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FSF Certifies Another Batch Of Old Hardware For Respecting Your Freedom

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  • #11
    Originally posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
    The T400 and friends... AGAIN. How are there enough of these ancient thinkpads still in circulation that are still working that they can still be selling them, and how are there enough fools willing to buy these things that they're a sustainable business even at their 10x markup?
    You can check ebay, these aren't rare laptops. The good thing about laptops like this: They are new enough they can still be useful. They are old enough to be monetarily close to worthless. Its a good second, third, fourth, or even fifth laptop for someone who wants a laptop to play around on, and if you are modifying the firmware, no one is going to cry if you break it.

    You are also recycling, so you're saving laptops from the graveyard. From this perspective, these laptops are perfect for this. You are giving old hw a second life they likely wouldn't otherwise get.

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    • #12
      Originally posted by GI_Jack View Post

      You can check ebay, these aren't rare laptops. The good thing about laptops like this: They are new enough they can still be useful. They are old enough to be monetarily close to worthless. Its a good second, third, fourth, or even fifth laptop for someone who wants a laptop to play around on, and if you are modifying the firmware, no one is going to cry if you break it.

      You are also recycling, so you're saving laptops from the graveyard. From this perspective, these laptops are perfect for this. You are giving old hw a second life they likely wouldn't otherwise get.
      I know you can get them off Ebay for $50-100 and that's kind of the point... these guys are reselling laptops from 2008 at new laptop prices. They're not entirely useless machines but anyone buying them from an FSF endorsed brand as opposed to Ebay is a fool who is allowing someone to take massive advantage of them because of their blind loyalty to the FSF.

      What is surprising is that there's still enough stock floating around that they can do it (although to be fair there's ~200 listings vs ~500 for T410 and ~800 for T420 and forward), and that there's fools out there that'll buy from them and the rest of these ripoffs as opposed to Ebay if they want one that these bad companies can survive.

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      • #13
        Originally posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
        The T400 and friends... AGAIN. How are there enough of these ancient thinkpads still in circulation that are still working that they can still be selling them, and how are there enough fools willing to buy these things that they're a sustainable business even at their 10x markup?
        They're business laptops, that's how. They're built sturdily, unlike the solid-plastic snap-and-screw-together SoC-based crap that fills the US$300-$600 range, and were designed to be easier to repair (to replace modules, anyway) and upgrade. Additionally, the upper-end stuff is still more than performant enough, batteries are still manufactured for them, peripherals are still compatible, and hardware drivers are all sorted-out.

        Not to mention that some of us don't like buying hardware "enhanced" with NSA-spyware-compatible bullshit like Intel's "security processor".


        That said, I can't see how *this* massive a markup is justifiable. Maybe it's expensive to acquire the equipment and expertise needed to flash and troubleshoot there? Or importing the variety of laptop/dock hardware required an initial investment that needs paid back quickly? VAT fees? I don't know, but it's laughable for anyone not ordering in that region, and I wouldn't be surprised if importing a miniFree laptop would be cheaper. Bulk ordering by business/government agencies seeking to secure against US and Russian interference, maybe? I dunno.

        Or maybe they're just to kick back a bunch of money to FSF Europe. Unsure whether that's a good or a bad thing.

        Originally posted by Luke_Wolf View Post
        ...anyone buying them from an FSF endorsed brand as opposed to Ebay is a fool who is allowing someone to take massive advantage of them because of their blind loyalty to the FSF.
        Your accusations of blind loyalty to the FSF are pointless, as a) you have no useful evidence of any purchasers' mental state and b) it's their money to spend and their choice to make. There are boutique products at inflated prices everywhere, and people who can afford to buy them and want to do so buy them, for their own reasons and from their own choice. There's little point in raising your blood pressure or flooding your brain with hate neurotransmitters over it.
        Last edited by mulenmar; 07-10-2017, 10:08 AM.

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        • #14
          I can't stand all this newfangled hardware with all of its newfangled problems. When I bought my 486 DX in 1991, I knew mankind had reached the pinnacle of computing. Shortly thereafter, intel released the Pentium, and *blam* the intel FDIV bug. I felt awfully smug, as my sweet sweet 33 Mhz DX was unaffected. I spent a week loading Slackware from about 143 floppy disks. Then it was time to compile the kernel. It's actually still compiling right now, but it should be done any year now.

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          • #15
            Well.. Let's say you're a single person company and want to make a $10,000/year living selling those laptops, you'll sell 100 of those laptops with a $100 markup but then add your costs (financial, storage..) and taxes so now it's a $150 or $200 mark up. You disassemble them all to change the thermal paste, flash them, memtest them, pay the electric bill for those memtesting computers, have whatever limited warranty for used goods (90 days? 30 days? how is it in your particular country or state)

            Those are quick non rigorous numbers but shit isn't free.
            Like, you're in the first world and have no employment and a net worth of zero, why not set up shop doing $X? Why not, you could earn an irregular and low income and live on that but you'll have to pay a $1000/month rent on your shop (another number out of my arse) or pay a lot on (small vehicle + studio apartment) so no, you'll likely charge outrageous prices for wiping a computer's OS or fixing a toilet like the other arseholes do.
            Just grow vegetables for yourself and neighbours? That's free, right? Well, you have to be a millionaire to own a couple hundred sq. meters of land, or you have to go to some far away country side where you know nobody and pay hundreds $ a month. (I suppose it's better in fly-over US or other places, but I'm making my silly argument again)

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            • #16
              Um what about doing something similar with phones? phones are in such a shape that blob-free 100% free is impossible, but lineage OS / sailfish / whatever would be a huge progress already. (R.I.P. Ubuntu and R.I.P. mozilla phones)
              Having a free OS with non-free firmware but no spyware/crapware and not risking money, time and sanity on buying a phone and hacking it would be useful.

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              • #17
                Originally posted by Luke_Wolf View Post

                I know you can get them off Ebay for $50-100 and that's kind of the point... these guys are reselling laptops from 2008 at new laptop prices. They're not entirely useless machines but anyone buying them from an FSF endorsed brand as opposed to Ebay is a fool who is allowing someone to take massive advantage of them because of their blind loyalty to the FSF.
                Not necessarily. You are essentially paying for service of corebooting it for you. Its a very niche market, and because its niche and requires skilled labor, it has a price tag that reflects that.

                $100 laptop
                $200/hour for skilled labor * 3 hours for disassembly, coreboot process, and re-assembly, and test

                you now have a $700 laptop.

                And yes, if someone is capable of taking an old laptop apart, hooking a still soldered chip to a flasher, flashing some program they downloaded off the internet, their time is worth $200/hour retail. Thats actually low balling it.

                When I was a NOC technician, rebooting servers and stuff, my time was billed $200/hour retail to customers.

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                • #18
                  I just asked a friend who is working on that project why are the prices that high, here is his answer: https://diaspora-fr.org/posts/287700...0d23b94fef1497

                  Long story short: it requires a lot of work, so it's not the price of the hardware but the time spent on it.

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                  • #19
                    Originally posted by GI_Jack View Post
                    $200/hour for skilled labor
                    IMHO that's kinda high for "skilled technician". I'm surely envious because I get much less, and I'm a certified technician doing similar stuff (not flashing Coreboot, but I've already reflashed plenty of BIOS and i never thought it was that hard).

                    Maybe it's because I work more time? Because really, if I was billing that price per hour my monthly wage would go up by orders of magnitude.
                    If I kept getting the same jobs I get with the far lower price, that is.

                    IMHO the only reason they bill so high is that they have low workload so they need to get enough monthly wage out of it.

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