Some question about libreboot & new laptop for my birthday

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Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

I wanted to get a librebooted x200 for my birthday. However it can only run GNU/Linux. The libreboot website stated that :

Windows is incompatible with libreboot, and will probably remain so. Never use Windows.
Windows incompatibility is a feature, not a bug.
This makes it utterly useless in the high school i study in because it says 'linux' devices are not accepted. But still, i want it for my birthday. Should i get it?

PS: why wont libreboot support windows (i know it's bad for freedom, especially the ignorant windows fan-boys, But why did they deliberately not support windows, is it a freedom or a technical concern? Just curious about this libreboot stuff)

JadedCtrl
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Joined: 08/11/2014

It seems to me that the effort required to support Windows isn't worth it, and may also be seen as an anti-feature. (BSD support, on the other hand...)
The kind of people that use Libreboot are 9 times out of 10 people that don't use Windows.

And might I ask why GNU/Linux computers aren't accepted?
Do they check everyone's computer for a certain OS?
If not, then as long as you can get your work done it doesn't matter.
I mean, unless they require some proprietary program without a libre alternative, you don't have to use Windows.

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

Yes, the IT Technicians do check the OS. They know GNU/Linux exists, but say it does not support wpa2 enterprise (i doubt it). Other than the school's server computers, Not one SINGLE computer in the school has GNU/Linux. Most schools byod policy does not mention GNU/Linux at all, & if they do, it's usually Chromebooks with chrome OS (but at least chrome OS is better than windows for schoolwork)

PS. Why is supporting Windows an anti-feature (other than the fact it's bad for our freedom, but some average person, unaware of the free software community, wants to replace the OS with Windows and realises it doesn't work)

PPS. I wish Libreboot had better support for BSD. It would be nice to turn a laptop into a home server for my parents one day

PPPS. I could move to another school that has support for GNU/Linux, but that is going to be a flying pig for now.

quantumgravity
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Joined: 04/22/2013

I think it would be better to use wine for certain tasks than to install windows.
What about virtual machine?
Doesn't work either?

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

I have used wine before, but i use Libreoffice and other Free Software for GNU/Linux like you (so that's redundant)

I could buy the Librebooted X200 for my birthday and run virtualbox on it, but they might still reject it because they expect the host (not guest) OS to be Windows or MacOS. I could try, but it would be a waste of my parent's money.
The caveat with windows is that a legit install (with licensing and everything) costs money and a virtual machine install counts as an actual pc.
Still, it would be a good present for my birthday

davidnotcoulthard
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Joined: 02/28/2014

Surely flashing an image that uses SeaBIOS as payload rahter than GRUB might help?

SeaBIOS works well with Windows 10 (10!) in QEMU.......

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

QEMU is slow. I do have to use Windows because they told me too. I would be more than happy to uninstall it after i'm finished with High School! (and embrace the world of Free Software!)

davidnotcoulthard
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Joined: 02/28/2014

It isn;t - not here anyway.

I do use a VGA passthrough to an external GPU though.

(Anyway what I said has othing to do wth you actually using QEMU. QEMU uses SeaBIOS, which can boot windows 10. So I expect W10 to boot with SeaBIOS even with Libreboot.....or not??)

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Have you considered asking them why they demand that you use Windows? This is an unreasonable demand. If I were you, I would firmly tell them that as long as they aren't lending me the hardware, they have no right to tell me what OS I can and can't use. This policy would mean that I would be forbidden to use my OpenPandora, which can't run Windows or Mac OS X, or heck, even an Android tablet. And for what purpose?

And you say this is high school. Is it a public school? What would they say to you if you had a computer they have arbitrarily banned, and couldn't afford a new one? That sorry, we demand that you be rich enough to buy whatever computers we want you to have, because we're going to impose restrictions on that without lending approved computers to you if you don't have one? Disgusting.

I say, don't let this nonsense dictate what hardware you buy. It's clear that you want a Libreboot X200. That being the case, get a Libreboot X200, and if your school refuses to let you use your computer when they will let others use theirs, complain. Complain loudly that all you want to do is bring the same sort of equipment that other students are being allowed to bring, which you own, and that the school is discriminating against you because you have chosen a different software stack from everyone else. Or if the school is actually actively requiring you to have a Windows computer, complain loudly that they refuse to supply hardware that they demand you have in your possession. I have never been subject to either of these cases in any school I went to, and I would never tolerate it.

By the way, the same goes for paying for licenses of proprietary programs. If they are going to require you to use Microsoft Windows, they'd better be paying for the license. In fact, I would even go so far as to say that they'd better be the ones accepting the EULA. If they are not willing to do so, they'd better permit you to use something else.

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

I had a rough start in high school and because of that they wont lend me a laptop. So i gotta buy my own laptop. I have demanded them why i had to use Proprietary Operating Systems. I know, it Sucks, but the school is too busy with Windows and Mac They dont believe GNU works with WPA2, Which is nonsense. GNU/linux (except for their servers) is of little concern to them. If they would let me use GNU/Linux it would be fine. But nope. Not Android or the other semi free replacements like Ubuntu. Just 100% Nonfree Windows and Mac. & the purpose is to read ebooks and do schoolwork like essays and spreadsheets, Which you can obviously do with GNU/Linux.

Yes, it is a public school. In order for the computers to be allowed into the school network, The computers must have a long battery life, an x86 (intel or amd processor) and a supported OS (Windows and Mac, Both Proprietary) That has nothing to do with the laptop you buy, It can be a cheap or a expensive one, as long as it meets the aforementioned requirements, you'll be fine. That's the problem. You see, i wanted to use GNU/Linux so i could have freedom doing my schoolwork.

I can use theirs, but you MUST have your own laptop. Because there will be ebooks rather than Physical books, Yay! (sarcasm)

Too bad that wont happen because of the first paragraph i said about a rough start.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> I had a rough start in high school and because of that they wont lend me a laptop. So i gotta buy my own laptop.

That sounds like it must be illegal, and I would consider seeing if you can take legal action. It's a form of discrimination. Regardless of what you mean by "rough start", it's unjust. If the school is unwilling to lend you a laptop, fine, but then it is unjust for them to demand that you get one yourself. If they aren't willing to supply a laptop, then they must not require you to have one.

> They dont believe GNU works with WPA2

Believing that it won't work is not a legitimate reason for them to make a demand that you don't use it in your own hardware.

> The computers must have a long battery life, an x86 (intel or amd processor) and a supported OS (Windows and Mac, Both Proprietary) That has nothing to do with the laptop you buy, It can be a cheap or a expensive one, as long as it meets the aforementioned requirements, you'll be fine.

A long battery life combined with an x86 processor is not a reasonable requirement in my book. If your laptop is old, you'd be lucky for it to have an hour. If it's new, that's 3 hours max for most of them. Longer battery life than that is practically a luxury.

> I can use theirs, but you MUST have your own laptop. Because there will be ebooks rather than Physical books, Yay! (sarcasm)

Those e-books you mention are almost certainly digitally restricted and require proprietary software to view. Probably Flash, but it's hard to say. I would say that if they are unwilling to supply physical books, then it is their duty to supply a device that has the e-books on it (and can read them). Otherwise, what they are doing is imposing a financial burden on students who, for all they know, could be extremely poor. And that's a terribly unethical thing for a public school to do, regardless of whatever "rough start" you had.

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

it's not illegal, the laptop was dropped by accident & now they wont lend me one now.

They say the eBooks are cheaper than physical books, as there is less manufacturing costs involved in eBooks. But they could use flash, nasty stuff by Adobe. someone told me that the ebooks cost about 100-120$ while physical books (which often last less than a year on my hands) cost about 200$. eBooks would be nice if they were in free formats through.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

That's not an excuse. If they don't trust you enough to lend you hardware anymore because you accidentally broke some of it in the past, fine, but they morally MUST offer some alternative if that is the case. I don't see how a public high school can justify forcing its students to pay money to attend.

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

And you said laptops with longer than 3 hours is a luxury? most schools BYOD policies say otherwise. most of them say 6-8 hours battery life. 4 if you're lucky. some schools let you have ARM laptops, which you say, is more reasonable than x86. But replacing windows RT with GNU/Linux is like trying to make a pig fly because secure boot is PERMANENTLY enabled on the tablets.

And nobody is being forced to pay money. there's no such thing as a free lunch, you know. Admission is free, but you have to pay for the materials. All schools can help with low income families if they are struggling with something, like uniform, for example. When i have a family one day, No matter how rich i am, I will never take them to a private school. Those schools make you have to pay. for everything.

& because i'm growing up in the digital age, i've seen more proprietary software than free software. Photoshop, Ms office, Windows, Flash & the like. I saw these software as an injustice, so that's why i support the Free Software movement. But not everybody has these ideals, Like Big media and Big Computer companies monopolizing schools with windows.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> 6-8 hours battery life

You must be dreaming if you think 6-8 hours of battery life is reasonable in the slightest for an x86 laptop. This is basically a requirement that you use an ARM laptop, or carry a bunch of spare batteries around with you.

And if it's your hardware, what do they care if your battery life is too short to last through the entire day?

> there's no such thing as a free lunch, you know.

Um, yes, there is. At least where I live, public schools are required to have free lunch programs for poor children.

> you have to pay for the materials

Yes, but that's only for really basic things like pencils and paper, and the school doesn't demand that you bring a specific brand of paper, or paper with specific dimensions, or a specific brand of mechanical pencil. And the thing is, the school usually will provide these materials if you need them to. Obviously they're not going to provide you with a nice notebook and mechanical pencil, but if you don't have a pencil and/or paper, you normally should be provided with a pencil and/or paper when you're asked to take notes. A good teacher doesn't say, "Sorry, you forgot your pencil today, so you're just going to have to suck it up and not participate in class!" What kind of ass-backwards message would that even send? It would be even crazier if the teacher said, "Sorry, I'm not going to allow you to take notes with your pen, and I'm not going to supply you with a pencil."

But computers are hundreds of dollars at least. And license fees for proprietary programs like Windows can be hundreds of dollars more, depending on the program. This is not basic equipment. It's special equipment. So if they're going to require you to use it, they had better be providing it. But if you are bringing your own computer in to do work, then it's not their place to refuse to let you use your computer because it doesn't have the exact same software or branding that they prefer to use.

Refusing to help you solve a problem because they aren't familiar with your operating system is one thing. A bit dickish; a good teacher would try their best to help you, even if they fail in the end. But at least this would be understandable. Actively saying that, no, you are not allowed to use Linux on your own computer is a whole different beast, and it's unacceptable.

> But not everybody has these ideals

Please note that the problem you are having with your school actually has nothing to do with libre software ideals. You would be having the same problem if you were using Mint. Heck, if they actually intend to deny you the right to use any system other than Windows or Mac OS X, you would be having the same problem if you were using OpenBSD.

This is a problem of a public school imposing an unreasonable requirement for you to bring in expensive special tools, and then making unreasonable demands about equipment you are bringing into school to do work with. I'm sure that many people who haven't even heard of libre software, and even people who actively oppose libre software, would agree with me on this issue.

Have you talked to your parents about this?

Calinou
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Joined: 03/08/2014

> You must be dreaming if you think 6-8 hours of battery life is reasonable in the slightest for an x86 laptop. This is basically a requirement that you use an ARM laptop, or carry a bunch of spare batteries around with you.

Modern 13" or 15" laptops can actually last 6 to 8 hours away from a power source, in lightweight usage. (I have one of those.)

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Touche. Looks like my knowledge about this type of thing is a bit outdated.

Anyway, the point still stands: just because you have an old laptop that can only last a couple hours (or a new laptop that only lasts a few hours; a quick search suggests that those do still exist) doesn't mean the school should forbid you from using that laptop for school work. It's like banning the use of pencils that aren't at least a certain length.

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

They might have you bring in your laptop with a short battery life if it was the only one you had (my first laptop had only 1 hour of battery life, my second one only had 2 hours. so i dont think 6-8 is reasonable for a x86 laptop.

Wait, we live in diffrent countries, so yeah, where i live, we have to pay for our own lunch.

Well, you're right. It is for basic things like pencils and paper. any school will give you pencil and paper if you dont have it. Windows is not basic equipment Macintosh is not basic equipment. Schools where i live say otherwise. You're right, all computers should have GNU/Linux on them (like in India and Spain) and laptop with at least 2 hours with an OS of your choice should be reasonable)
And not being able to use GNU/Linux on your own computer is unacceptable.

I dont think my parents will understand the meaning of libre software anyway.

PS. Do they let schools there use GNU/Linux?

& final verdict: Should i get this librebooted x200? I want to ditch windows for good.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> I dont think my parents will understand the meaning of libre software anyway.

They don't have to. They just need to understand that this is the laptop you want, it's perfectly fine for school work, and someone at your school is telling you that you're not allowed to use it for school work.

They probably will understand what libre software is, by the way. This is approximately the way I usually put it in one sentence: "Libre software is software that gives you liberty in your computing." In my experience, people can usually see how the words "libre" and "liberty" relate, and they get the basic idea instantly. If someone were to question this or ask what exactly I mean, I would explain further how a lot of software does not give you liberty (EULAs, lack of source code, and copyright restrictions), tailored to their knowledge level and interest.

> Do they let schools there use GNU/Linux?

There's no law in the U.S. against schools using GNU/Linux, but most of them use Windows. If you mean to ask whether we were allowed to use GNU/Linux, when I was in grade school, the schools I went to were quite conservative and didn't normally allow us to bring computers at all in normal circumstances. Any use of electronic devices was heavily restricted. We were allowed to use music players and game systems during the lunch period, and we were of course allowed to use handheld calculators, but that was it.

This is a little different, but when I went to university for a semester, no one was bothered by the fact that I was using an OpenPandora to take notes. I never would have even considered the possibility of someone being upset at me using GNU/Linux. The only thing I was concerned about was professors mistakenly believing the OpenPandora to be a Nintendo DS, so I made sure to tell all of my professors that it was actually a handheld computer.

Embracer245
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Joined: 08/24/2015

ok, i will get it then. maybe for Christmas through, even through it's far away.

They do use android, which is better than ios but worse than replicant. They dont know that they are using free software (kinda)

thanks!

PS: look at my forum post at post your desktop 2! you are going to like my wallpaper!