back to article Purism's quest against Intel's Management Engine black box CPU now comes in 14 inches

Purism, a San Francisco social purpose company that emphasises privacy and free software, today flung out its latest notebook: the Librem 14. This latest device succeeds the previous Librem 13 laptop, which ran for four generations, and includes a slightly bigger display, a hexa-core Ice Lake Intel Core i7 processor, gigabit …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Security safety guy: "Surely you can't put a price on your families' privacy"

    Homer: "You would of thought so but here we are"

    1. MiguelC Silver badge

      "have"

      like in "have an upvote" :)

    2. Poncey McPonceface
      Big Brother

      #

      Ex-Con Security Guy: “But surely you can't put a price on your family's lives.”

      Homer: “I wouldn't have thought so either but … here we are.”

      https://youtu.be/_kpuyVkqP68?t=95

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why Intel?

    If they really are as fussed about all that as they say they are, why do they still insist on using Intel then? It’s not like alternatives don’t exist.

    How can you trust the changes they have made themselves; have the products had full security audits with publicly available results?

    Or is it all more of a marketing thing?

    1. Paradroid

      Re: Why Intel?

      AMD chips have something very similar but with a different name (PSP).

      They could go ARM but it's still very early days for Linux on ARM, Linus Torvalds was talking about it recently and hopes the new ARM Macs will help there.

      1. Nate Amsden

        Re: Why Intel?

        Linux has run on ARM for more than 20 years now

        https://www.debian.org/News/1998/19980826b

        The ARM platform itself seems quite fragmented so I guess it is still a very fast moving target vs x86 which has had more standard interfaces almost forever.

        (Debian user since 1998)

        1. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: Why Intel?

          You can get a thing like this with an ARM processor at the core. I think there are a few like that, but the one I know about is the Pinebook Pro. It is very open, has hardware designs, firmware source, hardware killswitches. The only downsides are that, using conventionally available ARM SOCs, it is a little limited performance-wise. It maxes out at 4 GB memory, and has six relatively slow CPU cores. If you can handle the reduced performance in a laptop and want a lot of privacy and security, that's probably a good option. Otherwise, we will have to wait for more easily obtained fast SOCs or stick to X64.

          1. sad_loser

            system 76 - coreboot

            system 76, producers of the wonderful POP-OS have written their own firmware called coreboot.

            first Linux on desktop I have tried that passes the usability test - esp now they have moved to flatpak for their in-house store - like apple or google store, but free!

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: system 76 - coreboot

              This machine also uses Coreboot. Well, to clarify, it can use either Coreboot or the manufacturer's own PureBoot (for an extra charge). System76's machines are nice, but they aren't designed with the physical killswitches or with anti-tampering procedures (also has to be specially requested). It depends of course whether those features are important to you.

      2. Mike the FlyingRat
        Joke

        Re: Why Intel?

        So you now have a new arms race!

      3. Dr_Bingley

        Re: Why Intel?

        PSP can be disabled though, can't it? It's disabled according to my BIOS, in any case.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Assertions that ME is a backdoor

    The ME has full access to memory (without the owner-controlled CPU cores having any knowledge); has full access to the TCP/IP stack and can send and receive network packets independently of the operating system, thus bypassing its firewall

    In the context of criticism of the Intel ME and AMD Secure Technology it has been pointed out that the NSA budget request for 2013 contained a Sigint Enabling Project with the goal to "Insert vulnerabilities into commercial encryption systems, IT systems, …" and it has been conjectured that Intel ME and AMD Secure Technology might be part of that programme.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Management_Engine

    The Feds have been watching all along.

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Re: Assertions that ME is a backdoor

      Irony: Some idiot will buy one of these and then slap an antivirus program on it.

    2. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  4. mark l 2 Silver badge

    I thought it was only the Chinese and Huawei we had to worry about putting back doors into their kit, I mean US 'intelligence' agencies would never use the Intel management engine for spying on people would they?

  5. dharmOS

    Who performs the evil maid attack

    Are the laptops assembled in China, USA or somewhere neutral where the OS, SATA firmware etc have not been tampered with?

    Yubikeys are manufactured in the USA and Sweden, presumably for a reason like this.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: manufactured in the USA and Sweden, presumably for a reason like this

      Hahaha! Sweden!? Highest bidder wins, or not, they'll take anyone's money, and from both sides without conscience.

      1. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: manufactured in the USA and Sweden, presumably for a reason like this

        "Hahaha! Sweden!? Highest bidder wins, or not, they'll take anyone's money, and from both sides without conscience."

        Still safer than the US who are known to intercept and compromise hardware no bidder required.

  6. jake Silver badge

    Does it come without the systemd cancer and Gnome yet?

    Just askin' ...

    More seriously, I'll probably buy one, just out of principle.

    And then promptly convert it over to Slackware, also out of principle.

    1. Ozan

      Re: Does it come without the systemd cancer and Gnome yet?

      Whisper Slackware

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If a Chinese chip manufacturer had put one of these on their boards ...

    The US would be organizing bonfires to burn all their PCs !

    1. Jason Hindle

      Re: If a Chinese chip manufacturer had put one of these on their boards ...

      But when the US does it, it's for your own good. Will you just think of the children?

      1. Ordinary Donkey Bronze badge

        Re: If a Chinese chip manufacturer had put one of these on their boards ...

        But only think of the children on this private island. Then the blackmail material remains between us.

  8. Jason Hindle

    Security does come at cost...

    But once I read through to the bottom line, not as expensive as I'd assumed. I was expecting this to be the Leica of laptops, but for anyone who needs the privacy features it looks a reasonable option (I do like the hardware kill switches - I'm quite paranoid about the corporate Dell that has lived in my bedroom/office for the past several months). As per other respondents.... Bring on ARM. Please!

    1. This post has been deleted by a moderator

  9. Gonzo wizard Bronze badge

    Nice

    I think I've found the manufacturer of my next laptop... if I can get one in the UK of course...

  10. dajames Silver badge

    Pre-orders for the Librem 14 opened today priced at $1,199.

    ... and the spec looks quite nice.

    It would have been nice if the review had stated the actual amount of memory and storage included in that price of $1,199.00, though.

    1. doublelayer Silver badge

      Re: Pre-orders for the Librem 14 opened today priced at $1,199.

      I checked out their specs page. Base RAM is 8GB. Increasing that to 16 GB costs $79 and to 32 GB costs $219. Base storage is a 250 GB SATA M.2 SSD. They have various larger and faster options.

      For those outside the U.S., there are some limitations there. You'll notice I quoted all prices in dollars, because they don't seem to have prices in any other currency. They note that, while they ship, taxes in other countries are the buyer's responsibility so I can't tell you U.K. prices with VAT included. They have power adapters for U.S., U.K., and EU sockets. Not Australia, though it is a USB-PD one so that doesn't have to be a problem. Also, they only seem to have English U.S. keyboard layouts right now. If you can touch type your language on that layout, you're good. If you have an attachment to the U.K. layout, maybe they'll fix that sometime.

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