me

ThinkPad x301 Restoration Project: Software Side

Of course me being me I can’t just modify the hardware, I also have to do something about the software side of things. After all if I just slapped Windows 10 on it, it would just be an old slow laptop. But I want more, I want lightning fast boot times, I want a good experience and most of all I want freedom where I can get it.

Libreboot

Yes! After some 5 years of dormancy the Libreboot project came out with a new beta release that adds support for the x301.

Basically Libreboot is a BIOS replacement, it completely replaces all of the old BIOS stuff with a libre alternative, which has many advantages:

  1. MUCH faster boot times
  2. Completely respects your freedom
  3. Completely disables the intel ME and replaces all proprietary firmware with libre software
  4. While being simpler (no menu, no live configuration, etc.) it actually allows for much greater flexibility in the boot process

Libreboot works by setting up a minimal environment, enough to load GRUB, then GRUB proceeds to load the OS or other things. Libreboot has also other payload options like SeaBIOS or Tianocore (an open-source UEFI implementation), they allow to load other operating systems normally (not via GRUB) but generally this is slower.

The method I will use is an hybrid, Libreboot will load GRUB, which when a key is pressed like shift, during the boot process, will load a menu of options containing all the operating systems, some diagnostic, Tianocore and SeaBIOS (everything needs to boot). Otherwise when no key is pressed it should boot straight into the first available OS. Disclaimer: I have not seen this elsewhere and although I think it should be possible, I don’t really know.