Tag: Supply chain

Replenishing the inventory — The new Librem 13 to be manufactured and shipped through the spring of 2017

True to the promise we have made last month, we are thrilled to announce that today, February 15th, 2017, we are placing orders throughout our supply chain for all components needed for the Librem 13 v2 to begin shipping-from-inventory in April-May onwards! This comes after months of efforts to:

  • upgrade parts of our supply chain, case, backlit keyboard, kill switches, and battery;
  • close investment to place a large-enough order that we can have inventory to ship directly from.

This is a critical step. Future Librem 13 orders, from April-May onwards, will only take days to fulfill. Incrementally throughout 2017, this will become the way we fulfill orders for all our existing products.

A last minute opportunity to hop onto this batch

As we are purchasing supplies to create a large inventory of Librem 13 v2 units, any extra Librem 13 orders placed between today and March 15th will be added on top of this large order and can thus be expected to ship at the same time (estimated time of arrival to you: April-May, 2017). So if any of you were waiting for the opportunity to buy units that would ship quickly to you, now is your best opportunity—and you’ll be supporting us in the process, creating a virtuous circle. Please spread the word to those around you as well!

Will this batch ship with coreboot preinstalled?

Most likely. We will try as much as possible to squeeze this into the manufacturing schedule as we are nearing completion on our coreboot porting and validation for the Librem 13 v1 (more news coming soon), but we’re not making hard guarantees about having it ready just yet. If the timeframe is too tight to preinstall it on units to be shipped in April-May, we will offer to have your order wait until we can pre-install coreboot, or provide you with tools and instructions to install it yourself through a simple software update.

What about the Librem 11 and 15?

Our 13″ laptop being the most popular model, we’re fulfilling orders for this product line as the first batch of 2017, simultaneously creating inventory for future Librem 13 orders. For those who have preordered Librem 15 and Librem 11 units, you will have to wait a little bit longer, but not very long: this new Librem 13 batch, and our ability to finally ship the Librem 13 from inventory, will help us gain the financial leverage we need to do the same for the Librem 11 and Librem 15 soon afterwards. We’re hoping to achieve this during the beginning of the summer (or earlier). We will keep you updated on our progress—for now, we just need to be careful and do things one step at a time.

Thanks for your support!

Update from the trenches – operations, research and development for Q4 2016

Since our previous status update on manufacturing & shipping operations in August 2016, we had to tackle a lot of challenges in parallel: changing some of our suppliers, preparing new hardware, processing refunds, preparing PureOS 3, deploying new public infrastructure, seeking additional funds to enable us to ship “from stock” in the future, etc. The puzzle had so many moving parts that we really had to wait for dust to settle at the end of November to know where we stand and to provide you with this report.

In this blog post, we’ll be providing a global shipping status update, a quick update on R&D, and we’ll be sharing some great news for those interested in the Librem 13. In the interest of keeping this post short and sweet, we’ll be sending additional details via email to those with outstanding Librem 11 and 15 orders.

Shipped units, happy users

We did a couple of shipping batches for laptops during the winter, and once the Librem 15’s 4K screen supply crisis came to a close we resumed shipping the remaining Librem 13 and Librem 15 “1080p” orders.

As we prepared our new website contents, we created a “Global Shipping Status” page to illustrate how many laptops we’ve been shipping and to give customers a rough approximation of where they stand in the processing queue. We hope to soon replace this page by a personalized, dynamic shipping status page connected to your account and order status.

Until now, it was difficult for the public at large to get a clear picture on our operations and to realize that we were actually already shipping units to customers for quite a while, so these graphs should help set the record straight:

outstanding-vs-shipped-orders-2014-to-2016-10-annotated

Looking at the two charts above, here are some very important take-aways:

  1. The Librem 13 started shipping fairly quickly after its campaign ended, and continued shipping afterwards.
  2. The reason the majority of the Librem 15 laptops took so long to ship initially was that we kept waiting and waiting for the 4K screens… Purism learned some hard lessons there. That mistake won’t happen again.
  3. The Librem 15’s original order quantity (from the first campaign) has been shipped by now.

So far, the feedback we’ve been hearing from those who received their laptops has been very positive. For example:

…to cite only two. It’s always greatly satisfying to hear positive stories like that. Please don’t hesitate to share yours! Your encouragement is a big part of what keeps us going through hard times.

Replacing weak links in the (supply) chain, preparing for growth

One thing we had to accomplish this quarter was to change some of our suppliers. One of the reasons for that was to have better flexibility and to enable us to build better-quality computers in future revisions.

It has taken us a couple of months to find satisfactory suppliers, negotiate, request and evaluate prototype units (to ensure they meet our quality standards and our particular privacy+freedom specifications), and then evaluate the feasibility of going into a new production run. We are now very happy to say that we have resolved the “manufacturing and logistics” side of the equation.

The other side of the equation is financing: to place a large-enough order to ship from stock, we are in the process of getting a line of credit (loan) to fund inventory. With this, we hope to place a large-enough supply order to finally get out of the chicken-and-egg problem (where many customers want to purchase Purism Librem laptops only if they are available for shipping on short notice, yet this requires inventory, which requires enough orders to create inventory on an ongoing basis).

A new Librem 13

Here’s a sneak peek of the prototype of the Librem 13 “Mark II” that would be replacing the Librem 13 v1 for any future shipments:

This would have very similar specs to the Librem 13 v1, with a few improvements on the casing, backlit keys and better keyboard feel, and a few changes like the location of the hardware killswitches. We’ll be providing more details on that in a separate blog post. We’re hoping to eventually provide a new revision of the Librem 15 as well, for which we will need to get new prototypes and nail down the details and logistics for it.

Progress on PureOS 3 towards distro certification

With the alpha release of PureOS 3 now available alongside our new public infrastructure like Phabricator (see devlog #3), we have started the process to get the PureOS software distribution certified by the Free Software Foundation. PureOS has always been 100% Free Software from the start (stricter than most GNU/Linux distributions, including Debian, Fedora, etc.) and getting official FSF endorsement for PureOS will provide recognition for our work and assurance for users that their operating system respects and enforces their software freedom.

Coreboot Research and Development resumes

In the past, we have promised to work towards liberating the BIOS/UEFI of our Librem laptops, and we’re continuing that commitment. We have previously made some efforts toward porting Coreboot to our devices: we have provided sample Librem 13 v1 laptops to Coreboot project contributors to facilitate this work, and a partial port came out of this initiative. We have also sponsored some developers to try to continue that line of work. In the end, we have been slowed down because we shifted focus on our manufacturing business needs to deliver product to users, and the odd phenomenon where our Coreboot contributors would end up going silent / disappear on us after a while. So we kept looking for someone who could do this work independently, and consistently.

This December, we brought on board a promising independent low-level BIOS/UEFI hacker that will be able to resume the Coreboot-related work, so we hope to provide coreboot for the Librem 13 v1 and v2 to start. Stay tuned for news on that front!

Android’s Secret Backdoor, and How Purism’s Business Model Avoids This Type of Threat

photo
Security contractors recently discovered preinstalled software in some Android phones that monitors where users go, whom they talk to and what they write in text messages. Emilio Morenatti/Associated Press

Today we learned once more why utilizing pure free software where the source code is available is critical to protect users’ rights to privacy, security, freedom, and anonymity.

The New York Times points out that this latest security breach “shows how companies throughout the technology supply chain can compromise privacy, with or without the knowledge of manufacturers or customers.”

Let’s examine the problem and see what can be done about it. It’s not too late to stand up for your rights.


The Fundamental Problem

All phones and tablets on the market today suffer from the same problem: the code that operates those devices are a mystery to the users. In this specific case Google’s Android, but the same problem exists with Apple devices and Windows devices, where the operating system, software-updated firmware, and most software that runs on those devices do not have the source code available to verify that there are no backdoors sending your private data to unwanted third parties.

Purism Competitive Privacy Matrix

What this means is there is absolutely no way, for a user of Android, iOS, OSX, Windows, or any operating system that does not release all the source code, to guarantee he/she is not being illegally spied upon for nefarious reasons, corporate surveillance, government spying, and/or private data mining.

The tracking built into mobile devices is at every level imaginable. We need to create a better, digital rights respecting future for computing.

The Future of Computing

If we, as users, continue to morally and financially support Android, iOS, OSX, Windows or any other operating system that strip away the digital rights of users, we continue to advance a future where:

  • users are controlled for profit;
  • private data is mined for advertising revenue;
  • governments spy on people;
  • corporations capitalize on every user interaction;
  • security breaches involve staggering amounts of personal data, with enormous consequences for individuals—even worse than what we’ve been seeing in recent years.

Every time you purchase a device from hardware companies that pre-install Android, iOS, OSX, Windows, and other nonfree operating systems, you are contributing to the erosion of your rights. Buying an HTC device benefits HTC, Google, the carrier, and all software companies that preinstall their privacy-stripping binaries. Similarly, buying Apple benefits Apple, the carrier, and all software apps preinstalled or even later installed.

Current technology purchasing decisions,
Current technology purchasing decisions. Can you smell the smoke?

The Solution

  1. Use a free software operating system, where the source code is released.
  2. Use hardware that allows you to run a completely freed operating system, where there is no mystery binaries, no private data delivered anywhere, and most importantly that you control.
  3. Support companies and organizations like Purism, and know that every penny of a purchase goes to benefit the future of computing and the digital rights for users. Make informed purchasing decisions and support hardware manufacturers that push Free Software’s agenda all the way through the supply chain.

The Upcoming Purism Phone and services infrastructure

Subscribe to our newsletter (simply send an email to announce-join@announce.puri.sm to subscribe automatically) or follow us (see website footer for social links), then you will be notified when Purism launches the first freedom, security, and privacy respecting phone.

At crossroads for the Librem 15″ 4K: lessons learned from supply chain dependencies

The good news

Over the past few months, Purism has made great strides to improve on its hardware and software offering, as well as making your user & customer experience smoother. Besides shipping a hundreds of Librem laptops to backers (we will give you a better overview of this in a separate blog post with interesting data visualizations):

Over the past year, we have been offering the option to pre-order the Librem 15 with a 4K (UltraHD/HiDPI) display. Our screen suppliers wanted to move to 4K as their standard offering, and sold us that it would be ready in time for us.

While we have been shipping hundreds of regular (1920×1080) Librem 15″ and Librem 13″ models, those of you who chose to order the 4K variant of the Librem 15″ model had to wait for the 4K displays to become available through our supply chain. A couple of delays happened, and we made it a point to always keep you up to date on the situation (as seen here, here and here). This summer, we were reasonably confident we would still be able to ship these 4K models by October this year.

The bad news

football-goal-formations-tactics

Today’s blog post is painful to write but necessary, as it continues our tradition of accountability towards you. Even as we poured our heart and soul into trying to make 4K happen, external factors made plan A, plan B, and even plan C derail. LG (and its subsidiaries) has now let us down, just like Samsung did, putting us back onto “infinite backorder with no ETA”. The difference, this time, is that there are no more “easily” accessible 4K display panels suppliers left to turn to, bringing us back to square one when it comes to this particular component. Everything else in the supply chain, including our own operations, was aligned and going well, so it’s not for lack of work and efforts on our part. Our mistake was to readily believe Samsung and LG on the future availability of their screens.

At this point, we don’t think having you wait any more is acceptable, so we’re giving up on the 4K variant of the Librem 15 for now; we will be providing the regular Librem 15 instead, along with other models and their upcoming revisions. We are going back to “2K” so that we can confidently ship the goods without introducing any further delays undermining your trust in what we’re doing.

Rest assured this not a decision we are taking lightly. We made heavy investments trying to make this happen, and have spent sums that we cannot recoup: approximately $75,000 in assembly line retooling and deposits for 4K screens to Samsung and LG for orders that will, it seems, never materialize. We are trying to negotiate and recover some of the supplier deposits, but at this point we have to consider this money a net loss. On the other hand, we’ve made other investments early in our campaign that were worth it (for example: $50k to place an initial order for rarer Intel CPUs requested by some backers, $25k to retool the motherboard to 6 layers to support 32GB of RAM, progressively growing our team…).

We will be intensifying our product & service development pace, and we are still working on everything else part of our mission (including the Intel ME issue, achieving FSF endorsement of our software and working toward FSF RYF certification of our hardware in the long term). With your help, we can do this.

The updated operations roadmap

"The roadmap", courtesy of our creative director François Téchené
“The roadmap”, artwork courtesy of our creative director François Téchené

We may revisit the switch to 4K later, when we can get absolute certainty about it (no more preorders, we’ll only believe display manufacturers when they have the 4K panels in stock and ready to ship for us immediately), but for now we must regroup our forces to win this war.

Our plans (for the next 12-24 months) are now:

  1. Begin shipping the 1920×1080 version of the Librem 15 in September and into October (instead of the 4K variant), as per the options provided to you further below.
  2. Order enough materials for the Librem 11, 13 and 15, so we can ship from stock (without having long delays discouraging people from buying).
  3. Plan/design our upcoming Purism phone (we will be posting a survey about this soon, stay tuned!).
    In mid-2017, redesign the Librem 13 and Librem 15, including ways to meet the hardware selection criteria to qualify for “RYF” certification by the Free Software Foundation.
  4. Release “Purist Services” (our upcoming secure and private telecommunications infrastructure for you to use).
  5. Launch the Purism phone as an invite-only pre-order campaign.
  6. Launch the new Librem 13 and Librem 15, ship from stock for all orders.

What are my options if I pre-ordered a Librem 15 “4K”?

Should you choose to get the Librem 15 with the 1920×1080 IPS screen as originally planned, which we do have in stock (a bit over 50 units that we can assemble and ship quickly; we will re-stock soon to meet the demand and ship the remainder during September-October), you have the following compensation options:

  1. Maintaining the configuration and pricetag you paid, and getting 150% of the difference in credit for our future products (including our upcoming Purism phone). Therefore, the ~$300 price difference of the 4K screen would become $450 in credit that you can reinvest in any of our future products and services. Besides being a pretty interesting “early bird” opportunity for you from a pricing standpoint, this will help us get faster to the goal of providing the Purism phone and Purist Services infrastructure. You will also get an invitation to be among the first ones to try our Purist Services.
  2. Upgrade your RAM and/or SSD on your Librem 15 for up to $450 in value.
  3. Normal refund of the price difference.

You can, of course, decide to switch to a different product of ours, such as the Librem 11 or 13, but that means you will have to wait a few more weeks than if you were to choose the original Librem 15.

Please contact us at support@puri.sm to let us know what you would prefer us to do with your order.

We’ll need your help to continue this journey.

As always, your patronage is an investment that helps us deliver on our promise and make the case for privacy-respecting Free Software computers. We are very grateful to all of you who are supporting us (through purchases, word-of-mouth, feedback, etc.) and making it possible for us to fulfill our mission. If you have any comments, suggestions or encouragements you would like to share, feel free to send us your thoughts at feedback@puri.sm — or come have a chat with us on the “#purism” IRC channel on Freenode.

Librem 15 Rev1 Sold Out, Shipped! Rev2 Begins Testing Phase

Things are moving right along at Purism!

We’ve begun shipping the Librem 15 Rev1. We are excited to announce that the Librem 15 Rev1 has sold out!

librem-laptop-opened-right-side

We will begin testing on the second prototype of the Librem 15 Rev2. If our rigorous standards are met during the testing process, we will immediately begin assembly in a rolling shipment plan, beginning with those orders placed earliest with the least complex configurations, and commencing with the later, more complex configurations.

Thanks again to all the backers for helping us specify what should be included in the Librem 15 Rev2! As a reminder, the Librem 15 Rev2 includes:

  • An option for 32GB of RAM
  • USB 3.1 support
  • Longer battery life
  • And, of course, the Hardware Kill Switches, one for mic/camera, another for Wi-Fi & Bluetooth signals. The Purism HKS is included as a free upgrade for our backers who’ve already ordered a Rev2.

Once the Librem 15 Rev2 prototype is approved, we will announce it here. Keep checking! We’ll also communicate your specific ship date individually.

Any orders placed after today’s date will ship in September. The Purism Kill Switches will be available as a (wonderful) option.