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Free Software Foundation Endorses Its First Laptop

Hardware

Published on 19 December 2013 01:15 PM EST
Written by Michael Larabel in Hardware
50 Comments

The Free Software Foundation today has come out for "the first time we've ever been able to encourage people to buy and use a laptop as-is." The Free Software Foundation now backs one laptop model as respecting the customer's freedoms, but are the hardware specs any good?

The Free Software Foundation publicly announced today the "Respects Your Freedom" certification for the Gluglug X60 laptops, which come down to refurbished Lenovo ThinkPad X60s... These refurbished laptops come from an Internet retailer in the UK that replaces the proprietary ThinkPad BIOS with Coreboot. 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.

The press release says, "This is the first laptop the FSF has been able to endorse and encourage people to purchase, because it this is the first laptop sold with a completely free boot system and OS pre-installed...In addition to the FSF's endorsement of this laptop, by awarding use of the Respects Your Freedom certification mark on this product, it means that the sellers have committed to ensuring all software and documentation is freely licensed, that multimedia shipped on the device will be unencumbered by proprietary formats, and that none of the software is known to contain backdoors or be designed to share users information without their knowledge (e.g. spyware)."

The refurbished ThinkPad X60s from Gluglug start out with 1GB of RAM and a 60GB HDD but can be upgraded to 3GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD at its max. The Coreboot-enabled Trisquel-loaded laptop is upgraded to an Atheros Atheros AR5B195 802.11n WiFi adapter, but the product page doesn't even specifically list the hardware components. The ThinkPad X60 either ships with an Intel Core Duo, Intel Core Solo, or Intel Core 2 Duo. All either Intel Yonah or Merom CPUs, several years old, and using the slow Intel GMA 950 graphics in comparison to the latest and greatest Haswell platforms. The 12.1-inch display on the X60s are backed by a TFT 1024 x 768 panel. The X60 was the latest and greatest back in 2006.

So if you're very serious about having a system that's truly all free software down to the BIOS, the Free Software Foundation now endorses these refurbished ThinkPad X60s... Just be forewarned that the hardware is refurbished, years-old, and really nothing to get excited about. Pricing on these slow systems start out at 200£ (circa $328+ USD). If you want something that will work with modern Linux distributions but isn't open-source down to the firmware but delivers much better performance and specs than a nearly eight year old laptop, there's systems out there like the Celeron Haswell based Acer C720 Chromebook or many other low-end laptops and ultrabooks sporting Ivy Bridge or Haswell processors. There's also many newer Intel and AMD motherboards that are Coreboot-compatible and can run on a fully open-source OS stack, should you want to assemble a system yourself or to make it more free software friendly.

If you're interested in the Free Software Foundation endorsed-laptop, visit FSF.org or visit the Gluglug UK shop.

About The Author
Michael Larabel is the principal author of Phoronix.com and founded the web-site in 2004 with a focus on enriching the Linux hardware experience and being the largest web-site devoted to Linux hardware reviews, particularly for products relevant to Linux gamers and enthusiasts but also commonly reviewing servers/workstations and embedded Linux devices. Michael has written more than 10,000 articles covering the state of Linux hardware support, Linux performance, graphics hardware drivers, and other topics. Michael is also the lead developer of the Phoronix Test Suite, Phoromatic, and OpenBenchmarking.org automated testing software. He can be followed via and or contacted via .
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