4 Months of very hard work = Purism’s Librem 11: The first GNOME, open source, privacy respecting tablet.

Zlatan Todoric, CTO, Purism

2016–05–20 15:47

Four months ago, I started working for a great CEO and great company known as Purism. What is so great about it?

Photo of Librem 11 tablet prototype with GNOME open source desktop: Engadget

First of all, the CEO (Todd Weaver), is incredibly passionate about Free software. Yes, you read it correctly. Free software.

Todd Weaver, CEO and Founder of Purism, introducing the Librem 11 tablet last night — which functions as a touchscreen tablet, a notebook and a full powered desktop workstation.

Not Open Source definition, but Free software definition. I want to repeat this like a mantra.

Librem 11 2 in 1 tablet motherboard — free hardware for free software. Open as in: “you can open it yourself and upgrade it by unscrewing the back.” An industry first as far as we know. Photo: Engadget

In Purism we try to integrate high-end hardware with Free software. And we want our hardware to be Free as much as possible. We ultimately want to make it entirely Free but at the moment we don’t achieve that. So instead of going the way of using older hardware (as Ministry of Freedom does, and kudos to them for making such option available), we sacrifice this bit for the momentum we hope to gain. This brings growth to Purism, and growth brings us much better position when we sit at negotiation table with hardware producers. If negotiations even fail, with growth we will have enough chances to heavily invest in things such as openRISC or freeing cellular modules.

We want to provide in future entirely Free and Open Source hardware and software device that has integrated security and privacy focus while it is easy to use and convenient as any other mainstream OS.

The Librem 11 tablet is (as far as we know) the first tablet that has a full desktop caliber operating system. That, and the abundance of ports, make Librem powerful enough to function as a full desktop workstation when you add your keyboard, mouse, monitor and speakers. It uses standard accessories — not proprietary ones.

But we currently must sacrifice a few things to stay in loop — and this has drawn some criticism from our loyal backers and community. In a perfect world, we would deliver a 100% free and open source computer. Right now, it is “as free as it can be.”

Our current hardware runs entirely on Free software. You can install Debian main on it and all will work out of box. I know I did this and enjoy my Debian more than ever.

We also have margin share program where part of profit we donate to Free software projects.

We are also discussing a lot of new business model where our community will get a lot of influence. (Stay tuned for this).

Besides all this, our OS (called PureOS) was Trisquel-based but now it is Debian-based. PureOS 2.0 is coming with default desktop as Cinnamon but we are already baking PureOS 3.0 — which is going to come with GNOME Shell as default.

Why is this important? Well, 12 hours ago we launched a tablet campaign on Indiegogo which comes with GNOME Shell and PureOS as default. Not one, but two tablets actually (although we heavily focus on 11" model). This is the product of mine 4 months dedicated work at Purism. I must give kudos to all Purism members that pushed their parts in preparation for this campaign. It was hell of a ride.

I have also approached (of course!) Debian for creation of OEM installations for our Librem products. This way, with every sold Librem that ships with Debian preinstalled, Debian will get a donation. It is our way to show gratitude to Debian for all the work our community does. (Yes, I am still extremely proud Debian dude and I will stay like that!).

I am the chief technology person at Purism, and besides all goals we have, I also plan (dream) about Purism being the company that has highest number of Debian Developers. In that terms I am very proud to say that Matthias Klumpp became part of Purism this week. Hopefully we soon extend the number of Debian population in Purism.

Of course, I think it is fairly known that I am easy to approach so if anyone has any questions (as I didn’t want this post to be too long) feel free to contact me. Also — in Free software spirit — we welcome any community engagement, suggestion and/or feedback.