Purism - laptops for Linux fans

3 minute read

Purism may conjure up images of a noble and selfless ideology but in this case the US based company Purism has security and privacy in mind. They’ve been in the news recently because of their crowdfunding campaign to build an open source smartphone but today, I’m more interested in their laptop range.

Let’s just rewind a bit or maybe I should say time travel back in time - sounds a lot more interesting, doesn’t it?

MS Windows was just becoming a burden for me. I suppose it was because I had discovered an alternative and was starting to hear the siren song of Linux in my head. I was being wooed by the Linux and Windows was starting to feel like a clingy ex. What would I do though? Windows felt comfortable, a companion who I had known for so long, an operating system that I had been installing, repairing and supporting all of my IT career.

Could I really turn my back on it? Did those years really mean nothing, was this relationship really over? If I was honest with myself, it had been over for a while. Ever since meeting this young, new daring operating system, I didn’t feel the same about Windows anymore, we had grown apart - it was undeniably over.

I left the ex sobbing in the background and began using Linux full time on my home computers. Unfortunately, I work with the ex which means I have to see Windows all the time at work, the awkward silences, the once familiar looks, it’s hard but life goes on…

Linux was now my OS of choice and the issue of the best hardware for Linux became of great interest. Let’s travel back to the future!

The quest continues and two heroes of this quest are Chromebooks and the /reviews/intel-nuc-the-perfect-linux-desktop-pc/ but are there laptops that have been designed with only Linux in mind? Imagine you didn’t have to deal with the ex, imagine hardware designed for Linux instead.

Recently, a company named Purism who believe in “privacy, security, and freedom” announced a crowdfunding campaign to bring to us the “first fully free and open smartphone”. A quick search on their site revealed that they also have a small but impressive selection of Linux laptops including a tablet/laptop hybrid.

If you’re interested, have a look at some of the specs and you’ll be tempted I’m sure but what is the price of this freedom, well quite high from what I can see. Current prices are over $1000, so my question dear reader is, would you buy one?

Ok, cards on the table time, at this moment in time, the products look amazing but my budget would not be able to justify the purchase. I know I can get similar hardware for a lower price and with a bit of tweaking I could have a Linux laptop that works for me. So why am I still interested?

I like Linux, I am inspired by Linux and believe the world needs more of the open source spirit of sharing ideas and confronting the norms of how it’s always been done. Big companies have their place in the world but smaller companies willing to do things differently should also have a place in that world.

Apple users are willing to pay higher prices for perceived higher quality but really those users who always buy Apple believe in the ideas that the company has to offer. So my answer to my own question is: I’m still interested because I aspire to buy from companies like this, but their price point makes it difficult.

Are companies selling Linux hardware doomed to fail if they can’t compete with the big players on price or is there a dedicated legion of Linuxers who will continue to buy the hardware? I’m really not sure but I do know this; open source has changed the technology world dramatically and will continue to do so.