Lets talk about Liberated Computers!

Do you own a liberated computer? Please share your experience with it. The good, the bad and the not-so-ugly!

Curious about owning a liberated computer? Ask away about the hardware, software / operating system support, maintenance and more.

Want to suggest or recommend add-ons & extensions? Or hacks? Lets talk about it!

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Dear Abhas, Thank you for letting me in. I do not own a liberated computer. However, I aspire to liberate my Macbook Air 2015. Can I go ahead and share what I need help with?

I bought a liberated x230 last year (2020) and so far the experience has been fantastic! Thank you Abhas for your dedication, patience and willingness to teach the community about the importance of libre HW. I have installed multiple distros on this laptop and everything works out of the box.

Will highly recommend students and professionals to buy one of these and use it. Of course you can run any OS you want on it, but especially if you are learning UNIX/Linux and systems programming, web dev, or any programming language that runs on Linux, this laptop will serve you well.

I highly recommend upgrading to SSD and the older non-chiclet keyboards from IBM.

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It would not be possible to liberate a 2015 Macbook.

As of now, there are three types of computers that can run Coreboot:

  1. Laptops made prior to 2013 (ie. upto 3rd Gen Intel CPUs)

    Eg. x200 (core2duo), x201 (1st gen i5), x220 (2nd gen i3/i5/i7) and x230 (3rd gen i5/i7) thinkpad models

  2. Laptops from system76 or purism where they specially design their motherboards to support Coreboot with more recent Intel CPUs

  3. Intel chromebook/chromebox models which run Coreboot by default

Other than these, its not possible to run Coreboot on other motherboards.

Your Macbook Air 2015 will have two challenges. It probably runs a 5th Gen Intel CPU. I don’t think Coreboot works on motherboards with these CPUs. Additionally, the BIOS chip might be locked and not amendable to external flashing. (Generally, we would attaching a chip programming clip and flash coreboot to the SPI BIOS chip.)

The most authoritative source for motherboard support would be:


Thanks for replying. My understanding might be skewed… but will taking these steps liberate my MBA 15?

  1. Installing Linux-based distro which also has a webcam (FaceTime HD driver). As of now, I haven’t been about to find one. I tried Ubuntu, Elementry, LinuxMint, Pop and Zorin.
  2. Find/building a MagSafe charger alternative. Refuse to buy another charger for 7.5k.

If that happens, I will be able to use my device for another 6 years!

There is no universal definition of when someone might consider a computer “liberated”. My view is that as long as someone else is in control of how we can use the hardware or what software we can run on it, we are don’t really own it. And we are not in control.

However, the starting point remains the ability to run a free/libre OS.

I personally have never used a Mac. I found these repositories… would you want to try them out:

You can also purchase a used charger (or two)! I can help you find a supplier for it if you wish.


I am so happy to finally get some way forward! I will look. to the repos you shared. The idea of using this device for a decade makes me so happy! :innocent:

My original charger died after five years. Understandable. But finding a new one in lockdown as impossible. Apple store in multiple cities didn’t Mag Safe 2 45W.

So I got one from Snapdeal. Allegedly original — even Apple staff couldn’t say otherwise. And guess what? the cord’s rubber coating is already coming off!

I definitely need help with —

  1. Replacing my battery
  2. My preferred charger solution:
  • Free chargers from those whose laptop died;
  • MagSafe converter — if it’s not a thing can it be engineered?
  • Purchase it

Having experience with Apple devices and especially knowing parts of the inner workings of the Apple support, I am totally not surprised about your report of the cord cable coating coming off well within the warranty period.

The people at Apple Support are asked to treat this as a case of physical damage which means no repairs/replacement will be offered as part of the warranty.

Finally swapped by 2015 MBA for MBA M!. The best part is that it charges via type-c [one of the major deciding factors because it appears next gen devices will have mag safe agaim]. Hopefully, I’ll be able to use this babe for a decade :grinning: