Free 500 USD laptop proposal

Florian Weimer fw at
Tue Nov 25 20:53:25 UTC 2014

* Paul van der Vlis:

>> (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?

This particular one?  Probably not.  There's another one for 250 EUR,

> 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?

I don't know anymore.  I naïvely expected it to work, and it did.

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

The first piece of hardware I bought which advertised Linux support
was an ATAPI CD drive which had a firmware bug which caused it not to
work under Linux, it required a workaround which was only part of the
proprietary Windows driver.

> 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.

In Germany, if you buy from an online retailer, you can return it if
it doesn't run with GNU/Linux (I hope, I'm going to find out soon).

> 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.

Yes, that's a problem.  It's also annoying that they change essential
aspects of the user experience without notice, such as the keyboard.

>> 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.

Worse than the CPU?  Come on.

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

You could go with straight NAND storage and a wear-levelling file
system.  Some early Linux-based devices did that.

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