The "série noire" continues. I ordered my first Purism Librem 13v4 laptop in April 2019 and it arrived, unsurprisingly, more than three weeks later. But more surprisingly, it did not work at all: a problem eerily similar to this post talking about a bricked Purism laptop. Thankfully, Purism was graceful enough to cross-ship a replacement, and once I paid the extra (gulp) 190$ Fedex fee, I had my new elite laptop read.

Less than a year later, the right USB-A port breaks: it would deliver power, but no data signal (nothing in dmesg or lsusb). Two months later, the laptop short-circuits and completely dies. And here goes another RMA, this time without a shipping label or cross shipping, so I had to pay shipping fees.

Now the third laptop in as many years is as good as dead. The left hinge basically broke off. Earlier this year, I had noticed something was off with the lid: it was wobbly. I figured that it was just the way that laptop was, "they don't make it as sturdy as they did in the good old days, do they". But it was probably a signal of some much worse problem. Eventually, the bottom panel actually cracked open, and I realized that some internal mechanism had basically exploded.

The hinges of the Librem are screwed into little golden sprockets that are fitted in plastic shims of the laptop casing. The shims had exploded: after opening the back lid, they litterally fell off (alongside the tiny golden sprocket). Support confirmed that I needed a case replacement, but unfortunately they were "out of stock" of replacement cases for the Librem 13, and have been for a while. I am 13 on the waiting list, apparently.

So this laptop is basically dead for me right now: it's my travel laptop. It's primary purpose is to sit at home until I go to a conference or a meeting or a cafe or upstairs or wherever to do some work. I take the laptop, pop the lid, tap-tap some work, close the lid. Had I used that laptop as my primary device, I would probably have closed and opened that lid thousands of times. But because it's a travel laptop, that number is probably in the hundreds, which means this laptop is not designed to withstand prolonged use.

I have now ordered a framework laptop, 12th generation. I have some questions about their compatibility with Debian (and Linux in general), and concerns about power usage, but it certainly can't be worse than the Purism, in any case. And it can only get better over time: the main board is fully replaceable, and they have replacement hinges on stock, although the laptop itself is currently in pre-order (slated for September). I will probably post a full review when I actually lay my hand on this device.

In the meantime, I strongly discourage anyone from buying Purism products, as I previously did. You can the full maintenance history of the laptop in the review page as well.

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