[coreboot] Coreboot Purism BIOS is free? open?

Matt DeVillier matt.devillier at gmail.com
Mon Dec 18 06:01:35 CET 2017

On Sun, Dec 17, 2017 at 6:58 PM, Taiidan at gmx.com <Taiidan at gmx.com> wrote:

> On 12/17/2017 05:06 PM, Dame Más wrote:
> Hi,
>> The Coreboot BIOS of Purism 13 is open?
> No it isn't, while they do use coreboot the silicon init process is
> entirely blobbed.
> Technical merits - is it better than an off the shelf dell laptop? Of
> course, but not better enough to justify even a $30 premium let alone the
> thousands they are charging for a whitebox re-brand.
> It removes the brander (ex: dell) from the firmware trust equation but
> intel still remains and so does ME.

That's a pretty absurd exaggeration.  Purism laptops certainly sell at a
premium relative to a Dell (eg) with similar CPU/RAM/SSD, but they don't
sell anywhere near the same volume, so their costs are higher.  They also
feature hardware kill switches for wifi/BT and mic/webcam, ship with a
blob-free Debian-based distro, and use coreboot with a disable/neutered
ME.  Whether or not you consider those qualities, and supporting a startup
working towards increasing owner control on modern hardware, to justify the
price premium is certainly a valid point of discussion.

> If I was you I would purchase a different coreboot compatible laptop then
> compile and install coreboot while running me_cleaner yourself - this will
> provide a better result for a lot less money as these following laptops
> feature open source silicon init and in the case of the intel models are
> pre-skylake so more of ME can be "cleaned".

> One of these laptops is $200 max for one in good condition, vs thousands
> for a Purism 13 - with the cash you save you can also buy a KCMA-D8 gaming
> computer for libre gaming in a VM or otherwise.

"better" certainly depends on how one ranks the various qualities of a
given device. If owner-controller trumps all other considerations,
then certainly there are "better" options, but you're not going to find
anything for $200 that is anywhere close in terms of weight, battery life,
screen quality, or using a modern SoC -- that's the tradeoff, and again
something that's worth discussion, but framing it in the context of paying
"thousands" for a Purism device vs $200 for something of equal/better
capability is dishonest and does a disservice to the entire community IMO.
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