January 15, 2018 - 2 minutes
So I recently am about to finish my current project, and I would like to move onto a new one. I decided I am going to remove any and all hardware from my life that requires the use of any non-free software at all. My priorities are
- To ditch any x86 based computer
- To migrate to an ARM based server, laptop, and workstation
- All machines should either come with, or are compatible with coreboot or libreboot
The hardware I am using
So a friend on #reddit-gamedev showed me this computer, which runs 100% free software and is ARM based at the same time. The same website sells boards for both the server and workstation.
- Server: https://www.solid-run.com/product/cubox-i4x4/
- Workstation: https://www.solid-run.com/marvell-armada-family/macchiatobin/
The Cubox runs uboot for it’s BIOS implementation, as confirmed by this email I got from their customer service.
Dear Brigham, thank you for your email. The Cubox runs Uboot and a Linux OS (like Debian) We offer all in one images.
The Cubox also runs a Vivante based GPU that has a free GPU driver. The MACCHIATObin runs Yocto 2.1 as it’s freely licensed UEFI implementation. So both of these computers run only free software out of the box. The only thing left is a laptop.
Making the MACCHIATObin ready is pretty easy, it has a 4x PCIe slot which will harm GPU transfer, but I should be able to play most if not all the free software games currently available. It will certainly drive a KDE desktop. I will use an AMD card that has freely licensed drivers.
Thankfully a laptop is easy, most Chromebooks come with Coreboot out of the box, and only have non-free Mali GPUs which can be avoided by using CPU rendering, or perhaps I can use the Lima driver.
So that is going to be my new fleet of hardware that will not run any non-free software, and only a few non-free firmwares. I am excited to move into the ARM space and that there is freedom respecting hardware like this available. I have had multiple co workers who are interested in how it all turns out. They are interested in the 10 gigabit ethernet cards on the MACCHIATObin, I can’t wait to try them out myself.