Free 500 USD laptop proposal

Paul van der Vlis paul at
Tue Nov 25 20:25:32 UTC 2014

Op 25-11-14 om 20:35 schreef Florian Weimer:
> * Paul van der Vlis:
>> Hello Paul Hänsch and others,
>> Op 23-11-14 om 23:39 schreef Paul Hänsch:
>>> Paul van der Vlis <paul at>, Sun 2014-11-23 23:06:
>>>> u-open-to-the-core-laptop
>>> I don't get this point:
>>> ""quote --
>>> - 128 GB SSD (this would be the one component that might have to be 
>>> proprietary as I’m not aware of another option)
>>> -- ""
>>> Don't notebook SSDs appear as standerdised SATA disks these days? I've 
>>> never experienced any trouble with this class of device. Could imagine 
>>> that the internal ROM firmware is proprietary, but this should be the 
>>> case for a lot of the components (even when the loadable part of the 
>>> firmware is free).
>> A SSD has it's own processor and firmware, and that's always non-free so
>> far I know.
> The CPU has its own firmware, too.  It even needs updates sometimes.
> Why doesn't it matter there?

I know the microcode is for correcting bugs in the CPU firmware, but it
could be used for something else. So I don't like it.

Everything you can do in software, you can do in hardware.
It's only less flexible.
With loadable firmware it becomes flexible.

> (I got an OS-less laptop some time ago for much less than $500, but I
> don't know if it is CoreBoot-capable.  

But can you buy it now?  And was it sold to you with the information
that it works fine with Linux and with open source drivers or did you
see that later?

There are very many laptops, but very less salesman do you tell that it
works fine with Linux and open source drivers.

When you would want to buy a new consumer grade laptop, which one would
you buy? I think you don't know ANY new laptop what works fine without
testing and a risk on problems.

For me it's my job to sell laptops with Debian. I have to test laptops
very carefully before I can sell them. Many consumer modells have new
versions after 6 weeks, then you have to test again.

> Obviously, there is also tons
> of firmware running on other chips besides the main CPU.)

There is some, but I think the SSD is a critical place.

I've said there are no open source SSD's. That's not correct:

With regards,
Paul van der Vlis.

Paul van der Vlis Linux systeembeheer, Groningen

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