Free (as in speech) hardware thread

Hello I was wondering if any of y'all use free hardware projects for your airgap or personal machines?

I use a modified Lenovo X200 running libreboot as the firmware and Trisquel Linux as the payload. This means that I have no proprietary BIOS on the computer. Yes I am still limited by the closed nature of the x86-64 ISA but that is a limit of the hardware, this can be fixed by an OpenRISC/lowRISC/RISCV CPU design spun in silicone.

All said and done it's not too expensive to get started, I purchased the laptop from e-bay, it came with a Dual Core 2.4GHz processor 4GB of RAM (Upgrade able to 8GB{4x2}), 160GB HDD (Replaced with Intel 120GB SSD), though the SSD will need to be replaced with an open design once one becomes available, an Intel WIFI that is replaced with an AR5B95 WIFI card after the flashing (due to Lenovo white-list). I also purchased a Beaglebone Black and SOIC16 clip for programming the flash.

I followed the guide here for setting up the BBB:

And this is the steps for setting up the X200:

It works pretty well and it has replaced my current W110ER as my main use laptop even though it is much older, the battery life is so much better compared to the beefy i7 Ivybridge and 650M GPU.

If you have any questions feel free to ask.


I have looked into it and decided it was not for me. I like the ideals of copyleft for hardware and software but find the day to day practicalities difficult.

I guess I prefer the way apache and bsd licences work and that I don't always see proprietary as a bad thing.

But I like it when people believe in their principles enough to sacrifice convenience and to encourage others to think about it.

I also wonder if a fully open laptop design I even possible, there must be loads of propriety stuff on various components?

Thank you for links and information, I've looked into this and gotten to a similar point as what you've described. My primary concern comes from if the CPU and DDR2 ram in an x200 is going to be fast enough for everyday usage? I'm pretty sure that the SSD would really help compensate, but I still wonder so if I could get your input I'd appreciate that

@BGL The main components we need to implement into free silicone (or some similar substrate), is the CPU + Chipset this can be implemented in a single package and would end with a device similar to a raspberry pi, depending on size a performance needs. OpenRISC LowRISC RISCV look like good projects for this and hopefully soon we could some some fabbed though currently they just run on an FPGA.

@100557662 The X200 Uses DDR3 and a Core 2 Duo directly before the i7s launched, so it's not too old of a chip and at 2.4ghz is still plenty fast for a modern Linux distro, with an SSD you can barely tell, other than at bootup that this thing is gold even then you're not stuck waiting for a slow ass bios loading an assembly implementation of ACHI