X201 worth it? And true foss

Okay so I have spotted a X201 refurb for sale at £170, I was thinking of getting this for Uni over something like Mac, yes a mac, anyways I am looking at installing a open source bios instead of relying on the standard bios, but what features will I gain and what will I loose by doing this?

I understand that UEFI/BIOS is based upon DOS? which of course is stupidly out dated now, although FreeDOS is around, but anyways adding to coreboot, what are patches like? do they include stuff like cold boot attack patches? and other things, but will I gain anything like decreased boot times due to how it hands off to the bootloader? I believe that it just identifies the devices then hands off the something like Grub no?

What advantages does core boot linked with a BSD or Linux kernel, again boot times? and maybe some features?

I was then thinking of Libre kernel, or should I stick with with the standard kernel with maybe GR Security, I would ideally like to build my own that just sticks to the hardware I have and not something generic, but what about when when I come to update the kernel, will it replace it or will it update just the same as standard but keep my settings.

Also what are some good FOSS IDE tools, I was thinking Notepad++ and Eclipse with extentions.

Also what will a X201 with a 6 Cell battery perform like, will it do around 6+7 hours like advertised? this is with TLP or laptop mode.


Any other ideas? 



If you are still planning to study computer science or whatever, then I would suggest buying a laptop with a 17" inch screen.

Kind of a must have for any self-respecting CS student/programmer. Whatever laptop you buy is always going to be underpowered for compiling anyway, which is why you ssh into your uni labs.

Don't think too hard on it dude, just find something with plenty of screen real estate (as far as laptops go).

I agree, in portable devices, form factor is the most important feature, mainly resolution, you want plenty of pixels for programming, and also battery life as a student, and if possible a decent enough keyboard, because the keyboard is one of the most important things when coding. Compute power in portable devices serves only one purpose: entertainment, because like thirdmortal said you'll compile on a mainframe or on your own powerful desktop/server (because compiling can take a looooong time, even on a powerful machine), and you'll want your data to be stored somewhere else than on a portable device anyway. For other uses, other features might be more important, like precise touch screen or stylus functionality for efficiently reviewing documents for instance, or ultra thin form factor for reading on the go.

Don't flip about "true foss", it's mainly Stallmann nonsense. The most important thing is to want to take control over your hardware, and to know what's happening. Don't freak out about privacy and security, it's a never ending quest, and you can lose a lot of time with it. Use open source software because it simply works and does everything you throw at it that makes sense to throw at it, and if it's not quite open source, adapt in an intelligent way, because getting around obstacles is more informative than avoiding them, and because "true open source" in the Stallmann way, is not quite practical to say the least. Open source is about sharing and leveraging knowledge, it's not about making sure noone gets into your own little world, if you know what I mean...

So what would you recommend, I mean I personally do not really like 17" screens, I find them to big, I was planning on running my 23" monitor on side for programming at home.

Anyways I just used PC specialist and built a 17" laptop, nothing amazing but what do you think

17" Cosmos 1080p screen - i5 4210m 2.6Ghz 3MB  - 8GB 1600Mhz RAM - Intel HD 4600 - 1TB HDD (Will be adding SSD) - Intel Ultimate N6300 (450Mpbs) - No OS as I will be using Linux = £482

A 1080p 15.6" screen fits just as many pixels as a 1080p 17" screen. 17" laptops are big and bulky, if it's not your thing then don't get one, it's the pixels that count, not the inches, except when you reach the limit of readability, but that's a personal thing. I myself don't have a problem with small characters, and in linux, there is no GUI scaling issue, even for touchscreen, and even - surprise surprise - on Ubuntu 14.10 with Ubinty 8 and Mir... so you can go smaller if you want to, just do whatever you feel comfortable with.

I'm not into Core i mobile processors, so I have no opinion on that to be honest. I only have a single 15.6" Toshiba Core i5 mobile dual core with hyperthreading that's about two years old, and it does what it has to do, but it doesn't fit my use case scenario, it's used as a guest system and to do system tests with, so I don't really have an opinion on how it "feels", but it never gives any trouble in terms of linux compatibility or features, and Intel iGPU has the advantage of low energy usage and fully functional KMS drivers, if you leave Beignet out of the equation that is, because that's not quite stable yet, but that's just a matter of time (and bloody hell, Intel is taking its sweet time with it!).

Well what about 900p screens? most laptops I see are 900p.

Ideally I would like something that has about 7+ hours of battery, no dGPU just iGPU, 13" screen, 8GB RAM and a SSD (I will upgrade it if needed) I also prefer Intel over AMD for laptops, but AMD gpus on desktops.

The laptop will be linked to a 23" screen at times when doing any programming, the screen is 1080p.

Ideas, is there a laptop that can get near them specs for around $700 and what distro would you recommend for programming? Magiea, OpenSUSE, Arch?


That is a great computer its usually i5/i7 and is durable. I use a 12" laptop for network/wifi configuration and troubleshooting since they are easy to walk with. If you have a tower pc already i would say get one if you dont i would get a tower pc first.

I already have i5 desktop at home, so that will be used for heavy lifting, and what is the laptop like you have?

I have a 13.3" (900p) laptop and don't really have a problem with it (then again, it also has a touchscreen). I have a 21" monitor, mechanical keyboard, and mouse that I hook up to it anytime I'm at home and get a pseudo-desktop experience. It could be more powerful, but its portability and reliability is much more valuable to me, as it turns out.

Ideally I would like something that has about 7+ hours of battery, no dGPU just iGPU, 13" screen, 8GB RAM and a SSD (I will upgrade it if needed) I also prefer Intel over AMD for laptops, but AMD gpus on desktops.

I'd recommend a Lenovo Yoga - I have had the Yoga 13 for over a year and it's done very well for me. The battery life was 6-7 hours when I first had it (maybe even up to 9 if I was using Linux), and right now it's between 4-5 hours from full to null. I don't know what you'll find in terms of pricing. I got mine for ~$950 a few months before the Yoga 2 Pro came out (kicking myself for that) for 4GB of RAM and a 128GB hard drive, i5 3337U and so on. I've upgraded since then to 8GB of RAM and added a 480GB SSD.

[...] what distro would you recommend for programming? Magiea, OpenSUSE, Arch?

I would try Arch or Manjaro, though in general I would recommend to try them all. :P I haven't tried Mageia yet myself.

$950 is a bit pricey for me, about $650 is my top budget, which is about £400, but ideally I would like something small for portability but is decent enough for most tasks, my desktop can do the heavy stuff

Considering it's not even being made anymore (having 2 successors now), you could probably pick one up from Ebay for <$500, depending how much you trust it. I'm not sure if you could really find a good [new/refurbished] laptop in your price range with the specs you're asking for, unless it wasn't convertible. Good luck regardless.


For two-in-ones and convertibles ive had a look at the HP X360 but I dont know if it can support 8gb ram and an ssd and I dont know how good it is for programming. Any suggests for a two-in-one that can run linux?

Okay maybe not HP, they seem to die from overheating, so what would you recommend for me then?

Try the Dell Inspiron 3000. Linux CompatibilityRAM and SSD upgradeable.

I use a net-book with dual boot Linux and windows 7 but i recommend against netbooks for anything more than testing/troubleshooting/removal/config

That laptop is the shit get it its a tank. Almost as durable as a panasonic toiughbook

I was thinking maybe a C720? or C7?

C720 might be worth it. I would look at upgrading the SSD when you get it. The only problem is that you can't upgrade the RAM, and Chromebooks don't come with much to start with - in that case, you should probably go with model 2844, or 2625 if you want touch. I could give suggestions on the SSD too if you want.

Please if you dont mind, I normally use samsung ssds

M.2 42mm SSDs:

Transcend MTS400

MyDigitalSSD MDM242

What I'm reading says that the Trancend SSDs run better but tend to run a little hotter. The MyDigitalSSDs only go up to 128GB, which is the minimum I'd recommend. These are the only companies that I can find that make SSDs in this form factor - ZTC also makes them, but I can't find any good reviews on their units.