If you’re not in my particular niche communities, you might not know about the community that exists around old ThinkPad laptops. But I’m going to tell you about it, because I think it’s awesome!

ThinkPad laptops from years ago are enduringly popular, because they have great support from free software, and they’re extremely repairable.

Not only are new or used parts extremely easy to come by, people are even designing new parts for these old machines, so you can upgrade rather than replace!

People will combine parts from different laptops to create a “FrankenPad” that’s their favourite combination of different things.

I love this so much because rather than wait for some capitalists to deliver on their greenwashed promise of “modular” computing if we first buy their totally custom thing and hope they don’t go out of business, we’ve de facto standardised on computers that ALREADY exist, and can be obtained fairly cheaply.

Additionally, there’s a social benefit beyond the environmental one — these computers are not luxury hardware at this point. Since a lot of the users of these computers are software developers, they’re much less likely to develop software that only works on the latest premium hardware most people don’t have access to. It’s a stark difference to the new MacBook Pros a lot of us were using previously.

Any upgrade you might want to do has almost certainly been documented online. There’s a community available to help you with it, even if you don’t know anything about what’s inside a computer!

Don’t buy new laptops! Buy old ThinkPads, and never buy a whole new computer again.

@qyliss so, theoretically, i have an old thinkpad.
however, it's a first generation thinkpad yoga

and really, the only thing that needs upgrading is the RAM, and that's soldered onto the motherboard

@qyliss so, perhaps i should just change the motherboard then???

@hirojin if you can fit a better one inside the case. I don’t know anything about the yoga so don’t know if that’s possible. Problem with motherboards is you either have to get all the ports to line up with the case, or mod the case.

@hirojin @qyliss have you heard of the small group (or just one person?) in China doing retro-fitting upgrades of Thinkpads? If you want to tweak it, you could draw some inspiration from them. Search for X210.

@ng0 @qyliss i have read about them and looked them up, but the prices are pretty much the same as they are for a new thinkpad
although, i guess, that makes sense

@hirojin @qyliss Yes, pretty interesting but expensive. I'm intrigued but also the way to order is like I used to do way back when internet social networks were new and I could just ask random bands to send me their old albums etc.. kinda weird. And interesting.
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