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Updated: 16 hours 42 min ago

Librem 5 News Summary: February 2021

Thursday 4th of March 2021 10:53:28 PM
Steady Progress

February was a month of strong and steady progress behind the scenes from operational improvements to a lot more code written and released. Each week we ship an increasing number of Librem 5s out to backers. We also continue to work to locate and expedite more i.MX 8M CPU supply for future Librem 5s—the industry has an overall shortage of components—and as we get firm dates for those secured CPU supplies we intend on sending out shipping estimates to Librem 5 backers.

We have also made progress on the Librem 5 hardware support side. Last month we announced we had finished support for the OpenPGP smart card reader and this month we released a blog post and video that describes how to enable it on existing Librem 5s. We have also made a lot of advancements on camera support and have successfully taken some initial pictures. There is still more work to do to complete the camera driver and get the most out of the camera hardware and we hope to have more announcements on that front soon.

Speaking of the kernel we also published a post that describes in detail the work we have done in the 5.11 kernel including progress on mainline support for the Librem 5 as well as improvements in power management and overall support for the Librem 5 hardware.

On the Librem 5 USA front, it has taken much longer than we have expected to locate and secure new supply chains for all of the components we will need to start production of the PCBA due to some of the unprecedented issues in the electronics supply chain over the last year. We are happy to announce that we have tracked down almost every component now and are optimistic we can track down the one or two remaining components soon so that we can start production on the PCBA in the coming month. The Librem 5 USA will be manufactured at our facility in the US with our secure supply chain and Made in USA Electronics.

What’s Next

March is proving already to be an exciting and busy month for the Librem 5 and we anticipate much of the steady progress from February is going to culminate in big announcements in March. Check out our blog for more frequent updates and to see what we’ve already been up to the first week of March.

The post Librem 5 News Summary: February 2021 appeared first on Purism.

Disassemble Librem 5

Thursday 4th of March 2021 05:35:59 PM

The Librem 5 is designed for longevity with software updates for life, but part of longevity is also being able to repair a device outside of warranty. We plan to stock replacement parts in our shop in case you need to replace your modem, camera, or even the main PCB.

Disassembling your Librem 5 may risk damaging it. Any damage from disassembly is not covered in your warranty. If your Librem 5 is under warranty, please contact support first before you attempt this process.

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/disassemble_1080.mp4

As outlined in the above video, this blog will go over the steps to take apart the Librem 5. You’ll need a screwdriver; the included sim card tool and something like a pick or spudger.

Make sure to power down PureOS.

Pull off the back cover.

Remove the battery.

Remove 3 screws holding the modem cover. These are shorter than the rest of the screws, so keep them separate.

Remove the sim card tray.

If you have a smart card installed, remove it now.

Disconnect the antennas and remove the modems.

Remove 8 screws holding the back frame on.

There are friction clips around the outside; a guitar pick slid around the outside edge will free these.

Carefully pull the antenna cables from the plastic frame. Pulling too hard will disconnect them from the PCB.

Remove the 2 screws holding down the center frame.

Unplug the main camera and remove the screw hidden by FPC.

The Center frame can be pried out now. There are 2 friction clips at the top left and right of the frame. Use a spudger if you have one.

Remove PCB screws. The 3 at the top connect the antennas, so do not forget to put them back on reassembly.

Liftoff the microphone cover; otherwise, it will fall off, and you may lose it.

Gently pull the HKS alignment up and out.

Remove the 3 HKS switches.

Unplug the Power/Volume FPC.

When removing the PCB be careful of the spring clip against the frame. That is part of the GNSS antenna, so you will not have GPS if it breaks off.

Lift the PCB out until you can see the Display and USB-C FPC cables.

There is a cover over the proximity sensor that is easy to lose; put it in a safe place. If you re-assemble without this cover, the proximity sensor triggers automatically, and it will need to be disabled.

Carefully disconnect the USB C and Display FPC cables.

After unplugging the last two FPC cables, you can altogether remove the Librem 5 PCB.

Putting the Librem 5 back together is just a matter of doing the steps in reverse. If the thermal paste looks good, you can begin by reattaching the PCB to the FPC cables and adding back the proximity sensor cover.

While most people would never need to take their phone apart, and many phones make it almost impossible, if you (or a technician) ever do need to repair a Librem 5 down the road, the Librem 5 has you covered. It is a phone designed for longevity with a battery, modem and WiFi card that are easily user-replaceable and with the remaining components also replaceable with a bit more effort.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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My First Week of Librem 5 Convergence

Tuesday 2nd of March 2021 03:08:50 PM

I talked at length in my article Investing in Real Convergence about my decades-long wish to have a single computer I could carry with me that had all of my files, ran all of my favorite programs, and that I could use as a mobile computer, laptop, or desktop. This past week I have finally realized that dream.

I put away my personal Librem 13v1 and tested out whether I could replace it with a Librem 5, USB-C hub, and Nexdock 2 laptop dock. I also spent a couple hours most work days trying it out for work as well (including writing this article from the Librem 5). In this article I will talk about my setup, experiences and impressions from the past week.

The Setup

First let’s talk about the hardware involved.

Librem 5 docked to a Nexdock 2 using a Baseus USB-C hub, running Tootle, Lollypop, and Firefox

The first thing that is necessary for this setup besides the Librem 5 itself is a laptop dock. From the outside, a laptop dock looks just like a regular laptop, but it is really only a shell with a display, keyboard, mouse, internal battery, and a few ports on the side. A laptop dock has no CPU, RAM, storage or networking of its own and instead is designed to act like an all-in-one monitor, keyboard and mouse that you can connect to a phone. The phone then extends onto the display and you can run your phone’s applications on the larger screen and take advantage of the physical keyboard and mouse while the dock charges your phone.

Because the Librem 5 is designed to have Real Convergence, it runs the same PureOS applications as Librem laptops. All of its applications were simply adapted to work well on the smaller display. This means when you connect the Librem 5 to a laptop dock or monitor, you don’t just get phone apps blown up two times their size, you get the same desktop PureOS applications as on Librem laptops.

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/l5-convergence-extra.mp4

On laptop docks like the recent Nexdock Touch, you can connect the Librem 5 directly to the dock with a USB-C cable. In the case of the older Nexdock 2, the support isn’t completed yet so I used the foolproof method they provide for other computers like Raspberry Pis–a HDMI port and USB-C port–only in my case I connected them to a Baseus-branded USB-C hub that is well-supported by the Librem 5.

This hub provided the extra benefit that it kept the Librem 5 upright, which was particularly important to me since I actually use my laptop on my lap. To make this work with the dock I simply attached the underside of the hub to the underside of the laptop dock with a small metal bar and some removable 3M tape like you’d use to mount pictures to a wall.

Using Convergence Mode

To use the Librem 5 like a laptop, I just dock it into the USB hub and press the power button on the laptop dock. The Librem 5 detects the keyboard, mouse and display and automatically enters “convergence mode” which extends the desktop to the new display and changes the windows so that they have close buttons on them and aren’t automatically maximized, so they can be more easily moved between desktops.

Once in convergence mode you can drag applications over to the larger screen with a mouse, however there are also already a number of useful key bindings using the “Super” key (the key between the left Fn and Alt keys) that make convergence mode very keyboard friendly:

  • Super + (Left|Right): Tile the focused window to the left or right side of the active screen
  • Super + Shift + (Left|Right): Move the focused window to the left or right display
  • Super + (Up|Down): Maximize or unmaximize the focused window
  • Super + a: Open the App Launcher, where you can type in the name of the application to launch, or select it with arrow keys
  • Super + s: Open the App Switcher (similar to hitting the bottom section of the touchscreen on the phone). This allows you to switch between running applications using the arrow keys

While in convergence mode, the dock is keeping the phone charged. I found the Nexdock 2 could run for about two to three hours of steady use unplugged while powering its own display, the hub, and charging the Librem 5. It lasted longer if I closed the display when I wasn’t using it. Since the laptop dock is powered via its own USB-C port you could extend this time with a large battery bank if you didn’t have access to an outlet. Since I normally use my laptop from the same place every day, I tend to leave it plugged in anyway.

When I’m done using the Librem 5 like a laptop, I just remove it from the hub and it automatically leaves convergence mode. All of the running applications move back to the phone screen and resize and maximize to fit. The laptop dock automatically powers itself down.

My Experience

I don’t do video editing or other heavy tasks on my laptop and for the most part my needs are pretty simple: web browsing, chatting, email, writing, listening to audio and watching video. In many ways even before this experiment my Librem 5 had already replaced my personal laptop. It had already become the primary computer I used for podcasts and videos (using gPodder and VLC), as well as for social media and light web browsing. That said, I still found myself opening my laptop in the past whenever I needed to type more than a few sentences in chat, an email, or a document. I also found it a bit more convenient to do heavier web browsing (like when researching something across multiple tabs) on a larger display.

Given my relatively simple use case for my personal laptop, I had high hopes that the Librem 5 could replace it and the Librem 5 didn’t disappoint. In fact, what I found was that the addition of a laptop dock made the functions I had already moved over to the Librem 5 even more useful. With a large screen, I could more easily multitask, such as chat in one window while a video was playing in VLC tiled to the side of the large screen. The addition of a physical keyboard also made chat, email, and overall writing much more convenient.

I found that I preferred the multi-monitor setup that convergence mode defaults to and use both screens at the same time. I leave certain applications like my social media applications or gPodder on the phone screen. Then terminals, email, web browsers, chat applications, and video playback would be on the laptop screen with windows tiled either to the left or right-hand side.

Since the phone is close to my left hand, I found I use the phone touch screen to interact with applications there instead of the mouse. It’s convenient to reach over and scroll through new social media posts on the phone screen instead of moving the mouse over. The fact that the Nexdock touchpad defaults to multi-finger scroll that moves in the opposite direction of the Librem 13 touchpad took a lot of getting used to.

I tend to be keyboard-centric on my regular laptop and this is no different on this setup. I made heavy use of the existing keybindings along with alt-tab to switch between and manage windows. After a short amount of time I got used to hitting Super-a, typing the name of an application, and hitting Enter, then hitting Super-Shift-Right or Left depending on which screen I wanted it on. I find the keyboard to have good tactile feedback and while it’s no Model M keyboard (but sigh, what is?) it’s pleasant to type on and better than some island keyboards I’ve tried.

My Impressions

The Librem 5 can definitely replace my personal laptop and I’ve already transferred any remaining files from my laptop over to it, powered down my laptop, and put it away. My laptop has a faster CPU and more RAM, so I expected when I used the Librem 5 like a laptop I might more readily see any performance differences it might have compared to using it like a phone.

I have to say, though, that this Librem 5 surprised me in how well in performs, in particular how well it works when multi-tasking between applications. Web browsing works surprisingly well, and although I do typically keep Firefox in “mobile mode” so I get lighter weight websites designed for a mobile browser, I actually prefer that mode on the larger screen as it often results in cleaner, simpler web pages.

While it’s still early days for phosh acting as a full desktop shell, it already works quite well in that mode. While it’s not as full featured as the default GNOME shell on the desktop, many of the basic important features are already there (since they are already there when in phone mode) and work as you might expect on the larger screen. As more of us use the Librem 5 in convergence mode now, we are seeing rapid advances for the desktop use case.

My hacky USB hub mount works surprisingly well and is strong enough to hold up the weight of the phone while the laptop dock is on my lap, but I also make a point not to put too much extra pressure on it, just in case. While I’ve seen other mounting options that attach a phone to the screen, I find I like having the phone’s touchscreen within a closer reach.

One area that’s a bit less convenient is the extra step of having to dock the Librem 5, open the laptop dock lid, and power it on to switch to “laptop mode” compared to just opening the lid of a suspended laptop. It’s a minor inconvenience though, since I just use the Librem 5 in “phone mode” for quick tasks anyway–if I’m breaking out the laptop it’s for a longer session. For people who would use the phone in “desktop mode” connected to a monitor and keyboard/mouse, it wouldn’t be any less convenient than docking their laptop into a docking station.

Using the Librem 5 for Work

Something that surprised me even more was how well the Librem 5 performed to replace my work laptop. My work use case is a bit more complicated than my personal one, mostly due to the security requirements. Otherwise for the most part my primary work tasks involve email, chat, and web-based tools, along with some writing and light development work from time to time.

I should note that my work laptop is a Librem 13v4 with twice the RAM of my personal laptop because I make heavy use of Qubes and its compartmentation features on my work laptop to provide me extra security. I separate chat, web browsing, email, and other functions into separate VMs that can’t directly talk to each other. I also make heavy use of disposable VMs whenever I have to open a potentially risky document or website. Because of those extra compartmentation features Qubes provides, I don’t know that the Librem 5 could replace my work laptop, yet, but wow is it close.

Now that the OpenPGP smart card reader is supported, I copied my Purism GPG subkeys over to a new smart card and migrated my email settings over to the Librem 5 along with my password manager database for work. I also set up a new compartmentalized web browser with its own profile and settings that I used only for work.

Email works just like it did on my work laptop. Web browsing and web tools also work reasonably well. Chat is probably the main area that, today at least, still needs a bit of work to replace my work laptop, due to the fact that Matrix with e2ee support is still under heavy development. I’m actually trying out an experimental branch of Chatty that contains support for encrypted Matrix chat, but it’s not quite ready to replace a traditional client.

My conclusion for work is that the Librem 5 as it is today would at least be able to replace the need to take my work laptop with me when traveling. Fully replacing my work laptop would probably need to wait until we make further advancements in flatpak sandboxing using bubblewrap, so I have some of the protections I’ve gotten used to in Qubes that give me extra peace of mind.

Welcome to the Future

Using a phone that has real convergence like the Librem 5 is a complete game changer. It feels like I’m getting a sneak preview into the future of personal computing. In many ways it’s hard to explain what it’s like, you kind of have to see it yourself to understand why this is so groundbreaking. Having all of the same desktop applications and all of my files with me in my pocket, and having those same running applications morph to a larger screen automatically, changes how you think about phones and their potential.

Calling the Librem 5 a phone doesn’t do it service. It’s really a mobile computer, a desktop in your pocket. Using it like a laptop or desktop computer really opens your eyes to all of the possibilities, and underscores to me all of the things I’ve been missing with other phones.

 

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Charging the Librem 5

Monday 1st of March 2021 09:53:03 PM

When you find yourself low on power, it’s helpful to know how long it takes to charge your device. This video will go over the expected charge time of the Librem 5.

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/charge_test.mp4

As shown in the video, you can get to 80% in about 2 hours and 12 minutes and 100% in just over 4 hours.

A full charge takes about 4 hours and gives you a run time of about 13 hours with the screen and wifi off but data-enabled over 4G. This mobile configuration is the perfect mode to put your phone in a while you’re out and about. You’ll still get phone calls, texts, and your general-purpose computer is available at a moment’s notice.

If you’re in a hurry, just over 2 hours of charging can get you to 80% yielding around 10.5 hours runtime while configured for mobile.

For now, charging is capped at 1.6 amps. Enabling faster and higher amperage charging is being worked on now that mass-production batteries can handle more current; once completed, you can expect your Librem 5 to charge even faster.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Purism and Linux 5.11

Tuesday 23rd of February 2021 12:03:30 PM

Following up on our report for Linux 5.9 and 5.10, this summarizes the progress on mainline support for the Librem 5 phone and its development kit during the 5.11 development cycle.

Librem 5 and Devkit updates

In order to maintain support for the devkit and the phone, we continuously update the mainline default configuration:

Power management

The mainline solution to dynamically scale internal bus frequencies relies on the interconnect (and devfreq) framework. We found a small piece that has been missing for imx8mq:

Librem 5 LCD panel

The display panel driver saw some minor updates:

Librem 5 fuel gauge

With the experience with using the phone for the last couple of months, we could improve the battery fuel gauge driver a bit:

Librem 5 USB Type-C and PD controller

Our work to make sure we can properly charge the phone and use its Type-C feature like Displayport resulted in the following additions during this development period:

Other additions and fixes

Equally important are the changes to a regulator device that allow one to turn off the GPU regulator, to the mxsfb display driver and to the etnaviv GPU driver. Read the commit messages for more details.

Code review

During these rounds, we contributed 6 Reviewed-by: or Tested-by: tags to patches by other authors. We would also like to thank everybody who reviewed our patches and helped us support the hardware in mainline Linux.

Sources

Have a look at our Linux tree to see what is currently being worked on and tested (or help if you feel like joining the fun).

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Librem 14: Adding Librem EC, Freed Embedded Controller Firmware

Monday 22nd of February 2021 12:35:16 PM

Starting with the Librem 14 laptop we are including fully liberated Embedded Controller (EC) firmware with all the source code available. This is something we set as a goal a long time ago, and now we are finally here. Let’s first start by explaining what the EC is and does.

A PC these days is a pretty complicated thing. It does not only consist of the main CPU (in this case the Intel Core i7 10710U mobile low voltage), but also a lot of peripherals. The main CPU is very good at what it is supposed to do as its main task, running the main operating system, but it is not so well tuned for lower level things like managing a keyboard matrix or (and this is quite amazing) powering itself up.

PCs have been around since the 1980s and their hardware design still shows this legacy. Already in early PCs there was a small helper CPU to handle the low level dirty work for the big one and this was the keyboard controller. The keyboard controller was a small microcontroller on its own running a very small program that helped the power up and down sequencing as well as managing a bespoke keyboard matrix [1]. Since then a lot has happened. Over the years as this keyboard controller grew and was assigned more and more tasks, it developed into the Embedded Controller.

Embedded Controller Tasks

With more tasks assigned to the EC, the software and its capabilities grew which makes it a pretty essential piece these days, especially for laptops. So the first thing the EC needs to do is to control the power up and power down of the machine, which means to enable or disable certain voltage domains, doing that in a controlled fashion honoring dependencies (often some power rails are derived from others), and also taking into account the power supply constraints of the main CPU in certain power modes. This is especially important for low power states like suspend to RAM where you just want to power what is needed. There are also other very interesting peripherals attached to the EC. Of course the EC controls the keyboard matrix, i.e. it assigns keypresses in that matrix to key scan codes sent to the main CPU.

Adding Extra Control to the Embedded Controller

There are also devices in the Librem 14 attached to PWMs (Pulse Width Modulator) which we want to get control over, like the CPU fans! Yes, there are two of them, we have 6 CPU cores with 12 threads in total. When running at full load a second heat spreader and fan helps to keep the CPU at acceptable temperatures, so rather than having one fan running at full throttle we have two fans running at still reduced speed. The main CPU communicates with the EC and tells it the CPU package temperature. The EC then decides based on an algorithm how fast the fans shall go. But you may not always want it the same way. Say, you are doing light web surfing at night in your bed and don’t want to annoy your partner. In that case you may choose to accept a bit warmer device but therefore silent. Some other time you may want to have the device as cool as possible, e.g. to prevent your hands from sweating even more on a warm summer day, but can accept more noise, like in an office. With the Libre EC we have that choice.

Also the power indicator LED is controlled by the EC. We have three colors to choose from, orange, green and white. They all share one PWM for common brightness control and can be turned on and off individually. The power indicator LED is located just above the F8 key and is mirrored additionally on the outside next to the power connector so that you can also see the power state when the LCD lid is closed. How the colors are used is now up to us! What I am currently implementing is this:

  • white: normal operation
  • green: charging
  • orange: low battery warning
  • steady on: powered up
  • slowly dimming on/off: standby / suspend to RAM

Why green for charging you may ask? Why not orange like everyone else? Well, actually, because I think it does not make sense. Red or orange are warning colors, these signal a “not good” state. But charging is a good state, while low battery warning is a bad state and I wanted to reserve orange for signaling a bad state. And of course white is neutral for a normal powered up state. Makes no sense to you? Well, you can change it, the code is open!

The Notification LED

With the Librem 14 we also announced and implemented a notification LED, just above the F7 key. The idea behind that LED is basically the same as with the LED found in many smartphones. If the display is off or you are working on another virtual desktop applications can use this LED to signal something – incoming email or message, system notifications or whatever! We have implemented this as an RGB LED, all three channels controlled by a separate 8 bit PWM, so 256x256x256 colors! The userspace plumbing for this feature in PureOS has already been done for the Librem5 where we have exactly the same thing, an RGB PWM-controlled notification LED. I am pretty sure we will see a lot of creative use cases for these LEDs!

Battery Control

Another feature that has been requested frequently and which I am personally also looking forward to is better control over the battery charger. The EC indeed controls that and with the Libre EC firmware we now finally can have a say over it! Lithium Ion batteries are pretty good, they can store a lot of energy compared to their weight and they can also sustain pretty high current loads. But they are also a bit picky. They do not like to be deeply discharged, they do not like to be charged more than they are specified and they also do not like to be charged too often. So for example trying to charge them to 100% every time you connect a power supply is not such a brilliant idea for the overall battery lifetime.

ECs have to make some assumptions here. Keeping it safe and extending battery lifetime by not charging to 100% all the time will of course result in less runtime on battery in certain situations which some users may not appreciate. That’s why most devices by default always charge to 100% once they reconnect to a power source. The problem is though that users are often given no choice if they want that or not.

The EC can not know what my use case is, but I do. So I would like to be able to tell the EC to stop it and do as I wish, eventually accepting certain shortcomings. Most of the time my laptop runs from the charger and if I use the battery at all it’s to carry it from one power outlet to the next or from office to home and back. Knowing that I do not need a full charge I am totally fine with my battery having 80%, 70% or 60% (or less), I don’t care. And if I finally reach lower levels like 30% then I would like it to only recharge to, say, 80%, that’s enough for my use case and will last me weeks until I reach 30% again. Some other day I may know that I need to go on a train ride without power outlets, then I would like to be able to tell the EC to charge to 100% one time.

That’s what we can do now with the Libre EC. The charge controller in the Librem 14 is connected to the EC via I2C and can be programmed, it can be enabled and disabled, we can tell it the charging current to allow for slow charging (better for the battery but takes longer) or fast charging. And of course we can control the level up to which it shall charge. This will help to extend the battery lifetime significantly.

Userspace Control and the Future

The userspace interface for this user control of LEDs, fans, battery etc. are still a bit in the works. Although we do not have to implement the full EC code from scratch since we base it on the EC code developed as free software from System76 [3], it is still a lot of work. The EC chip used in the Librem 14 was not yet supported, our Librem 14 hardware design is different in many details and on top we have additional features that were not reflected by the System76 code. We are working on adding all of that and will of course make the code public in our own repository as well as upstreaming as much as we can, we are already in touch with their maintainer.

And since it is the first time we have liberated EC firmware we also have quite a steep learning curve. Like I mentioned, PCs are complicated and so are the EC firmware requirements. But we are working hard on it! And it is taking shape. A lot is working already, powering up/down, charger control, PWMs.

We still need to work on main CPU sleep states as well as representation of user controllable settings into Linux userspace. And we want to do very thorough testing of all of that before we start shipping product. The EC is critical, it can brick the device or worse. We will see that the EC firmware can be recompiled and flashed in the field by everyone(*). Some of the before-mentioned features will come as a user serviceable firmware upgrades after shipment of the laptops has started, for which we will of course provide pre-compiled binaries too.

So stay tuned! This will be fun!

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Keyboard_matrix_circuit

[2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pulse-width_modulation

[3] https://github.com/system76/ec/

(*) a failed EC flash can brick the laptop and only be recovered using
an external flash chip programmer. We can not take responsibility for
bricked devices when flashed with improper EC firmware, unfortunately. We will of course help to recover from flashing improper firmware, but eventually need to ask for cost reimbursement (like shipping).

The post Librem 14: Adding Librem EC, Freed Embedded Controller Firmware appeared first on Purism.

Librem 14 Update: Freed EC, Shipping Beginning in March

Monday 22nd of February 2021 12:01:13 PM

In our previous Librem 14 update, we described some of the supply chain challenges we (and the rest of the semiconductor industry) have been facing this year. In particular we faced challenges with Intel CPU supply and most recently a few week delay in availability of our 3-cell batteries for the Librem 14. To expedite shipping, we decided to change the default configuration of the Librem 14 to give everyone a free upgrade to a larger 4-cell battery (which covers the second, typically unused M.2 storage slot) and only fall back to the 3-cell battery in cases where a customer chooses to populate that second M.2 slot.

Our more aggressive shipping timeline had 4-cell Librem 14s beginning to ship in February. The Librem 14 will now begin to ship in March. Evaluation of early manufacturing runs yielded an LCD false-alarm “ghosting” issue that took some extra time to research and resolve. When the evaluation step has no issue, manufacturing can stay on the aggressive timeline, but when there is an issue that needs resolving manufacturing “stops the presses” until we can confirm things are accurate before mass production. We added a few weeks in our evaluation step to confirm the highest quality standard in our products. We expect to post final product images soon, prior to beginning shipping.

Freed Embedded Controller

We will likely meet another major product roadmap accomplishment upon shipping the Librem 14: a fully free software Embedded Controller (EC) firmware included with all shipments. We have a lofty and ongoing goal of liberating (by releasing free software source code of) proprietary low-level firmware as much as possible, and we’ve long had our sights set on the EC firmware.

We’ve made significant advances on the EC firmware front and are planning on having the freed EC firmware for the Librem 14 ready before we begin shipping in a few weeks. We will also release a follow-up post that dives into some of the technical details behind our EC firmware.

Thanks

We really appreciate everyone’s support as we navigate an unprecedented year of supply chain challenges. With all of the improvements we’ve been able to make to the Librem 14, we know it will be worth the wait.

 

The post Librem 14 Update: Freed EC, Shipping Beginning in March appeared first on Purism.

OpenPGP in Your Pocket

Tuesday 9th of February 2021 10:00:01 PM

Access to the smart card reader on the Librem 5 is something we at Purism have been looking forward to for a long time. That day is finally here; those who have their Librem 5 can follow this guide to set up access to the smart card. Orders shipping soon will come with the card reader already setup.

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/pgp.mp4

If you need to set up your smart card reader, these are the steps to enable it:

sudo apt install stm32flash git

Download the scripts:

git clone https://source.puri.sm/angus.ainslie/ttxs-firmware

Change working directory to our newly downloaded folder.

cd ttxs-firmware

Upgrade the smart card reader firmware:

./scripts/stm_reflash.sh

And set up the smart card:

./scripts/smartcard_setup.sh

A more detailed version of these steps can be found here. OpenPGP cards are available for purchase in our shop.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Librem 5 News Summary: January 2021

Wednesday 3rd of February 2021 05:47:34 PM

We have gotten feedback from a number of Librem 5 customers that they would appreciate more frequent email updates about the status of the Librem 5 project. We are a big believer in “opt-in” for services, but while we have tended to err on the side of not spamming people, and instead allow people a number of opt-in options to get news (as we document in this post), we’ve decided to turn the dial one tick toward more frequent email updates for people who only want Librem 5 news and don’t want to subscribe to our newsletter. This will take the form of a monthly email sent to any pre-orders who have not yet received their phone that recaps the news from the previous month.

Shipping Estimates

January has been a very busy month on the Librem 5 front. Each week we continue to ship out more Librem 5s to backers and we now have a good sense of the average number of phones we can ship out each week. This is important because that feeds back into our “Just In Time” manufacturing approach that ensures we always make slightly more Librem 5s than we can ship in a time period. Shipping more means making more, and it turns out we have been able to ship more than we initially predicted. We are also scaling the team up even further not just to address the order backlog, but also the steadily increasing demand we see for Librem 5s each day, so future manufacturing runs will be much larger and we will be able to process through orders more quickly.

With these shipping throughput numbers in hand, we had hoped in January to be able to predict when every pre-order would ship and calculate when we will hit shipping parity–that date when all pre-orders are fulfilled and a new order is shipped within our standard 10-business-day time frame. Due to a number of factors we explain in this longer blog post, including a potential CPU supply chain issue, we could only generate shipping estimates for some pre-orders.

The good news is that we were able to calculate shipping estimates for almost everyone who was part of the initial crowdfunding campaign (which accounts for a large number of orders) and have sent emails out to all pending orders with order dates up to October 20, 2017 with the very last of those orders estimated to be shipped in May. Orders after that date will need to wait a bit longer for estimates until we have ensured we have secured CPU supply to fulfill them.

As we secure CPUs and feel confident in shipping estimates we will send further shipping updates out, and given the higher density of orders during the crowdfunding campaign compared to afterward, we expect new shipping estimates to get much further into the order backlog in terms of pre-order date.

Librem 5 Blog Posts

We have created a video and blog post series for the Librem 5 called “App Showcase.” Each article and video in this series aims to highlight a single app that is currently available in the Librem 5 PureOS Store. So if you are curious to see how apps run on the Librem 5 and how to use them, check out the following App Showcase videos we published in January:

In addition to the App Showcase series, we also published a blog post and video to document how to reflash the Librem 5, and published articles on our kernel work in the 5.8 series as well as the 5.9 and 5.10 series.

What’s Next

In February we will continue to ship out more Librem 5s each week, and hope at some point within the month to also calculate and send more shipping estimates. We have also recently gotten the OpenPGP smart card reader working and are finishing up work so that it can be enabled by default on future shipments. For existing customers we are also finishing up a video and article on how to enable and use the smart card reader on existing Librem 5 phones. We are also working on an update to our past battery life articles that will document the current state of power improvements on the Librem 5.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

The post Librem 5 News Summary: January 2021 appeared first on Purism.

App Showcase: WhatIP

Friday 29th of January 2021 08:50:21 PM

If you need to find something on your network, get your IP easily, or test your system’s ports WhatIP has you covered.

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/whatIP.mp4

While the Librem 5 can act as a phone in the above video it was acting more like a server. The host Librem 5 was running Dictionary services, an SSH server, Apache2 web services, Server Lab Inventory, and Samba. Because PureOS relies on the solid core of Debian, I was able to copy-paste from Debian howto tutorials with little to no changes.

With great power comes great responsibility

It’s important to follow proper setup procedures when hosting anything on your persons. As you move around wifi networks, so do your services. Just like hosting in the cloud, you have to take responsibility to properly set up and update your software. Strong passwords are a must in case you want to attach to an untrusted network like a coffee shop or airport.

Summary

From finding your local printer’s IP, all the way to verifying self-hosted services are properly running, WhatIP has you covered.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Reflashing the Librem 5

Saturday 23rd of January 2021 12:22:46 AM

Reflashing the Librem 5 is the best way to remove your personal data and put the phone back into factory defaults.

Warning, this procedure will completely erase everything on the device! Make a backup beforehand!

The Librem 5 gets reflashed from a separate 64-bit x86 computer running PureOS (or booted from the live PureOS disk).

Reflashing from that computer is as simple as installing the needed packages:

sudo apt install git python3-jenkins python3-tqdm uuu

Downloading the flashing scripts:

git clone https://source.puri.sm/Librem5/librem5-devkit-tools.git

And flashing the phone for Evergreen (mass-produced version)

cd librem5-devkit-tools sudo ./scripts/librem5-flash-image

Detailed directions including how to flash the older Dogwood/Chestnut/Birch versions can be found here; while the above procedure is demonstrated in this video:

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/reflashing.mp4

If you’re not running PureOS or a recent version of Debian or Ubuntu, you may need to alter the install step for your distribution. If all else fails, you can build a live USB of PureOS, boot it, and flash the Librem 5 from there.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Getting Purism News

Thursday 21st of January 2021 06:02:23 PM

We have a lot of irons in the fire at Purism whether it’s hardware development like the Librem 5, Librem 5 USA, or Librem 14, new products like the Librem Mini v2, or the wide range of software projects we maintain at https://source.puri.sm/. As a result, each week there is news on at least one of these fronts.

We often get questions about the status of various projects, in particular from customers who are part of a crowdfunding campaign who want to know the answer to the all-important question: when will I get my device? In this post we will cover all the different ways you can stay up to date on Purism news.

Web

The best place to stay up to date on Purism news is at https://puri.sm/news/ which is where we publish all of our progress reports, product announcements, HOWTOs, press releases and other news, along with larger so-called “think pieces” that we publish from time to time that discuss our values and the industry at large. If you use RSS, you can add https://puri.sm/feed/ to your feed reader and always know when we publish something new.

Social Media

We maintain a number of social media accounts both on platforms that share our values and more mainstream platforms we don’t approve of, so people can share our articles and news with their friends who are still on those platforms. Following any of these social media accounts will let you know when we publish new articles or have new sales or other promotions:

Video

We create quite a bit of video content from HOWTOs to demos and host all of it on our own website. Each video on one of the alternative platforms we will list also have a corresponding article with an embedded video on our own site. Videos that are embedded in articles on our site are also hosted by Purism so that’s the best way for privacy-focused customers to access our videos without sharing data with any third parties.

Even though we host our own videos, we also know that some customers prefer using other platforms to view and track videos. We also know that some customers like the convenience of only tracking our videos and not the rest of our articles. With those needs in mind we also publish each of our videos on Youtube and LBRY:

Email

When it comes to pre-orders we do periodically send email updates to customers letting them know the current status of their order. However we are also sensitive to the fact that many customers don’t want to be bothered, and would consider frequent updates on a project to be spam, while others want to know each time there is an update, however small.

As a result, when it comes to unsolicited emails, we typically avoid sending unsolicited emails to customers unless there is a specific status update to their order, or we feel that a news update is important enough that we feel customers wouldn’t view it as spam. For example, for the Librem 5 project, customers who were part of the initial crowdfunding campaign on average have gotten only a few emails a year.

For customers who want frequent updates and prefer email over the above options, we offer a newsletter you can subscribe to and receive curated digests of our news every few weeks. To sign up, just scroll down to the bottom of this page and you will see our newsletter subscription form. Just add your email and click Subscribe.

Stay in Touch

Whatever method you choose, please do choose at least one way to stay up to date on all of our news. We stay very busy here at Purism and there’s always something new to report.

The post Getting Purism News appeared first on Purism.

Parler Tricks: Making Software Disappear

Monday 18th of January 2021 04:47:09 PM

Much has been written and broadcast about the recent actions from Google and Apple to remove the Parler app from their app stores. Apps get removed from these app stores all the time, but more than almost any past move by these companies, this one has brought the power Big Tech companies wield over everyone’s lives to the minds of every day people. Journalists have done a good job overall in presenting the challenges and concerns with this move, as well as addressing the censorship and anti-trust issues at play. If you want a good summary of the issues, I found Cory Doctorow’s post on the subject a great primer.

Sawing the Market in Half

Instead of rehashing any of those arguments, I wanted to highlight one area that wasn’t covered quite so much. Regardless of how you feel about Parler, an important thing to note is that this is far from the first time, nor will it be the last time, that Google and Apple remove controversial software from their stores. Because of their duopoly over the phone market, when they want to, Google and Apple can simply make software disappear.

What should concern you is that if the industry continues on the path they have started with phones, this same control will be coming soon to a laptop near you. The end result will be that whether or not you are allowed to install and run software on a computer you own, would no longer be up to you. It would be dictated not by laws or governments, but by a small group of Big Tech companies. This will all be in the name of security, but is all about control.

Sleight of ARM

It’s well-established that iPhones are locked down with an App Store that tightly restricts what software can be installed and run. I’ve written much in the past about how they exert that control and more recently about how that control is already extending from their phones into their laptops. These changes are happening gradually with tweaks in each OS update and added security features in each new piece of hardware. In particular, in light of the new ARM-based Macbooks the trend is clear: a future where Apple laptops behave like iPhones and Apple can remotely control what software you are allowed to install and run on their devices, in the name of security, but really so that they can control competitors.

Tricks Up Android’s Sleeve

This is part of the article where Android users feel smug. After all, while much more of their data gets captured and sold than on iOS, in exchange they still (sometimes) have the option of rooting their phones and (sometimes) “sideloading” applications (installing applications outside of Google’s App Store). If Google bans an app, all a user has to do is follow a list of complicated (and often sketchy) procedures, sometimes involving disabling protections or installing sketchy software on another computer, and they can wrench back a bit of control over their phones. Of course in doing so they are disabling security features that are the foundation for the rest of Android security, at which point many Android security experts will throw up their hands and say “you’re on your own.”

Also, while Android allows the same kind of restrictive features as iOS (and is working toward the same advances in secure enclave enforcement of them), they are often a generation or two behind. Due to Android fragmentation, the level of control the vendor enforces on a particular phone is left up to that vendor. This allows the vendor to make extra money pre-loading third-party software on your phone you can’t remove. That means whether you can sidestep Google App Store bans largely depends on which phone you have and which vendor sold it. But if you look at the app restrictions already on ChromeOS, and understand that the ultimate goal for Google and Apple is to merge their phone and desktop OSes into one convergent OS (like we’ve already done), you can see that what happens on the phone will ultimately happen on the desktop.

Straightjacket Escape

If the industry continues down this path with this same duopoly, the future promises more restrictions on users as their computers get more locks they can’t escape. Software developers for these platforms will face the constant risk that their apps might get banned and disappear from computers whether because of legitimate policy concerns or just because Big Tech decided to make a competing app. Customers will live under the uncertainty that their favorite apps might disappear just because the company that made them got into a fight with the App Store owner.

Fortunately there is an alternative. The solution is to choose hardware and software from companies that value your freedom. One reason that Purism believes so strongly in Free Software (and why PureOS is 100% Free Software) is because of the freedom it gives users to escape any locks a vendor may try to impose. If you don’t like what an app does, you can change it. With Free Software, if an app store were to remove software, or even if a developer were to abandon a project entirely, the source still exists so others can package and maintain it independently.

The Librem 5 phone runs the same PureOS operating system as Librem laptops, and it features the PureOS Store which provides a curated list of applications known to work well on the phone’s screen. Even so, you can use the search function to find the full list of all available software in PureOS. After all, you might want that software to be available when you dock your Librem 5 to a larger screen.

We aim to provide software in the PureOS store that respects people’s freedom, security, and privacy and will audit software that’s included in the store with that in mind. That way people have a convenient way to discover software that not only works well on the phone but also respects them. Yet you are still free to install any third-party software outside of the PureOS Store that works on the phone, even if it’s proprietary software we don’t approve of.

You don’t need our permission to use your computer how you want with the software you want.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

The post Parler Tricks: Making Software Disappear appeared first on Purism.

App Spotlight: Dictionary

Friday 15th of January 2021 11:01:23 PM

Among the easily installable and ad-free apps within the PureOS store is Dictionary. This is a simple tool that lets you search through numerous online or local dictionaries and translation sources.

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/dict.mp4

After install, the defaults are perfectly suitable for most users to look up data online:

Offline search:

For those that want to become invisible; you can air gap your Librem 5 from all networks while still using self-hosted services like translation. To install locally hosted dictionary services run the following commands:

sudo apt install dictd sudo apt install dict-gcide sudo systemctl start dictd sudo systemctl enable dictd

If you’d like a few extra dictionaries to look up data in:

sudo apt install dict-freedict-eng-*

You’ll also want to point the Dictionary app at your new service:

Becoming a Server:

Not only can the Librem 5 locally host and use Dictionary services, but it can share the service with your network. To do this, edit /etc/dictd/dictd.conf to accept non-local connections.

Lookup what you need to, and keep your data in your control.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Librem 14 Update: Shipping Starts in February with Extended Battery

Friday 15th of January 2021 05:20:26 PM

The Librem 14 is our dream laptop and we know many of you are looking forward to getting yours. In our last post we talked about some of the final tweaks we made that resulted in shipping being delayed until January. The bad news is that we won’t be able to start shipping Librem 14s until February, but the good news is that everyone will be getting our (as of yet unannounced) extended battery option by default! Read the rest of the article for details.

Supply Chain Challenges

If you talk to anyone in manufacturing they will tell you that this has been a particularly challenging year for the supply chain. Whether you are talking about toilet paper, N95 masks, rubber gloves, or semiconductors, the global pandemic has made supply chains less reliable, and lead times and shipping times incredibly unpredictable. We already ran into supply chain challenges with the Librem 14 earlier when Intel announced CPU shortages, and most recently when we were preparing the first run of production Librem 14s we hit another issue: we couldn’t get the 3-cell batteries we were planning to use until after Chinese New Year! If you are familiar with manufacturing in China, you know that the entire country essentially shuts down for weeks, so this is far from ideal. However it turns out we could get our 4-cell extended battery in time.

The Librem 14 Extended Battery

When we first designed the Librem 14, it was with a 3-cell battery and second M.2 storage slot. Later on, we evaluated having the option to include a 4-cell extended battery increase the capacity by 33% with the expense of covering up the second M.2 storage slot. Because of that, we decided at the time to make the 3-cell battery the default, and offer the 4-cell extended battery to customers as an after-market optional upgrade.

These recent events have caused us to re-evaluate that plan. We realize most customers will probably never use the second M.2 storage slot of their laptop, but they would appreciate having the extra battery capacity. So we are going to default to the 4-cell extended battery on Librem 14 orders, unless the customer fills both M.2 slots, in which case we will fall back to the 3-cell battery.

For existing orders with both disk slots populated, this would mean your order gets delayed until March when we get 3-cell batteries, but if you don’t want to wait, we will work with you if you want to modify your order (simply contact our support team with your order number). For everyone else, we will start shipping their Librem 14 with the 4-cell extended battery in February.

Thank you so much for your patience while we finish up the Librem 14. Hopefully the surprise upgrade to an extended battery will help take some of the sting off of the extra wait!

The post Librem 14 Update: Shipping Starts in February with Extended Battery appeared first on Purism.

Purism and Linux 5.9 and 5.10

Wednesday 13th of January 2021 08:32:37 PM
Purism and Linux 5.9 and Linux 5.10

Following up on our report for Linux 5.8 this summarizes the progress on mainline support for the Librem 5 phone and its development kit during the 5.9 and 5.10 development cycles.

Librem 5 updates

One of the most notable additions is a first devicetree description for the phone. This is important to have upstream since it describes how the hardware is wired up. Without that, it’s impossible to boot a mainline kernel. We added descriptions for the various phone revisions themselves (up to the Dogwood board) and also for the MIPI DSI controller of the imx8mq SoC. From this point on, we’ll incrementally add the missing pieces, for example from the display stack, just like we’ve done for the devkit back in Linux 5.2.

Librem 5 LCD panel

Speaking of the display stack: The phone includes a different LCD panel than the devkit and we had to add a driver for it:

Devkit updates

Another milestone we reached (and had promised earlier) is that the devkits’ display now works with mainline Linux directly. All needed drivers are there and the hardware is described accurately in the devicetree upstream. It’s not only nice to be able to use a mainline kernel without (m)any patches, it’s important in order to keep the hardware supported for a long time. The hard parts had been done before and that’s how the final pieces for the display look like:

Audio Codec

The wm8962 audio codec needed a small update to allow userspace to utilize hardware mono downmix for cases where mono output to a single speaker is desired only, like on a mobile phone:

Code review

During these rounds, we contributed 24 Reviewed-by: or Tested-by: tags to patches by other authors. Also, we would like to thank everybody who reviewed our patches and helped us, especially Sam in the DRM layer and Shawn and Krzysztof in the devicetree area. It’s supposed to be fun but we know it not always actually is, so that’s much appreciated.

Sources

Have a look at our Linux tree to see what is currently being worked on and tested (or help if you feel like joining the fun).

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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Librem 5 Update: Shipping Estimates and CPU Supply Chain

Tuesday 12th of January 2021 10:29:22 PM

It’s been a busy holiday and New Year’s season at Purism as we continue to ship out Librem 5s to backers each week. We know for those who haven’t received their Librem 5 yet, what they most want to know is when their Librem 5 will arrive. In summary, we will be providing shipping estimates within the next week to the backers within the original crowdfunding campaign (orders through October 2017), but not all backers yet, based on our confidence in the estimates. The rest of this post will explain what is going into our shipping estimates, and why we can’t yet provide shipping estimates to every backer.

When we published the shipping FAQ we explained some of the factors in the shipping calculation:

That calculation depends not only on their place in line, but also on our knowing our average and maximum weekly phone throughput in advance, which we don’t expect to know until we are at least a few weeks into the process. We expect to have a good idea on these projections by the end of the year, however.

Now we are happy to say that we not only have a good idea on our shipping throughput, we actually exceeded our expectations for how many we could ship! So hopefully by the end of this week, or possibly the beginning of next week, we will be contacting a large group of backers who we feel we can provide a reliable shipping estimate. Note that this will be a separate email from the emails we already send out each week to confirm shipping information to the next group of backers who are ready to receive their Librem 5.

The Road to Shipping Parity

Back when we published the shipping FAQ, we expected that by this point we would be able to provide every backer with an accurate shipping estimate and be able to predict when we would hit shipping parity–the moment when all of the backlog has cleared and a new order would be fulfilled in our standard 10-business-day window. Once you know how many Librem 5s you can ship in a week, it seems like it would be a relatively straightforward calculation to apply that to a person’s place in line and estimate a shipping date.

Making Librem 5 Just In Time

In our case the calculation is a little more complicated due to the fact that we employ a “Just In Time” manufacturing process for the Librem 5s, which is pretty common in the industry. We estimate our shipping throughput and make slightly more Librem 5s than we think we can ship in a period of time. The next manufacturing run of Librem 5s then arrives around the time we complete shipping out the previous run. This has a few benefits, but the main benefit is if we were to identify a hardware problem in the existing Librem 5 manufacturing process (whether a systemic flaw, or a flaw in a particular manufacturing run) it impacts a smaller number of Librem 5s and can be fixed for future batches.

So when making these shipping estimates, we not only factor in our shipping throughput, but also the size of future manufacturing runs, which we now are increasing based on the fact we’ve exceeded our initial estimates. We can then calculate which run a particular order would be in, when we will make that next set of Librem 5s, and be able to estimate when a particular Librem 5 will ship. We also factor in and plan for events like Chinese New Year, which cause essentially everything in China to shut down for a few weeks.

CPU Supply Chain

One downside to using Just In Time manufacturing is that you must factor in all of the different lead times for all the different individual components that go into the Librem 5. While some components have relatively short lead times, others sometimes have lead times extending out multiple months. You have to factor all of this in to ensure that everything is ordered in advance so that it arrives just when you need it.

If you talk to anyone in manufacturing they will tell you that this has been a particularly challenging year for the supply chain. Whether you are talking about toilet paper, N95 masks, rubber gloves, or semiconductors, the global pandemic has made supply chains less reliable, and lead times and shipping times incredibly unpredictable. It’s left everyone in the industry scrambling from source A to B to C down to Z sometimes to find inventory. It even added a delay a few months back to our Librem 14 timeline due to Intel having trouble fulfilling all of their CPU orders.

Our customers have told us they want ever more information on what happens behind the scenes of making a phone like the Librem 5, so in the interest of transparency we are sharing what we’ve been hearing from our own suppliers. The iMX-8 processor we use in our Librem 5 is also popular in the automotive industry, and currently NXP has been hit with a global semiconductor shortage due to a dramatic increase in demand from auto makers.

This shortage has increased the lead times for CPU orders, which is of course a critical component in the Librem 5. As we started getting word about this shortage we were proactive in sourcing and purchasing all the CPUs we can, and continue to do so, while also factoring these increased lead times into future orders.

What Does This Mean For Me?

What does this mean for you? Based on our efforts thus far there’s a good chance it will not affect your shipping time as we continue to track down new CPU supplies and plan for future manufacturing runs. So far it hasn’t caused a delay.

However we wanted to let everyone know about this potential issue far in advance, because it will impact how many people get shipping estimates. We only want to send shipping estimates when we know for sure we have the CPUs to fulfill them, so this week instead of sending estimates to everyone like we had planned, we are only sending estimates out up to the point we have CPUs that will arrive just in time. This happens to coincide with all the orders placed through October 2017–the end of our original crowdfunding campaign.

As we secure more CPU supply, and feel confident about the supply chain for future manufacturing runs we will send out additional shipping estimates. Hopefully soon we will be able to account for the whole backlog and can calculate when we hit shipping parity.

Certification Update

We’ve also gotten some questions about the various hardware certifications for the Librem 5 including Respect Your Freedom (RYF), FCC and CE. While we designed the Librem 5 to qualify for each of these certifications, we had to wait to start the certification processes until we had the final mass-produced “Evergreen” Librem 5 since changes in the hardware would require re-certification.

Each of these certification processes are under way. While the transmitters in the Librem 5 (the removable cellular modem and WiFi card) already have FCC and CE certification, we are seeking certification for device as a whole. We are still in the middle of these time-consuming certification processes and will post an update to our site when there is any news on any of these fronts.

Thank You

We want you to have your Librem 5 as soon as possible and appreciate everyone’s patience as we continue to process orders and get through our backlog. It’s everyone’s support through this monumental process that has made the Librem 5 a reality.

The post Librem 5 Update: Shipping Estimates and CPU Supply Chain appeared first on Purism.

App Spotlight: Sound Recorder

Thursday 7th of January 2021 09:53:26 PM

Sound Recorder is simple to install and a powerful way to record in the studio or on the go:

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/sound_recorder_v2.mp4

The app itself is deceptively simple, it offloads all of the audio device setup and selection to the OS layer, which can be managed in settings:

With the brunt of the setup automatically handled by PureOS, you can set up the basics from within the app menu.

Actually using the interface could not be more intuitive. Simply hit record to record, and click a past entry if you want to listen to it.

A Quiet Solution:

Silence is ideal for any recording studio or sound room. The fans in a standard x86 computer can impact the end result if kept too close to the mic. When I first built my sound closet room I cabled long runs of USB and power to prevent having to use a computer near my mic. This sucked as I had to print out my script and I couldn’t check the recording status during the session.

Being able to read the script off a screen and having access to the audio controls drove me and my roommate to build this fanless monstrosity:

This did the trick for years but did suffer from major stability issues which were endlessly frustrating to deal with mid recording. Now with USB-C dock support getting better and better, using the Librem 5 has solved all my recording issues and has now permanently replaced my sound room computer.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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The post App Spotlight: Sound Recorder appeared first on Purism.

Purism and Linux 5.8

Thursday 7th of January 2021 02:37:45 PM

Following up on our report for Linux 5.7 this summarizes the progress on mainline support for the Librem 5 phone and its development kit during the 5.8 development cycle. That was already a few months ago. We missed publishing this earlier and the recent development cycle summaries will follow shortly.

Devkit updates

The Librem 5 devkit saw a minor update that will save some power:

arm64: dts: imx8mq-librem5-devkit: Use 0.9V for VDD_GPU arm64: dts: imx8mq-librem5-devkit: Don’t use underscore in node name

USB power management

Runtime power management in the USB stack is quite mature and well supported. We added one piece for the Designware DWC3 hardware IP that has been missing: support for runtime power management when devices are connected and disconnected on an external bus:

usb: dwc3: support continuous runtime PM with dual role

Librem 5 Light and Proximity Sensor

During a phone call, the Librem 5 naturally might be near the user’s ear. We added a new interface to Linux to allow userspace to decide when an object is close to the device and added support for the vcnl4000 proximity sensor:

Documentation: ABI: document IIO in_proximity_nearlevel file iio: vcnl4000: Export near level property for proximity sensor dt-bindings: iio: light: vcnl4000: Add proximity-near-level dt-bindings: iio: Introduce common properties for iio sensors dt-bindings: iio: vcnl4000: convert bindings to YAML format

Librem 5 Display stack

Certainly, our largest addition during this development cycle has been adding support for the NWL MIPI DSI controller. For the devkit, this marks the last piece that has been needed for the mainline kernel to support the full display stack. The Librem 5 phone is one-panel driver away from having the same:

drm/bridge: Add NWL MIPI DSI host controller support dt-bindings: display/bridge: Add binding for NWL mipi dsi host controller

Code review

This round we contributed 6 Reviewed-by: or Tested-by: tags to patches by other authors. Something we can still improve on for upcoming cycles.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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The post Purism and Linux 5.8 appeared first on Purism.

App Showcase: Weather

Monday 4th of January 2021 11:34:21 PM

Weather apps are one of the few apps people use every day that needs a location to work, but weather apps on most smartphones are notorious for capturing and selling your location data.

The Librem 5 is designed to protect your privacy, and include a privacy-respecting Weather app. When opened this retrieves weather data from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, and only them.

The Norwegian Meteorological Institute has a free and open data policy with the goal of benefiting society, in many ways similar to our ideals at Purism.

https://videos.puri.sm/promo/weather_v2.mp4

Weather features an hourly overview, as well as a 10-day forecast.

As you would expect on a privacy device, you can disable automatic location and enter your position by hand.

Discover the Librem 5

Purism believes building the Librem 5 is just one step on the road to launching a digital rights movement, where we—the-people stand up for our digital rights, where we place the control of your data and your family’s data back where it belongs: in your own hands.

Order now

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The post App Showcase: Weather appeared first on Purism.

More in Tux Machines

Tor and Mozilla/Firefox

  • United Nations Whisteblower Says The Tor Anonymity Network Is Great For Human Rights Work

    US military subsidiaries such as the NSA, who use Tor for open source intelligence gathering, are not the only ones who need a secure traffic analysis resistant anonymity network like Tor. UN human rights lawyer Emma Reilly says it is "great" when working with human rights defenders. [...] We feel for her, she is not the only one who was forced to learn Pascal in her youth. We also feel for all the victims of the UN Human Rights Council who has been handing over names of human rights activists from the day it formed in March 2006. China is not only having a very negative impact on human rights activists who contact the UN for help, China is also committing grave crimes against pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong (香港). [...] The free software tool OnionShare is a very user-friendly program that lets you share files and setup chat-rooms over the Tor network in case you need to communicate with human rights activists or other endangered people in a secure fashion. You can follow human rights lawyer Emma Reilly on Twitter if you want to learn more about her important human rights work. She does not appear to have a fediverse social media account in case Twitter de-platforms her on behest of the Chinese regime.

  • How one woman fired up her online business during the pandemic

    Sophia Keys started her ceramics business, Apricity Ceramics, five years ago. But it wasn’t until a global pandemic forced everyone to sign on at home and Screen Time Report Scaries became a thing that her business really took off. She had never been active on social media, but decided to create relaxing videos of pottery throwing as a type of craft-ASMR (autonomous sensory meridian response videos that provide relaxation with a sedative, tingling sensation for some) early in the pandemic. These videos gained traction and Keys started building a community. A couple months into the pandemic, when she had more finished pieces than she knew what to do with, she posted about the sale on her Instagram page. She sold out. She now has over 21K followers and her ceramics sell out in hours. Amidst the chaos of 2020, here’s how Sophia expanded her woman-owned online business, found her own confidence on social media, and built a community around her handmade products.

  • Mozilla Performance Blog: Performance Sheriff Newsletter (February 2021)

    In February there were 201 alerts generated, resulting in 29 regression bugs being filed on average 4 days after the regressing change landed. Welcome to the February 2021 edition of the performance sheriffing newsletter. Here you’ll find the usual summary of our sheriffing efficiency metrics, followed by some analysis on the data footprint of our performance metrics. If you’re interested (and if you have access) you can view the full dashboard.

Games: Assassin’s Greed, Yorg, Wanted Raccoon and More

  • Assassin’s Greed

    I don’t think any sane person is going to disagree with the quote, “Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely.” For those unaware, that quote came from British politician Baron Acton in 1887. That’s one of the few sayings man has uttered that stands against the test of time. Keep in mind, Acton coined this phrase from politicians who said something similar even earlier than his time; Acton’s phrase just seems to be the most popular, since it reads like modern English. Now, I’m not trying to get into politics; we’re a gaming web site, after all. But sadly, after a number of events have occurred — for the gaming industry in particular — within the past couple of years, I feel like even us Linux gamers get the short end of the stick. True, we always had the short end of the stick, up until Valve stepped in and basically saved our bacon around 2012-2013. But as far as native Linux games are concerned, and as advanced as Proton gets, competition that has arisen lately can either be a plus for us, or, as I bring out here, competition can be more so of a nuisance than it is anything else. [...] Yeah, some were probably expecting me to point the gun at Microsoft first. I’m not a total Microsoft hater, as I do appreciate some of their work, like some of the code they’ve contributed to the Linux kernel. But I seem to hear it all the time. Microsoft bought this company. [...] Microsoft joined the Linux foundation late 2016. Supposedly, they’re a high-paying “Platinum Member.” I don’t know if their claim, “We love Linux,” is actually true. If anything, they consider Linux as a threat, as long as they’re not making revenue via this platform. They haven’t made any official drivers for Linux as far as their Xbox controllers are concerned. Microsoft is invested in Linux at least when it comes to their whole Azure cloud services, a competitor to AWS and Google Cloud, and they have made it easier to develop for Linux within Windows with the WSL module developed in partnership with Ubuntu. Microsoft tried to make their own locked garden during the Windows 8 era with the Windows Store and trying to force everyone to put their applications through there. Fortunately, they failed miserably, thanks in no small part to Valve creating SteamOS. But it doesn’t mean Microsoft won’t stop trying.

  • FOSS racer Yorg has a new release with improved gamepad support | GamingOnLinux

    Top-down open-source racing? Yorg is a little bit like some of the classic Micro Machines games and while rough around the edges as it's in development it's showing promise as another FOSS game. With fast arcade racing along with some amusing physics, Yorg is already a lot of fun with multiple tracks, vehicles and different drivers to pick from. You can play against AI, local multiplayer and experimental online multiplayer. There's weapons too, so you can blow everyone up.

  • Wanted Raccoon is an upcoming comedy game in the spirit of Goat Simulator

    Remember the craziness of Goat Simulator? Wanted Raccoon has a familiar theme of animals going wild and it's entering Early Access on March 19 with Linux support. A game that seems like a big gimmick but apparently there's a little more to it. The developer mentions an actual storyline and some sort of research system. You can ride skateboards, fight people, upgrade skills, and of course - steal food. Everything a good Raccoon does right? There's also something about a kidnapped family. Hero Raccoon to the rescue?

  • Building a Retro Linux Gaming Computer - Part 2: Selecting a Graphics Card

    Linux graphics support is still remarkably similar to how it was 20 years ago, even with all the progress that has been made in the years since. The Mesa 3D graphics library had its origins all the way back in 1995, and through the Utah GLX project attracted the attention of industry luminaries such as id Software’s John Carmack and vendors such as ATI, Intel, Matrox, S3, and 3dfx. By the turn of the millennium all of them had at least some support in Mesa. Nvidia went a different route, one which continues to set them apart to this day. Rather than choosing to cooperate with Mesa they instead ported their Windows drivers over to Linux directly, maintaining their own proprietary binary blob separate from the main Linux kernel. This driver model was also later adopted by ATI when they switched focus to their own proprietary “fglrx” driver, although this was largely reversed again after AMD acquired the company in 2006. By the time of Red Hat Linux 9 the Direct Rendering Infrastructure or DRI was firmly in place in Mesa and offered 3D support for a wide number of cards. This included the ATI 3D Rage Pro Turbo, which was the AGP card I had selected to test the machine. While a solid 2D performer it offered lacklustre 3D graphics even for the time of its release, and was intended more as an OEM graphics solution than for gaming. That makes them easy to find, but also not worth a lot.

10 Best Compression Tools for Linux

File compression is an integral part of system administration. Finding the best compression method requires significant determination. Luckily, there are many robust compression tools for Linux that make backing up system data easier. Here, we present ten of the best Linux compression tools that can be useful to enterprises and users in this regard. [...] A plethora of reliable Linux compression tools makes it easy to archive and back up essential data. You can choose from many lossless compressors with high compression ratios such as LZ4, lzop, and bzip2. On the other hand, tools like Zstandard and plzip allow for more advanced compression workflows. Read more

Security Leftovers

  • Security updates for Monday

    Security updates have been issued by Debian (activemq, libcaca, libupnp, mqtt-client, and xcftools), Fedora (ceph, mupdf, nagios, python-PyMuPDF, and zathura-pdf-mupdf), Mageia (cups, kernel, pngcheck, and python-pygments), openSUSE (bind, chromium, gnome-autoar, kernel, mbedtls, nodejs8, and thunderbird), and Red Hat (nodejs:10, nodejs:12, nodejs:14, screen, and virt:8.2 and virt-devel:8.2). 

  •   
  • Server Security Tips – Secure Your Server with These Best Practices

    Servers play a vital role in organizations. Their primary function is to provide both data and computational services. Because of the critical role they play, servers hold confidential organizational data and information. Information is like gold nowadays, and hackers are gold miners. An insecure server is vulnerable to all sorts of security threats and data breaches.

  •      
  • Multiple Linux Kernel Vulnerabilities Could Allow Privilege Escalation

    Fortunately, before any active exploitation, Popov fixed these bugs for the users. Popov has confirmed merging of these patches with the mainline kernel version 5.11-rc7. Also, the fixes have been “backported into the stable affected trees”. As Positive Technologies elaborated, this isn’t the first time Popov found and patched a vulnerability. Earlier, he has also caught and fixed two Linux, bugs CVE-2017-2636 and CVE-2019-18683, as well in 2017 and 2020 respectively.

  • Understanding Samsung Knox Vault: Protecting the data that matters most

    Eight years ago, Samsung set out on a mission to build the most trusted and secure mobile devices in the world. With the introduction of our Samsung Knox platform at MWC in 2013, we put in place the key elements of hardware-based security that would help defend Samsung mobile devices and our customers’ data against increasingly sophisticated cyber threats. Samsung Knox has since evolved into more than a built-in security platform, now encompassing a full suite of mobile management tools for enterprise IT administrators. But our mobile product planners, developers and security engineers have remained laser-focused on answering the primary question: how do we remain a step ahead of hackers and keep our users safe at all times? [...] In the first days of Android, the main focus was building a more open and flexible mobile operating system. Security was state-of-the-art for the time, inherited from the world of Unix and mainframe computers. But from the start, it became clear that smartphones were different; they were the most personal computers anyone had ever built.