This is just a quick note to mention that I have updated my hardware documentation on the Librem 13v4 laptop. It has unfortunately turned into a rather lengthy (and ranty) piece about Purism. Let's just say that waiting weeks for your replacement laptop (yes, it died again) does wonders for creativity. To quote the full review:

TL;DR: I recommend people avoid the Purism brand and products. I find they have questionable politics, operate in a "libre-washing" fashion, and produce unreliable hardware. Will not buy again.

People who have read the article might want to jump directly to the new sections:

I have also added the minor section of the missing mic jack.

I realize that some folks (particularly at Debian) might still work at Purism, and that this article might be demoralizing for their work. If that is the case, I am sorry this article triggered you in any way and I hope this can act as a disclaimer. But I feel it is my duty to document the issues I am going through, as a user, and to call bullshit when I see it (let's face it, the anti-interdiction stuff and the Purism 5 crowd-funding campaign were total bullshit).

I also understand that the pandemic makes life hard for everyone, and probably makes a bad situation at Purism worse. But those problems existed before the pandemic happened. They were issues I had identified in 2019 and that I simply never got around to document.

I wish that people wishing to support the free software movement would spend their energy towards organisations that actually do honest work in that direction, like System76 and Pine64. And if you're going to go crazy with an experimental free hardware design, why not go retro with the MNT Reform.

In the meantime, if you're looking for a phone, I recommend you give the Fairphone a fair chance. It really is a "fair" (as in, not the best, but okay) phone that you can moderately liberate, and it actually frigging works. See also my hardware review of the FP2.

Update: this kind of blew up, for my standards: 10k visitors in ~24h while I usually get about 1k visitors after a week on any regular blog post. There were more discussions on the subject here:

Trigger warning: some of those threads include personal insults and explicitly venture into the free speech discussion, with predictable (sad) consequences...

Praising Pine64
I don’t see how Pine64 deserves your praises when they fail to hire software developers to work on things that Purism actually pays people for. Your criticism of Purism may be well founded, but you can’t then claim that Pine64 is doing better. How much of the PinePhone is working thanks to the work of Purism? How much did Pine64 contribute to the software stack? If Pine64 was actually a bit more Purism-like, they would both be in better shape (and the community would also benefit).
Comment by Alexandre Franke
Re: Praising Pine64

I don’t see how Pine64 deserves your praises when they fail to hire software developers to work on things that Purism actually pays people for.

Pine64 deserves our praise exactly for that: they are a hardware company, and they make good hardware, with open schematics, that we can write software for. They don't pretend that they will build a hardware platform, and operating system, and liberate the universe all at once, because that's unrealistic, and they know it.

And Purism knows it too.

Your criticism of Purism may be well founded, but you can’t then claim that Pine64 is doing better.

Why not?

How much of the PinePhone is working thanks to the work of Purism?

Really? Probably not much, actually. Most people do not use PureOS on their PinePhone, as far as I know. The reviews I have seen use either PostmarketOS or their own distro on top of it, see for example Drew Devault's review.

How much did Pine64 contribute to the software stack?

Arguably, not much. But that's not their job and they don't pretend it is: they're building a phone, a piece of hardware. They try to make it as open as possible so that people can write software for it.

If Pine64 was actually a bit more Purism-like, they would both be in better shape (and the community would also benefit).

The entire point of my article here is exactly the opposite of that. I believe we are in a better situation with Pine64 not faking it and creating real, working, everyday hardware that people can use instead of promising the moon and then failing to deliver.

Besides, I'm not sure that "Praising Pine64" is an honest characterization of my article. I just said they did "honest work". If that's praise, our standards are very low indeed...

Comment by anarcat
Re: Re: Praising Pine64

How much of the PinePhone is working thanks to the work of Purism?

Really? Probably not much, actually. Most people do not use PureOS on their PinePhone, as far as I know. The reviews I have seen use either PostmarketOS or their own distro on top of it, see for example Drew Devault's review.

How many of the people running PostmarketOS (or any other distribution) are using Phosh and other apps that were developed for it?

You are consistently leaving important details out of the picture. That makes your statements unfair and reflects badly on you. As I said I’m all for criticising and you make good points against Purism, but you must apply equal treatment to all.

Comment by Alexandre Franke
Re: Praising Pine64

How many of the people running PostmarketOS (or any other distribution) are using Phosh and other apps that were developed for it?

Frankly, I don't know... I had to lookup "Phosh", just to give you an idea. I sense this is a rhetorical question and that the answer should be obvious, yet it is not at all, to me.

You are consistently leaving important details out of the picture. That makes your statements unfair and reflects badly on you.

I am probably leaving out a lot of details out of Pine64, system76, and Fairphone out of this picture. But that's the point, isn't it: this is not a review of Pine64, it's a review of Purism and its hardware. Believe me, when I end up with Pine64 or system76 hardware, I will do a similarly merciless review and hordes of their fans will come accusing me of being unfair to them then. Maybe that will be a consolation? :p

As I said I’m all for criticising and you make good points against Purism, but you must apply equal treatment to all.

As you have correctly asserted, I lack information about Pine64. I just felt they are more honest about their work, and I do not believe I have explicitly compared their free software work against Purism. What I said in the original post is:

I wish that people wishing to support the free software movement would spend their energy towards organisations that actually do honest work in that direction, like System76 and Pine64. And if you're going to go crazy with an experimental free hardware design, why not go retro with the MNT Reform.

Emphasis added. Maybe you misinterpreted my comment as saying that System76 and Pine64 were contributing more to the software part of the ecosystem. That is not what I am saying. I am saying that by contributing cheap and somewhat open hardware that works well on Linux, and being honest about what their promises are, they are being more useful than Purism.

I will be happy to apply the same, hopefully fair, treatment to other manufacturers when I end up with their products falling apart in my hands, when they do.

I will also point out that you seem to get stuck on a tiny part of the lengthy review I (re)announced here. There are way more problems with Purism than their free software contributions. I did not even mention them in the original review, a year ago...

Comment by anarcat
comment removed

A comment questioning the fact that Purism allows racism was removed. (The word racism was "quoted" in the original comment, which makes me believe the author was also questioning the existence of racism itself, which I find to be just despicable.)

People interested in criticizing my stance on Purism's "tolerance" of neonazis and related ideologies are welcome to read my previous post on the topic and generally, just shove off somewhere else.

Yes, you have found a Social Justice Warrior. Don't wet your pants too much, there's plenty of us out there.

Comment by anarcat
Created . Edited .