Jaromil - 11.03.18, 09:10:
> 3- They produce new hardware instead of recycling existing one,
> something I do not like for many enviromental reasons.
Rant ahead, but hopefully still a somewhat constructive one:
I am actually thinking along this line and instead of ordering a new laptop
via the company I work for, actually buying a used one myself.
However, when it comes to free hardware I have basically lost in case I buy
anything later than a ThinkPad T530. Cause since then there is the Intel Boot
Guard crap and it appears to me that all laptop manufacturers have set it. If
you flip this irreversible bit then no one with an other private key than the
one you put the corresponding public key into the machine can create a
firmware signed in a way that the machine would accept it. Or maybe ThinkPad
T520, as I am not totally sure that a T530 can still be freed (probably
different Intel ME version).
As far as I read this is the ultimate lock in. Combine that with Intel
Management Engine crap and honestly:
I do see the point of Purism using *new* hardware. Cause they could not just
free any sensibly recent used hardware at all.
There are vendors that offer used hardware with Coreboot and without Intel ME,
but these are ThinkPad X200, T400 for – if you ask me – ridiculous prices.
Prices that probably can be explained by the amount of work needed to free
these devices, although I´d believe that it should be possible to streamline
the process somewhat. But high prices may very likely mean less purchases and
less purchases mean less potential to streamline the process.
So… its either nothing later than T530 or probably T520, with at least
partially disabled Intel ME… or an used laptop with all the proprietary vendor
lock in crap built in. There is just crap out there. Pure and utter crap. Crap
by design, not by accident. Crap by design. And then add the current Meltdown/
Spectre CPU crap on top. Its crap, crap, crap.
And its about time that Intel, AMD, and hardware vendors like Lenovo, HP and
others get a wake-up call along the sense: Stop selling us crap!
I do follow the Linux PPC laptop project¹, and it would probably be wise to
give some money to them. But they also currently use a closed hardware design.
I may still go with an used laptop as my next one, or just keep using this
ThinkPad T520 with Intel ME switched off in BIOS (whatever that is worth). I
thought about trying to disable Intel ME and install Coreboot or let someone
do it, but this is a laptop from my employer, so I won´t touch it in this way.
But I may go with an used laptop despite all those restrictions cause I am
simply not willing to support this "we put proprietary crap into our systems
to lock you in good and tight" crap anymore. I may just be one user… but I am
not willing to support with policy anymore by triggering a new sale.
Another option would be to look in ARM space, or try to free up a used Google
Pixel notebook that already has Coreboot.
Really, it might be time for a petition to vendors. A petition that clearly
states "I don´t buy your crap". If enough people would sign it, that might be
a signal to vendors to change their policies. A "Stop the crap!" campaign.
So in that sense, I think anyone buying from Purism is contributing to a
change. Cause they pay Purism instead of Lenovo, HP or other vendors selling
unchangeable proprietary crap. It is at least a step into the right direction.
For that reason I also ordered a Fairphone 2 as a replacement for the
Fairphone 1 (with insecure Android 4.2 I am currently using) via my employer.
It is new hardware… but the company behind it at least steps into the right
direction. Hoping that this time Fairphone will get upgrades and spare parts
right and… really be able to fulfill on the promise to provide a long lasting
phone. I did not really plan to replace the Fairphone 1 that soon, but in its
current state its a mobile security risk. Fairphone actually failed their
Fairphone 1 users. Big time. But at least they appear to be willing to learn
and willing to promote change. That is more than the majority of other
So regarding Puri.sm, Fairphone and others… I vote for the benefit of doubt.
Do they provide perfectly free and fair solutions yet? No way. Will they
succeed doing so? Certainly not if people do not buy their stuff.
I am in for doing what I can to facilitate change. Buying used stuff would
already be better for environmental reasons and it can be at least a kind of
boycott. Buying new stuff from vendors that aim at facilitating change IMHO is
also important. So if people choose to support vendors like Puri.sm, Talos,
Linux PowerPC laptop, Fairphone and Nager IT (for their more fairly produced
computer mouses, I do have one here, its working fine), by all means, I´d say
go for it.
For me their notebooks are not an option for two reasons: AFAIK they use TN
over IPS displays and do not provide a German keyboard layout. I am still
hoping for Tuxedo in Germany to have a go at providing a laptop with Coreboot
and Intel ME at least partially disabled, but I am not aware that they plan
to. Maybe they just think its too hard. Or maybe RISC-V based laptop, some
A Devuan for hardware… just for hardware the necessary investment is that much
higher. It is challenging and it has a high risk associated with it. So kudos
for any players in the market that have the courage to tackle the challenge to
facilitate change. Even when it is in small steps.
The hardware market needs change, *lots of change*. The current situation IMHO
is pure and utter crap.
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