Zerocat’s Coreboot Machines
Note the following machines of course aren't true free-design devices! Instead, these are refurbished and modified machines that carry a decent Coreboot 4.8.1 Firmware1 and as few proprietary code as possible in their BIOS chips. Regarding Intel’s integrated proprietary Manageability Engine (IME) which pops up severe privacy issues, mind these important categories:
- Machine free of IME hardware on board (ZC-T602, ZC-X60/X60s)
- Machine compromised with integrated IME hardware on board...
- ...and IME firmware untouched
- ...but IME firmware stripped down (ZC-X230, ZC-T430, ZC-T430s)3
- ...but IME firmware deleted (ZC-X200, ZC-T400)
Please read The Intel Management Engine: an attack on computer users' freedom by Denis GNUtoo Carikli and Molly de Blanc in order to get precise details.
Good News: Zerocat “Coreboot-Machines” Toolchain v0.8.1 is out! Create your ROM just the same as we do...! Check CHANGES to see what is new. Basically, the ThinkPad T60 with ATI Graphics (Mobility Radeon X1300) is now supported.
1 Coreboot 4.9 and 4.9-900 have been tested, but they fail to control integrated bluetooth adapters in conjunction with the NVRAM Option Table and the NVRAMCUI payload.
2 Payload “Coreinfo” doesn't run on T60 machines, same as GRUB’s
Zerocat’s GRUB Configuration File should be generated with option
--grub-t60 to take
this into account...
3 Hmm, the X230, T430 and T430s have no working sound card upon boot, thus GRUB Console is muted (Can anyone confirm, please?). However, audio is back once you log in into your GNU/Linux-libre Operating System.
This machine is very common when it comes to delete proprietary blobs in the BIOS chip. It runs blobfree, however the Intel Manageability Engine (IME) architecture still is on board and we don't know exactly about its hardcoded capabilities.
ZC-X200 | Dual Core | 8GB RAM | 8MB Flash, IME Firmware deleted
Same as ZC-X200, but socketed CPU, integrated disk slot, touch-pad, more ports, stereo speakers, etc...
ZC-T400 | Dual Core in Socket | 8GB RAM | 8MB Flash, IME Firmware deleted
This is an old laptop that still is very interesting for it offers modern 64bit support while lacking the annoying IME architecture:
[...] many Intel computers manufactured in 2006 have the ancestor of the Management Engine which is disabled from the start, such as the Lenovo Thinkpads X60, X60s, X60 Tablet and T60, and many more. --- Denis GNUtoo Carikli Contributions
If you have a strong stance on trust rather than performance, use this machine.
ZC-T60 | Dual Core in Socket | 3GB RAM | 2MB Flash | Free of IME!
Very performant laptop with dual core processor, two threads per core; IME firmware is not yet deleted but stripped down with ME_Cleaner. Note the heads project may run on this type of machine to gain improved security, but we haven't tried it, yet.
ZC-X230 | Dual Core, 2 Threads per Core | 16GB RAM | 12MB Flash, IME Firmware stripped down, CPU Microcode Updates required
ZC-X230 with Qubes R4.0
Zerocat’s Coreboot Configuration has been adjusted to provide the GRUB2.02 Bootloader with full authentication support, chainloading SeaBIOS as a secondary payload to allow for booting the Qubes R4.0 OS Installer from CD or USB-Stick.
ZC-X230 with Qubes R4.0 OS Installer
We tried to install Qubes on a few ZC-X230, but probably ran into issues due to a blobfree configured Coreboot-BIOS with a missing CPU Microcode Update File... See Zerocat’s Qubes R4.0 Installation Guide.
Laptops gain New Qualities
In short summary, these machines gain ethical qualities, as they...
- are modified by using Zerocat’s RYF-Certified Chipflasher,
- run with free licensed Coreboot firmware,
- run without/with a reduced set of proprietary binary blobs,
- run without IME or with IME’s proprietary firmware deleted/cleaned,
- are accompanied with Zerocat’s free documentation,
- refer to Zerocat’s toolchain scripts by Git Commit ID.
Feel free to review or reproduce our approach and get convinced about its integrity. You can create them on your own!
Continuing for Testing Purposes
Since we are developing a true free-design chipflasher, we continue to flash these machines for testing purposes and offer our flash services as well as ready made laptops for purchase. If no related sales page is available, please feel free to request one.
Devices that we have some Experience With
- Lenovo ThinkPad X200, X200s, X200 Tablet
- Lenovo ThinkPad X220, X230
- Lenovo ThinkPad T400, T430, T430s
- Lenovo ThinkPad T520
- IBM ThinkPad T60, with Intel or ATI GPU
- IBM ThinkPad X60/X60s --- 32bit
- ASRock E350M1 Mini ITX Systemboard
Devices required for Testing
- Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon
- Lenovo ThinkPad X230 Tablet
- Lenovo ThinkPad T430
- Lenovo ThinkPad T420 and T420s
- Lenovo ThinkPad X200s and X200 Tablet
- Lenovo ThinkPad T400s
- Lenovo ThinkPad T500, T520
- IBM ThinkPad T60, different models
- IBM ThinkPad X60/X60s --- 64bit
Please support our development with your hardware in case you can spare it.
Project’s Web Resources
- Zerocat’s Coreboot Machines Documentation, prebuilt with Doxygen
- Git Repository:
- Shortcut to the Toolchain v0.8.1
- README.md, Text file for download
- Zerocat’s Online Shop