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Support the Talos II, a candidate for Respects Your Freedom certification, by pre-ordering by September 15

by Donald Robertson Contributions Published on Sep 08, 2017 11:34 AM
Raptor Engineering is now taking pre-orders for the Talos II until September 15th. The Talos II is a powerful system built from the ground up with freedom in mind.

We've previously supported the work of the folks at Raptor Engineering. This time, rather than a crowdfunding effort, we are asking you to support their work by pre-ordering the Talos II. The system comes in a variety of forms to meet your needs, from a workstation to rack-mounted to the board by itself. Raptor Engineering has put in a great deal of effort researching and prototyping this system, and now it is ready for prime time. The Talos II is great for any hacker who needs a powerful machine, perfect for developing even more free software.

The Talos II is the first system to support PCIe 4.0, which offers lower power consumption and higher performance. To pair with this increased performance, the Talos II comes with plenty of slots for DDR4 RAM, so you can order (or add later) as much as you need. Of course, we can't forget about the 4-core IBM Power9 CPU. You can even go with more than one for extra processing power. By pre-ordering a Talos II, you could be one of the first users to own a Power9-based system.

Why is that such a big deal? The unfortunate reality is that x86 computers come encumbered with built-in low-level backdoors like the Intel Management Engine, as well as proprietary boot firmware. This means that users can't gain full control over their computers, even if they install a free operating system. Developers are working hard to fix these issues and getting closer every day, but for the time being, this is why many current Respects Your Freedom (RYF) offerings are refurbished older devices. For the future of free computing, we need to build and support systems that do not come with such malware pre-installed, and the Power9-based Talos II promises to be a great example of just such a system. Devices like this are the future of computing that Respects Your Freedom.

That is Raptor Engineering's ultimate goal as well, to create a machine that can pass RYF certification. They've already been working with us on the details, and things are looking good. We'll have to do another evaluation once it is actually produced to be sure it meets our certification standards, but we have high hopes. Here is what you can do to help:

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