Searching for a good deal on a Libreboot-able Laptop

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Roedor
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Joined: 12/03/2017

Hello, thanks for your time.
I want to get a laptop that can be as free as possible. Want to get a laptop with Libreboot. I don't have a lot of money, so i thought i would search for a Thinkpad X60-X60s or T60. I prefer an X60-X60s model because it's gonna be used as a library companion, going to write a lot, and read various digital books. I believe that these laptops are 32-bit's. So:
1.- The machine could handle Emacs with LaTeX and very light browsing ?
2.- Can i install Trisquel or Parabola and use some 64-bit software ?

And finally, searching on my country internet merchants i found some possible laptops:
*X60 $72
-2GB RAM
-80 HDD
(Don't have real pictures)
*X60s $82
-1GB RAM
-80 HDD
(In the pictures looks in good shape)
*X60s $75
-2GB RAM
-120 HDD
(Looks like 3 keys have lost details on it's symbols)
*X60s $104
-4GB RAM (Only 3 available)
-160GB HDD
-Allegedly New Battery
(Looks ok, except for one little scratch near one display hinge)

Do you think that any of these could be a good deal ?
I'm inclining in favor of the X60's $104 one, or the X60 $72

There are some Macbook's 1,1 and 2,1 but in my country having the fruit icon makes a computer an status symbol, so the cheapest one used it's at $140. The cheapest Asus Chromebook C201 it's at $260 and it's way too far from my budget. However even if i had the money i still prefer a Thinkpad.

So, what do you think ? Do i wait for something else ? Do i get another thing ? Is the EOMA68 an option ?

gd_scania
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Joined: 09/13/2017

The best is to order a Purism’s ‘Librem’ laptop using Bitcoins, which credits cards are always shitty nonfree. :)

Roedor
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Joined: 12/03/2017

Those laptops are very expensive to me, gonna search about buying things with bitcoin since i don't know nothing about it. Thanks for answering.

CalmStorm

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X60s is the best option I believe. Usually the s version of X60 or X200, etc... has more battery life. That's my personal opinion.

eoma68 does have the >> potential << to be better though.

Hard to say yet... but I believe it will be the best option in the future.

Roedor
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Joined: 12/03/2017

Agree, if i had the money i would definitely buy a Minifree X200, or an X220. I don't need too much "processing power".

About the eoma68 issue, i sincerely hope that one help stimulate some similar projects. For example, in my country it's very hard to find old Thinkpads (despite beign manufactured in here) the vast mayority of them go straight up "recycled". The thing is that those laptops are not a renovable resource and with time the chances of finding one decrease exponentially. That's why is critical to find new hardware,convince manufacturers or keep porting Libreboot to different laptops (I know that it's a lot of effort and i don't take what has been done so far for granted).

mason

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If you want to flash libreboot yourself, the X60 will be easiest as libreboot can be flashed internally. If you have the knowledge, equipment, and desire to flash libreboot externally, the X200 and T400 are options and have better specs than the X60.

There are both 32-bit and 64-bit X60's, so I would ask the merchants which they are selling. I have a 64-bit X60 running Trisquel 8, and it is it more than sufficient for the uses you describe. The only thing it's unsuitable for is demanding 3D games. A heavy DE like GNOME 3 might not run very smoothly either. Apart from that, I've run into no limitations. I never run out of my 2GB RAM.

If you want to just buy a laptop that has already been librebooted, there are several vendors who sell X200's. Since money is a factor, I recommend Minifree, as they are the least expensive I know of. https://minifree.org/

EOMA68 is a great project to support if you can, and it is just as free as a librebooted laptop. However, unless you are content with either buying the computer card to use with your own monitor/keyboard/etc or are able/willing to print and/or assemble the laptop housing yourself, it will be expensive.

gd_scania mentions the Purism Librem. The Librem is freer than many laptops, but less free than librebooted laptops or the EOMA68 laptop. Purism's marketing may seem to imply that the Librem has a free BIOS, but it does not. It uses Coreboot, which has proprietary blobs. It is also overpriced, around $1500. The specications are better than those of EOMA68 or a librebooted X200, but the only reason people think they need those specs is because they use unecessarily bloated software. See Wirth's Law: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wirth%27s_law

CalmStorm

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Absolutely agree 100% Librem is not free hardware.

I am curious why Tehnoetic's tct doesn't have that in his avatar.

Odd yes?

Anyways, x200 is better if librebooted although, gnome 3 in my opinion sucks.

And for those who don't know, I am not saying due to its requirements. It is more because it is clunky and overcomplicated.

I prefer simple xfce4 its stable, works well and is lightweight.

Minifree is a good one and so is Vikings. Just pick what suits your location better. ;)

and yes eoma68 has a lot of potential to be awesome but it is also expensive. ;/

mason

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> Absolutely agree 100% Librem is not free hardware.

AFAIK no laptop consists of completely free hardware. Libreboot is a free BIOS. Having a free BIOS is important but does not make all of the hardware in the laptop free. However, the OP says they want "as free as possible" at this time, which is why librebooted ThinkPads and EOMA68 are an option and Librem isn't.

> I am curious why Tehnoetic's tct doesn't have that in his avatar.

tct?

> gnome 3 in my opinion sucks.
>
> And for those who don't know, I am not saying due to its
> requirements. It is more because it is clunky and overcomplicated.

By requirements do you mean systemd? I recall you saying once that systemd is a dependency of GNOME 3, which doesn't make sense to me since it is included in GuixSD, which uses GNU Shepherd as its init systemd.

I don't like GNOME 3 either, though. It seems like it is designed for use on a tablet, and I think it would work very well for that. The fact that everything can be accessed by pressing Super would be very helpful for a device with one button. It's not necessarily the best design for desktop use though. One good thing about it is that it seems to be intuitive to Mac users, which makes it easier for them to migrate to GNU/Linux. Unfortunately, it does not work well with the free driver for their Macbook's GPU. One of my friends ended up installing the proprietary Nvidia driver to make the DE more usable. I wish there were a "software rendering" version of GNOME like there is for Cinnamon.

Magic Banana

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I actually like GNOME Shell mostly because you can efficiently interact with your system using only the keyboard (in particular the dash accessed with the Meta key where you search as you type any application, bookmarked folder, contact, etc. and the Alt+[key above Tab], which is a great addition to Alt+Tab once you get the habit). See https://wiki.gnome.org/Projects/GnomeShell/CheatSheet for a cheat sheet written when GNOME 3 was released (but it is still valid).

mason

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GNOME Shell does have a very good launcher that can be accessed in the dash, which makes it possible to navigate the system using only the keyboard, but this is not unique to GNOME. Even in a desktop environment the doesn't include a launcher you can install a standalone one like Synapse or Albert. Albert seems to me to be just as good as GNOME's launcher, and it is not integrated into the dash.

Opening the dash in GNOME 3 runs not only the launcher, but also a workspace switcher, a dock, and an overview of all windows open in the present workspace, even though the user would generally only need one of these at a time. Combining all of them so that they are all accessed with the same key or button is an excellent design choice for a tablet with only one button, and even on a desktop it has the advantage of saving the user the trouble of memorizing multiple keyboard shortcuts. However, it is demanding on hardware, making it run poorly on old machines and tempting users without adequate free drivers for their GPU to install proprietary ones. My GPU does have a free driver but is old, and the dash in GNOME 3 is too slow and choppy to be usable. Cinnamon, on the other hand, has the same features as the dash (workspace switcher, overview of windows in current workspace, launcher) but gives each one its own keyboard shortcut and runs them one at a time, and my computer is able to handle this. Cinnamon also has a software rendering version, which has the same features but leaves out any eye candy that requires 3D acceleration. This is usuable even without the GPU.

It is possible (and requires fewer key strokes) to change workspaces in GNOME without the dash, but the animation for this also requires 3D acceleration, which makes it slow and choppy on my computer, as well as on a Macbook unless the proprietary Nvidia driver is installed. It is also possible to use the launcher without the dash, which causes no performance issues, but Albert or another standalone launcher can do the same thing in any DE.

Roedor
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All of the laptops listed are 32-bit. I think that i will keep searching and keep saving a bit for a 64-bit to avoid some future issues updating software. Maybe someday i order an X200 from Minifree, hope i get a good price. For the EOMA68 i prefer to build my own hybrid laptop case out of wood, 3D printers are rare in my country, so the computer card or maybe the Micro Desktop Housing would be enough. Thanks for your time.

CalmStorm

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I would look at the prices on minifree. To be honest you probably only need 4gb of ram unless your a developer/power user.

4 will work fine for virtualization if needed. otherwise it should be more than enough.

ps, 32 bit is a bad idea I wholeheartedly agree. :/

mason

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> To be honest you probably
> only need 4gb of ram unless your a developer/power user.

OP wants to edit TeX files and browse the web. Even 2GB should be plenty.

CalmStorm

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That would make sense. For such basic use 2gb should be fine.