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Purism reveal their powerful privacy-focused Librem 14 laptop

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If you're after a laptop that's both powerful and privacy respecting, you may want to take a look over at Purism with their newly launched Librem 14 laptop. Purism say it's the first 14" laptop designed to protect your digital life.

Acting as the successor to the Librem 13 and now available to pre-order, Purism mentioned that it's been designed based on their experience with the older model along with plenty of customer feedback. While it has a slightly bigger screen, that's definitely not all, it's actually quite the little powerhouse.

What makes it a bit special are the hardware kill-switches, enabling you at the flick of a button to fully disable the Webcam, Microphone, WiFi and Bluetooth. You can also expect to see coreboot and their own PureOS Linux distribution.

Check out these specs:


Core i7-10710U (Comet Lake)

Display 14″ Matte (1920×1080)
Battery Life Roughly 7 to 9 hours (actual times may vary)
Graphics Intel UHD Graphics
Memory Up to 32GB, DDR4 at 2133 MHz - 8GB base model
Storage 2 SATA + NVMe-capable M.2 slots - 250GB SATA base model
Video 1 HDMI Port (4K capable @60Hz max)
USB Type-C Video Out (4K capable)
USB Ports USB Type-A 3.1: 2 Ports
USB Type-C 3.1: 1 Port
Networking Gigabit Ethernet Adapter with Integrated RJ45 Connector
Atheros 802.11n w/ Two Antennas

As you can see, it's certainly no slouch, might even be good for a little light gaming considering how far along Intel Mesa graphics have come in the last few years.

"I am beyond excited to see the Librem laptop journey arrive at the build quality and specifications in the Librem 14. This fifth version of our line is the culmination of our dream device rolled into a powerful professional laptop. We have invested heavily so every customer will be proud to carry our laptops, and the Librem 14 will be the best one yet." — Todd Weaver, CEO and founder of Purism.

When can you get your hands on it? Soon-ish. They're saying it will ship in "early Q4 2020" with an "early bird" base price of $1,199. See more on it here.

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Tags: Hardware
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jarhead_h 4 Jul
"Intel UHD Graphics"


Good one.
Quoting: KithopI can't in good conscience recommend Purism as a company any more. The concept and tech is good, but the company itself has acted poorly as a community member, and that's without digging too deep.

A bit of background: Mastodon is an open source, self-hostable, federated (via ActivityPub social media project that, in a nutshell, basically replicates + tries to fix the perceived flaws in Twitter. There are a few flagship style instances, and many, many smaller ones hosted by special interest groups, local communities, fandoms, that sort of thing, and each of them can set their own rules and codes of conduct for their members. If there's a conflict between two instances with incompatible rules, they can individually opt to 'suspend' federation with each other - basically putting the offending instance on a blacklist that prevents the servers from interacting with each other, kind of like a spam/abuse filter.

GoL has a Mastodon account, linked right in the page footer, FYI - go follow them! :)

Here's where things start to get political...
Spoiler, click me

The vast majority of Fediverse (aka Mastodon, Pleroma, and other compatible software) instances, including the Mastodon flagship, have what I'd consider fairly reasonable rules + codes of conduct. Of course, open source tools are open, so anyone with the skills to put them together can do so, and it wasn't long before instances started sprouting up for 'free speech fans' at best, and wholly blatant Neo-Nazi & 'Alt-Right' at worst. These instances would sprout up, and deliberately target other instances with users who are LGBTQ2+ or racialised, and harass them with barrages of threatening messages, so instance administrators had to get into a game of whack-a-mole, suspending federation with a handful of these new instances a week to help protect their users from that kind of abuse.

One of the more 'interesting' things that happened was an alt-right social network called Gab forked a copy of the Mastodon (and Tusky - a popular Android client) codebase, and migrated to it, with the same kind of results.

By this point, instance admins were starting to get very suspicious of new systems connecting + trying to federate with them, checking the self-proclaimed rules + code of conduct pages, and in many cases making the move to suspend federation before the first interactions even happen. In some cases, there's nothing posted there at all, so you either dig deeper or give them the benefit of the doubt and let it slide, waiting for the potential first reports of abuse.

Here's where Purism gets involved: they, too, fork the Mastodon and Tusky codebases, to... put it behind a paywall as part of their paid service offering, Librem One. To a network of instances where people put in communal effort and run off of donations, that read a little weird, but hey, that's their call. Canonical, Red Hat, SuSE, etc. all charge for some of their offerings despite being open source, right?

Users start signing up for Librem One, getting their new account on the Fediverse, and... some of them start sending the same, targeted, hateful and abusive messages to other instances. Now, when this happens from an instance that you otherwise normally trust or at least want to give the benefit of the doubt to, you can use the built-in reporting feature to report a user's harassment to the instance admins - of both the sender and receiver - who can each opt to act; the receiving instance can suspend receiving messages just from the one offending account, for example, but when it becomes a pattern, the onus is on the sending instance - i.e., where the abusers have their accounts - to act. Basically, to moderate their own platform.

As more and more abusers realised they could spend a couple bucks on a Librem One account and gain access to their targets, more instances on the receiving end started reaching out to the admins on the Purism side to report them. When no answer was forthcoming, the follow up 'what gives?' led to an interesting exchange - Purism actively refused to moderate their instance, because these were paying users. No matter how detailed the reports, no matter how egregious the messages coming from their users, they were paying users, first and foremost, so aside from 'don't break our servers', there were basically no rules. Higher-ups at Purism doubled down on this messaging, so pretty much every instance I've interacted with started suspending federation with Librem One - their only recourse to stem the tide of abusive messaging coming from it, and have been extremely wary of Purism ever since.

Other little tidbits show up from time to time, like how their Marketing Director ragged on Mozilla for supporting, saying they were supporting domestic terrorism, and then tried to backpedal when called out for it.

tl;dr, Purism is naive at best, and actively courts the alt-right at worst. Don't give them your money.

I didn't know about this, and I feel outraged now. Unfortunately, the phone has been paid for months now so I'll take that one bu surely not more of their products!
It’s meh for the price. And I’m quite comfortable with the level of privacy other people offer, but I really do want to encourage such endeavours. Maybe donate to the project, but not actually buy any of their laptops?
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