Frequently Asked Questions

Is <insert OS here> compatible?

Generally, any Linux or BSD system will work perfectly, even the more exotic ones like Qubes. Minifree regularly installs a variety of Linux distros, in addition to FreeBSD and OpenBSD. Minifree has also installed some of the less-used BSD systems, such as NetBSD. Minifree caters specifically to free operating systems such as these. **We will not provide Windows, so do not ask**.

Keep that in mind, when ordering. The purpose of Minifree is specifically to provide systems with free software. We don’t care about Windows, at all. We only care about Linux and BSD systems, because those are free software. We only care about free/opensource software.

Minifree mostly provides Debian Linux, but will install other distros and BSD systems on request. *Qubes* is also compatible, on models that have vt-d; make sure to specifically request Qubes when ordering, if you want Qubes, so that Minifree can test it on your machine before shipping.

What about import tax?

Minifree charges 20% UK VAT, for *UK* shipping addresses.

For international (non-UK) shipping addresses: Minifree charges 0% UK VAT (zero-rate VAT), and you pay your own country’s rate of VAT instead; this payment is made directly to the courier, not to Minifree. The courier pays your government on your behalf, and then charges you the amount of tax plus a small filing fee (usually about £10 to £20 or equivalent in your currency).

More information available here:

Delivery and Return Policy / Terms of Service

and here:


What about shipping fees?


Shipping costs

X230 vs T440p?

T440p uses a Haswell plaftorm, whereas X230 is ivybridge; per-clock is about the same, but the CPUs in T440p are clocked higher and therefore faster, and graphics has a nice performance boost on the T440p.

The T440p has a larger screen and more future upgrades options such as: 1080p display, T450 touchpad installed, i7-4700mq quad-core CPU. Performance-wise, the T440p holds up quite well even against much newer machines. Most people will be very happy with the performance of this machine.

The X230 is smaller and more portable, and still has excellent enough performance for most people. The X230 is also cheaper than the T440p. Less upgrades options are possible on X230, but some upgrades do exist such as: ability to use X220 keyboard (for scissor switch instead of chiclet design).

The average user would be happy with either laptop, so it’s really just the screen size and CPU/GPU performance that matters here. Choose your weapon.

How can I install Libreboot updates?

In addition to running Minifree, I (Leah Rowe) am the lead developer and founder of Libreboot. Releases are always well-tested, especially on the hardware that Minifree sells.

When an update is available, you can easily install it with a flashrom command, from your GNU+Linux system. You do not need to take apart your computer, and you do not need a soldering iron. The original vendor firmware blocks writes to the flash on most machines, requiring you to use special external equipment. However:

Libreboot does not, by default, enable flash protection (but they can, if configured to do so). Restrictions put in place by the manufacturer do not exist when you’re running Libreboot.

Minifree provides support, if you get stuck and need help installing updates. Otherwise, check the Libreboot project website.

What is Libreboot?

Libreboot is a free/opensource BIOS/UEFI replacement, for core hardware initialization. It starts a bootloader, when will then boot your operating system. See for more information. Libreboot development started in December 2013.

What if I brick my laptop when updating Libreboot?

If you brick your Minifree laptop when updating Libreboot, Minifree will unbrick it for free if you send it back to us. Even if your warranty has expired! However, such bricking is rare

Why Minifree?

It’s a reference to Orwell’s 1984 novel. In the world depicted by that novel, “freedom” is a banned word. So, in that world, “Minifree” could never exist.

It’s a very amusing name.