Libreboot allows one to free his/her computer from the shackles of proprietary boot firmware, which can restrict the operating systems that can be booted or the hardware peripherals that can be used with the computer. However, Libreboot is only available on older machines. Purism’s Librem 5 smartphone and Raptor Computing Systems‘ Talos II desktop are the only machines I know of that have a completely free boot firmware from the factory. The Thinkpad X200 sells for way cheaper than both of those, and is also a very portable, lightweight laptop.
I currently have an Intel Core 2 Duo P8400, a 480GB SSD, and 4GB of DDR3 RAM installed in this machine, although it can hold up to 8GB DDR3 RAM. I also have a 2TB SSHD in the ultrabase dock’s disc drive bay. The machine runs fast enough for what I do. It doesn’t compile code as fast as I wish it could, but that is a sacrifice I must make for my freedom.
I also have a 9-cell battery in the machine, which holds charge for about 5-6 hours. I can change out the battery if it runs out, as well, which is very useful. I have two spare batteries: one 6-cell and one more 9-cell. Finally, I have a wireless card installed that can be used with drivers on the linux-libre kernel, as well as an ExpressCard 3x USB 3.0 port card.
The ultrabase is very useful. I have it plugged in to my external monitor, mouse, keyboard, so when I get home I can plug it in and use it as a desktop in a few seconds. It is also plugged into a power source, and like I said before, there is a 2TB SSHD in the disc drive bay.
Yes. It is not very expensive, and it is very modular. You can replace or upgrade parts as needed, and it can run a fully free operating system and Libreboot supports it. It is one of the few ethical technology items you can purchase. If you find one in decent condition for a good price (they range from around $50-250), I’d recommend buying it.