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Free Software Foundation Endorses a "Truly Free" Laptop

timothy posted 1 year,1 day | from the high-standards dept.

GNU is Not Unix 340

An anonymous reader writes "The Free Software Foundation announced today the first laptop they have been able to certify as-is that respects the user's freedoms. The laptop is free down to using Coreboot in place of a proprietary BIOS. The OS shipped on the laptop is Trisquel, the Ubuntu derived Linux OS that removes all traces of proprietary firmware, patented formats, etc. The only issue though for new customers is this endorsed laptop comes down to being a refurbished 2006 ThinkPad X60 with single or dual-core Intel CPU, 1GB+ of RAM, 60GB+ HDD, and a 1024x768 12.1-inch screen, while costing $320+ USD (200 GBP). The FSF-certified refurbished laptops are only offered for sale through the Gluglug UK shop. Are these outdated specs worth your privacy and freedom?"

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Well... (5, Insightful)

twocows (1216842) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738665)

I support the FSF, but I can really just install free software on my own computers. This even includes coreboot usually. And they're a lot less expensive and a lot more powerful. I suppose it might be good to buy if your child needs a laptop or something.

Re:Well... (0, Troll)

HornWumpus (783565) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738711)

It's not truly free unless it comes with BSD.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738837)

No, it's not truly free unless it comes with exactly zero mysterious binary blobs calling home (or NSA, which may be the same thing).

Re:Well... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738897)

Apparently, according to this summary, it is only free and open if it is old crap running junk still with proprietary Intel chips that aren't open.

Liberated CPUs (5, Insightful)

unixisc (2429386) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738981)

Yeah, RMS goes w/ Loongson, so since the FSF is putting this together, why don't they just team up w/ Lemote, slap Trisquel (or gNewSense) on the laptop, fire it up w/ GNOME3, and put it out to market? Better yet, if they can find someone to fab the OpenRISC chip, or come out w/ an GPLed version of a SPARC (where its HDL designs are GPLed) and fab it, and design it into a laptop, w/ coreboot, they'll get what they want.

Remember, for an FSF endorsement, it doesn't need to be good, or even run end user software. It just needs to 'respect your freedom & privacy', so the solution above should do it.

Re:Liberated CPUs (5, Funny)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739333)

Yeah, RMS goes w/ Loongson, so since the FSF is putting this together, why don't they just team up w/ Lemote, slap Trisquel (or gNewSense) on the laptop, fire it up w/ GNOME3, and put it out to market? Better yet, if they can find someone to fab the OpenRISC chip, or come out w/ an GPLed version of a SPARC (where its HDL designs are GPLed) and fab it, and design it into a laptop, w/ coreboot, they'll get what they want.

I recognize that most of the words you wrote are in English, and Google Translate auto-detects English, but I still have no clue what you just said.

A merry Loongson to you, dear Trisquel! And a Lemote coreboot to HDL!

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739003)

No, it's not truly free unless it comes with exactly zero mysterious binary blobs calling home (or NSA, which may be the same thing).

It's not truly free until it doesn't let you access Google-anything or Facebook or Amazon or pretty much everything else, because to access is to surrender.

The ultimate free laptop is a cat (for various definitions of Free which involve feeding, care and a robust catnip supply.)

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

marcello_dl (667940) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739129)

You have a strange definition of freedom.
A laptop with free hardware and free software let me do whatever with it, including signing up for pseudo-voluntary profiling in exchange for a meager chunk of ad ridden web service.

GNU licensed stuff poses additional restriction but those are aimed at the respect of others' freedom, in the same way that "do what you wish" makes a less free society than "do what you wish as long as it lets other do what they wish", no matter the smaller number of restrictions imposed.

Re:Well... (0)

ackthpt (218170) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739335)

You have a strange definition of freedom.
A laptop with free hardware and free software let me do whatever with it, including signing up for pseudo-voluntary profiling in exchange for a meager chunk of ad ridden web service.

GNU licensed stuff poses additional restriction but those are aimed at the respect of others' freedom, in the same way that "do what you wish" makes a less free society than "do what you wish as long as it lets other do what they wish", no matter the smaller number of restrictions imposed.

I presume you'll access internet through someone else's connection, too.

Re:Well... (4, Insightful)

briancox2 (2417470) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738779)

I get the sense that the FSF, though having some very good ideals, has no understanding of the importances of "just works" and "value added".

FSF does free; they do step one, others step two (5, Insightful)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738927)

> no understanding of the importances of "just works"

That's not their part of the job.

Various entities can label something as user-friendly. FSF is pretty much the only entity that can label stuff as free.

This is one laptop. Hopefully next year there'll be twenty, and then someone can take on the job of announcing which is the most user-friendly of the twenty free laptops.

Re:FSF does free; they do step one, others step tw (1)

briancox2 (2417470) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739171)

That's not their part of the job.

Maybe not. But a group that can't see other important issues because of one issue that they own is jeapordizing its own relevancy to the rest of society. That's fundamentalism in a nutshell.

Re:FSF does free; they do step one, others step tw (4, Insightful)

Jherek Carnelian (831679) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739215)

That's a definition of fundamentalism, it certainly isn't the definition of fundamentalism that is common short-hand for extremist asshole. The FSF does not qualify for the extremist asshole definition, not by a long shot.

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738951)

I get the sense that you mistake your priorities as applying to everyone.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

unixisc (2429386) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739031)

Oh, they understand it just fine, they just think it's less important than 'freedom' and 'privacy'. For instance, for most users, allowing JavaScript to run so that something they want to run actually runs would be 'just works' or added value, but for the FSF, all JavaScript is snooping, and shouldn't be allowed. Similarly, software that is distributed in a portable format, such as bytecode, is convenient for an end user, but hated by RMS, since it's not the source and doesn't respect your freedoms.

Re:Well... (3, Informative)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739229)

actually, the FSF uses javascript and has licenses appropriate for it,

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

aaaaaaargh! (1150173) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739057)

As an owner of a refurbished Thinkpad - from a German reseller of used laptops, not the company mentioned in the story - I can assure you that any old Thinkpad with GNU/Linux just works. Older Thinkpads are among the laptops with the best Linux support you can find. I use mine every day for 8 hours for years (and before that I used another old Thinkpad for years).

Regarding the other thing you mention, to be honest I have to admit that I have no idea what "value added" means. I've heard it occasionally but always though it was more like a meaningless buzzword or (worse) a synonym for pre-installed bloatware. What does it mean?

Re:Well... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739243)

I'm using an X60 right now! Nice machine. I had to replace the hinge on the display. That was quite involved, but Lenovo has very details instructions. Great. My only complaint is that it's very restrictive on what wifi cards it wil accept. The BIOS will refuse to boot if it's not on the list.

Re:Well... (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739095)

uh, the entire point of getting this laptop is that all the work has been done for you. ie, just works.

Re:Well... (3, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739119)

I get the sense that the FSF, though having some very good ideals, has no understanding of the importances of "just works" and "value added"

The FSF is like extreme overclockers. They are concerned with software freedom the way overclockers are concerned with cpu performance maximums, or drag racers are concerned with 1/4 mile times.

Criticising the FSF for pushing software freedom as far as they can is like criticising extreme overclockers for using bulky custom expensive cooling solutions, or drag racers for lousy cornering, and needing a parachute to stop.

Sure I'll probably never buy one of those devices, but I like that they are out there, and I support them, pushing the envelope. And even if I don't live right on the edge with them, preferring 'just works' to 'ideals' for a lot of day to day stuff, my 'just works' is a lot closer to 'ideals' than it would be without the FSF as a lot of that does trickle into what I use daily, even if I don't use it all, all the time.

I like the FSF pushing that envelope as far as they possibly can.

Re:Well... (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738811)

And they're a lot less expensive and a lot more powerful.

That depends on how much value you place on an hour of your time and how fast you can configure free software. For me the comparative advantage [wikipedia.org] probably lies with paying someone else to get the thing working.

Re:Well... (2, Insightful)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739121)

yes you can, although you'll find coreboot without blobs doesn't support hardly anything...which is why this is important.

Re:Well... (1)

mic0e (2740501) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739367)

The problem tha the FSF has with most laptops are proprietary firmware blobs, such as the BIOS, proprietary-driver-only WIFI cards, and so on.

"Truly free", but with Intel inside(tm) (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738673)

Seriously. I laughed.

Re:"Truly free", but with Intel inside(tm) (1)

csumpi (2258986) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739107)

...but with Intel inside..I laughed...

Why does that make you laugh? Please, do tell, what's the open alternative.

Re:"Truly free", but with Intel inside(tm) (3, Interesting)

colesw (951825) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739217)

...but with Intel inside..I laughed...

Why does that make you laugh? Please, do tell, what's the open alternative.

I think the fact that it has Intel inside, but is called "Truly Open" is what makes it funny. Until I saw the hardware, my first impression was that they had sourced open source hardware, to be truly free and all.
Just because there is no open alternative, doesn't mean that it is "Truly Open".

Re:"Truly free", but with Intel inside(tm) (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739271)

OpenSPARC and OpenRISC (OR1K) are two alternatives.

Privacy? (3, Interesting)

pegr (46683) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738675)

Your privacy can be compromised with open hardware, just as easily as with closed.

Freedom I see, however.

Re:Privacy? (1)

SirGarlon (845873) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738717)

TFA doesn't make any claims about privacy. That must be the opinion of the submitter, not the FSF.

Re:Privacy? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739069)

But the FSF - doesn't RMS always speak for them? - makes privacy an issue for its endorsement, like when they slammed Ubuntu for including searches that go to Amazon. So one would expect that their solution would preclude the possibility of your privacy being compromised.

Re:Privacy? (1)

ArbitraryName (3391191) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739105)

"...none of the software is known to contain backdoors or be designed to share users information without their knowledge"

Re:Privacy? (2)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738869)

Your privacy can be compromised with open hardware, just as easily as with closed.

The problem is, the former at least allows the community to take a remedial action other than "go back to pen and paper".

Sounds like a complete piece of shit (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738691)

What's so wrong with installing linux on a real laptop?

Re:Sounds like a complete piece of shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739087)

Please make that 'GNU/Linux', my good sir/ma'am - rms

Re:Sounds like a complete piece of shit (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739369)

BIOS

free hardware? (2)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738695)

What is the point without free and open hardware too?

Re:free hardware? (2, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739039)

We can't punish all murderers, what's the point of punishing any?

Umm, okay, but... (2, Interesting)

Penguinisto (415985) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738705)

...what can you do on it besides run gcc?

Mind you, I'm not being a troll, nor am I dismissing the principles behind what they're doing. However, I am wondering how long it'll stay 'pure' before the user realizes "hey, I can't run $favorite_item, even though it normally runs fine on Linux!"

I suspect that those few who bother will likely give up and park Ubuntu/Fedora/SomethingElse on it in very short order.

(won't even touch on the fact that it's an older spec...)

Re:Umm, okay, but... (5, Insightful)

Kardos (1348077) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738879)

Creating free replacements for all non-free software is a monumental task that started many years ago, one that may never be complete. However, this is a milestone; the list of laptop models that are "truly free" can only expand from here, as can the includeable software. Have you seen the DD-WRT compatibility list recently? It was quite short a when that project was getting started.

Re:Umm, okay, but... (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738893)

you can run any free software app. that's the point. this isn't some powerless MIPS computer.

Re:Umm, okay, but... (2)

oodaloop (1229816) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738905)

(won't even touch on the fact that it's an older spec...)

I'm sure glad you didn't touch on that!

Re:Umm, okay, but... (1)

failedlogic (627314) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738919)

"...1024x768 12.1-inch screen "

I'm so used to using a desktop with a 20"+ screen that every time I try to use my 14" laptop screen, I can't bear to use it. Add to that the small keyboard and track pack. By the time I'm done modifying my laptop to useable state - adding a mouse, a full keyboard, disabling the trackpad and adding a monitor ... I have a desktop. I don't see the point in a laptop unless one truly needs portability.

Re:Umm, okay, but... (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738921)

trisquel is ubuntu minus proprietary crap, which isn't needed to utilize the hardware on this computer.

Re:Umm, okay, but... (5, Funny)

unixisc (2429386) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739109)

...what can you do on it besides run gcc?

Run emacs. If you can run emacs, you shouldn't need anything else

Re:Umm, okay, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739293)

OK. I got a great OS, but is there a text editor for it?

Re:Umm, okay, but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739343)

Run emacs. If you can run emacs, you shouldn't need anything else

But I need a good text editor :-/

Harddrive firmware? (3, Insightful)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738709)

Is the harddrive running open-source firmware too? How could I possibly store my data on a device that uses proprietary software?

Re:Harddrive firmware? Probably non-free, no probs (1, Troll)

ciaran_o_riordan (662132) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739067)

> Is the harddrive running open-source firmware too?

A disingenuous double attack.

First: "Since I can't be perfect, why should I make any effort at all?"

Second: "FSF is has compromised! that makes them insincere"

The answer is that no, the hd firmware isn't open. Like the firmware of a microwave or common wristwatch, it's probably impossible to put new firmware on it, and it's probably not a problem.

A line has to be drawn somewhere, so FSF's line is: if the software (including firmware) can be updated, it must be free. The philosophy is that if it's complex or important, then the vendor will create a way to update the firmware. If the firmware can't be updated, then the code is probably sufficiently mundane as to be ignored, just as circuits are ignored.

Re:Harddrive firmware? Probably non-free, no probs (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739283)

Many HD/SSD firmwares can be updated. As they do not list the exact model, I cannot confirm if the ones they are using have firmware updates available (but it's likely, especially in the case of SSDs).

Re:Harddrive firmware? Probably non-free, no probs (2)

hawguy (1600213) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739397)

> Is the harddrive running open-source firmware too?

A disingenuous double attack.

First: "Since I can't be perfect, why should I make any effort at all?"

The article says:

The free software operating system preloaded on the refurbished X60 is Trisquel GNU/Linux, the Ubuntu derivative backed by the FSF that ships without any proprietary software or firmware options.

So tell me again who is being disingenous?

Second: "FSF is has compromised! that makes them insincere"

The answer is that no, the hd firmware isn't open. Like the firmware of a microwave or common wristwatch, it's probably impossible to put new firmware on it, and it's probably not a problem.

A line has to be drawn somewhere, so FSF's line is: if the software (including firmware) can be updated, it must be free. The philosophy is that if it's complex or important, then the vendor will create a way to update the firmware. If the firmware can't be updated, then the code is probably sufficiently mundane as to be ignored, just as circuits are ignored.

Why say it has "no proprietary firmware" when it clearly does?

Firmware is available [seagate.com] for many (most?) hard drives. I'm not sure why that makes it difference -- if that particular laptop didn't allow BIOS updates, would it be ok to advertise it as not having proprietary firmware? Is it somehow better that not only is the firmware no accessible in the hard drive, but the entire API is secret so you have no idea what it's doing? Maybe it scans the hard drive at night looking for your secret data and it uses its DMA access to poke that data into operating system TCP buffers. Any device with DMA access can be a security threat [wikipedia.org] .

And why do you keep saying probably? If there's a chance that proprietary firmware could be a problem, then shouldn't they tell me that?

Re:Harddrive firmware? (1)

unixisc (2429386) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739115)

Does it use an SDD? If yes, is the BIOS of the SDD coreboot?

Can't you just make your own? (1)

Kenja (541830) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738715)

Not really seeing what I get out of paying them to do this when in theory I could just make my own from a used laptop off eBay.

Re:Can't you just make your own? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739019)

Yes, you can. And your used laptop with a Linux of your choice and apt-getting whatever you want will be better in every metric than these overpriced, 'saved from the recycler' laptops except that you will not have a 'FSF Certified' sticker on your laptop unless you print one out yourself and glue it on.

Bah, I think I'll make up a 'FSF Certified' sticker and put it on my Venue. (and make a couple spare to give to friends, nothing will confuse OSSolytes like a 'FSF Certified' sticker on an iPad)

They must start somewhere (2)

psyclone (187154) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738723)

This path the FSF has taken to "create" a FLOSS system is not a bad one.

Instead of needing to manufacture a new laptop, simply "refurbish" an existing model and gauge your target market.

If the demand grows, newer models may be refurbished until it's economically viable to manufacture some.

I believe the "truly free" system here is just a model of what the FSF would like to see available in the market and not an actual business plan to compete in the marketplace to sell computers.

Re:They must start somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738889)

... and gauge your target market.

You meant to type gouge, I'm sure. 320 dollars for single core with 1GB of RAM? 60GB HDD? 1024x768? (i'm assuming the base price matches the listed base specs). The laptop is something I'd find at a salvation army for 20-50 dollars.

They compare it to a 2006 laptop, but those specs are almost out of the 90s. An automated install of some free software (they didn't develop) is hardly worth charging 300 dollars for.

If it's a charitable donation, fine -- give me a receipt to help me out at tax time.

Re:They must start somewhere (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739033)

1GB of RAM? 60GB HDD?...Those specs are almost out of the 90s.

How old are you? The Windows 95 desktop I bought for $1800 in 1998 had 64MB RAM and 6GB HDD.

Nothing says freedom... (4, Funny)

MrEricSir (398214) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738733)

...like "Made in China."

Re:Nothing says freedom... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738801)

Or "Made in the USA" for that matter.

worth your privacy and freedom? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738737)

Nope.

My ability to work and get things done is far more valuable to me.

The FSF will always be in the minority on this issue.

Pfff. Not really free. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738749)

I'm sure ther's microcode in that intel CPU that's not opensource, along with many other micros on the board.

We're going to need open-source processors where I can inspect the verilog and masks myself!

Re:Pfff. Not really free. (1)

pegr (46683) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738833)

You mean like Arduino? Or OpenSPARC? As you wish!

Re:Pfff. Not really free. (1)

armanox (826486) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738835)

Then you'll need either MIPS or SPARC. Actually, a mobile SPARC would be pretty awesome. I'd consider a MIPS laptop too, but only if it could run IRIX.

Re:Pfff. Not really free. (1)

unixisc (2429386) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739197)

RMS uses the Lemote Yeedong, which is based on a MIPS Loongson processor. I don't know if any company other than Tadpole ever came out w/ a SPARC laptop - it would be cool if one did. However, I doubt that there are any portable low power FOSS SPARC CPUs out there. But I agree that a mobile SPARC would be pretty awesome.

Actually, given what current FPGAs have become, one could make a SPARC laptop out of a SPARC CPU (suitably fabbed and modified for low power consumption) and an FPGA supporting all the residual logic that went into the design of original Sun workstations. Port Trisquel to it, and run it. Or if one prefers the BSDL to GPL, port PC-BSD to it, and run it. A win either way.

Truly free? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738815)

Free as in beer?

I'll take delivery of 1,000,000 units, please!

Total freedom (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738839)

Scientology gives people total freedom and that scares you because you don't want people becoming more aware and more free.

Ubuntu Derived? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738855)

Why not just go to Debian?

all that proprietary stuff is separated into contrib or non-free

It's still using propritary code (1)

BigDish (636009) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738881)

Coreboot still applies microcode "binary blobs" from CPU vendors, so this still isn't truly free - http://www.coreboot.org/FAQ#Is_coreboot_applying_x86_microcode_patches.3F [coreboot.org]

Re:It's still using propritary code (2)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738949)

no, it is not. the FSF endorsed this laptop specifically because it runs without the blobs for CPU and VGA (or anything else)

Re:It's still using propritary code (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739239)

The CPU still has its default blob inside it.
All the FSF have done is strip out the bug fixes.

Nope, not worth it (1)

mi (197448) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738913)

Are these outdated specs worth your privacy and freedom?

Nope, they are not. If only because the hope for "privacy" is still based on the claims of the makers and sellers. Just like it is for all other computer systems: no manufacturer would admit to be spying on their users. Certainly not in hardware.

Re:Nope, not worth it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739231)

TFA and FSF only claim "respects your freedom", the "privacy" seems to be added by the submitter or /. editor.

The price is wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738917)

Unless I'm completely wrong here, that machine is too expensive for it's specs.
And it strikes me as really disturbing when a machine with all free software is more expensive than the same machine without free software.

The answer... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738923)

Would be 'yes' *if* the alternative were so horrible.

On open source firmware, it just doesn't matter that much. I work in designing systems and particularly firmware. BIOS/UEFI isn't even that theoretically interesting in terms of where to inject any sort of privacy invading facility when you are designing all the firmware and hardware. There are a lot more robust and harder to detect vectors in the entirety of the hardware design than is ever possible in firmware. You can't argue that coreboot versus UEFI versus BIOS versus openfirmware choice by itself guards against malware getting into firmware. Regardless of implementation, if it doesn't include something like a staging area with firmware signature validation while effectively preventing direct writes from OS, then a malware implementation could get at it.

On 'freedom', BIOS and UEFI both have about as much as people really care about. SecureBoot has been conflated with 'all proprietary firmware' and particularly UEFI, but it just isn't a hard aspect of UEFI. I have seen people with secureboot *incapable* systems say "we want to install in BIOS mode because of SecureBoot'. SecureBoot is a completely useless and annoying piece of crap, true, but it isn't restricting freedom compared to genral BIOS vendors.

And to the SecureBoot defenders saying it can prevent some things as they exist today, I call it out as a failure because sidestepping it is trivial (get a linux loader, kexec your way to root kit of operating system of your choice). A system where OS installer could take ownership of TPM and have firmware validate based on OS installer choice of trust rather than some fixed trust root would have been tons more effective (MS could then assure *only* ms software comes after without manual reset of firmware root of trust, and so could redhat and canonical and so on without any vendor having to vouch for another vendor's content) and less controversial (don't like it, use an OS that never sets key in first place, if you buy some windows preinstalled, then you'll have to go into firmware config menu once and be done with it)..

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738925)

a refurbished 2006 ThinkPad X60 with single or dual-core Intel CPU, 1GB+ of RAM, 60GB+ HDD, 1024x768 12.1-inch screen while costing $320+ USD

Seriously? This won't even surf the awful modern web well... Sure it's fine for lynx or a cron that pulls websites as text like RMS uses but... the rest of us might wanna use Chromium.

Bang-per-Buck (2)

bradgoodman (964302) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738937)

Are these outdated specs worth your privacy and freedom?

No - but the Market will ultimately decide that.

Re:Bang-per-Buck (3, Interesting)

femtobyte (710429) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739045)

Unfortunately, "the Market" means "whoever has the most dollars," which are concentrated in the hands of a tiny elite of anti-freedom oligarchs. If you want to keep your privacy and freedom, you'll need to find better allies than "the Market," because Gates, Zuckerberg et al. "outvote" you (likely millions to one). Markets do not protect freedoms, aside from the freedom of oligarchs to rule unimpeded.

What about android? (1)

larry bagina (561269) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738941)

Linux finally won! Why isn't Android "Truly Free"?

Re:What about android? (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739043)

because it uses 1) non-free libraries 2) proprietary drivers and 3) firmware blobs. http://replicant.us/about/ [replicant.us] is an attempt to free android.

Re:What about android? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739259)

Even "nexus" devices aren't FOSS, Google Play is proprietary, and many of the apps preinstalled on Android devices also count as part of Google Play, NOT Android. In fact, Google has a nasty habit of moving apps out of AOSP and into Google Play, releasing them as proprietary software instead of FOSS, so they have a bigger club to beat hardware manufacturers over the head with.

Modified Coreboot used (1)

gnujoshua (540710) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738965)

The version of Coreboot is used has been substantially modified so as to remove all optional firmware and microcode updates from the source code. The certified version of the source and binary can be found here, http://ryf.fsf.org/ [fsf.org]

What a ripoff (2)

weilawei (897823) | 1 year,1 day | (#45738973)

I paid $200 for a Thinkpad T60 refurb (yes, a refurb, but you know, it hasn't faltered once). Comparable specs, faster CPU, less money. Not to mention this still isn't open hardware. I did have to strip whichever version of Windows came with it (didn't even look) and replace it with Debian, but it's been a quite a fine machine for work. (Programming, which doesn't exactly require a beast of a machine most of the time. Wowie! Look at that text editor go!)

Re:What a ripoff (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739079)

it's not this guy's fault the USD is worthless, you know. he's only charging 178-198 GBP, which is a reasonable price if you paid in that currency.

Re:What a ripoff (1)

weilawei (897823) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739353)

How does a currency conversion (assuming you convert at current market rates) affect the actual price of the thing? Seems like you enjoy paying more for the same thing, since my currency converter here says:

Conversion result: $291.40 (US dollars) - £178 (British pounds).

It would take a decent skew in purchasing power parity to make up for that.

3D print it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45738997)

When we can we download the plans so I can use my Makerbot to 3D print a fully functional laptop? It won't fit so I'll print it half-size, or maybe in two passes and glue it together?

Re:3D print it! (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739147)

Try a different design. I've got a 3D printer that uses my shelving as a mount for the plastruder assembly and work-bench as a base. If I craft the design properly for pauses to swap feed-spools I can print things hundreds of feet long by a meter or so wide and tall with my modified RepRap.

Re:3D print it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739285)

When we can we download the plans so I can use my Makerbot to 3D print a fully functional laptop? It won't fit so I'll print it half-size, or maybe in two passes and glue it together?

It can be done right now, if you have a square mile lap.

Where is the real link... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739047)

to FSF website announce? Phoronix can not be the primary reference.

I bought an X60 once for $600... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739065)

... in 2008.

A significant milestone (1)

matbury (3458347) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739085)

It may not be the best value, most up to date laptop available (Which Linux laptop is these days?) but this is a significant milestone and a working example of an affordable, truly open and free laptop. It wouldn't take much for security conscious organisations, e.g. businesses, govts., NGOs, journalists, political parties, and activists, to take this from being a tiny minority interest to something more widespread and therefore cost effective (economies of scale).

X60 or T60? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739131)

I had an X60 until about last year and it ran fine as my second backup laptop. Ran Ubuntu just fine, though Vista was very slow on it. It does not have a DVD player built in, but mine had an external one. I guess this one would work fine for browsing or even light s/w development.

But that said, I think the image and description matches Lenovo T60, which was a normal laptop. X60 was a tablet with a stylus. I never got that to work properly on Ubuntu, so I am not sure how these guys managed it.

There's no market for "truly free" (1)

steelfood (895457) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739137)

There has to be a benefit somewhere. Most people don't just shell out money for their principles, and especially not something as vague and terrifying as freedom. There's perceived value in using Linux (no Microsoft lock-in, potential security issues, etc.), but if that means having to give up watching Netflix, then people will choose Netflix and buy a Windows or Apple machine.

There's a market for truly secure though. There's a very big market in fact.

Re:There's no market for "truly free" (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739157)

you can't have secure and proprietary, it doesn't work. you just made a point, then invalidated it.

Goes with your OpenMoko (1)

Animats (122034) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739159)

People who use an OpenMoko [openmoko.org] will love this.

There's something to be said for what the FSF is trying to do. The problem is that they're too slow in doing it.

Still not 100% 'free' (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739161)

What about the microcode running on the CPU?
What about the firmware on the various integrated peripherals, like the keyboard, hard drive, etc?

Re:Still not 100% 'free' (2)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739199)

unless you can put modified versions of software onto the hardware, the FSF doesn't care about it. so, unless the firmware is somehow flashable on the keyboard, hard drivfe, etc, that isn't an issue (at least to them). as for the microcode on cpu, in this case, it is modifiable and free.

t40 my favorite in it's time (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,1 day | (#45739163)

dropped it a few times it still works fine

Expensive! (2)

DogDude (805747) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739297)

The hardware is perfectly usable for basic stuff, but it's absurdly expensive! That hardware costs about $100-$120 refurbished.

No Hurd option? (1)

otis wildflower (4889) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739303)

Is there a Hurd installer?

Re:No Hurd option? (1)

spikeb (966663) | 1 year,1 day | (#45739393)

there's debian, which has a hurd version.
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