You may have heard of Purism before as a U.S. based company that’s making freedom-friendly, privacy & security focused laptops, phones, services, and the “Pure OS” operating system. See “10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy with Purism“, “Librem One is a new privacy & freedom focused software suite for your smartphone” and “The Privacy Friendly Librem 5 is now shipping“. Well, today, Purism is announcing a new affordable desktop computer that looks kind of like a Mac Mini.
It’s just a little 2lb black box with a bunch of input & output ports around the front and back. The pricing starts at $699 which gets you an Intel Core i7-8565U (Whiskey Lake) processor with 8Gb of RAM and a 250Gb SSD drive. The RAM will be upgradable up to 64Gb with it’s two DDR4 2400Mhz DIMM slots. For storage upgrades there’s one SATA III 6Gb/s SSD 7mm port and one M.2 SSD (SATA III/NVMe x4) slot.
For input & output, it will have 4 USB 3.0 ports, 2 USB 2.0 ports, and 1 Type-C 3.1 port. There’s also a 3.5mm audio jack for microphone input and audio output. It’s got a GIgabit Ethernet LAN port on the back and the WiFi 802.11 Atheros ATH9K with Bluetooth 4.0 module is optional.
You could probably find or build other computers like this pretty easily, but the trick here is that this is made from as many trust-worthy open-source freedom-friendly hardware components as possible.
It comes with Pure OS pre-installed which is a customized version of Debian with Gnome 3 that includes more privacy & security related features by default. For example, the included browser is based on Firefox, but includes some extra privacy/security extensions. It also includes support for other hardware security features such as Pureboot and Librem Key.
If you’re all about Mac or Windows or Android, this probably isn’t for you, but if you’ve been tinkering with Linux servers, desktops, and home theater systems, the Librem Mini could be a really nice option. If you’re a beginner, you might want to start with a Raspberry Pi, but if you need a little more serious power, the Librem Mini seems like a great step up.
I imagine a small business could probably nicely use this as a groupware server with Nextcloud Hub installed for file syncing, email, calendar sharing, office document collaboration, chat, etc. I’m sure it could handle a couple websites and a VPN server as well. Maybe even a Jitsi Meet video conferencing server?
A home user could plug it into a big screen TV and get Kodi running as a media center interface. Maybe some video game emulators and Steam? Or you could use it as a desktop computer for Linux development and virtual machines of course. Purism’s laptop computers start at $1249, so a mini desktop that starts at $699 but gives you all of the same security features is a welcome addition.