An open source laptop from Gluglug
Purely Open Source
A laptop with no proprietary BIOS and 100 percent open source software may sound too good to be true, but that's exactly what Gluglug delivers. Is it a good deal? Read on to find out.
Buying a laptop that comes preinstalled with Linux is getting easier these days. However, you'll still be hard pressed to find a machine that is scrubbed of any proprietary code, such as BIOS and closed source drivers. Francis Rowe of Gluglug (which stands for GNU/Linux Libre User Group) decided to rectify the situation. Obviously, building an open software laptop from scratch is beyond the capabilities of one individual, so he chose the next best approach: customizing refurbished IBM Lenovo ThinkPad X60 laptops .
Customization includes replacing the proprietary BIOS with coreboot , swapping the installed wireless card with one based on the Atheros AR5B95 chip, which has open source drivers, and installing the Free Software Foundation-approved Trisquel Linux distribution . All these modifications turn the stock IBM Lenovo ThinkPad X60 into an open source laptop that has received the Respects Your Freedom hardware certification from the Free Software Foundation .
This open source laptop sure looks good on paper, but what is it like to use for daily computing? To answer this question, I ordered a laptop from Gluglug's online shop. Besides the coreboot installation service (handy if you have your own ThinkPad X60), the shop currently offers two options: a ThinkPad X60 with and without extras. The latter bundle includes an UltraBase X6 docking station, a USB mouse, a USB serial adapter, a null modem cable, and an Ethernet cable. Both options ship with a new extended eight-cell (5200mAh) battery. By default, the laptop comes preinstalled with Trisquel, but you can opt for gNewSense or Parabola.
Buy this article as PDF
New tool will look like GParted but support a wider range of storage technologies.
New public key pinning feature will help prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.
Carnegie Mellon researchers say 3 million pages could fall down the phishing hole in the next year.
The US government rolls new best-practice rules for protecting SSH.
Klaus Knopper announces the latest version of his iconic Live Linux system.
All websites that use these popular CMS tools could be vulnerable to denial of service attacks if users don't install the updates.
According to a report, many potential victims of the Heartbleed attack have patched their systems, but few have cleaned up the crime scene to protect themselves from the effects of a previous intrusion.
DARPA and NICTA release the code for the ultra-secure microkernel system used in aerial drones.
Should you trust an online service to store your online passwords?
New B+ board lets you build cool things without the complication of a powered USB hub.