Libreboot T400 on Minifree reduces in price once again

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libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

Hi everyone,

Recently, I made this post about a heavy price cut on Minifree's Libreboot T400 product:
https://trisquel.info/en/forum/libreboot-t400-returns-minifree-trisquel-preinstalled-permanently-reduced-price

Good news!

I've decided to cut it even further.

Base price for T400 with 4GiB RAM, 160GiB HDD is now 198 EUR (was 248 EUR in initial price cut)

1TB HDD upgrade now costs 50 EUR (was 100 EUR)

480GB SSD upgrade for 200 EUR replaced with 240GB SSD upgrade for 100 EUR
(at 00:36 June 4th 2017 as I write this post, I still have some 480GB SSDs left so the next 10 or so customers ordering 240GB will actually get 480GB if they're lucky; everyone after that will get 240GB)

Product is here:
https://minifree.org/product/libreboot-t400/

This comes with 100% free/libre BIOS replacement (Libreboot) and Trisquel preinstalled, and is endorsed by FSF's Respects Your Freedom certification.

Spread the word!

Hopefully these laptops should be affordable for everyone now, and more people can therefore use Libreboot!

~Leah

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

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Joined: 10/31/2014

\o/

a_slacker_here
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Joined: 06/30/2013

Awesome news!

Supertramp83, buy one of them to play openarena in good conditions... now :P

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

and openarena runs well on it, too

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

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Joined: 10/31/2014

Must get one indeed! Send me bitcoins!! (just joking). Hopefully one will soon be in my possession ^^

xdknight
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Joined: 05/31/2017

Great news. Only what stops me from but it. Really ancient graphic adapter, so as I see there isn't option for better one?

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

The graphics chipset actually performs pretty well. We also optimized it in Libreboot; LenovoBIOS allocates 32MiB of Video RAM only.

The chipset itself supports 256MiB VRAM allocation, but factory BIOS doesn't do it.

Libreboot does :)

In the recent Libreboot releases, based on Intel datasheets, we made 256MiB VRAM the default. This should improve the performance a lot, and things like video decoding/encoding work very well now. Certain games which use a lot of Video RAM should also perform better in the latest Libreboot releases.

I play games sometimes (libre ones) and most games run well on my T400. I also regularly stream 1080p videos and they play smoothly without any lag.

northernarcher
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Joined: 12/24/2014

Very glad to hear that.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

:)

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Ordered and bank transfer initiated. It wasn't fun. Bank took forever to complete the task, and I argued with them over the ridiculous $30 service fee. I lost. :( Anyway, after exchange rates and the fee the T400 is costing me $400 CAD. Not quite what I had hoped for, but it will be worth it. Thanks for the price reduction so that it didn't cost even more haha! :)

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

I'm sorry that that happened with your bank. Most banks are fine though. You could use a service like TransferWise (in fact, Minifree's newer invoices recommend this, instead of your bank) - their fees are very low and the exchange rates are more accurate, so you end up paying less (especially on currency conversion). Services like this are very good, which is why I haven't bothered with bitcoin yet... which has it's own problems.

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Good to know! Thanks. I'm ok. I just don't enjoy banks and their fees as a rule. :) Very much looking forward to the shipping notification! Excited!

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

transferwise charges like 5 USD i think, and their exchange rates are pretty accurate so you don't lose much there either. transferwise is mentioned on the automated invoices that minifree.org sends out when you place an order. it's a way to do international wire transfers cheaply.

several of minifree's customers use it, per our recommendations, and it generally works well. it also works out well for us, since transfer wise can convert to GBP for us and pay us in GBP, instead of our bank doing the conversion.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

I've also lowered the price of the stickers a bit:
https://minifree.org/product/libreboot-stickers/

and we sell extra batteries:
https://minifree.org/product/libreboot-t400-battery/

and trisquel USB drives :)
https://minifree.org/product/usb-gnulinux-install-media/

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Just want to express once again a great satisfaction and gratitude at the work of Leah (and others who work with her) on providing free hardware/software for people on a tight budget. Great work, please keep things going like this.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

Thanks :)

I'm currently working on porting the ThinkPad X220 to Libreboot, and I'm using the T400 on Minifree to fund the work. Every purchase helps!

Hopefully these new low prices will also make the laptops affordable for people living in poor countries (e.g. south america, parts of africa, asia, etc).

megurineturilli
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Joined: 01/10/2012

The T400 is a great product. I baught one from a German vendor with no operating system and installed Libreboot and Trisquel on it. Is the T400 avialable with different keyboard layouts?, Vikings has German (QWERTZ) and three different QWERTY layouts.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

We usually ship UK keyboards by default, but where possible we do update the keyboard layout. We usually have QWERTZ keyboards, which we regularly install on laptops ordered by German customers. We also regularly have scandinavian keyboards, for swedish/norwegian customers

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

We sometimes have AZERTY keyboard in stock too.

Archetyp
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Joined: 06/15/2017

Ordered on June 1. and bank transfer completed on June 8. :-)

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

great :)

Feel free to post here your review once it arrives.

Archetyp
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Joined: 06/15/2017

I share my impressions. ;-)

Thvle
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Joined: 04/28/2013

Did you receive the package yet?

Archetyp
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Joined: 06/15/2017

Seems like overwhelming T400 orders. :)

I think our laptops will be shipped on Monday or Tuesday.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

At the time of writing (20 June 2017, 2.40AM): we have 5 laptops packed, 7 laptops configured (but not packed), and another 10 flashed which require re-assembly. I'm working over the next few hours and my employee gets here at 6AM and will be working a double shift today (20 June 2017) alongside me - if you haven't received shipment notification yet, you will soon.

We are indeed busy. The priority during this week (beginning 19 June 2017) is to pre-flash as many systems as possible, so that they're ready to go. We currently ship within a few days most orders. I'll email you as soon as yours ships :)

Archetyp
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Joined: 06/15/2017

Thanks Leah!

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Minifree T400 Review! If pressed for time, scroll down to SUMMARY for bullet points.

I've received the basic config model of Minifree's T400 laptop today and wanted to share some experience on the ordering, receipt, out of box, initial setup, and performance testing.

First some info on me so you know who had these experiences. :) I've used GNU/Linux off and on for work or home since about 2000. I'm no pro, but I know my way around and can install/config most things. My main build at home is a built-myself-for-the-first-time tower running an i5 quad core with Linux Mint 18.1 Cinnamon, and dual booting into Windows 10 to play Overwatch and ESO. I also have a 3 year old Lenovo G505s, one of those $400 intro models with an AMD A8 APU. It's literally falling apart lol. Entry level things are so plastic and creaky. It runs Mint 18.1 like a champ too, although better with XFCE.

I'm new to Libreboot/Free software, having been one of the dullards who used to confuse OSS for FS. Not anymore. Having woken up and everything to liberty, security, privacy and wanting to get out from under corporation's feet, getting a free software machine was a great idea! I used Trisquel 7 in a VM for a while to make sure I could hit the ground running, and then ordered from Minifree.

===Ordering===

The web store is easy to use. It's easy to choose a spec and get an order placed.

===Payment===

Minifree prefers bank transfers/wires, and mine only took 24h. On the downside, my bank charged a $30 transfer fee. Apparently there were other services I could have used like Transferwise that would have been cheaper.

===Shipping===

Shipping time was within the policy document despite a big surge of new orders. Well done! Whenever I had questions about this, responses were quick and candid.

===Receipt===

The laptop arrived very quickly. It was delivered over the weekend in like 3 days. I'm amazed. I have an order from the UK for a game that is on its second week and hasn't arrived yet. Minifree sure knows how to pick the best options!

Sadly, I got hit with a customs charge of $62 CAD. I don't know why given it's a used machine, but it might be because it came packaged with a document labeled "commercial invoice" and the box description was listed as "laptop". I have no idea how these things work. This T400 is from what, 2009? Would I have escaped the charge if it was listed, "used 2009 laptop" ? Dunno.

===Packaging and contents===

Perfect! Solid box, lots of big bubbles, new power cable. Spiffy.

===Status of laptop upon receipt===

You know, I didn't do enough homework. I thought the T400s were maybe 3-5 years old, but they're about 8 years old, and the machine showed it. It's not bad though, just scuffs and scratches.

The cleanliness could have been better. There was dust and crumbs in all grooves around the touchpad and buttons. There were several short light to white coloured hairs on or sticking out of the keyboard (maybe a house pet?) and the surface of everything had a yellowish-brown film according to what came off onto the Lysol cloth I wiped the surfaces of the computer with. I got it all cleaned up in 3 minutes with a quick vacuming, some nails-in-grooves digging, and wiping, but shouldn't that have happened before shipping?

===T400 build quality===

Fantastic. What a great design. They keyboard is much better than the later models I've used for work. The 4:3 screen shows the age of the technology in that you can sometimes catch the dottedness of the refresh rate but it doesn't bother me at all. Screen is bright and colours are great. No tint issues.

===Performance===

-Basics
The CPU (dual core), HD (160gb 5400 rpm) and RAM (4gb) are perfectly fine for Trisquel. Everything is zippy. Boots really fast, apps are responsive, etc. I'm pleased.

-Wifi
The wifi card is troubled. I'm lucky to get 400 kbyte/s download speeds on my home wifi network. I don't know what's wrong with it. I plugged in my ThinkPenguin TPE-N150USB wifi usb dongle (https://www.thinkpenguin.com/gnu-linux/penguin-wireless-n-usb-adapter-gnu-linux-tpe-n150usb) as something to compare to, and that little device gets 4 mbyte/s easy on the same wifi connection.

I turned off the wifi connection for each wlan device in turn and did wget tests. I did them a dozen times each just to make sure I wasn't happening upon load balancer antics, and nope, the laptop's wifi solution remains slow, and the USB dongle remained fast. The internal wifi has the specs listed on the Minifree store page according to command line hardware lists, so it's the right config. It doesn't make sense to me. I lack the knowhow to really troubleshoot it beyond bandwidth tests.

At any rate, I'll leave the ThinkPenguin dongle in and use that until I figure it out.

-Battery

Do these ship with the original batteries of 2009? I can barely get an hour out of mine. Disappointed. I have a trip coming up at the end of the month and I won't be able to use the laptop throughout the 2 hour train ride.

-Keyboard

It's a UK keyboard. Works fine. No broken or unresponsive keys that I can tell.

===Out of box and initial setup===

Worked perfectly on first boot. Documentation was provided on how to log into the provided default account, how to change password and even change account name. I took the easy way out and just created a second admin account and deleted the first. Done.

The machine came configured with USA english locale, and UK keyboard layout. I changed that for English Canada locale, and French (Canada) keyboard layout -- how I roll.

===SUMMARY===

Ordering, shipping, and communication were perfect.

I should have done more homework for the age of the machine. It's older than I was expecting.

Canadians beware:
-Don't use TD Canada Trust. Heavy service fees on bank transfers.
-Customs will also want more of your money.

The machine could have received a bit more cleaning before shipping.

The wifi internal hardware is having issues with my network, or is inherently wonky. I don't know yet. I'll have to research it.

Included battery is so poor the laptop is more of a portable desktop.

Overall happy level: smiling but not singing. I love that I have a libre machine, but I need to get untethered from the power outlet for more than an hour at a time.

---Post drafted in emacs on the T400.

2017-06-19 16.50.38sm.jpg 2017-06-19 16.50.44sm.jpg 2017-06-19 16.50.49sm.jpg 2017-06-19 17.41.47sm.jpg
libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

Hi ariella,

Email me your order number and I'll ship you another battery. Regarding the wifi, I'm unsure; use your USB dongle for the time being, but if you'd like I can also send you a new wifi chip to install - with full installation instructions (installing it will not void your warranty).

~Leah

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Aw, that's very thoughtful. Let's not act on the wifi just yet. I want to try a few more things. As for the battery, there is a more urgent need for that and I appreciate the help. :)

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

I was working on improvements to Libreboot's hosting infrastructure during the weekend, but my employee is working overtime at the moment so I should be able to ship out your battery soon.

I looked up my records, and I think I know who you are; I've added a note to my outgoing shipments list, telling me to ship you a battery ASAP.

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

That's great, thanks!

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

I've played with my router all that I know how to: changing to either B, G or N only modes, mixed modes, channel width frequency set to 20mhz instead of auto, tried different channels and the results are all the same with the internal wifi. Throughout those I gave the TP USB dongle speed tests as well, and it's holding steady at much higher speeds. So I can rule out the router as the culprit.

I've tried booting the T400 with a live disk of Mint 18 in case it had different drivers, but it loads the same wifi driver.

I'm next going to see if I can learn about configuration settings. Maybe there's something I can tweak. I've noticed others across the web lamenting about slowness for that particular chipset in different laptops, and for some a kernel update solved it, but those updates were for 2.x kernel versions, and this T400 with Trisquel 7 has a 3.x version.

Maybe it's just the nature of the thing, but can you do wifi speed tests on other T400s in stock to see if they behave the same way? I'm curious to see if they can beat 400 kilobytes/s download speeds.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

You should be getting speeds of about 20-30 Mbps or more, depending on your network, ISP etc

400Kbps definitely doesn't sound right

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

That's the spec of the chips yeah. I seem to only be getting 2 Mbps according to http://speedof.me/ . The USB dongle is giving 30 Mbps.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

Yes, that's definitely not right. I'll ship another wifi chip along with your battery, with instructions for how to install it.

(if you break anything when installing it, I'll fix it for free. It's easier this way than sending it back through customs)

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

That's so very thoughtful. I'll be super careful but I wouldn't want to trouble you with fixing any of my potential future physical mistakes. :) The ThinkPenguin device is working really well and is my backup plan should things not go well. Thanks for all the help.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

I'm testing some batteries for you now. I'll make sure to ship you a good one. Due to high order volume we go by best estimation and probability of reliability; we don't usually ship bad batteries.

Your replacement battery will be sent out via UPS, like the original laptop. Though, you probably won't have to pay customs since it's a low-value shipment (by currency value).

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Sounds good. I'll try what you send and see how it goes. I'd love to be able to get up to at least 3 hours. My usage will be writing while doing some web research and email.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

Yes, on average we ship batteries that are about 50Wh, often more. 3+ hours is what you should expect from the new battery. I'll email you as soon as I've shipped it.

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Thanks for the shipment!

IrishUSA
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Joined: 12/03/2016

How's the trackpad?

Every GNU/Linux distro (fully free or otherwise) that I've tried makes the trackpad frustratingly sensitive. Whereas with Windows, MacOS, or ChromeOS you could use the computer normally, on GNU/Linux it's common for accidental or incidental contact with the trackpad, especially while typing, to cause the cursor to lurch away from where it had been.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

I use a T400 myself and don't really notice any issues (and I'm a heavy user of the keyboard).

Trisquel 7, by default, disables the "tap" feature that would let you tap the touchpad to perform a click. So it's less likely that you would have that issue with accidentally moving the cursor.

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

I've noticed it's touchier than other trackpads I've used even with all the sliders moved to the left in the System Prefs speed settings but it didn't take long to get used to. I'm tempted to try something that I had to do on my tower with a high sensitivity mouse. The steps are something like:

$ xinput list (find the ID of the input device)
$ xinput list-props id (look at settings)
$ xinput set-prop id 'Device Accel Profile' -1 (turn off acceleration)
$ xinput set-prop id 'Device Accel Constant Deceleration' 1.5 (the less the deceleration the higher the sensitivity)

Experiment to find the right mix and then save the commands in ~/.xinputrc .

This works really well for me in Mint 18. Will try it for the T400 trackpad in Trisquel soon. This won't address accidental input or disable trackpad-touch while typing.

I also need to figure out how to get scrolling via touchpad to work, either from swiping along its right edge (arrow indicators are printed), or two finger gestures.

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

I had to install xinput first, but it works like in Mint. Touchpad adjusted. :)

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

After I installed all software updates (first time since receiving the laptop), the right-edge scroll touch zone is working too. Awesome!

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Just wanted to give an update and a bit of thanks to Leah for always responding energetically to any hiccups I've had. We've remained in touch and she's sending me a replacement battery and wifi card so that my setup is the best it can be. It's been great having a personal touch like this.

I've been enjoying the system. You couldn't keep me off it this past weekend! Having this system, the most libre I've ever had, has really reminded me of what empowerment we can have with our digital tools, especially when open and not obfuscated by companies seeking to restrict and take beyond the initial sale. The vibe is totally different. I don't have to feel suspicious about my own computer LOL!

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

Update on the wifi: I was sent a replacement wifi card, which I installed tonight. Problem solved! The speeds are where they should be now.

Update on battery: I was also sent a replacement battery that looks like it will last more than 4 hours in my initial test, as I write this. :) It's working great.

Thanks again Leah!

Jabjabs
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Joined: 07/05/2014

Thank you so much for doing this. Just ordered mine yesterday! Great to see these freedom loving machines getting some exposure.

libreleah
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Joined: 04/03/2017

Thanks :)

I'll get your order shipped as quickly as possible.

ariellab
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Joined: 02/19/2015

I am such a clumsy idiot. My foot caught the power cord this morning and pulled the laptop off my coffee table. It hit the floor on the edge of the screen and now the frame around the display has a crack in the top right. Sigh. Need to buy some plastics glue to repair it.

IrishUSA
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Joined: 12/03/2016

A shame that Apple's MagSafe Connector didn't catch on as an industry standard. Even Apple has abandoned it.