Libreboot x220

It looks like the Libreboot developers have almost reverse engineered the Intel Management Engine for Sandy Bridge and Ivy Bridge systems. They think that they will figure it out within the next month or two. Before they thought that it would be impossible to get it working on anything newer than the Core 2 Duo systems they had it working on. Once they get the x220 working, it will be the most powerfull laptop that you can get without hardware backdoors. This new development probably means that they will be able to get it working on even newer hardware in the future.

Minifree is already offering preorders on the libre x220:

I librebooted my own x200 that I got for $35 from my university's surplus shop, and it works great. I installed an SSD and an IPS screen, and it is the main computer I use for school. I will probably upgrade to an x220 once the libreboot rom is available. Someone even hacked a 1080p IPS panel into the x220. If I can get that working with libreboot, that would be the perfect laptop.


Didn't one of the developers go all SJW crap flinging at the FSF?

Yes, that was when Libreboot left GNU. It was part of GNU for about a month. The FSF fired a transgender employee, and Leah Rowe removed the project from GNU because she thought that the FSF fired the employee because they were transgender. The person seems to have been fired for unrelated reasons.

I am on the mailing list, and I was very surprised when it happened. My inbox was spammed by the fighting.

Leah Rowe still seems to be a compotent developer though. I watched this talk, and it was very interesting:

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It makes you think that most of FSF's time is spent on the philosophy of computing and libre software rather than making software that could help expand the Free Software Movement.

Yeah, they do spend a lot of their time spreading the philosophy of free software.

I hate it when there are fights like this between two groups that both want to promote and develop free software. Libreboot is a very important project. I wish that it was still part of GNU, because of the development help it could get, but it still seems to be progressing. We need more computers that we can actually trust. The Intel ME is a very serious security flaw that can potentially give Intel or the government complete control over your computer.

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I would love to put Libreboot on my old x220, but for me, it's not worth the hassle. I hardly use the laptop anyway so it's kind of pointless. If only they could put Libreboot on a 2015 Retina Macbook Pro, now that would make me want to use Libreboot. But as it stands, I really can't bring myself to dedicate the time to do it.

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I love the hardware of the x220. It was the last thinkpad with a non chicklet keyboard. Have you seen one with the screen from a Dell XPS 13 hacked into it?

Those Dell 13" screens are actually not very good as it turns out as removing the bezels on an x220 make the screen easily susceptible to damage. I think there are other 1080p mods and panels that don't need the thin bezels and should be compatible with the upcoming libreboot release for the x220.

I have heard that. I might look into other mods, or just use the low res IPS screen. Most of the mods that I have seen use the displayport connector on the docking connector for the screen. I think I saw a 1440p mod somewhere too. I will probably buy an x220 soon to install coreboot on, and then Libreboot once that releases.

Hi. So it's now been a couple of months since your initial post. How is the progress? I don't seem to be able to find any definitive confirmation of libreboot for the x220 on google?
Also, since you seem to be tapped into this. You mention ivy bridge, so does this mean they see support for the generation after the x220 not being that far off either?

Would love to hear an update on this as well... Thinking of committing to a fully FS environment and trying to work out what the options are currently.

Gradually become very disenfranchised with the macOS over the recent years (yeah it took me that long to realise :confused: ) and any advice on appropriate hardware would be grand. Currently looking for a streamlined, ultra-portable laptop, something along the lines of the Carbon or X13 but secure...

Right now coreboot works well on the x220, and has for a while. Recently people have found ways of disabling Intel ME on the x220, just like they did with the x200. Currently, you can remove network access from the ME, and disable some of its features, The Libreboot devs are looking into how much of the ME you can remove without breaking the system. If the CPU detects that the ME is gone, it will shut itself off.


this guy is /g/ youtuber with some funny vids and he says libreboot is coming for the end of 2017.
who sell outrageously expensive restored thinkpads with libreboot or coreboot on them have been selling x220's with coreboot and ME disabled and say they will update them to libreboot once the build comes out.
Is the update post after Leah Rowe's trans outrage at the FSF and also confirms the x220 libreboot is being worked on.

There are some Chinese guys on Taobao who have a 1080 and 1440 mod but I don't understand how they do it (displayport I think) I am also not sure if its a mod kit they send you or if you have to ship your board to mainland China. If anyone can read Mandarin and is willing to translate the page I would be very grateful. I also don't know if they provide the panel or if you get it yourself but I think they are designed for the weaker frame 13" which it looks like they cut to size.
this guy who makes and ships a custom 1080p (x220/x230 only not x220T/30T) board for $50 ish from Moscow to install yourself. He has done a few revisions and says the latest one will require fewer soldering points so is the one I am hoping to pickup. These are 12.5" panels which fit the unmodified original frame.

I asked the forum and they say the board works with coreboot and should work with libreboot.

When Libreboot and the latest 1080p rev 5 board come out I will get the i7 x220 with max ram and an msata ssd.


From what I understand, the Intel ME will never be fully removed from post-Core2 hardware. Projects like me_cleaner have emerged that let you remove most of the ME blob (network stack, kernel, JVM, etc.), but a few critical modules are kept in place (without them, the system would not boot). While these modules can't be removed, some work is being done to reverse engineer them, such as the work done by Purism to reverse engineer the ROMP module.

Once this is done, we still need Coreboot to be ported to new hardware. Outside of chromebooks, it doesn't seem that there exists much support for recent motherboards.

If you want something fast slim and cheap I recommend this (Select Hong Kong warehouse as it is cheaper)

I currently have one while I am waiting for they x220 to be librebooted and it works great but it is made by a Chinese company so may have backdoors along with intel me. I use it with full disk encryption but I am not sure how well this protects my data from intel me.

It also has a dedicated gpu (Nvidia 940mx) an Nvme and another slot for an m.2 drive. It is very easy to open with about 8 torx screws on the bottom which exposes the ssd slots and all the other components. Unfortunately the ram is soldrered to the board.

In Linux all of the drivers work out of the box except the 8620 intel wifi chip where I had to disable an acer version that came with Ubuntu Gnome.

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Same thing happens with smartphones. Tried installing on a samsung galaxy S2, back in the day. The radio somehow overwrites the access to certain areas of the phone.

If the phone detects overwritten files it try to rewrite them back via the radio. (Dont ask how a radio can write, i have no idea) If this is not possible, same scenario. It will turn itself off.

Thank you for the thorough and honestly brilliant suggestion. This is definitely something I'll definitely look into getting when is viable. Much appreciated!