Todd Weaver

Todd Weaver

Founder and CEO
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Todd Weaver

Yet-another reminder of how disrespectful Apple, Google, and Microsoft are with their software update process was highlighted to Android phones that were in Massachusets, USA. The unintentionally descriptively named “MassNotify” application was installed to all Android phones in Mass.—en masse—without consent.

Mass Upgrade, Without Consent

From a forced album install by Apple, to the forced upgrade to the Microsoft Edge browser, to the truth is stranger than fiction forced removal of the book 1984 from Kindle devices, mass forced upgrades/updates has been abused as technological dictatorship in the name of “security”. All technological advancements—even software updates—can be done where it respects the freedoms and civil liberties of humans. Not only can it be done, we can look at one of the earliest (and one of the most secure) operating system distributions and how they did software updates the right way.

Software Updates the Right Way

Debian GNU/Linux (that Purism’s PureOS utilizes and contributes to) created by Ian Murdock (the ‘ian’ in Debian) brilliantly created a decentralized anonymous repository system 27 years ago (at the time of this writing). The fundamental principles authored in 1994 by Ian led way to policies, in short:

  • Publish an archive file of all software packages available, make this file distributable.
  • Allow anybody to get this archive file copied to their local system.
  • Local to the user’s computer, compare software installed to the software available (fully protecting the privacy of individual computers and users).
  • Allow the ability to download and install from the repository the signed, secure, and checksum matching software package.
  • Include the freedom to use, share, modify, and redistribute the packages.

This approach fully respects the civil liberties of humans.

Technology as Civil Liberties

Apple is to technological freedom as North Korea is to North Koreans. Google is to privacy protection as China is to Chinese. These giant technology companies frustratingly and inaccurately claim their technological abuses are required for “security”. It is NOT required for security. That is nonsense.

Debian has long proven—and proven well before these technological giants got into network software upgrades—that an operating system based on the Debian policies and principles can reach superior security while fully respecting all the civil liberties of humans.

This is how to do software updates that the user is in full control of (and yes can opt for immediate upgrades, from a user controlled/configured trusted source). This is how you make an operating system that is modern, secure, and protective of the rights of its users.

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Purism Products and Availability Chart

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The current product and shipping chart of Purism Librem products, updated on April 30th, 2024

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