/the-truth-about-purism-why-librem-is-not-the-same-as-libre/.

You may read Chris' posts on https://trisquel.info/en/forum/librem13-fully-free-time.

You are asked to make an announcement on twitter.

---------------

I have not read any response on Appelbaum's twitter.
Many of you, should write him an email like mine.

gary02121993@openmailbox.org
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Hi there! Haven't read the message but I'm really interested what
Jacob's most active PGP is, like which pub key should I get from common
keyservers? There are so many.

I'm sure that sending him an unencrypted email will backfire.

On 08/15/2015 11:35 AM, name at domain wrote:
> I wrote Appelbaum this email.
>
> ----------------
>
> name at domain
>
> Appelbaum
>
> On twitter you announced, that you are part of purism computers. This
> email wants to inform you, that Chris from thinkpenguin and coreboot
> have concluded, that purism will not be able to deliver what they have
> announced and that their computers probably are a hoax.
>
> You are asked to read
> https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-Still-Blobbed
> and
> http://blogs.coreboot.org/blog/2015/02/23/the-truth-about-purism-why-librem-is-not-the-same-as-libre/.
>
> You may read Chris' posts on
> https://trisquel.info/en/forum/librem13-fully-free-time.
>
> You are asked to make an announcement on twitter.
>
> ---------------
>
> I have not read any response on Appelbaum's twitter.
> Many of you, should write him an email like mine.

MrBuggles (not verified)
MrBuggles

As others have pointed out this is the same old song from Purism as with their other units. They even use the same graph that clearly states their bios is not free, but then try to spin it by labeling it green anyway with the outlandish promise that they are "working on freeing it". Yet there have been no updates on this at all, because they are not working on it, indeed they have no standing to work on it. As was said on the Reddit take-down they are making empty promises, cashing in on the libre movement, and running off with everyone's money.

The really sad part is that they have a nice looking unit, albeit an over priced one. There are few differences between this unit and installing Trisquel on a Platinum rated laptop found on H-Node. Except for going the H-Node route is likely to be much cheaper for the same level of performance or greater even.

All Purism had to do was be honest that their system was not Libre, just as Think Penguin does. The problem is their entire business model is based on selling units that are Libre and as a result are more secure, its their entire sales pitch. It is that point they use to justify their prices, even if it isn't true.

What they are actually doing is pretending to be Apple by charging a crazy price for a nice looking, but completely run of the mill unit while using terms that have a clear definition in a dishonest way that is more convenient for their branding.

To me it looks like a debranded Asus unit from the S series and the idea that people are actually paying a minimum of 1600.00 is completely insane.

Chris

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I just want to clarify the comment on ThinkPenguin systems as there are several layers of reality to contend with as far as free software goes. There isn't a perfect solution right now anywhere. We're all using some non-free software. Some systems are better than others though as far as freedom goes and you have to make a decision where your threshold is. You can choose not to use any non-free software, but that probably means not using any technology at all.

Everything that can be done is being done as far as free software goes on the ThinkPenguin systems. Not everything can be free'd that said. That's the reality of it. You can run a 100% free OS like Trisquel without any non-free pieces, but core components (CPU and BIOS) will ultimately have non-free components. You have to get the cooperation of other companies and if you can't your stuck. That's where things are right now. We're talking about billions of dollars if you want to start designing everything from scratch so it's just not going to happen that way.

What Gluglug did was utilize older laptops with fewer free software problems and then worked around the problems that existed. Great. Unfortunately it is a dead end and has some unfortunate side-effects both from a free software side and a performance side. But in either event this is the best option for a completely free system right now (or as close as it gets taking into account all options).

The future is uncertain, but there may be some hope for Gluglug-like laptop (ie less performance, etc), but designed off newer non-x86 tech (ie built off other technology more from the ground up, what Todd *should* have done if he had actually cared about free software).

MrBuggles (not verified)
MrBuggles

Agreed on all accounts.

Chris, I know Think Penguin has a blog on the company site, but do you have a separate place where you post your more forward looking ideas that might not be Think Penguin related? As you say X86 has inherent problems, but my technical knowledge isn't up to snuff enough to fully understand what a Libre Future would look like. I feel like you have a lot to add to that realm of content.

Chris

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So right now a 100% free laptop would look something like this:

13.3"-15.6" screen
ARM Cortex-A7 dual-core
1GB Memory
Mali400 GPU

The concerns/issues with AllWinner have been resolved. There was supposedly work being done to reverse engineer the Mali400 GPU, but ultimately fizzled out and no code was ever released. The good thing about the Mali400 though is that there are some rudimentary drivers that should make it possible to have a non-accelerated desktop environment without proprietary software being needed. And while worse than the x86 Intel graphics situation in that there is no 3d the benefit to this design is that you don't need any non-free BIOS/bootloader. The other benefit to the ARM/Mali400 design is that unlike some devices such as the Raspberry Pi or any modern X86 design is there is no dependency on a proprietary component just to boot. Now you might say this sucks. Yes- it does. The reality is though X86 is getting worse so it's not necessarily better from a free software perspective. It'll actually be worse. Next-generation Intel graphics are going to be proprietary. The situation for us is very difficult to say the least. We're going to have to walk a fine line and further fund efforts to fix these problems, but nothing we do will be enough. We really really really need an FSF hardware foundation that focuses exclusively on free software as it pertains to hardware and focuses on raising massive amounts of money for these types of projects. Because ultimately you can't design something if there are no companies who designing chips which can go into your design wiling to cooperate. And these chip companies are spending billions of dollars on this stuff.

GNUser
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I'm sorry, but what do you mean that "The concerns/issues with AllWinner have been resolved." ?
As far as I know, the AllWinner company is still violating the GPL... A couple weeks/months ago they pretended to release new source code but it had (again) binary blobs inside.
If I am wrong, please correct me, I would love to get more (good) news on this matter :)

As for the machine you described, yes it is surely the conclusion I have came too. Using AllWinner boards gives us the chance to have a free bootloader, have experimental video acceleration (vdpau), and use free software only (with Replicant being ported to it as we speak, which could prove to be a game changer). Is it a good machine? Well, that depends. Most people won't like the experience. But for me, some basic browsing, some videos, reading a lot, playing around with scripts and such... It could be a nice machine. Especially for the low price they have these days. But for most people it's too weak a machine.

Even so, if you ever decide to do something similar to the Pitop project, let us know, I would love to get such a laptop :)

Chris

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I'll have to look into it... but my understanding is the problems are resolved.

Chris

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OK-

I got some clarification from one of the engineers. It's resolved more or less in the sense that we're getting the code. It's a matter of people not following orders from above rather than a public relations stunt. There are a number of people making sure that all the code is released as its suppose to be. While its not all been released yet it will be. Its not really much different than any other code release. This stuff takes time. It took two years for the ath9k-htc firmware source code to be released. While it might seem like it happened all at once it really didn't (even if the public saw the code all at the same time).

So I'd describe companies like this:

AllWinner: Internal politics being worked out for release of code. Cooperation exists within company from top down despite lower/mid (ie management) level people making code release difficult.

Atheros Wifi: Internal laziness frustrating further release of code, but technically doable, if it was not for the loss of important free software advocates within the company.

AMD: Purely a public relations stunt. Unsure if the company is even able to pull it off if they wanted to though.

NVIDIA: Totally hostile to free software. Don't expect anything more than what's clawed out of them to avoid further bad publicity.

Intel: I think it is mainly other business interests that are getting in the way. That is to say entertainment interests (including there own) are incentivising the company to lock stuff down.

* There are some other things here and there too left unmentioned for some actions. Like Intel's not released code for one graphics chip due to third party licensing. Some of the newer issues though are more entertainment-related.

GNUser
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Thanks for the info!
One question: when they do release the source code, what do we get? I mean, is it in AllWinner's hands to give us the code that will allow 3D acceleration for example? Or is it only a matter of drivers and not firmware for example?

Thanks again.

Chris

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I think I was told AllWinner has all the rights if my recollection serves me right (meaning its not licensed from a third party). They're releasing what they are releasing to comply with the GPL license for which there code is derived in some part. This isn't an issue of "we want to do good" by AllWinner. It's an issue of complying with agreements (ie GNU GPL). Which means AllWinner isn't necessarily obligated to release everything (ie unconnected pieces) and they might not. They may not be able to do so in some cases either (like any company). If there is some licensed component from another party (graphics for example?) they might not have the copyrights and whatever sublicense they have access to the code under might prevent them from releasing any code for a given component. It's why Intel has released code for everything in relation to it's in-house designed graphics chips, but not ones that are licensed from a third party (next gen stuff excluded, I'm not sure whats changed in the next-gen stuff that the decided not to release code, but it's likely related to digital restrictions or licensed components).

pizzaiolo
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The SuperH architecture might be a way out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SuperH#J_Core

Legimet
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tonlee
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Lets say, amd would turn all free software. Would they be able to sell an all free software mainboard, having all rights already?

lembas
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> Unfortunately it is a dead end and has some unfortunate side-effects both from a free software side and a performance side.

Would you care to elaborate what you means with the free software side issues?

Chris

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The X86 systems that have been free'd are from companies that are notoriously hostile IMHO in taking away users freedoms. Lenovo (ie IBM's PC division originally) in particular started the trend of adding digital restrictions to the BIOS to prevent users from switching wifi cards. This in turn prevents users from moving to a free operating system. Apple is the other. Apple's notorious for taking advantage of users. Even more so than Microsoft (Microsoft might be held back by there monopoly though so I should be careful of assuming it's anything other than out of legal concerns). They don't even use standard components any more so switching isn't an option. You can feel free to write off this rant if you like. There are a lot of really horrible companies I'd prefer not promote- even if we're all dependent on them.

lembas
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Right, x86 probably is a dead end.

Thanks for the quick reply. And your very honest and insightful comments.

Christianity
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Somehow I suspect PureOS is essentially Trisquel rebranded for the sole purpose of decreasing the odds that the users will find the (well-deserved) bad press on these forums.

Chris

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That wouldn't surprise me. However I suspect the original reason (and maybe even still) was it needed non-free software. The original design included an NVIDIA chip remember. There could be other hardware in there which also needs non-free software. There really weren't that many of these sold and probably nobody who knew better bought one. So it wouldn't surprise me if it slips past this community. If you have the time and can download the ISO though it might be worth it to check out the ISO's contents. Investigate what changes were made. I'm certainly curious, but don't want to waste time on it when I could be moving something along. Just responding to the comments here is a distraction from getting real work done.

NYNEX
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Actually, some may find it interesting that "PureOS" existed well before all of this happened : http://distrowatch.com/table.php?distribution=pureos It also turns out that it was based on Debian and not Trisquel.

Adrian Malacoda

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That is a different PureOS. Purism's is a rebranded Trisquel.

Legimet
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That's a different PureOS, which is discontinued. Purism's PureOS is nothing but a rebranded Trisquel, definitely for the reason that Christianity stated.

NYNEX
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No shit it is a different OS, but they could have used a different name.

SuperTramp83

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very well commented chris!

JadedCtrl
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Indeed! +1

pizzaiolo
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This came out today on Phoronix:

https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-Still-Blobbed

It's very thorough, a recommended read

tomlukeywood
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a bit unrelated but:
i came across this:
https://www.crowdsupply.com/sutajio-kosagi/novena

any thoughts?

seems a bit too good to be true that someone made a powerfull computer with a completely free hardware design.

J.B. Nicholson-Owens
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name at domain wrote:
> a bit unrelated but:
> i came across this:
> https://www.crowdsupply.com/sutajio-kosagi/novena
>
> any thoughts?
>
> seems a bit too good to be true that someone made a powerfull computer
> with a completely free hardware design.

Despite the physical dimensions and overall appearance, the Novena does
not seem to me to be a computer comparable to a laptop intended for
general-purpose use such as a Librem laptop computer. But the Novena and
Librem computers share the lack of a completely free software OS.

I'm not sure what you mean by "free hardware". The Novena page you
pointed us to says that there are no free software drivers for some of
the hardware they chose to put into the computer:

- "graphics: there are no Free Software drivers for the 3D core. There
is an ongoing project to reverse engineer and develop Free Software
graphics drivers."

- "video: there are no Free Software drivers for the hardware video
accelerator DSP, but there are gstreamer libraries available."

and the Novena computer is aimed at people looking for "a piece of lab
equipment, and less as a device for entertainment or recreational use".

As far as the Novena's specs go, 4GiB RAM doesn't strike me as a lot of
RAM for a personal computer anymore, but (as far as I can tell from the
page) the Novena's maximum RAM is 4GiB. I'd also prefer USB3, gigabit
ethernet, and a 64-bit CPU. But since I'm not doing much electronics
hacking, this is not the computer I'd pick for my general-purpose use.
Perhaps the Novena would be more interesting to me if I did the kind of
work its developers do.

lembas
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It's been discussed a few times before, https://trisquel.info/en/search/node/novena

Mzee
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There is a new update on Phoronix: https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Librem-15-Rev-2-Coreboot

However, I don't consider this to be a significant step in the right direction as there would have to be proof first that they really installed coreboot.

Chris

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Slashdot posted a story on Librem today. If anybody has a Slashdot account (and even if you don't) please post something:

http://news.slashdot.org/story/15/07/30/2024255/purism-offers-free-as-in-freedom-laptops-video

There aren't enough people speaking out about Todd and the media is picking him up left and right.

Ohh, please vote up this comment:

http://news.slashdot.org/story/15/07/30/2024255/purism-offers-free-as-in-freedom-laptops-video

Chris

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I don't know if anybody here voted up the above post, as it got up-voted real fast, but thank you! It was a success and now Slashdot readers will now get to read about this fraud as at least one post is prominently displayed in the main thread.

Thank you to those who are actually speaking up too elsewhere. I know that there are quite a few people who wrote some very good pieces and followed Todd a lot closer than I have. Your doing good work even if from the shadows.

onpon4
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You posted the same link twice. ;)

Did you mean this one?

http://news.slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=7767449&cid=50218561

Chris

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Ha, yea.

Chris

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I have some more good news. There may be some more stories coming out about Todd. I've talked to a reporter who is going to contact one of the people knowledgeable about Todd and Purism (or hmm, at least do a follow up interview?).

BCG
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One of the nice things about operating within a community where the average member has an attention span greater than 5 minutes is that snakes like this can't hide for very long.

Sometimes stories like this play out with Todd suddenly making a trip to Asia to 'inspect the production lines' or something like that. Hopefully that won't happen in this case.

Did the Librem 15 even ship yet? If I had put down money for one and hadn't received it I would be getting worried.

You may be saving the Librem 13 backers from a similar fate though. Good job Chris

onpon4
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My understanding is that people are getting the computers. The problem here is Todd is claiming, falsely, that the computers are ever going to be freedom-respecting the same way Gluglug's refurbished laptops are, when they are actually at best no better than Think Penguin's in that respect.

Actually, it seems to me that they're also charging premiums for this; it's possible to get a laptop from Think Penguin which seems to be similar to the low-end Librem 15 configuration for around $500 less. I'm not entirely sure about this, though; comparing hardware that you don't have physical access to is difficult. It's not that important, anyway; having a more expensive, higher-end option similar to Think Penguin would be perfectly legitimate and good. The problem is they promise much more, and what they promise (a high-end, modern x86 laptop which respects your freedom) simply cannot be delivered.

Purism also seems to have no qualms with adding in more freedom problems on the pretense that they're eventually going to be fixed (and note, of course, that they're already promising to fix impossible to fix problems), so that makes me hesitant to recommend or consider one of their laptops. I'd say that you should consider them the same way you would consider a laptop from distributors like System76 and ZaReason: look closely at the specs, replace the stock OS with Trisquel, and expect problems.