OpSec Lounge (Security, Privacy, etc.)

redbeard

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Is anyone educated on coreboot/libreboot/Intel Management Engine? Seems like a whole can of worms regarding proprietary BIOS. I'm not sure what to think about it.
 

TheFinalEpic

Pelican
Gold Member
Is anyone educated on coreboot/libreboot/Intel Management Engine? Seems like a whole can of worms regarding proprietary BIOS. I'm not sure what to think about it.
I think it's probably more hassle than it's worth, you will be dealing in nearly 10 year old hardware at this point to be able to get it to work - I believe the last Thinkpad capable of doing this is the X220 (there were people fervently working toward getting this to work about a year ago, I would assume they succeeded).

With the advent of ARM processors on the horizon, I believe there will be some very interesting developments in the CPU space.
 

TheFinalEpic

Pelican
Gold Member
I'll pop in on the laptop question, as well as Nvidia vs AMD:

For a laptop, I think the couple gen back ThinkPad is your best bet for a Linux laptop - all hardware is perfectly compatible, you won't have any issue at all getting a distro installed on one, and the build quality is solid. I am partial to the 1080p screens (1440p I have on one of my laptops and it's pointless on a laptop). A T480 to me is a great buy, and since they're a couple generations old, you can get one for a solid price, they are the last model to have the hot-swappable batteries, and they're very easy to get into and upgrade (you can buy one with 8gb RAM and upgrade that to your heart's content).

I like what Purism, System76, and a couple small manufacturers are doing with Linux, but I feel that you're paying a pretty solid premium for the hardware.

Nvidia for GPUs are very well supported in the Linux world now (ironically), and I would highly advise that direction, as many programs use the resources better than with AMD. It's the main reason I went with a 30 series card over AMD's offerings: AMD has really good stuff for the gaming space, but for a workstation where you're doing video rendering, compiling, machine learning, etc, I would still go with Nvidia as their focus is really on AI application and the working world.
 

kel

Ostrich
If you want something cheap, just buy something used on eBay. Long gone are the days of struggling with drivers, in my experience. Any computer you're likely to find will run just fine with Linux.

Personally, I like to support smaller companies that make Linux a priority, so I have in the past bought System76 and others, but I've also just bought old Dell or Thinkpad laptops and it's been fine.
 

Invocato

Sparrow
@Feyoder seems to have some knowledge in this area.

...continued below...



The current laptop is an ASUS. I didn't do any research, as my current laptop broke in a foreign country. I just went into a shop and bought one with 16GB RAM.

This is the first time, since using Linux for around 13 years I had troubles installing. Specifically, I think, I spent two days trying to get the graphics and networking both working. Out of the box it worked with very jerky graphics. After installing the correct drivers it would not login. There was quite a long-winded fix, including updating the kernel.

One of the biggest issues I have had with Linux is graphics card slaughter the battery. I read that they tend to drain the battery 5X quicker and that seems about right to me. They can be setup not to do that, but it's not out of the box and it's not simple, at least not on my machine.

Another issue I have had with Linux is using encrypted home. I've been using that since 2012/2013, but it seemed to me to have some very significant performance issues with file transfers. Again, I believe, this can be fixed, but it's not simple.

Those would be two very useful things for the community to iron out. So for this reason integrated graphics may be better. Though the reason that I have gone for dedicated graphics is my first laptop's integrated graphics died. And when that happens, it's not worth fixing.

For the next buy I am looking at:

- no problems with graphics/battery
- 4TB NVMe
- encrypted home without considerable performance issues
- battery that will survive a mid-length flight
- quiet
- security features suggested above would be good
I'm by no means an expert on this, but as I understand it, the Linux kernel has built-in open-source drivers for Radeon (AMD) GPU, whereas nvidia drivers must be installed separately. So if you want a dedicated GPU on a linux system, there is a strong case to be made for going with AMD Radeon to avoid compatibility issues.

If you are using a desktop/laptop for typical web browsing, and not intensive gaming.. your best bet may be integrated graphics CPU like AMD with vega graphics, or Intel with UHD, to avoid compatibility issues one might have with integrating a dedicated GPU. Integrated graphics would also have lower power/battery requirements in a system than one with a cpu+dedicated GPU.
 
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JayR

Woodpecker
If you want something cheap, just buy something used on eBay. Long gone are the days of struggling with drivers, in my experience. Any computer you're likely to find will run just fine with Linux.

Personally, I like to support smaller companies that make Linux a priority, so I have in the past bought System76 and others, but I've also just bought old Dell or Thinkpad laptops and it's been fine.
I picked up a used Lenovo Thinkpad T470s off of eBay for a couple hundred bucks a few months ago. This is a business model that was released a few years ago, so you aren't paying a premium for the latest/greatest laptop. Has an Intel i7 2.80Ghz CPU, 12.0GB RAM, 250GB SDD. I really just use it for web surfing and watching videos, so it's probably overpowered for my typical usage, but I like having a real computer instead of a Chromebook or similar.

This is the most solidly-built laptop I've ever used. I'm really hard on keyboards and trackpads, and I can tell just by feel that both are built for heavy use and durability. It has two batteries that yield about 16 hours of use in conservation mode. Best of all, the back is held on by 4 regular Phillips-head screws, and most of the components (RAM, SSD, WiFI, etc. -- not sure about the CPU) are easily upgraded because they plug into slots.

I haven't tried installing Linux over Windows on it, so I can't comment on that, but I'm very impressed with the build quality of the hardware.
 

redbeard

Hummingbird
Gold Member
I think it's probably more hassle than it's worth, you will be dealing in nearly 10 year old hardware at this point to be able to get it to work - I believe the last Thinkpad capable of doing this is the X220 (there were people fervently working toward getting this to work about a year ago, I would assume they succeeded).

With the advent of ARM processors on the horizon, I believe there will be some very interesting developments in the CPU space.
What kind of developments? The only thing I've heard of is the EOMA68, which hopes to be the engine "under the hood" of modular computer design: https://www.crowdsupply.com/eoma68/micro-desktop
 

Stadtaffe

Woodpecker
Gold Member
I'm on the market for a new laptop - any recommendations? Linux preferred.
I'm happy not to be looking for a new laptop. Would be a stressful task for some of us. Have had the one metal chassis Japanese brand for many years with debian and already replaced the keyboard on it twice, once following a coffee spill, once as worn out.

If it is about security, as well as the purism one, this one might be worth a look:
I think they have done something about that intel management engine.
 

kurtybro

Woodpecker
Does anybody know of any how-to resources on removing certain modules from android phones? Primarily for the older Galaxy S lineup

Namely Wifi / GPS / Bluetooth, in order to limit potential telemetry on surrounding signals.

I wasn't able to find specsheets/blueprints anywhere.

Perhaps even suggestions of an easily moddable android phone for this purpose.
 

Blade Runner

Pelican
Any news on the /e/ operating system and recs on that type of de googled phone?

Are we going to have a chip shortage soon and thus should we think about buying another laptop, just because?
 

Stadtaffe

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Any news on the /e/ operating system and recs on that type of de googled phone?
I know someone with this model, they are satisfied with it. Have not played extensively with it myself though. Handset is made in Germany. I can see that /e/ have expanded their range, fairphone handset now. Can live without a proper smartphone myself though, already have something degoogled, but if I didn't would probably get it.
 

Max Roscoe

Kingfisher
I have never been a big laptop guy, and one big problem with running linux on laptops is they have horrible power management, so the battery runs down way faster than if you are running Mac or Windows.

Speaking of Lenovo, their M series thin clients are awesome.


I picked up one of these really cheap a couple of years ago, running Win7 (I will not use 10) and it is fast, the size of a paperback and great value. You need keyboard and monitor, but wouldn't you rather use a real keyboard and bigger monitor anyway? I have a desktop windows machine, M series lenovo, and macbook laptop. They each serve their purpose.
 
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