Send-in service: osboot/libreboot/coreboot installation and refurbishing service

£150.00

Category:

Description

This service is for *one* machine. If you’re sending multiple machines, order this service multiple times. For example: if you’re sending 5 laptops, order quantity x5 of this service.

This is a standalone send-in service (where you send a computer for Minifree to work on). Your system will be worked on by Leah Rowe, the found and lead developer of both osboot and libreboot, and a competent electronics person. 3 year guarantee provided, after your product has been serviced.

Price is in GBP (British Pounds, £). This service is offered *worldwide*, to all countries. Minifree sales are conducted specifically to fund research/development on osboot and libreboot.

If sending from overseas to the UK: mark it as “send for repair” and mark the value of 150 GBP (price of service plus shipping), or convert that to your local currency using today’s exchange rate. Send it to the address on the contact page. On the customs form, the HS code (harmonized tariff number) for a laptop is: 8471300000

Regarding compatibility: Any machine supported by coreboot can be supported by osboot. If your board is not listed on the osboot website, check coreboot.org. If you send a machine that coreboot supports, that isn’t yet integrated in osboot, it will simply be added to osboot (just need a config). See: https://osboot.org/docs/maintain/

Regarding operating systems: If you supply an SSD/HDD with the machine, Minifree will, at your option, install the libre operating system of your choice. OpenBSD or FreeBSD is highly recommended, but Minifree is happy to install any GNU+Linux (e.g. Debian, Arch Linux, Ubuntu, Linux Mint, Void Linux), Busybox+musl+Linux (e.g. Alpine Linux), Sbase+musl+Linux (!!) or BSD (OpenBSD, FreeBSD, DragonflyBSD, GhostBSD etc.

This service does not cover component-level board repair (but Minifree can provide such service); if you have a dead motherboard or other faulty components, please say what the problem is before paying/sending, and Minifree will decide on an appropriate price if interested; otherwise, the service defined on this page is simply for osboot/libreboot/coreboot installation, with professional cleaning and refurbishing. Refurbishing, in this context, means cleaning, re-applying fresh thermal paste, etc. The cost of parts are not covered; for example, if you need a part such as the screen or keyboard replaced, either include the replacement part or Minifree will decide on an appropriate price to charge.

Minifree recommends osboot, instead of Libreboot, but will give you Libreboot if requested. Learn the differences between Libreboot/osboot on the Minifree FAQ.

Please ask before ordering this service, to know if your system is suitable for this service. Minifree will flash coreboot, osboot, libreboot or heads* firmware, as per your specification. When you order, instructions will be provided for sending your machine in for servicing.

In general, your product will also be serviced and refurbished to the fullest extent that is feasible, or at the very least, fully cleaned.

*If compatible, Heads can be installed instead of osboot. Heads is another coreboot distro, with an automated build system similar to osboot’s, but Heads standardizes on Linux with u-root and busybox, whereas osboot prioritizes giving the choice of several different payload configurations in coreboot (the default recommended one is the GRUB bootloader, which goes in the main boot flash).

T500/T400/W500 quad core mods

You must include the CPU yourself, but I will do the quad-core mod at no additional cost. This involves soldering 1 wire and snapping a few pins on the CPU itself, ready for installation.

Recommended CPUs: Core 2 Quad Q9000 or QX9300.

I don’t sell these CPUs myself, but you can include one with your laptop (T400, T500 or W500) and I will install it for you. It offers a nice performance boost, for heavily multi-threaded applications.

16MB SPI flash on X200/X200T/X200S/T400/T500/W500

On these ThinkPads, I will install a Winbond W25Q128FVSIG, which is a 16MB flash, replacing the default 8MB or 4MB flash that those machines otherwise have. This will afford you the ability to put linux+userland+libc in the bootflash; I’m currently working on a distro to compete with Heads, but my distro will have:

  • Linux
  • Sbase-box instead of busybox (smaller than busybox)
  • sinit as init system
  • musl libc
  • apk-tools (pulling packages from alpine repositories, installed in tmpfs)
  • u-root for kexec/uefi based booting of linux and other kernels (similar to heads)
  • will be handled in a fork of alpine’s aports repository. built using pmbootstrap (in osbmk and lbmk), adapted from the postmarketos project. the distro will be handled in osboot first, and later libreboot if feasible, otherwise its planned to be made as easy as possible to just insert it into an existing libreboot rom to chainload from grub

My intention with this distro (not yet released) is to have a linux-based boot experience in the flash, similar to heads, but one that can also bootstrap an entire alpine linux system, entirely from flash. I expect to have this ready in late 2022; I’m also targeting 8MB and 12MB flash sizes, but having more flash can’t hurt.

I do these flash upgrades as part of the send-in service, covered by the base price of the service. The chips cost very little and it takes me 5 minutes to swap the chip, so I’m happy to *not* charge extra for this flash upgrade!

If you don’t want the flash to be upgraded, please say so when sending your machine. But why wouldn’t you want double the amount of flash capacity?

I don’t do this mod on X230/T440p and other ivybridge/haswell (or sandybridge) laptops, at present.