16MiB flash upgrade for X200, X200S, X200T, T400S, T400, W500, T500 and other Libreboot thinkpads. (not for X230)

$130.00

In stock

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Description

This is NOT for X230. Do not order this for X230. It is only for Libreboot thinkpads. The reason is that the X230 already has 12MiB flash (4+8) and this is enough for Linuxboot. However, Libreboot ThinkPads have no more than 8MiB of flash, making this 16MiB upgrade much wore worthwhile on those machines. Minifree *may* offer this for X230 in the future, but we are quite happy with the amount of work we get doing this on Libreboot laptops (X230 is osboot).

Price is in USD (US dollar, $). You can pay in a different currency, if you wish; convert it using xe.com currency converter and pay the new amount instead.

If you’re buying an X200 Tablet, it already comes with a 16MiB chip upgrade. See: https://minifree.org/product/libreboot-x200-tablet/.

This is *per laptop*. If you want this for multiple laptops, order it more than once. For instance, if you were ordering 5 laptops and you want the flash upgraded on all of them, then order this flash upgrade service at quantity 5.

You can send your existing system and have it upgraded, or you can purchase this service alongside a laptop on Minifree. If you’re purchasing this as a send-in service, the instructions for how to send your laptop are the same as with the normal libreboot installation service

If you’re buying this service, don’t bother buying the “Libreboot installation service”. With the chip upgrade service, I will of course flash the new chip that I install. You can also select this if buying one of those laptops, and your laptop will come with the flash upgrade already done.

This service applies to any of the Libreboot ThinkPads, whether they actually have Libreboot or not. These laptops come with 4MiB or 8MiB flash chips in them, by default, which is perfectly OK for GNU GRUB and SeaBIOS payloads in coreboot.

If you upgrade the flash to 16MiB (the maximum size compatible), you can fit a linux kernel and small OS in the boot flash. On the agenda for Libreboot is: add Linuxboot. Linuxboot is a small busybox+linux system that provides a kexec-based bootloader called u-root. It has many advanced features, and it can parse grub.cfg files so it’s a drop-in replacement for GRUB.

With Linuxboot, anything possible in the Linux kernel is possible, because it uses the Linux kernel. This means network boot is feasible, and you have the power of the linux kernel, which has many drivers, which generally work much better than, say, iPXE drivers, or networking code in GNU GRUB. Linux also has the best LUKS support, so you can use more advanced features of LUKSv2 (GNU GRUB has incomplete LUKSv2 support). Heads, which is another coreboot distro (competing with libreboot and osboot), uses a version of linuxboot as standard. I (Leah Rowe) plan to also integrate Linuxboot, but in Libreboot. For this, at least 12MiB of boot flash is recommended.

Linuxboot is not currently available in libreboot or osboot, but with this upgrade, a future update to these two projects will allow you to easily install linuxboot into your boot flash. For the time being, this upgrade will be performed but with a normal GRUB or SeaBIOS payload (which means that none of the additional capacity of the new chip will actually be used). It’s possible to compile linuxboot yourself, and simply add it to your existing libreboot or osboot rom (using cbfstool), and load it from the GNU GRUB payload. See: https://www.linuxboot.org/

If you use this service, I will upgrade your boot flash. This involves de-soldering the default chip, and replacing it with a new one. The chip that I install is Winbond W25Q128FVSIG and I also flash it with Libreboot/osboot on any machine I’m installing it to.

You can find a video here of me performing the upgrade:

https://vid.puffyan.us/watch?v=iL_bVls62Ag

Linuxboot is currently not available in Libreboot, but you’ll be able to easily update when a newer version later comes out that includes Linuxboot. I’m very much set on integrating this in Libreboot. What I first must do is ensure that it complies with FSF criteria, which means (as an example) making sure it comes with linux-libre instead of linux.