How to make liberated computers?

I met Abhas at IndiaFOSS3.0 event yesterday and am inspired to “own” my hardwares in the truest sense now. Had I been a resident of Bangalore, Abhas would easily help me out in this objective. But I’m from Hyderabad and I’ve been searching for a doppelgänger of Abhas since yesterday. Didn’t find anyone.

I found some material on Overview - LibreTechShop - Documentation

But for someone like me who has high entry barrier in anything related to hardware, this is still a bit hard.

And so this discussion forum. I want to refurbish my old laptops, or assemble a new one in the spirit of a “liberated computer”. Later I would want to do that with phones and watches as well.

Few asks:

  1. The best I can do right now is take my old laptops to a informal laptop servicing centre. What kind of questions can I ask to get them liberate my computer?
  2. What is a good starting point for me to start doing these things myself?
  3. If people have done this for themselves. Please, could you share your experiences? I didn’t find any discussion on liberated computers on this Forum.



Hi Krishna! It all depends on your current understanding of things? Have you ever installed and used Linux? If you haven’t, you can start from there. I don’t think any laptop servicing center would install coreboot or Linux for you, since this is not popular enough. Doing it yourself is more fun anyway.

I don’t even think that most of them will know coreboot or libre software.

Thank you @Sai_Phanindra and @mangeshm

Here are a few updates from me:

  1. In an attempt to understand my hardware better. I disassembled and reassembled my laptop last week. And it worked. So, I opened up my old macbook pro which is not working. Stole the harddisk and RAMs. Attached SATA hard disk enclosure to the harddisk and recovered my age old data (some of it is embarrassing).
  2. @Sai_Phanindra Yes, I currently use Ubuntu on my system. Learnt that even this has bloatware and I should probablly install debian version.
  3. Yes, computer service centers had no clue about coreboot. I am not sure if I can do it on my system (DELL Inspiron). So, probably I will go to Bangalore someday and meet Abhas.

What can be my next steps on my journey to own my hardware?


I am a bit confused with what you mean by the term “own my hardware”. if you look at it absurdly, you already own that hardware because you paid for it.

Before trying out coreboot you can try a couple of more boot managers / boot loaders you can try out different bootloaders like rEFInd, systemd-boot, libreboot (which is similar to coreboot) and try understanding the different between this. I don’t think coreboot and stuff is actually related a lot to hardware but yes, you can tinker with this.

Yes, Ubuntu is a beginner friendly distro and yes a beginner will have nightmares if the distribution includes minimalist and DIY features. For exploring more of a linux distribution you should surely try out minimalist linux distributions and distros which provide support for other init systems than systemd ex: openrc, runit because ofcourse you also need to understand what are init systems do right ?

I would suggest distributions like Arch, Void Linux (I love void <3), Libre distros like Parabola linux, try out building Gentoo or NixOS when you have a lot of time.

I might say that there’s a lot of exploration needed for this.

Hi @Krishna found something interesting for you.

Thanks @mangeshm ! This is a great video. I’ll try to do it. I have a Dell Inspiron system though. So I’ll check if I can replicate the same.

I believe they answered it better here: About | Mostly Harmless >> Serving Liberated Hardware.

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All devices have a detailed manual of theirs. You can search online for the manual related to your device and try reading that official manual for the detailed information of your device. Search <laptop brand> <sku number> datasheet on google.

SKU is a number which is printed on the back of your device.