Those are niche products. One of which is a handy way to move a computer around, the other is a server motherboard with a uncommon architecture.Free Software Supporter Issue 109 said:Bringing prototypes back from LibrePlanet for further coreboot porting work
From March 28th by Jeff Fortin
We were very happy to support the Free Software Foundation by sponsoring LibrePlanet! On Saturday morning, we started setting up our booth slowly, thinking there would not be much activity going on at the beginning of the day. We were proven wrong: There was a crowd around our booth at pretty much all times (except lunchtime) throughout the day Saturday, during which it was revealed that Todd is possibly a cyborg, as he stood there answering questions for eight hours straight, without needing to eat, drink, or sit.
What you need to gauge interest for, is a regular laptop, and a regular smartphone, because that is what people are buying currently, needless to say, there are alternatives available en masse.
The Librem laptop has hardware switches, so it is the only regular Linux laptop with hardware kill switches.
This is a great offering over what is available. Meanwhile you cant make a regular laptop without an x86_64 processor, which in turn means it won't be a RYF level machine.
Maybe an ARM laptop is possible in the future. The only valid example of what was possible is the i.MX6 novena, which traded the expense for actively being a hackers device. That isn't the same thing, and it is a very tough act to follow, because you then need to undercut what is available enough to make it worthwhile. It is also going to be a fully custom job, which is what purism gets most of their cost-cutting from not doing.
I suppose if TALOS brings the price down on what they are offering, and EOMA68 gets some bargaining rights with allwinner, things will change, but purism is also doing something meaningful.
It is undeniable that their focus is security and freedom, you can argue whether they are delivering on all accounts, but the fact that the idea could be sold to a general public speaks volumes. The level of honesty and clarity rivals ED these days, you will find purism freely admit they don't deliver on even their own standards: https://puri.sm/learn/freedom-roadmap/
Other actually RYF certified devices not flying off the shelves means one or more of three things
- It wasn't actually the same product,
- it was too expensive, or,
- it wasn't actually communicated right.
Put Fairphone into this context. It is perfectly reasonable to argue their first phone was almost anything but. And the current one has problems with sourcing and longevity too. However arguing that people don't care about fairness and sustainability ends right there, because it has outsold every other meaningful project combined.
The reason why doing anything, heavy lifting or not, may be irrelevant as it scales up, is because you actually need to sell something to have done anything.
Yes the firmware is the crucial bit, which requires the most amount of involvement to get around, but even if there was that, you need a vision. Purism has good design and communication. It isnt perfect, and for the most part it couldn't be. Compared to https://www.thinkpenguin.com/catalog/notebook-computers-gnu-linux-2 which has neither design, nor laptops on offer. I can't always go back in time to re-buy a X200 and wait till there is libreboot available for it, that isn't what purism is trying to do, they are trying to offer new machines that compare to it.
So, the Librem phone is the indicator of how popular freedom respecting devices are. As was the laptop. The discussion over how well that is achieved, is not something people are going to complain about. If you buy a device for its security, etc, you will not complain if it offers _more_ of any of those values over what everyone else offers.
What you have to pick from is what there is to pick from, at the given time.