Replying to SwitchedToLinux and Why Purism Is Scamming
A response to this video:Now I really love this video, and agree with most parts, and some others I want to expand on, and maybe one or two points that I gotta disagree with (also a fact-check). So where do I (Kai Lyons) stand on the Purism AweSIM? I think it is just a blatant scam, full of lies, misinformation, and a broken system. SwitchedToLinux (whom I will be referring to his first name, Tom) said this in a much nicer way in my honest opinion.
Purism is one of two companies building a Linux Phone right now.
Tom made this mistake, when in reality there are three (if you still consider Purism to sell phones and not broken dreams). Pine64 and VollaPhone being the two other MAJOR implementations of Linux Phone hardware. This doesn't even take into account lesser known groups like Meizu, BQ, Neo900, Open Pandora, and Necuno Solutions, of this list some may or may not still exist and may or may not have released anything AT ALL. Linux mobile devices have existed since 2007 (technically) if we don't even include Android. OpenMoko being the first EVER phone maker using Linux Software (custom open-source software too) beating Android TWICE! The OpenMoko 1973 released on July 9th, 2007, over a YEAR before Android existed (fun fact, 20 days older than the first release of iOS) (442 days before Android to be exact), and AGAIN on June 24th, 2008, a whole THREE MONTHS (91 days) before Android. Even then these are FAR from the first phone operating systems (even ignoring OpenMoko beating Android as an OS by over a year, as OpenMoko's OS was NOT EXACTLY for Smart Phones as we know them today, even though some better concepts). These wouldn't even be the first phones to use Ubuntu Touch, that title goes to BQ who's first phone came out in 2015. Even then BQ is broken down by SEVERAL phone manufactures using a well known and respected OS, B2G OS, or as you may know it by it's more popular name, Firefox OS. And even THEN in 2011 the OS known as MeeGo released from Nokia, Intel, and the Linux Foundation. AND EVEN FURTHER THEN WE GOT TIZEN, Tizen is the mostly-Samsung owned OS with only some proprietary components, meaning you can, if you remove the proprietary components fork Tizen, to be the longest running Open-Source phone.
While Sure this is a weird and seemingly unnecessary lesson in history, I felt like more people should know this. Linux "smartphones" have existed forever, EVEN BEFORE iOS and Android, only flopping in comparison because Apple and Google were monoliths compared to any old Linux mobile maker, even in 2007 and 2008. Right now the Linux community has several current OS's, and even a couple good old operating systems that we can easily fork and make a better mobile market. Though, I may or may not should have said that wink wink. All joking and two secret future Aris* editions aside, we do have a decent hold on the OS market for both mobile and desktop. If we only focus on mobile, we have Manjaro (which I might not like, but it exists), Plasma Mobile, Phosh, Mobian, Ubuntu Touch, postmarketOS, and even more current but still lesser known phone manufacturers and operating systems (dead and alive) like Fairphone, Blackphone, Osmocom, Greenphone, and more. By the way, OpenMoko is the oldest listed on "List of open-source mobile phones" on Wikipedia, but is easily beaten by non-smartphones based on Linux like Greenphone from 2006 to 2007, or even older than that like OpenZaurus in 2006.
Linux mobile is nothing new, and Linux desktop goes back to 1992 and 1993. Some of the first GUI's appeared for Linux in 1994, and the first BIG GUI hit in 1996 thanks to Jurix (a pre-cursor to SUSE). 1998 was when Linux first started to catch up to Windows and Mac, at the time the only operating systems with a GUI, with SUSE 5.1 being comparable to Windows 3.1 (even though Windows 95 and 98 were still far ahead). Flip phones existed at this time, but more in the form of StarTAC from Motorola. Nothing exactly.. UI complicated. The first graphical OS to rival the big guns (Windows and Mac) was from Red Hat, their first ever release of Fedora (which was and technically still is owned by RedHat) in 2003. Windows XP being marginally better (at best) at the time. By 2007 and the release of Windows 7, Linux GUI's were as good if not better than the Mac and Windows alternatives. We even are on the brink of finally being better than current mobile devices with teams like Phosh from Purism... which by the way, yes, is from Purism... even though Purism's default mobile OS is PureOS which is also owned by Purism. I think that's a good way to jump back into the discussion of the video in a natural way.
[Purism] is doing a lot of weird things
For the first minute of the video, there are two points to go deep in. Again, one, the seemingly unknown fact that Purism owns (at least to the extent of my knowledge and the Git repos I found) Phosh, where originally I thought a company like Debian (or to be more correct, Software in the Public Interest, Inc.(maybe?) (Whom are connected to way too many projects you wouldn't know they owned UNLESS you randomly saw the fact they own the Debian trademark)) owned it. Side tangent for SPI, they partner with pretty much every well respected thing, like Fluxbox, Debian, 0 A.D., Systemd, X.org, Haskell, FFmpeg, Arch, LibreOffice, MinGW, and PostgreSQL to name a few. They don't claim to govern or own projects, but just randomly give them money or something? I discovered this on accident, thought it was cool.
Anyways, yes. Purism has a lot of weird things, and a very bad reputation. However, the WEIRD thing in all of this is their "Junk" ad. This ad is brilliant, and funny, but who the heck approved this? LibremOne, which I have yet to see any new information about, got an ad called "We don't look at your junk" which... considering I am 17 at the time of writing this, that prolly a good thing for me. Apparently LibremOne still exists, and so does this ad, where the cherry on top is tech opinion genius but political dolt, Bryan Lunduke has a short narration piece at the end.
This ad is one grand example of the real place this money is going into, whether for better or for worse.
[Purism's] latest plan in the phone market seems to be one of the latest things which seems to simultaneously be both an overly-priced idea that's unnecessary AND something that seems to fit into that idea that "privacy is a luxury item."
This is the first point where I kind of disagree with Tom, not in the sense or it being overpriced, unnecessary, or the idea that it is both at the same time. AweSIM provides the idea that it is "the first" to such an idea, which Tom later expresses that is a bold-face LIE. We will get to that in a moment, but Purism seems to push the idea that it is "the first of it's kind." It's not a privacy tax, it's a "first ever" tax. Technically they are both not the first in terms of other alternatives came first, but also to the bold lies we will get into in a little bit. Tom mentions Mint Mobile a lot, which uses T-Mobile, which is better at privacy than AT&T, whom some of the AweSIM SIM cards come from. This is part of the lie, but at the same time T-Mobile respects your personal privacy ENOUGH for most. Mint Mobile even uses T-Mobile for that same reason (presumably). While yes T-Mobile just Agar.io-ed Sprint into basic oblivion, and Sprint weren't the nicest, they also did at least... not be as bad a Version and AT&T? I guess? Whom Purism has AT&T service as the main of two options, and switching between AT&T and T-Mobile isn't automatic (for some reason).
Generally speaking, I don't believe Purism is pushing "privacy is a luxury" idea, and more just give the excuse for the abhorrent costs to looking like a Non-Profit who is "on your side" but needs more money for
cocaine doing the work they need to do. Kind of like that one kid's uncle in middle school who comes to chaperone the dance (without the kid's parents knowledge, nor to the knowledge of the school as to whom this Kevin guy is related to, the last name is 100% just RANDOM chance like that one kid with the rate last name) to seem like his condition is improving so he can see Johnny more often. I don't know where that analogy came from, my uncles are pretty cool (one even uses Knoppix).
You can think of this in a way like WhoIS Guard
Ehh, even worse than my Uncle Kevin analogy from just a minute ago (it's as if I planned this). While technically sure, you COULD say the WhoIS Guard analogy... however, there is a thick but. One of the BIGGEST requirements for Arisblu CE's (one of many reasons this is on the Fivnex blog rather than my personal Dev.to) is the domain provider has to give free WhoIS Guard protection, as it is a basic requirement in the modern era of domain registration as it has become so wide-spread and important to people that not having free WhoIS can lead to problems later on for domain owners. While a similar-enough idea, if the cost in US$1/year is one foot, you you have about 1/5 of a mile difference. Sorry for my use of FREEDOM units.
$99 A MONTH is... c'est debile
While he didn't say any French, or even that it is garbage at all, just that it was abhorrent in cost, I agree. I could NOT find anything more expensive. I found $100/month unlimited phone plan from Boost Mobile... which was actually $25/month for 4 unlimited lines. Sprint had a dual plan, so $50/month... for two people. Half the cost of Purism's AweSIM. The most expensive I could find was $90/month for one line from Verizon, which seems close but... in terms of value compared to Purism... no. The $90/month plan from Verizon includes Apple Music, $600 in cloud storage, Hulu, Disney+, ESPN+ (the three biggest Disney-owned services) and half off any new phone plans connected to the account. Just saying, basically $100/month for what a basic unlimited plan gets you. Which on Mint Mobile, something Tom brings up a lot and I love because Ryan Reynolds and the promises of the service is $30/month for unlimited. So... not an argument to be made. "oh KAI but the phone is privacied! It removes the ability for people to track you down! It's anonymous!" No. It's not.
It's just a scam.
Tom doesn't outright say this, but I will. Tom mentions what I like to call the "De-Anonymous Tor User" in which people who sign into anything using personal identification are then immediately de-anonymized. Actually, this Tor example that Tom even brings up later in the video actually gets WORSE and proves why there is a small possibility this is a pre-mediated scam. I am not claiming Purism is PURPOSEFULLY scamming people, but oddly enough you can't use this $100 phone to do anything online, which is suspicious with the claims Purism gives. See, I know people who use Twitter, YouTube, and Facebook on Tor, fully believing that they are private, when they are not. The moment you sign in or up for something using identifiable information is when you are no longer private. Will they discover you personally if you lie about your info? No, but then again the same EXACT thing is just as achievable on Chrome, Safari, Edge, and Firefox, with similar results no less. Now my theory, and this is completely baseless and should NOT be taken for fact is that Purism knows this group very well, and know they can scam them out of $100/month to continue working on the iPhone of Linux... behind the competition, broken, costs more for the brand than the device, doesn't care about its users, etc. But that's just my theory, A COMPLETELY BASELSS CONSPIRACY THEORY THAT IS MORE JUST RANDOM SUSPISIONS! THANKS FOR WATCHING! Game Theorist jokes aside, I don't see this being worth it. Want a phone plan that is cheap, easy, and you don't have to put real information in? Use Mint Mobile with pre-paid gift cards, which I actually use a TON. You can even make a PayPal with a pseudonym and use that to fuel your Mint Mobile easier with more prepaid gift cards. Don't buy Purism, it's not worth it.
This whole article, by the way, only responds to the first THEE MINUTES and roughly THIRTY SECONDS. The other ten minutes and fifteen-ish seconds give a lot more valuable information, just an fun, and says it as I would say it. Go check it out, it is linked here.