Taurinus X200 laptop now FSF-certified to respect your freedom

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lap4fsf
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Joined: 10/12/2014

Here is some good news for you; Libiquity LLC's Taurinus X200 laptop has bagged FSF's Respect Your Freedom certification[1].

The Taurinus X200 is a refurbished and updated laptop based on the Lenovo ThinkPad X200, with all of the original low-level firmware and operating system software replaced. It runs the FSF-endorsed Trisquel GNU/Linux operating system and the free software boot system, Libreboot. Perhaps most importantly, all of Intel's Management Engine (ME) firmware and software has been removed from this laptop[2].

So there are more reasons to party (Just in case you missed it; FSF's 30th birthday party is this weekend and please do spread the word.) this weekend.

Source(s)

[1] https://shop.libiquity.com/product/taurinus-x200
[2] https://www.fsf.org/news/now-fsf-cerified-to-respect-your-freedom-taurinus-x200

Trisk Spellian
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Joined: 03/20/2015

Is this Chris? A subsidiary of ThinkPenguin? I notice from their Terms of Sale that they're also in New Jersey? Coincidence?

http://www.libiquity.com/legal/terms-of-sale

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

If Chris from Think Penguin was selling a laptop with RYF certification, don't you think he would use his existing image and strengthen it (exactly like when they started selling their RYF wifi adapters and routers), rather than create a new company from scratch?

Trisk Spellian
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Not necessarily. Sometimes people create offshoots. But it's not Chris. I see now it just happens to be a coincidence.

http://www.libiquity.com/news/libiquity-to-sell-free-software-libreboot-x200-laptops

doolio
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Joined: 12/31/2013

Libiquity LLC is from the developer of Protean OS (a recently endorsed distribution by the FSF). It has been in the pipline for a while that Libiquity LLC would ship Librebooted laptops. Minifree (formerly gluglug) also has plans I believe to ship their laptops with Protean OS in addition to Trisquel/Parabola. It's a collabortaive partnership between the two companies and is to be welcomed.

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Good news. BUt still waiting for:

1. a low priced computer to come out with free software support
2. a laptop that has more than just Libreboot, I want a fully free machine :)

SuperTramp83

I am a translator!

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Joined: 10/31/2014

Hi Gnuser mate! I want to dedicate you this song I wrote many years ago! :P

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JqKcnYWCAJc

moxalt
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Joined: 06/19/2015

> 1. a low priced computer to come out with free software support

What do you mean by 'free software support'? A machine with proprietary BIOS
(and potentially other low level nasty things) but one that supports a free
operating system? In that case, just browse around h-node. I'm sure you can
find a workable system and get it second hand. If in doubt, just buy from
Thinkpenguin.

On the other hand, if you mean a Librebooted system, you're not getting
anything cheaper than Minifree (if you're in the UK) or Libiquity (if you're in
the US). Or just buy a Thinkpad second-hand and Libreboot it yourself.

> 2. a laptop that has more than just Libreboot, I want a fully free machine

Wait no longer! They already exist. As I said, Minifree/Libiquity. They even
have low-level nasty things from Intel removed, like the Intel Active
Management Engine.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

> Or just buy a Thinkpad second-hand and Libreboot it yourself.

Not any ThinkPad, only the X60, X60s, X60 Tablet, X200, R400, R500, T400, and T500. And there's also the MacBook 1.1 or MacBook 2.1.

For clarity, it's never going to be possible to get a substantially newer computer based on an Intel CPU than the X200 to work with LibreBoot. See the Libreboot FAQ:

http://libreboot.org/faq/

SuperTramp83

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> 2. a laptop that has more than just Libreboot, I want a fully free machine

Wait no longer! They already exist. As I said, Minifree/Libiquity. They even
have low-level nasty things from Intel removed, like the Intel Active
Management Engine.

I'm pretty sure Gnuser is aware of the "low-level nasty things from Intel removed, like the Intel Active". He seems to care about sec/priv. I think he was referring to the hard drive firmware and the embedded controller firmware.

Hence my funny (at least that was the aim) link of the "Dreamer" song.. :)

cheers

GNUser
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Joined: 07/17/2013

Sorry, missed your earlier post. Why, thank you, yes I am ;-)

And yes, exactly that! I think giving a RYF badge to a computer merely because it supports libreboot, is... short sighted. What will the FSF do when a computer comes out with more free components? Award a "Super RYF" ?
That is not to say that I dislike the idea of giving recognition where it belongs, those machines are really better than the other laptops around, and I would like to have one myself, but like I have said, prices are prohibitive (for me, right now, I don't mean in a more general sense). There is a great work being done in those projects.
And besides, in a security/privacy way, libreboot is not enough. The components you mentioned are even more important (the embedded controller for example).

Can someone confirm if a Thinkpad of Macbook with libreboot can have a BIOS password to "lock" the machine?

I would easily prefer a "mini laptop" made from an AllWinner board. I have seen some projects but are still not something I see as a "solution". The Pitop is what we need but in a more "free" way.

jxself
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Joined: 09/13/2010

What will the FSF do when a computer comes out with more free components? Award a "Super RYF" ?

This is already addressed in their criteria. See http://www.fsf.org/resources/hw/endorsement/criteria

In particular:

"We want users to be able to upgrade and control the software at as many levels as possible. If and when free software becomes available for use on a certain secondary processor, we will expect certified products to adopt it within a reasonable period of time. This can be done in the next model of the product, if there is a new model within a reasonable period of time. If this is not done, we will eventually withdraw the certification."

So, if we get free HDD/SSD firmware tomorrow then the FSF will expect these computers to ship with that. If not then you get the "If this is not done" sentence.

Chris

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ThinkPenguin, Inc has no relationship with Libiquity- nor this laptop as was stated above. Libiquity is basically a US version of Mini Free. I believe at the core of the laptop is the same basic laptop that Mini Free sells (or one of them I should say).

Patrick the proprietor of Libiquity worked a little bit with Francis in relation to his baby Protein OS. From my understanding ProteinOS is part of these LibreBoot-based laptops. Francis is the proprietor of Mini Free and the lead developer of LibreBoot.

It's just coincidence that Patrick lives in NJ. We do know Patrick, but beyond some never-completed contract work there has never been any real business relationship. We might have also pointed Patrick to a US source for these refurbished laptops after we decided not to go down this road.

There are other paths to a free laptop and we'll take one of them eventually. I actually investigated porting coreboot back in 2008-2009ish time frame. Talked to the coreboot developers and decided not to take that path. It's just a matter of time before we do something in the laptop/desktop realm. None of the paths are perfect though unfortunately. Porting coreboot/libreboot is a non-trivial task and even an impossible one with newer laptops. Once you realize that there are good reasons not to go down this road.

And this (Libiquity/Mini Free) path involves Lenovo- a truly evil corporation in my mind that I'd rather not support. The other paths though are costly and come attached with there own set of issues: both technical and financial.

Francis didn't choose Lenovo though- he took the road of least resistance by building off the work of the coreboot project. Everybody does this. Heck it's what free software is all about. Everybody has to do this sort of thing too within the tech sphere. This is not to put Francis down. There aren't many good options for free'ing several year old X86 laptops. You need to have sufficient supplies and work off that of other peoples work (ie coreboot). You can't manufacture a laptop from scratch if the components needed haven't been manufactured in 10 years.

For one of the laptops I believe Francis did more than just free coreboot. He did actually port coreboot/libreboot to the model himself, but even with that he didn't have a choice on which laptop to port to, or company to build off. It's half luck and half perseverance.

In any event this path (building off X86) is a dead end. Hopefully we'll have a better approach/path soon enough. There are a number of efforts underway to do it better/right/etc. I think only one of these is going work. There is another way to do it, but nobody is taking that approach yet. None will be perfect, just better. A more forward looking direction. Part of the reason we have so much trouble with these types of projects is the industry builds off itself. Lenovo didn't really manufacture or design these laptops. They're just branded for Lenovo. There are few companies designing the core components, a few manufacturing them, etc. If none of the companies producing the core components are cooperative it becomes an impossible task to 'do it right'.

You can 'design' a more unique board rather than build off a fairly generic reference design. It'll still be based off the same core components though. If you utilize an Intel CPU for example it doesn't matter what your design looks like. It'll still be dependent on Intel's proprietary driver/firmware/etc. If the other option is AMD and they too do similar stuff your left with zero options if nobody will cooperate. That's the problem we face.

tomlukeywood
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Joined: 12/05/2014

"your left with zero options if nobody will cooperate. That's the problem we face."
i visited a factory were someone i know works and they showed me that you can buy CPU's(around 33mhz) bulk for about £0.4 each and cheaper the more you buy

and from what they told me it was completely unrestricted in any way (sorry i forgot the cpu)

but my point is if we can get lots of unrestricted 33mhz cpus for very very cheap
can we build a powerful cluster computer?

33mhz * 100mhz = 3300mhz

is it even possible to develop are own 4mhz cpu's and do the same?

Chris

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I don't think that's a realistic option. It's not even really the CPU that is the problem anyway (well, maybe with X86). It's the graphics, wifi, and other components. I'm not even sure how you would fit 60 CPUs onto a system even if that were the problem.

Magic Banana

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Most programs are single-threaded, i.e., would run on one single 33MHz processor.

onpon4
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Joined: 05/30/2012

Indeed, combining 100 processors together would in practice mostly just allow you to run 100 programs simultaneously without adding further slowdown. Multi-threaded programs that can actually take advantage of multiple processing cores do exist, of course, but it's a difficult job to do and typically reserved for programs that really need it. Even then, it's usually only a small number of threads, nowhere near 100; there's only so much you can do concurrently, after all.

Some jobs can of course be easily split up, like brute-force password cracking, but most of the time there is a certain order you need to do some essential things in. If you have to do 10 jobs before moving onto the next set of jobs, and one of them is guaranteed to take 10 milliseconds while the rest of them take only 1 millisecond, it's no help at all to give an individual thread to the rest of them; you might as well just split those jobs into two threads, one for the job that's going to take 10 milliseconds and one for the 9 jobs that are going to take 1 millisecond each. So this fake example would never benefit from more than two cores even though it technically could be split up into 10.

lap4fsf
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Joined: 10/12/2014

Hi Chris,

Given your vast experience with Intel Processors, graphics cards and other computer hardware, can you help me?

My computer is having following specifications:-
[1] Processor: Intel® Core™2 Duo CPU E7400
[2] Graphics driver: Intel® G33 x86/MMX/SSE2
[3] Memory: 2.0 GiB
[3] Mother Board: ASUS P5KPL-CM

(1) Is it possible to install a 64 bit version of Trisquel GNU/Linux on this system?

(I presently have a 32 bit version of same OS, everything works fine. One of my friend suggested 64 bit versions works faster and allows the use of more RAM, if compatible with the processor arch. So can I give it a try?)

(2) Can I flash my BIOS with libreboot?

(AFAIK, ASUS has some sort of flash utility (I don't remember the exact name, but something like EZ Flash) in the BIOS Setup, so I don't think it should be that hard to libreboot my computer.)

lembas
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moxalt
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Joined: 06/19/2015

> (AFAIK, ASUS has some sort of flash utility (I don't remember the exact name,
> but something like EZ Flash)

Easy Flash, actually.

> in the BIOS Setup, so I don't think it should be that hard to libreboot my
> computer.)

ASUS Easy Flash is a utility designed to update the BIOS with new versions from
ASUS. It cannot be used to install alternate BIOSes. It's actually a lot easier
to install Libreboot than all that- Libreboot comes with a flashing utility
which lets you flash Libreboot directly to your ROM via software from within
the operating system (in most cases).

Regardless, Libreboot/Coreboot doesn't support your system. Libreboot only
works on a range of Thinkpads, the ASUS KN4-DRE server board, and the Macbooks
1 and 2.

lap4fsf
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>> 1 yes https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intel_Core_2

That's good news! I am going to download the 64 bit version of Trisquel GNU/Linux now!

>> no http://www.libreboot.org/docs/hcl/index.html#supported_list

Thank you for the link. It can come handy at some point of time in future.

>>Why is this question in this thread?

I have very little practical experience with Intel processors and graphical drivers. So I thought it would be nice to post my doubts, as there is a greater chance of getting an authentic reply from distinguished forum users, like Chris.

Apologies, if I am in the wrong space. Thank you for the fast response!