Although the chatter, whistleblowing, and mudslinging revolving around data privacy and security have somewhat died down, it hasn’t completely vanished and is perhaps more critical than ever before. That is perhaps why Purism, the folks behind the privacy-focused Librem Laptops, have decided to take a more mainstream approach to their sales, shipping the laptops in just weeks after paying for one instead of the months-long waiting period before.
Ever since Edward Snowden became the poster boy in the fight for privacy, especially against government espionage, there have been countless devices and operating systems advertised to not only respect but even protect users’ privacy, sometimes to extreme measures. Very few, however, met the same popularity and financial renown as these Librem Laptops.
Starting out as a crowdfunded project in 2015, Purism’s Librem 13 and Librem 15 laptops aimed to offer the best of both worlds of current computer specs and a strong focus on privacy. On the one hand, you have the then latest sixth gen Core i5 and i7 processors, with 8 to 16 GB of RAM, and other staples of respectable hardware.
On the other hand, you also have things like hardware switches to completely cut off power to the camera and mic as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, assuring users that these turn off exactly when you turn them off. The laptops also run PureOS, a variant of the Debian Linux operating system known for having a hardline stance against anything proprietary, from software to codecs to even web services.
Despite its success in crowdfunding and raising some seed funding, getting your hands on a Librem Laptop used to require patience. Purism, however, saw a jump in demand for this privacy-protecting devices and have started to stock up on inventory to shorten the waiting period between purchase and delivery. Nothing else has changed, and the Librem 13 and Librem 15 still cost $1,699 to $1,999, depending on the model and configuration. The 11-inch model’s availability still remains in limbo.