[talk] puri.sm laptops - Too good to be true?

Charles Sprickman spork at bway.net
Thu Oct 19 19:20:23 EDT 2017

> On Oct 5, 2017, at 2:42 PM, Isaac (.ike) Levy <ike at blackskyresearch.net> wrote:
> Word,
> On Thu, Oct 5, 2017, at 02:25 PM, Charles Sprickman wrote:
>>> On Oct 5, 2017, at 2:11 PM, Isaac (.ike) Levy <ike at blackskyresearch.net> wrote:
>>> On Thu, Oct 5, 2017, at 01:05 PM, Brian Cully wrote:
>>>>> On 5-Oct-2017, at 11:40, Isaac (.ike) Levy <ike at blackskyresearch.net> wrote:
>>>>> Hey All,
>>>>> Has anyone heard anything good/bad about the laptops from Purism
>>>>> <http://puri.sm>?
>>>>> I can't believe my eyes they look too cool.  Like nearly every aspect of
>>>>> the laptop design.
>>>> 	And not too pricey. If I hadn’t just bought a new laptop, I’d be eyeing one of these seriously.
>>>>> Big scary question marks for use as a *BSD laptop: Sleep/Resume?
>>>>> graphics not sucking? etc...
>>>> 	My experience with Intel HD graphics on FreeBSD has not been particularly good, even with TrueOS, whereas it works pretty flawlessly on Ubuntu. The other thing is the usage of the Atheros WiFi chipset, which was super bad for me over USB, although this at least is PCI, and my understanding is that the support there is a lot better.
>>>> 	One last thing, for me at least, would be just how bad the touchpad is. I’ve never had a good touchpad outside of the Mac laptop lines.
>>>> 	Thanks for the heads-up, though. I’ll definitely be keeping my eye on this.
>>>> -bjc
>>> This fella, Eric McCorkle, seems to have been using one for FreeBSD last
>>> summer: 
>>> https://ericmccorkleblog.wordpress.com/2016/07/16/freebsd-librem-update/
>>> Some year old comments on the trackpad etc...  nothing damning.  Boy I'd
>>> love one in my hands for a day to scope the reality of the hardware
>>> before I bought one…
>> There seems to be lots of controversy about the claims this company has
>> made.
>> Are the points in this older article now moot or not?
>> https://www.pcworld.com/article/2960524/laptop-computers/why-linux-enthusiasts-are-arguing-over-purisms-sleek-idealistic-librem-laptops.html
>> <https://www.pcworld.com/article/2960524/laptop-computers/why-linux-enthusiasts-are-arguing-over-purisms-sleek-idealistic-librem-laptops.html>
>> https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-Still-Blobbed
>> <https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Purism-Librem-Still-Blobbed>
>> And having to go back to 2008 for true Stallman-approved FreeDom:
>> https://www.pcworld.com/article/2879086/the-free-software-foundation-loves-this-laptop-but-you-wont.html
>> <https://www.pcworld.com/article/2879086/the-free-software-foundation-loves-this-laptop-but-you-wont.html>
> Fascinating.  For me, not sure I care about FSF stamp of approval, (the
> *BSD's don't have that, so...)
> The other bits about proprietary components, well, reality strikes.
> I think these older claims about 100% open hardware are indeed not quite
> possible right now.  Yet, compared to what I've been looking at lately,
> this gear seems *way* saner - and I'm just excited that their Linux
> distro is all about no-binary-blobs.  Very encouraging for solid *BSD
> support!
> Will I ever "100% trust" my hardware?  Never have.  Unless I make it all
> from scratch, (mine the ore for the copper), no.
>> There is a rant out there somewhere that I read recently that without
>> ditching proprietary BIOS/UEFI/blobs, this laptop is no more secure than
>> anything else on the market.
>> Hey, have you considered a MBP? :)
> I'll assume you are kidding :P
> http://www.nycbug.org/index.cgi?action=view&id=10356
> Since that talk, I've happily switched from OpenBSD to FreeBSD for my
> primary personal rig- and *love it*.
> Why I don't want a MBP (was given a shiny new one at work):

This will be long because I normally don’t run into people that talk about the merits of different operating systems.  If it’s too sprawling for talk@, let me know!  My bad analogy hot take on this is:

Windows = DNC (dominates, take what you’re given)
OS-X = DSA (they’re trying, really they are and the old dude from VT is cool and likes guns)
Desktop *nix = Pure Marxism (exists in theory)

Or for the other side of the political spectrum:

Windows = RNC (capitalism is awesome, but we suck at making it work for middle class)
OS-X = Rand Paul Libertarianism (you can’t have weed, but you can have tax cuts because “takers”)
Desktop *nix = (smash the state, invisible hand is the only option, social darwinism, mostly theory)

> - I no longer want anything to do with Mac OS.

What’s your biggest complaint there?  I’m not onboard the whole “ios-ification” thing, I keep waiting for it to come and it hasn’t.  And there’s such an ecosystem of terrific software out there that just doesn’t exist in FOSS versions (Pixelmator, Photoshop, other graphics/video/audio stuff that I need often enough to miss). And iTerm2 + tmux integration. Certainly there are going to be security issues, but in my various dayjobs I’ve yet to encounter a malware-infested Mac.  And a unified interface, I have a hard time leaving that.  I’ve poked at a few current unix desktops in vmware (another options not available on desktop unix) and found them to be the UI equivalent of a vomited-up pizza. :)

I also dearly love Little Snitch, never seen anything like that on desktop *nix.  Not only does it act as a nice outbound firewall to show what’s trying to phone home, but it also works with the os-x code-signing stuff to block unsigned apps from network communications.  It’s pretty slick.  I’m also a fan of the whole code-signing model as well, but I’m happy to hear how that’s a flawed security measure.

> - USBc, *nothing but USBc*.  That blows for so many reasons.

I only recently discovered that, my prior/dying MBP had the magsafe connector, which is one of the best inventions ever compared to the idiocy of a barrel-plug that will both yank your laptop off the counter and more than likely do damage to the mainboard. My new MBP is USB-c and it’s love/hate.  On the upside I can charge it in the car with no fancy add-ons. On the downside, I have to carry a dongle for normal USB.  But my use case is that I’m either on the couch with it or at a coffee shop, neither of which involve wires or dongles (and if I forego Chrome for Safari, 8 hours of working on a charge is a real thing).

There is a headphone/mic jack too. :)

And of course, in a few years, windows laptops will also only have USB-c.  It’s inevitable.  Long term you will learn to love your single-standard jack.

And none of this: http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20111004.gif <http://www.smbc-comics.com/comics/20111004.gif>

I am of course going to have to buy one of these sorts of things:

https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Adapter-Stouchi-Connection-Charging/dp/B075XM3SHX/ <https://www.amazon.com/Magnetic-Adapter-Stouchi-Connection-Charging/dp/B075XM3SHX/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1508452495&sr=8-13&keywords=magsafe+to+usb-c>

> - USBc - requires data exchange just to *charge the rig*

I still say this is the eventual standard, but there are options for this:

https://www.amazon.com/PortaPow-Specialised-Block-Charge-USB-C/dp/B01AY9TDYK/ <https://www.amazon.com/PortaPow-Specialised-Block-Charge-USB-C/dp/B01AY9TDYK/>
> - Bag full of adapters and peripherals.

Depends on your use case - I’m on wifi about 99.9% of the time. I have an ethernet dongle, but that’s it.  Oh, and an old Keyspan USB to serial - these are all dwarfed by other things I need to carry if I do go in to “work” (misc. serial console cables and such are way more bulky).

And less stuff to carry overall - single charger for phone, tablet, laptop means less power cubes.

But I do like this dude:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XSC_UG5_kU <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-XSC_UG5_kU> (DONGLES!)

>  - Apple USBc mixed up wth thunderbolt, and bang DMA!!!  What could go
>  wrong!

See cable above. And in my use case I totally don’t find myself plugging into random shit. And as I discovered with my 2011 MBP, you can boot linux and fiddle with stuff in the EFI filesystem or use the “nvram” utility in single user w/SIP disabled to turn off various things (in my case, disabling the fried NVidia GPU).  When you’re talking about shadowy figures sneaking up to you in public and plugging stuff into your laptop to own you, you’re already a target and I don’t know if a *BSD/Linux laptop will save you.

> - Simply not interested in running anything but OSX on this hardware.

Except in a VM.

And speaking of VMs, OS-X now has a built-in VM system just waiting for a GUI: https://veertu.com/veertu-desktop/ <https://veertu.com/veertu-desktop/>
> Other Lenovo/Dell-XPS models I've been angling for:
> - USBc charging
> - Lots more proprietary hardware
> - More dependence on bluetooth and gimmiky crapola
> - Most of them: HDD/RAM soldered down, Particularly the HDD, that bugs
> me!

The soldered in SSD sucks.  Laptops are becoming big phones and that trend is not reversing.  The RAM bothers me less because RAM generally doesn’t fail.  SSDs wear out.

> So, with that tip-of-the-iceberg ranting done, this Purism rig seems
> almost too good to be true- *for me* :)

I suspect that in 5 years or so the laptop market is going to be even more phone-like and disposable, not just on the Apple side.

> Best,
> .ike
>> Charles
>>> Rocket-
>>> .ike
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