Librem 13 Free Software Laptop Nears Funding Goals, After Self-Funding
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware on 7 September 2015 at 02:17 PM EDT. 19 Comments
HARDWARE --
The Librem 13 has been an effort to be a 13-inch crowd-funded laptop that "respects your rights" and follows in the foot-steps of the previously-funded Librem 15.

The Librem 13 is coming still while upstream Coreboot developers haven't been fond of it, the laptops remain currently dependent on binary blobs, but there's hopes only the Librem 15 Rev2 will ship with Coreboot.

In the few times I've looked at the Librem 13 crowd-funding campaign, it didn't look like it would make its crowd-funded goal of $250k... Even with the campaign being extended on Crowd Supply. However, in the past few days it shot up sharply towards its goal.

It turns out that it looks like the Librem 13 is being self-funded by Todd Weaver, the CEO of Purism, in order to meet their goal with the crowd-funded campaign ending on 17 September.

Here's an anonymous message I received today from a Phoronix reader and Free Software advocate about the sharp rise in funding:
Is Purism unfairly running its crowd funding campaign for the librem 13? That would appear to be the case. The campaign surged, and then got 3 additional pledges shortly after.

Recently, the campaign seemed to surge by around 90,000 USD in a day. Looking at the page before the surge and the live page, it showed only 4 extra names.

The first one in that list is Todd Weaver, the CEO of Purism. Basically, Todd has unfairly contributed a large sum to his own campaign.

The fact that this is permitted on Crowd Supply, flies in the face of fairness. It is unfair on all other crowd funding campaigns. It also violates the very principle of how a crowd funding campaign should work.

Not only that, but it appears lately that Purism has downgraded its actual mission.

Read their latest blog post (at the time of writing) relating to the FSF's "Respects your Freedom" certification: https://puri.sm/posts/purism-business-model-and-vision/

The blog post says that Purism will be "as close as possible to RYF".

This is in stark contrast to their previous "roadmap" page: https://puri.sm/road-to-fsf-ryf-endorsement-and-beyond/

This page is already confusing enough, making it look like they actually have completely free (open-source) firmware to replace the BIOS, when they don't. The page is intentionally confusing.

But how "close" can it possibly be?

PC World already covered this, quoting from the libreboot project,
coreboot project and from knowledgeable people who spoke up: http://www.pcworld.com/article/2960524/laptop-computers/why-linux-enthusiasts-are-arguing-over-purisms-sleek-idealistic-librem-laptops.html

An Apple Macbook is, you could say, as close as possible to being RYF endorsed by the Free Software Foundation. It's very far away, but it's also very close!

The reality is, as that article points out, and as both coreboot and libreboot developers point out, that the chipsets Purism is using are completely blobbed up, with some blobs that are actually known to be remote backdoors.

The reality is, that even if Purism was trying its best, that it would fail. Intel will not cooperate under any circumstance, and reverse engineering their proprietary firmware will take years, if its even possible, which would be long after the librem 13 laptops become obsolete. By that time, Intel would have already released several new chipsets and the world would have moved on. No real progress would be made, because Intel would still be 100 steps ahead of the community.

People know this. This is why the Purism Librem 13 campaign was going to fail, because people know that it is either fake, or destined to fail. Todd knows it too, but he'd rather you not know that. He's so desperate now to continue selling his own lies that he adds close to $100,000 to his own campaign.

The best thing that can happen right now, is for Purism's campaign to fail. In its place, there should be real projects creating real results, with a real possibility to make serious change to the chances of free software. This means avoiding Intel, and avoiding x86 entirely.
It was also pointed out that they had already put in the order for the laptops, in knowing they would go to manufacturing. "We decided to bite-the-bullet and place the order prior to the campaign funding ending, to avoid any delays."

Those interested in learning more about the Purism 13 campaign can visit CrowdSupply.com. Currently it's at $237.5k of its $250k goal ending on 17 September.
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Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience. Michael has written more than 20,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated benchmarking software. He can be followed via Twitter or contacted via MichaelLarabel.com.

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