Purism crowd-funding Librem 13 Linux laptop, preparing second-generation Librem 15

The company hopes to expand the notebook lineup running its open-source PureOS with a smaller, $1,649 portable that will ship in September if it receives sufficient backing.
Written by Sean Portnoy, Contributor

Purism, the open-source laptop maker behind the Librem 15, is at it again, heading back to the crowd-funding well for an addition to its lineup. As it did with its original notebook, the company is seeking funding via Crowd Supply to create the Librem 13, a smaller, slighter cheaper portable that runs its PureOS and emphasizes user privacy.

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    Specs for the Librem 13, which will start at $1,649, include a 13.3-inch 1,920x1,080 screen, Intel Core i5-5200U processor, 4GB of RAM, and 500GB hard drive. You can max out RAM at 16GB and storage space at either a 1TB hard drive or SSD. Perhaps more important for backers, it can be configured with optional hardware "kill switches" that disable the Librem's built-in Wi-Fi and webcam and microphone to prevent potential snooping from online predators.

    That's just one of the security features that Purism emphasizes. Its PureOS is a Linux version that does not ship with a binary "blob" in its kernel. It also adds privacy-centric tools like Privacy Badger and HTTPS-Everywhere. One thing Purism hasn't been able to overcome yet is Intel's insistence on including the FSP binary in its BIOS, which Purism has been attempting to get removed for its laptops.

    In addition to the Librem 13, Purism is preparing a second version of the Librem 15, as the first generation has sold out. In addition to having a larger screen size than the Librem 13, the 15-inch model features a more powerful processor (Intel Core i7-5557U) and more expansion capability (up to 32GB of RAM, an open second drive bay) owing to its bigger footprint. You'll also pay $200 more for the base Librem 15 when it ships starting next month.

    Currently, Purism is only at about 10 percent of its funding goal for the Librem 13, but there are still 40-odd days left in its campaign. The company promises a September shipping date for the first Librem 13 laptops if its funding goal is met. If the Librem 13 is successfully funded, Purism says a Librem tablet would be its next product, with a Librem smartphone potentially developed after that.

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