Business expansion

I wonder if Framework has contemplated expanding beyond laptops. The Right to Repair impacts many types of devices, after all.

  1. What if Framework were to form an alliance with Pine64 to create a more upscale GNU/Linux phone? (Their new Pro model is still plastic.) PinePhone Pro | PINE64

  2. What if Framework were to create a DIY robot vacuum kit. This could be fairly easy to assemble for users but making the kit requires some manufacturing know-how and ordering of parts. Owners could share their software to run on it via in this forum. DIY How to Make Amazing Robot Vacuum Cleaner - YouTube

That would be the Purism Librem 5, it is a total trainwreck

Right to Repair in phones is already covered by Fairphone

That’s a red herring methinks. It was damaged in the womb. The PinePhone was the better approach: Start cheap, then upscale.

Not from where I sit, I’m no power user but I want purity in firmware, modern computers are limiting in that aspect but the Librem 5 guaranteed freed firmware, it was exactly what Linux advocates want. Do I think it is a viable project for mass-production? No, absolutely not. It is hot, it is heavy, and most of all unsupported by carriers, no different from the PinePhone in that respect. That last point is what kills any would-be project that seeks to supplant the current duopoly. Carrier buy-in is required for CDMA carriers such as Verizon and its MVNOs. Carrier buy-in shouldn’t be required for GSM carriers but almost certainly will be anyways.

Many other product segments that are ripe for R2R, printers for instance. Phones are not a good idea. I hope the Librem 5 does well and I wish Purism success, ideally without ripping off their customers as they look to be doing. I want a small, privacy, R2R-friendly, Linux phone as much as the next fella but the challenges aren’t easy and Framework would do better to invest in their core market-laptops. They still haven’t freed the BIOS and I would like to see XMP support as well. Asking Framework to produce products for multiple segments before they have firmly expanded to all markets is just asking for trouble. The exact same trouble that Purism finds itself in, launching a “new” product every few months as a method for drumming up PR and new customers.

Low-profile mechanical switches on the keyboard would be cool as well, many things could be done to improve their laptop, lets see them do those things and expand their market penetration before branching out. Walk before running as they say.

If they can find a way to start making motherboards here in the USA instead of relying on a Chinese manufacturer that will be a step forward:

  • It would improve local expertise.
  • It would eliminate the risk of hardware implants for spying from the PLA.
  • And quality should also improve, since the cut-and-paste style of circuit design (i.e. borrowing among friends) that exists in some areas of the Chinese electronics industry can lead to quality problems.

Regarding the BIOS, are they actually hiring firmware engineers? I’ve seen only ads for EEs.

I’m not saying a phone would be easy, that’s why a collaboration with Pine64 would be necessary. A robot vacuum kit however would be a nice project that would draw in a new audience. A printer seems pointless to me, as there are plenty of sub-$100 printers already that are adequate.

Nothing will supplant the duopoly. People need mainstream apps, and it is already a burden for companies to develop both for iOS and Android. Rather than seeking to create an unwelcome new app platform, privacy should be the goal, because the duopoly will never truly offer it.

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It most assuredly would not, even if final PCB assembly did occur within US borders, there are many, many chips that would undoubtedly be sourced from China

True hardware security is pretty much pointless, if a nation-state wants you, you are as good as got. It is equally laughable that the implied trust in the US government is somehow warranted, what makes you think the CIA or NSA wouldn’t do the exact same thing if the PCB’s are manufactured here?

Don’t get me wrong, I support the reshoring of manufacturing in the USA but I won’t put blinders on and pretend it is somehow better for hardware security.

Framework isn’t contracted to an ODM to my knowledge, this is a custom board design


The hack happened because the motherboards were diverted to a PLA-controlled factory, which implanted the spy chips there. If the US-made motherboards stay on this continent, the PLA won’t be able to touch them. It is true we cannot trust the CIA and NSA, as the “deep dive 1 and 2” revelations of the past few days show, but they can influence Intel and AMD to implant inside the SoC, so their reach is unavoidable unless you are willing to do your computing with recycled 486 chips.

You can’t achieve zero spying. But reducing the spying from 2 governments to 1 is a big improvement. You’d have to have blinders on to not see that.

If that were true, they’d make their schematics available to the public.

uh no, they don’t have license to release source to the chips used on the board, that is what prevents releasing schematics

I may be wrong but I don’t think I am

@FrameworkBee care to chime in?

It really isn’t, what makes you think that China can’t exploit the same backdoors that the NSA or CIA use? Secondly

I don’t mean this unkindly but that is just naïve thinking, if a nation-state wants your data, they will get it, one way or another

I support free firmware, it is my featured topic after all but I support it as a matter of principle rather than out of belief that this will immunize me from all forms of spying everywhere. Let me ask you something, what extensions do you currently have installed on your browser? Which browser? What software do you commonly use?

Edit: Removed potentially offensive statement

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The reason why they cannot provide schematics without a NDA is it’s board design and is manufactured by Compal. They cannot control where it’s made.

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So you’re saying it could indeed be sent to a factory where the PLA makes sure that spy chips are installed? If so, why manufacture in China? Manufacturing in a better country like Taiwan might protect customers more.

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Because the NSA and CIA can force Intel to put those backdoors in the Intel ME (mismanagement engine) and AMD’s equivalent in such a way that a certificate and hard coded IP addresses block foreign governments from using the same backdoor even with decades of brute forcing attempts.

Making obvious statements doesn’t strengthen your argument. Acting condescending doesn’t prove you have any knowledge. Fewer governments spying is better. And not all governments are the same. The USA has a commitment to freedom, whereas China is a Stalinist government whose leader is a fascist. I suggest your attitude arises from a genuine dislike of the US government.

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This thread is getting a bit heated so I think it’s best we all keep in mind there is a human at the end of the screen :orange_heart:


Framework does actually manufacture in Taiwan. Taipei specifically I believe (based on their job listings).

And as for board schematics, I know that Louis Rossmann talked about how he has been told the reason why they can’t share them publicly and that he doesn’t blame Framework for it in his video here

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I’m committed to a rigorous but respectful discussion

I have no intent to come across as condescending. Direct and challenging yes but not disrespectful. Please quote the areas that come across this way and I will edit them accordingly

CA’s can be hacked and certificates faked, IP addresses can be spoofed. The only way to guarantee that back doors won’t be exploited is to not have them at all. The fact that the HAP bit exists is proof of at least one back door within the Management Engine which gives credence to the theory that their are more.

I will reiterate, if a nation-state turns it’s baleful eye towards your data and turns you into a target, your goose is cooked.

I don’t pretend to have all the answers, I am certain there are more technically minded people both in this thread and on this forum that know more than I. My knowledge comes from following these subjects for the better part of a decade but it is all high-level knowledge that comes from reading news articles, nothing more than anyone else could gather with sufficient interest.

You and I support the same objective, just different reasoning as to why it is good. I want to establish root of trust to prevent whole-sale collection of data and protect against malware from criminals that don’t have the sophisticated resources of a nation at their disposal. That is an achievable objective.

Debatable as to the first statement, we Americans have a long tradition of denying freedoms to those who deserve them, especially our own citizens. It would be more accurate to say that I don’t trust my government. I can’t say that would prefer living in China or even Europe, especially France.

Consider me the devils advocate in this discussion.

@Zack regarding the earlier point that Framework uses a custom design

I don’t think they own the manufacturing plants, rather, they either created their own design in-house and contracted manufacturing out or contracted a manufacturer to create them a custom design

If I had to guess it’s the second situation because of the NDA’s and issues releasing source

I was just contending that Framework doesn’t use a rebadged Clevo design or other “copy and pasted” design as you put it

Although, I think a partnership with System76 would be a boon to both companies

System76 is tooling up to be their own manufacturer and Framework has a design that System76 might be interested in licensing

System76 is also a Linux-driven company whereas Framework is not

This seems like a good way to kill 2 birds with one stone

System76 can drive software innovation forward and Framework the hardware

This plays to each companies strengths and reduces support requirements

Manufacturing in China has always had a Shanzhai aspect meaning people share designs with their relatives who own factories or work at other factories. There’s frequently copying because there’s no concept of IP.

Yes but the people who do that are often acting illegally, or else the laws that allowed it are un-Constitutional. That’s a far cry from a country that accidentally starved 45 million people to death and engages in organ harvesting of dissidents.

I’d be fine with continuing that particular discussion in PM’s if you want but to get back to the original topic you were posting about

I just think Framework should focus on their core product and building market share before branching out into other market segments

I’m not even sure if Framework is out of the stage where they are shipping in batches instead of shipping on demand

Plus they have only just expanded to Europe and even then only select countries

Let them build market share and roll out improvements on their current design first

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No, it does matter. China will kill you and sell your organs if you have the wrong ideas. Freedom, which is a central concept of the Framework laptop, is opposed by China. You’d be a fool to trust their mafia-style government. Lots of Westerners are languishing in Chinese prisons today, experiencing worse outcomes than Julian Assange, because they did trust China.

Personal account of surviving a Chinese prison, when a foreigner dared to make a profit in China:

As for products, you can control the manufacturing process and gain some trust if you have people on the ground. It sounds like Framework doesn’t. They don’t know where the boards are really made.