Which computer do you recommend?

I’m not sure about it, since I still have an old computer (four/five years old). Haven’t looked for fair computers since. Would it be okay to buy a macnook from someone who has it still pretty much new but is going to sell it?

A second-hand device is always better than a new device because no new minerals are needed. I’m not sure about the security update policy of Apple. Does MacOS receive security updates for many years to come?

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I don’t know anything about Apple products

It’s always good to do some research before deciding on a product

Besides working conditions and environmental protection, important points are repairability and software support.

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I am surprised that no ThinkPad models are mentioned on rethink-it.org. They are somewhat famous for being indestructible and :penguin: Linux friendly. So far I only bought used ones from ebay and would recommend the X series like this one.

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Yes, they manufacture most of the barebones other vendors sell under their own name (e.g System76 and Schenker uses them).

In some online shops (e.g. Schenker in Germany), you can order these devices without branding. So they come without company logos and such. I bought such a device in 2014, it is a good laptop, but I would not buy a Clevo laptop again.

Here is why:

  • They do not offer security updates for their EFI/BIOS
  • The keyboard is usually bad
  • The manufacturing quality could be better

I had to replace the keyboard after 1.5 years (some keys no longer working), the only vendor that sold a spare keyboard for my device was located in China - took a while to arrive. And the display now suffers from sever clouding and background bleeding issues. The power button broke off after half a year.

I’ll keep this device as long as possible, but my next Laptop will be a business laptop such as a ThinkPad. Lenovo offers regular security patches for their EFI/BIOS and has a solid manufacturing quality. Yes, it’s unfortunatly a proprietary EFI/BIOS. I hope that when the time comes for a new device, there are foss alternative firmwares available for business laptops. Maybe AMD does change its mind in the future and releases documentation and code for the PSP firmware and Ryzen platform.

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ifixit.com has a repairability rating for notebooks now: https://de.ifixit.com/laptop-repairability Before they only had that rating for tablets and smartphones.

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My 2 cents here:
I can open my Asus ROG laptop with a few screws and upgraded my RAM and replaced the optical disk drive with an SSD.
On the MSI laptop of a friend there is a sticker that tells you that the warranty is void when you break it (= open it).

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That’s good to know.
A few years back I went with HP business notebooks, because you could download official repair guides for them, so I could upgrade the RAM, swap HDDs with SSDs and in one case retrofit a WiFi module without worries.
I don’t know whether those repair guides are still available for the current HP business notebooks.

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Disclaimer: I haven’t read the entire thread, so maybe patrs of what I’m writing was already mentioned here

I have a MacBook Pro 13" mid 2010 and after adding 8GB RAM and a SSD, it still works (ok, opening Firefox and loadning DuckDuckGo can take up to 30sec, but I can live with that). But I also thought about what I’m going to do when it reaches the end of its lifespan… I deninitely don’t want a new MacBook Pro, for example because the new ones don’t even have “normal” USB-ports anymore, only USB-C, which is probably good in 5 years, but not at the moment.

So I DuckDuck-Went a bit though the internet and there are actually a few guides out there comparing the sustainability of PC brands:

https://rankabrand.org/electronics
RankABrand should already been mentioned here I assume, since it is one of the most popular sustainable electronics guides I think.

http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/campaigns/detox/electronics/Guide-to-Greener-Electronics/
This is the Greenpeacee Guide to Greener Electronics, which measures the environmental impact of electronic brands.

https://baptistworldaid.org.au/resources/ethical-electronics-guide/
This one is a PDF from an Australian Church (I guess?), and you can download it for free, however, they’ll ask for donations.

And finally, I thought about buying the KDE Slimbook, because it has Linux (KDE neon, to be precise) already preinstalled. But I think I won’t buy that one, because if you go with the 8GB RAM, 500GB SSD version (there is no HDD possible) and WiFi-ac, it costs more than 1000€, which is too much for a PC I mainly use for university, since I have a gaming PC at home.

EDIT: I totally forgot about iFixit, the online repair manual.

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@Stanzi, yep, that summarizes well what has been said before in this topic. :wink:

Yep, I also swapped my Toshiba Satellite Pro C850-1MW’s HDD to a SDD, and RAM would be possible too. They even have repair videos online. I rely on third-party batteries though since the notebook is already 4 years old.

At least notebooks should have standardized batteries. Internally (inside the housing) most of them use 18650 batteries anyway.

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Purism[1] seems to be a company that could cater to this market, they have a bunch of laptops but I’m not sure of the repairability: https://puri.sm/products/

[1] https://puri.sm/about

Purism is a freedom-respecting computer manufacturer based in San Francisco, founded in 2014 with the fundamental goal of combining the philosophies of the Free Software movement with the hardware manufacturing process. Purism is a social purpose corporation (SPC) devoted to providing the highest quality hardware available, ensuring the rights of security, privacy, and freedom for all users.

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Just found out about this computer and wanted to share it with you:

And this one even claims to be “Earth-friendly”:

What do you think?

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There’s also computers like the Intel Compustick. Its small, portable, and yields you a usable desktop more powerful than a Raspberry Pi. You can run Windows or Linux on these (there’s from other vendors than Intel out as well). You can probably buy one second hand as well. Second hand is better for the environment and has less impact on unfair business practices (not zero impact, since you buying a second hand increases demand for it therefore increases resale value). Though its very portable its not modular. The question is do you want or need that? What for?

As for macOS, I saw it being asked if that’s well supported. Yes the latest versions are very well supported on all x86-64 Macs of the past ~9 years. Older MB(P/A) you can open up easily and replace things like RAM and SSD, apply thermal paste, or replace the battery. There’s iFixit guides for all that out. You can run a full blown open source environment on a Mac with Homebrew and you can virtualize with e.g. VirtualBox or Docker.

I saw this one mentioned above.

It uses AllWinner which (see second link) seems to gain better FOSS support in mainline kernel these says. Also, future boards will be 1080p.

http://wiki.debian.org/FreedomBox/Hardware

Of course it depends a bit on what you’re trying to achieve. We seem to primarily discuss laptops but if you want to make an open source router with Coreboot (the hardware is NOT open) you can opt for say PC Engines APU2 (bit annoying to buy from them if you’re in EU and aren’t using it for business though): http://www.pcengines.ch/apu2.htm

I also saw a Pi-Top, a laptop using a Raspberry Pi.

Can also recommend older ThinkPads. Very easy to repair.

If you are interested in open source Routers you might want to have a look at Turris Omnia:
https://omnia.turris.cz

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Looks interesting, but is the hardware open source? Does anyone got these?

They’re also a bit expensive compared to APU (example: http://varia-store.com/Hardware/PC-Engines-Bundles/APU-3B2-Bundles:::637_1081_1101.html ) which are not open source hardware but do use Coreboot.

Yes, I’ve got one. I think also the HW is (mostly, except for one or two chips iirc) open source, but can’t verify this atm (traveling right now).
Besides that imo it’s interesting because of its flexibility to use it as NAS or home server, the regular SW updates and the community behind it (probably not as marvelous as the FP community, though :slight_smile:).

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Most people seem to use their laptops either exclusively or mostly for internet browsing. It’s a real waste of power if you don’t even need it most of the time.
With that in mind, I’d recommend a Pi-Top, running off of a RaspPi 3 (or make one yourself with a Raspi and old laptop!), or an Acer Chromebit (or similar).

I have to admit, I am still stuck with Lenovo ThinkPads, as they are - judging by my own experience - absolutely reliable, tough and long lasting, with great displays. My first one did some heavy work for ten years, before he finally gave up. Regarding that, the higher prices for the ThinkPads are justified in my opinion.
As to repareability: I changed the hard-disk (easy), the cooler (more complicated, but doable), the memory (easy) and the keyboard (very easy as well). I found a repair guide and an elaborate parts-list online and the parts were easy to find on the web; at reasonable prices as well.

When I saw the scoring of Lenovo in the Greenpeace report on “Greener Electronics”, I began to brood of course.
I sure will be thinking about taking another direction, when my next laptop might be due in a couple of years. For now I will go on using the one I have, as it’s performance is quite perfect for my needs.

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