Chinese enthusiasts are serving global Thinkpad fans by making modern motherboards that fit in classic chassis from the Golden Age of the Thinkpad

See the original posting on Boing Boing

After Lenovo bought out IBM’s Thinkpad business, they began to tinker with the classic and famously immutable laptop designs: in small ways at first, and then in much larger ones. I buy a new Thinkpad every year (I promised myself a new laptop every year as a dividend from the savings when I stopped smoking) and the first decade’s worth were practically perfect: they ran various GNU/Linux flavors without a hitch, the hard-drives were swappable in two minutes by removing a single screw, and the keyboard could be replaced without any tools in less than a minute.

But for about five years, Thinkpads have seen a steady noose-tightening when it comes to user modifiability and GNU/Linux-compatibility, thanks in part to the decision to miniaturize components, and in part to the increasing reliance on UEFI and other BIOS features that make GNU/Linux installation into a much more fraught prospect than it has been since the earliest days of free software.

The first thing to go was the beloved, clacky, positive-action keyboards, replaced by Macbook-style chiclet keyboards that wore out much faster, but at least the keyboards were easily swapped out when they started to falter. Then came new submicro designs that made swapping keyboards into a one-hour procedure that had to be performed by a professional who would have to virtually totally disassemble the computer.

The same forces made drive-swaps harder and harder. I used to order a Thinkpad with the smallest, cheapest drive available and then throw it away on arrival and replace it with a third-party, 1TB SSD. Read the rest