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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Minifree Libreboot X220 libre laptop launched

From: Harry Prevor
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Minifree Libreboot X220 libre laptop launched (pre-order)
Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2017 07:41:21 -0500
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/1.1.2

(Apologies for the double post, if there was one.)

On 02/16/2017 01:52 PM, Leah Rowe wrote:
Minifree has launched a new freedom-friendly laptop, with the free and
open source Libreboot BIOS replacement, and Debian GNU+Linux
preinstalled. This is the first modern laptop available with entirely
libre software at every level, with no backdoors or rootkits like with
the larger companies, and it's available on pre-order today.
Here it is (more information is on the page):

When I saw the title of this post I was very excited, but since reading the nonchalant wording of the product description on the URL (which you curiously omitted from the announcement email) I'm now quite concerned.

The problem with this preorder is that there is no guarantee of freedom and it seems likely that various compromises will be made that compromise the freedom of the laptop and would therefore not qualify it for RYF certification.

A lot of people, myself included, would only want to pre-order this laptop if it was guaranteed that the Intel Management Engine would be fully disabled -- my understanding is that has been the #1 blocker for post-2009 Intel laptops for years now. However the website says, "If we fail in the above, then we will ship the X220 with a neutralized ME", telling me that the project is OK with shipping proprietary software if it is convenient to do so. If this compromise is made, I do not think this laptop should qualify for RYF certification.

I am not sure what the FSF's stance is on whether CPU microcode updates are considered firmware, but obviously it would be ideal to have a guarantee of the removal of those as well, which is also not provided in the product description.

As such, if no progress is made in these two regards, which the preorder page leaves open as a possibility, I think it would be defrauding all the users who preordered expecting an RYF-certified laptop.

Harry Prevor

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