Buying a Trisquel laptop in France

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bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

Hello guys!

My laptop is getting old. And I'm sick of it. I bought it from a supermarket. It was a great deal. A 17" screen for about 400€. Everything is good as long as I stick with Windows. On Linux it does not work. Trisquel doesn't even end the boot process. Fedora 18 or newer runs well, but more exotic distros need some tweaking to reach GUI login. Also suspend and hybernate make it unusable.

ThinkPenguin looks very well. But it's in States.

I received today in my mailbox a notification from FSF about Gluglug X60. Sounds even better, but it's UK.

And I am stuck in France. I tried to ask a few French forums about finding a laptop that works flawless with Free Software that I can get in France with a local warranty. All I got was wise cracks about my French, which I admit it's bad.

I will be frank, I most probably go for another distro. But I see Trisquel as the best test for a piece of free hardware. Sure, I want to pay less money and have more battery life.

Can you help me? Any experience with French dealers? I don't care about french keyboards, I blind type. I don't care much about big screen as I have experienced that can burn a lot of battery.

akirashinigami

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According to the product listings on Gluglug's website, they ship worldwide at no extra cost. Also, I'm pretty sure ThinkPenguin will ship to France, I just don't know how much it will cost.

bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

The problem is not so much the ability to ship, but the perceived insurance «in case anything happens». It's easier to send the laptop in the same country and even monitor the traject. If they are nearby I can even go to the shop myself. This is why I would like some dealer in France. But I won't rely solely on DuckDuckGo to find me a salesperson.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Hum... while I can't help you with "where to get the laptop", I will tell you something that came to my mind when reading your post. My laptop, for some reason, only works with "Debian based distros". Ubuntu, Mint, Debian, Trisquel, Puppy, Tails, all work great. But anything that comes from Fedora (Fedora, CentOS) doesn't work. I don't know why, it seems like the laptop is dating Debian or something :P So, if you can run Fedora and not Trisquel, maybe trying Fedora (or some Fedora based) distro will be the best chance.
Also, you have to decide if you want free bios or not. If you do, glug is the best choice. If not, you can take a livecd of Trisquel or Fedora or whatever, and go to a shop and ask to test it. Many stores alow that. Give it a try and let us know of the results :)

bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

Thank you GNUser for your input. Only there's no such problem in my case. Debian 6 is out of the question, the kernel is too old. But Debian 7 does work, till it freezes. Tails, which is Debian 6 with a recent kernel had some issues, now it goes without a problem. Ubuntu I don't touch because of their Microsoftish policies. I know they are free. I also know that I am not skilled enough to take everything harmful out. I didn't like Fedora either because of their «latest software», huge quantity of updates and rpm. I don't know. In the past I have bricked a few computers with rpm updates. I never tricked deb distributions into that. But Fedora is smooth. And Fedora has security updates. And it can handle everything I throw at it it seems. Including upgrading full disk encrypted systems. Trisquel can't run on my hardware because it needs too many proprietary code, including for backlighting.

I used to build up my own PC. Since I switched to laptop only I'm handicapped and depend on others to do it for me. Heck! I don't need a webcam or optical driver either.

Free BIOS would be nice. Long battery life and the ability to go over to their shop if there's an issue I can't fix trumps that. Or, as you point out: going with a Trisquel CD.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

No problem.
I think you might have misunderstood me, what I meant was that for some reason, my laptop appears to only accept the Debian based distros. In your case, every Debian based seems to give you trouble. So, maybe you should go to another "family", maybe Fedora-family,since it works well for you. However, I agree that from what one reads online, Fedora versions are "hit or miss". Some of them are very crashy.
Since you are on the look for a NEW laptop, I would suggest actually trying one that supports Debian family. You have two FSF endorsed distros (if that is important for you) Triquel and GNewSense, you have Debian itself which is also free software only, you also get other kind of distros like Tails (since you like Tor, you probably have heard of Tails by now) and Puppy (for some specific ocasions it can be good).

As for the hardware... one thing you must realise is that no manufacturer out there thinks "I will build a laptop with free software friendly hardware only". Yes, ThinkPenguim and Glug actually make some changes on laptops that are themselves very friendly, but you don't need to buy there if it is a problem to you (because of the reasons you mentioned below). You can just look at the specs and look for one that uses the same hardware brands and such.
There are some good rules of thumb: no CPU with vPro or Txt, no ATI graphics card (you won't have ANY luck playing games with that, trust me), etc. Basically by taking a Trisquel live cd you can be assured that at least Trisquel will run on it, that is already good. If eventually you want to change, the Debian family has a lot of distros that will also run great with free software only, since you already do so with trisquel. If you want a free bios, look for one that is supported by Coreboot, and decide if you want to make the work yourself (or if you prefer contacting glug and have them doing that for you on your laptop, maybe they can provide that service too).

Well, sorry for the long reply, but I hope it was any help for you. Let us know how it turns out ;)

ivaylo
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Joined: 07/26/2010

В 12:01 +0100 на 21.12.2013 (сб), name at domain написа:

> Debian 6 is out of the question, the kernel is too old.

Not only the kernel. It currently receives only security updates. Soon
it will be completely obsolete.

> But Debian 7 does work, till it freezes.

> Trisquel doesn't even end the boot process.

I know it is a long shot in the dark, but any chance this is caused by a
graphics card mode settings by the kernel? Could you test a Trisquel
Live CD with more verbose output and nomodeset enabled?

Start the LiveCD, choose the language, mark "Try Trisquel without
installing" and press F6 for more options. Mark the nomodeset option
with the space bar so it has an x in front of it and exit the menu by
pressing the escape key. In the editable file delete splash and quiet.
You can optionally add "nomodeset" without the quotes. Press enter and
the system will (hopefully) boot with a lot of messages. You can now
find out why it doesn't boot. This is applicable to other live CDs as
well - you will have to find how to add/edit the kernel arguments.

bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

> I know it is a long shot in the dark, but any chance this is caused by a
graphics card mode settings by the kernel? Could you test a Trisquel
Live CD with more verbose output and nomodeset enabled?

It's a good shot in the dark. One side of the issue is the graphics card which needed newer drivers. Today it is supported by most distros. Nearly two years ago only Fedora was able to reach the GUI, from all major distributions. Maybe Ubuntu too, but I don't touch Ubuntu since they have become the Microsoft of GNU/Linux. The other side was the need for an acer kernel module to manage some/all of the laptop features. I have no idea of the licence status of that module.

> Start the LiveCD, choose the language,

Now I realise that would have been nice both for me and the whole community. Two years ago it wasn't that obvious. Now that you have brought that up, it's obvious. But too late. I have made a poisonous gift to somebody and wait for my Gluglug X60 to review it.

onpon4
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The only part of the system that has to do with hardware compatibility is the kernel, Linux. So unless all Debian-based systems are using a different kernel version than all those other systems, maybe your computer has a Secure Boot feature that doesn't have keys these other systems are signed with, or perhaps these other systems aren't signed at all.

GNUser
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What you say makes sense... but I never heard of any special signature in Debian, or even my laptop (which is 5 years old already) having restricted boot.
I don't really care, because I prefer Debian, but I would like to be able to run other stuff from times to times.

bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

It's not about signatures. It's about what comes AFTER the kernel. The init scripts. Also, each major distribution has a particular choice of drivers according to their policy. Some are tolerant with some proprietary code, some bundle code they're not supposed to. Minor derivates only work on the themes, maybe change a few things in the choice of GUI apps, so they're irrelevant in this respect.

greenman
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Joined: 12/03/2013

ThinkPenguin specifically mention shipping to France:
https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/improved-support-non-us-customers

bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

Yea, but who is going to pay the exchange tax, the VAT, the eco tax and any other tax the EU is going to put on that laptop? Than who is going to pay for the price of sending back the laptop if anything happens? And who is going to pay for a replacement during that time. Y'know, transatlantic postal packs don't go in a couple of hours.

MagicFab
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On 2013-12-21 06:03, name at domain wrote:
> [...] Then who is going to pay for the price of sending back the laptop if anything happens? And who
is going to pay for a replacement during that time. Y'know,
transatlantic postal packs don't go in a couple of hours.

Don'tunderestimate this. This is a costly and lenghty process - even
between Canada <--> USA.

I recently had to ship back a laptop to the U.S. (jut not the right
model for me, no specific issues with it), and as a result I am now a
registered exporting company and Fedex customer, as a result of the
crazy paperwork involved.

F.

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mYself
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What about buying a Chromebook? They're cheap, available locally from France, and compared to ThinkPenguin, the BIOS of Chromebooks are based on Coreboot. Also, all the post-Pixel models (including the Pixel itself) comes with SeaBIOS, which means that you can directly install Trisquel without any workarounds.

Depending on your budged, I can recommend you the HP Chromebook 14 (EUR 315-324), which comes with a nice big screen, and a great price/performance ratio. It's also the closest you can get if you want a recent free software laptop. As always, there are some downsides:

  • an "OS verification" screen will pop-up at every boot-up (use suspend, flash a custom BIOS, or just press Ctrl+D to skip it)
  • the SSD is mSATA (upgradable, but will cost you much more than a regular 2,5" drive; use an external HDD)
  • touchpad may not work as good as in ChromeOS at first, but this is common, and can be fixed
  • the 4GB memory is integrated (this doesn't really matter, since the capacity is sufficient)
  • the integrated bluetooth chip is non-free (like the AR5B195, which comes with Gluglug X60; use an external BT dongle)
bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

Never took that into consideration. Chromebook means Google. And Google made Android. I have been suspicious from the start with the always positive attitude towards Android. Everywhere it is written Linux to imply FOSS, to receive a TiVo device with closed apps. This last year the news were quite upsetting. The part with google stores ALL your Wifi passwords and bookmarks was quite obvious. The broken RNG was less obvious. Meaning all geeks who could not help themselves have all sort of unsecure keys.

But that does not mean this is not an option. Thank you for the suggestion. I'll be back with updates. Right now I'm inclined to do an eco gesture and get a refurbished laptop.

Cyberhawk

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If having a 17" screen is not an important feature for you, look at the eeepc 1005PE from Asus. I am running Triskel (the KDE of Trisquel) on it and it's perfect. Plasma-netbook helps with the small screen a lot, no clattering with bars, panels and such. The keyboard perfectly utilizes the small size and does not feel too small! I can type full-speed on it, about 80-90 wpm and that's my personal limit.

1005PE has no support issues with WiFi, Webcam, Bluetooth. Soundcard is well supported and the sound quality is outstanding for this little computer. Even good enough if you want to connect it to a big stereo system.

The only prerequisite to using this laptop to it's full potential is switching the harddrive for a SSD drive. It makes it much faster and that's the way I use it. Still, it should be quite cheap in used good condition by now.

ZykoticK9
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On Tue, Dec 24, 2013 at 10:02:10PM +0100, name at domain wrote:
> If having a 17" screen is not an important feature for you, look at
> the eeepc 1005PE from Asus.

I've owned one 1005PE for a couple of years, I purchased a second one,
used obviously, just this week.

> The only prerequisite to using this laptop to it's full potential is
> switching the harddrive for a SSD drive.

The HD->SSD switch is on my to-do list ;)

I'd also mention, the battery life is very good.

Cyberhawk

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Everything is very good with this laptop... It has one little dowside, which is the relatively dark screen. A BIOS update should make it better though. It may be necessary to keep Windows for the sake of updating the BIOS and only then to install Trisquel on top

ZykoticK9
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> Everything is very good with this laptop... It has one little
> dowside, which is the relatively dark screen. A BIOS update should

@cyberhawk have you tried, or are you using, in /etc/default/grub?

GRUB_CMDLINE_LINUX_DEFAULT="acpi_osi=Linux acpi_backlight=vendor"

Cyberhawk

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I didn't try it, since I thought it just makes the brightness Fn-keys work properly (highest setting corresponds to highest brightness). I'll try that out right now.

Edit: I tried fiddling with that line, on h-node.org there is a different suggestion for how to edit it, but it has no effect on how bright the screen is, or how the Fn keys for brightness work... Maybe I'm doing something wrong.

ZykoticK9
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did you run "update-grub" after making the change, prior to rebooting?

Cyberhawk

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ah, that's why I see no changes... I'll try that now.
Edit: You know what, it not only fixed the order of brightness levels, I think the highest setting is now slightly brighter than before! Thanks a lot.

muhammed
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"If having a 17" screen is not an important feature for you, look at the eeepc 1005PE from Asus." (Cyberhawk)

I used to use a netbook for school. I had a larger monitor at home, and I plugged the netbook into that so that I could use the big screen at home. Sort of had the best of both worlds; big screen at home, and easy to take with me elsewhere.

bmw2qs
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Out of curiosity, where can one acquire a 1005PC as they seem out of production.

Cyberhawk

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I bought mine used, got a great deal and a device in good condition, basically like new. There are different revisions of the eeepc laptop, I got the 1005PE.

bmw2qs
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Nice. I do that for bikes and anything I can fix and change myslef. For high tech I need refurbished. Even if it's only a cleanup and a new battery.

Magic Banana

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You can buy a cheap laptop with an Intel integrated chipset and without Windows (for instance at LDLC) + a Wifi adapter at http://libre.thinkpenguin.com (25% of the benefits on your purchase go to the Trisquel project).

For example :
http://www.ldlc.com/fiche/PB00158586.html
+ https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-g-usb-adapter

As it has already been said, you had better take an Intel processor but without the TXT or vPro "technologies".

As for the Wifi adapter, you can opt for an internal card such as https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-n-half-height-mini-pcie-card
However the USB adapter is particularly useful if you want to carry with you a Trisquel Live system and get a Wifi connection on the computer you plug it into. Also, it is almost guaranteed that the USB adapter will be usable with your computer you will buy after this one. Probably the one after that too.

bmw2qs
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Do you know for a fact that ldlc laptop can run Trisquel out of the box? How about coreboot?

Magic Banana

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As far as I understand, coreboot will *not* run on any laptop but the Gluglug one (out of the box) and the Chromebooks (after tinkering).

Linux-libre perfectly handles Intel's graphical chipsets and pretty much any other basic component (CPU, RAM, screen, keyboard, hard drive, Ethernet card, DVD reader/writer, etc.) but the Wifi card.

Unless it is second-hand, you cannot know what is the Wifi chipset of the card inside the laptop you buy. You may be lucky (it is driven by ath9k) but you cannot count on it. That is why I advised you to buy this component from ThinkPenguin, which is, to the best of my knowledge, the only company that guarantees that the hardware it sells is perfectly handled by Linux-libre.

Michał Masłowski

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At least some Chromebooks have coreboot by default, but it needs nonfree
Intel blobs of which some are signed. (Some unsigned blobs were
replaced for Chromebooks and some more for X201.) I have no hope for a
modern Intel system to be fully freed.

Some non-ThinkPenguin wifi card vendors name the chipsets, but it's not
easy to get them: the same devices have different chipsets in different
versions and version numbers aren't always shown. There are rare
Ethernet cards that aren't supported, probably most laptops won't have
this issue.

bmw2qs
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For the chips you stand a better chance with the Linux community. And some times with the comments in large stores like Amazon. True, most makers don't say a thing about the contents. And they are right to do so. This way they can write on the box their card catches signal 1-2 meters away than another identical card, only in a different plastic enclosure.

Check out as much data as you can get. And the most important is to recall brick and mortar stores are your friends. No matter how socially inept you can be, amazon can help you only if you are 100km or more from the phisical store. There you can ask for the box. If you are nice enough you can even try the device in the store. Even if it does not work, lspci or lsusb can show some important clue.

And don't forget to slowly read the return policy. That's all!

bmw2qs
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Dude, I'm sorry. You are wasting my time. And most probably wasting your own time too. Bye.

MagicFab
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On 2013-12-27 08:33, name at domain wrote:
> As it has already been said, you had better take an Intel processor but without the TXT or vPro
"technologies".

Could someone properly document this on the Trisquel wiki or share
relevant links so I can do it? I'd like to refer to the above
statement/suggestion with sources when possible.

>
> As for the Wifi adapter, you can opt for an internal card such as
https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-n-half-height-mini-pcie-card

Those can also be obtained from your local laptop-repair store, second
hand. I carry several with me at all times in case anyone wants theirs
replaced.

>
> However the USB adapter is particularly useful if you want to carry
with you a Trisquel Live system and get a Wifi connection on the
computer you plug it into. Also, it is kind almost guaranteed that the
USB adapter will be usable with your computer you will buy after this
one. Probably the one after that too.

I also bought two different models from Thinkpenguin, they are essential
tools on the road. I documented my experience with those here (in French):
http://fabianrodriguez.com/blog/2013/07/09/atheros-ar9170-ar9271-debian-wheezy

F.

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leny2010

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ISTR an FSFE newsletter lauding a French user enforcing their right to buy a laptop without Microsoft Windows. So, please, whatever you do buy - don't pay 'Windows Tax.'

Because the keyboard on the netbook I bought secondhand earlier in the year gives me wrist pains in extended use I bought a Gluglug X60s in late October. I'm still absolutely delighted with it. So I phoned Francis Rowe at Gluglug to find out what he does for overseas warranty support. He said he tests extensively before shipping so out of the over one hundred he's shipped so far only two have later developed problems. With both it was RAM. The users in question replaced the RAM themselves with his remote support. He also said major things like the LCD display would be RTB.

From my own past I know IBM branded machines are _designed_ with maintenance, often by the end user, in mind. So the hardware maintenance manual is still available on line[1] and things like the keyboard, hdd, and RAM are what IBM calls CRUs (Customer Replaceable Units). Changing them is a doddle compared to most other laptops.

If French PC shops are like UK ones then it would seem you'll only have to ship to Gluglug when you would be waiting for your local dealership workshop to get parts anyway. Unless you're lucky enough to live somewhere close to the French equivalent of Novatech, and you wouldn't be asking if you were.

So I don't think your warranty support argument is as strong as you seem to think it is. And definitely once out of warranty having a PDF of that manual will put you in a better position than with many cheap laptops.

The Gluglug X60 is the only RYF laptop in existence, so, as I have told my friends, it is therefore the best laptop in the world. Further even when they don't agree with my principles on software freedom, they do agree the X60 is proof that second hand quality is better than new of the same price. Nothing even at twice the money is made to the build quality of the X60 these days.

Software freedom will come to naught if we're not prepared to 'put our money where our mouth is' and buy RYF first, explicitly compatible second, even if we have to save up extra money. Hardware manufacturers will continue to be reluctant to cooperate with or be helpful to the free software community until we can demonstrate a monetary incentive for them to do so. That starts with our individual purchases today. Which rather takes me back to the top of this post - whatever you do, don't make our problem worse by indirectly giving Microsoft any money when you buy your laptop.

[1] http://support.lenovo.com/en_US/detail.page?LegacyDocID=MIGR-62866

bmw2qs
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> ISTR an FSFE newsletter lauding a French user enforcing their right to buy a laptop without Microsoft Windows. So, please, whatever you do buy - don't pay 'Windows Tax.'

I'm puzzled by the French so far. They have such forward initiatives, and yet others are so backward.

Two years ago I have discovered the Windows tax. I don't know a big chain that would deal with Linux laptops. For them Linux means Android. End of story. I wanted to demand my money. I discovered the procedure is a pain in the ass. And that it takes time and sometimes money to go forward. Worse, my purchase wasn't that compatible with the distos of the time.

Today with Win8 imposed almost everywhere I had no option than to search elsewhere. The options are far apart and so far I had only one answer from a french company and that answer was to wait for the Linux guy. It's a good thing the French have a long history with postal delivery of goods, the postal service works perfectly and the law is pretty clear about some things.

> Because the keyboard on the netbook I bought secondhand earlier in the year gives me wrist pains in extended use I bought a Gluglug X60s in late October. I'm still absolutely delighted with it.

I'm waiting for my own. I have the camera ready.

> So I phoned Francis Rowe at Gluglug to find out what he does for overseas warranty support. He said he tests extensively before shipping so out of the over one hundred he's shipped so far only two have later developed problems. With both it was RAM. The users in question replaced the RAM themselves with his remote support. He also said major things like the LCD display would be RTB.

He told me the same thing over email last week. I have no idea why, but I am confident the guy knows what he does.

> From my own past I know IBM branded machines are _designed_ with maintenance, often by the end user, in mind. So the hardware maintenance manual is still available on line[1] and things like the keyboard, hdd, and RAM are what IBM calls CRUs (Customer Replaceable Units). Changing them is a doddle compared to most other laptops.

I had one such laptop for almost two years. The tech rep at the authorised service told me a few hours after I brought in the toy that the fan is broken and changing it would cost more than a new one. So I bought the idea and broke that one into pieces one evening just to check it out. If only I have gotten in contact with someone like Francis Rowe. The next one was an eeePC. They were new and they were good. But nothing compared with the ThinkPad. Tiny led light for the keyboard, three button mouse, the small red thingie which is easier to use than a touchpad, easy to change hard drives and RAM, sturdy plastics, extra configurable blue button, a complete set of LED indicators on the inside and a few on the outside too for complete feedback. Acer/Asus completely lack style.

> If French PC shops are like UK ones then it would seem you'll only have to ship to Gluglug when you would be waiting for your local dealership workshop to get parts anyway. Unless you're lucky enough to live somewhere close to the French equivalent of Novatech, and you wouldn't be asking if you were.

For the moment is going to be GluGlug. The French seem to have a terrible problem with anything other than French language. On the forums they were particularly assholes about my Google Translate. My mistake. I just wanted to get more answers.

> So I don't think your warranty support argument is as strong as you seem to think it is. And definitely once out of warranty having a PDF of that manual will put you in a better position than with many cheap laptops.

I agree the manual makes miracles. And it's a wonderful thing to have. Most companies hide that. Some even make it illegal to own one unless you sign some papers with them. But I can't make a thing beyond screwing\unscrewing.

> The Gluglug X60 is the only RYF laptop in existence, so, as I have told my friends, it is therefore the best laptop in the world. Further even when they don't agree with my principles on software freedom, they do agree the X60 is proof that second hand quality is better than new of the same price. Nothing even at twice the money is made to the build quality of the X60 these days.

The only x86 AFAIK. But some apps, Tor for example won't run on MIPS. Not in the next few years.

> Software freedom will come to naught if we're not prepared to 'put our money where our mouth is' and buy RYF first, explicitly compatible second, even if we have to save up extra money. Hardware manufacturers will continue to be reluctant to cooperate with or be helpful to the free software community until we can demonstrate a monetary incentive for them to do so. That starts with our individual purchases today. Which rather takes me back to the top of this post - whatever you do, don't make our problem worse by indirectly giving Microsoft any money when you buy your laptop.

You're talking about the small guys. The big companies are as good as any large country government. Burocracy. All sort of unwritten codes. Tyrans on any management level. Intel and AMD are sure against any disclosure about their microcode. Intel, AMD, Nvidia are sure against any close inspection of their chips. I'm not talking any conspiracy here. Only that Intel execs don't want to be reminded of the Pentium bug or of the stupidity of MMX. Nvidia surely does not want you to know how they cheat at 3dmark. They all want their crap to go quietly. So vPro is almost none about governmental control and almost all about sweeping the turds under the rug. With closed source and paid review sites the PR can just come with a large can of deodorant and say «shit? I smell pines all the way from the entrance!»

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Joined: 07/24/2010

If you are talking about this thread on the French forum (I believe you have two accounts because "bmw2qs" never wrote anything on the French forum), I do not understand what is the problem: you were kindly remembered that Google Translate is SaaSS and you were proposed a free software alternative.

Besides, I do not even understand what "more answers" you wanted. Do you really expect us to know why Google mistranslates "Trisquel"? Do you really think we can/should do something about it?

Spinoza
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Joined: 07/07/2013

I think this is a great laptop BUT, the screen is just to small for me. Are there any alternatives, because i have the same problem as BMw: i live in europe, so i don't know what funny taxes i'll have to pay if i buy from ThinkPenguin.

It would also be nice if someone could make a list of parts for the "perfect" free desktop. So the kind of motherboard, HD, RAM, Graphic card, ethernetcard etc that i would have to buy to compile my own working on Free Software desktop. I know that Atheros Wifi cards are great but what about the other stuff ?

ivaylo
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Joined: 07/26/2010

В 21:05 +0100 на 28.12.2013 (сб), chris.arijs написа:
> I know that Atheros Wifi cards are great but what about the other
> stuff ?

Check the h-node [1] project's hardware database. The information is
reported from fully free distributions. They lack motherboard section,
but still. Have in mind that some of the hardware might not be
available. At least new.

[1] http://h-node.org/

leny2010

I am a member!

I am a translator!

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Joined: 09/15/2011

For desktops Coreboot list support for two current AMD CPU motherboards here:

http://www.coreboot.org/Supported_Motherboards

However, you're going to be left without 3D support unless you want to introduce non-free code in the form of an nVidia GPU VGABIOS. Both of the write ups seem to indicate you need some hardware tools, so trying to find someone friendly at your local Hackspace or Hacklab would be well advised.

For new laptops that don't explicitly guarantee support for free software then look for a PC shop who, like Novatech in the UK, does their own brand laptops 'naked' (i.e. no O/S). You'll need to speak to a techie rather than a sales assistant but you will be able to find out about WiFi (and changing it), TXT etc.

Although IMO you're better buying second hand locally. Then you've tested with a Trisquel Live CD/USB stick so you know it works, it's better for the planet and you're not keeping that war in Africa over one of electronics' raw materials going. Free software being more performant than proprietary most people don't need the latest hardware.

Which leads to the point that other than for web browsing, editing digital media and games most computing needs can be met by the command line and either Emacs or VIM. If you take the time to learn these things then you'll end up like me, with a 5 year old desktop that rarely gets above 10% CPU usage and stave off an upgrade until actual hardware failure or accident occurs.

bmw2qs
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Joined: 12/20/2013

About two years ago I was thinking the same thing as you do. I discovered that I need a larger bag to carry it. That the large surface of the cover can bend in the middle as much as to see waves on the screen. That the power needed to light up such a surface eats up the extra battery making it 5 hours tops when new. Next to me a friend with a 10" thingie could squeeze 12+ hours with a lighter battery. Sure the config was weighting in, but 12 continuous hours is something. And his Wifi was as stong as my external amplified antenna.

Spinoza
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Joined: 07/07/2013

Thanx Leny and the others !!