I've hit a point where I'm ready to move on from my Macbook Pro after about 10 years and I've been looking at Linux laptop options. It's mind boggling that it's so hard to find good options.
Everything seems to revolve around "get a Windows laptop and wipe it" or "buy some flavor of old Thinkpad" with warnings about EFI and compatibility. Then there are company's like System76 who have what looks like a good offering on the surface but I keep seeing threads about bad experiences with them.
If I could order a laptop direct from Red Hat I'd do it without hesitation.
Ubuntu has been terrible. I switched to Fedora 24 on the XPS 13 and it has been brilliant. No other laptop (not even macbooks) come with that weight/power ratio.
Everything works - including skype, etc. suspend resume has worked absolutely perfectly.
I really, really recommend using Fedora. Ubuntu has not been delivering the experience that the hype expects.
Works way better than expected and I use it ten hours a day. At some point, Wayland solves this natively, but in the meantime this is an acceptable workaround.
It is 80% there, and if I didn't just get a MBP from work, I'd probably spend some more time with Fedora outside the VM.
Either way, if MS doesn't clean up their act, I'm done with Windows after a long time of daily use.
Long version: It seems there are two kinds of people here:
Some like me never think about any font that finds its way into any mainstream distro.
Others seems to care deeply about them.
I find it useful to keep this in mind as I honestly find one of the highly praised Mac a usability disaster (tried honestly to work with it or around it for almost three years).
I personally would love to see a proper graphics application. I would use linux as my main PC in a heartbeat if a Sketch equivalent was available. I expect a lot of people have similar feelings or have one thing keeping them from completely making the jump.
I recently got a MBP and the fonts are great. In 2016, Linux needs this fixed.
That's like saying some art dealers don't care what paintings look like. They just sell the stuff.
I know three types that I use: serif, sans-serif and monospaced programming fonts.
I do however care a lot about keyboard layouts, keyboard shortcuts and general snappiness of the OS so I am definitely a programmer ;-)
Edit: and I'm not a graphics programmer so I'm not an "art dealer" anyway, more like someone in logistics. :-)
Linux is a different operating system with a different philosophy. There are windows-y distros, but and the end of the day the core is very different and the UX is very different.
Switching to Linux is not like switching brands of cars. It's more like switching from a car to a motorcycle. The rules are different, the ride is different, the functioning knowledge you need is different. Don't expect your car-seat to work anymore, you'll need a different product entirely to achieve the same function.
Especially if you are switching for philosophical reasons, I'd say just bite the bullet and learn to adjust. There are a lot of huge benefits, but also a lot of things you're used to just won't work anymore.
I haven't touched Windows in 3 years. You definitely don't need it.
This is quite an irrelevant point. macOS is also very different from Windows, from the POSIX API (which makes it very similar to Linux) to Cocoa. And yet Skype works fine.
The real reason is more likely to be that Microsoft just doesn't want to support Linux properly. Of course, the reasons are more clouded, possible reasons are: virtually no marketshare on the desktop, large fragmentation, or they simply see Linux as a competitor that they don't want to give momentum. Given that they do support Android, iOS, and macOS, my guess would be the former two.
rm -rf /opt/skype
But there's a new official client coming based on WebRTC :
No video yet though
Jitsi Meet is a self-hosted, enterprise-grade alternative which works just as well. It even supports larger video conferences than Skype.
Easier said than done when colleagues, friends, and family use Skype for video calling.
Public instance there: https://meet.jit.si/
Company I work for migrated from Skype to Jitsi for meetings.
This is all with Debian Linux btw.
The desktop experience of Linux in general is still a bit off, but if you are like me and spend 99% of your time in the terminal or a web browser it certainly gets the job done. You can always supplement with a VM if you have to run "that program".
I don't understand why the XPS is so popular compared to similar priced business grade Thinkpad and Latitudes.
Only nit is that the standby battery life is only a few days. I upgraded from the 3-cell (which was pretty old and lasted about two hours) to a 6-cell. I'm still testing it but it lasts at least 5 hours under moderate usage. I think with the brightness on low it could last 10.
> If I could order a laptop direct from Red Hat I'd do it without hesitation.
Dell xps dev edition is the closest thing to that right now. but i definitely agree, it would be awesome to have a linux equivalent of the surface pro made by either redhat or canonical.
I'm on Mac for now. I really, truly want to be on Linux because I would like to use docker-compose for development sandboxing (and Docker Mac performance is unacceptable). But until I can get solid battery life, it's just not in the cards.
Also, since 4.2, I can't change the screen brightness. I can change it during the BIOS splash, but once the kernel takes over, the key stops doing anything. The brightness slider moves around, but doesnt actually do anything.
It's a shame too, gaming is the one thing keeping my dad (who has the same laptop) from switching over to linux.
Not only that, the W520, T420, and L420  and W530 have BIOS/chipset bugs that mean you need to disable x2apic. Avoid unless you love tinkering with Linux.
(If you need a secondary monitor, the situation isn't so good, though. Linux is missing support for some i915 USB-C feature that can cause issues with some adapters.)
Well, a year or two ago, at least T440s ThinkPads came by default with a Realtek wifi card, for which there were no good Linux drivers . Lenovo had an option for intel wifi card at no extra cost, but you had to be clever enough to choose that option when ordering the laptop.
There are various issues such as the laptop freezing when plugging in an external monitor (this can be fixed through a kernel update), crashes when waking from suspend / lock, Trackpad issues, problems with Bluetooth, problems with supporting 4k monitors through MiniDP, ...
So I'd say the stability of Linux on the new Skylake Thinkpads is far from optimal, although most of the hardware seems to be supported and runs.
When my workplace gives a developer a new desktop (one of Dell's Ubuntu offerings, seems to always use AMD GPUs), that person's first day is normally setting up dual head.
I wanted to buy a laptop with a GPU for CUDA experiments.
I was looking at Lenovo Yoga 710 (14 inch with nvidia gpu). Am I going to have a bad time dual booting a linux distribution?
It's a mess.
Someone else in the thread said what I completely agree with if possible just get the latest Intel HD series it works pretty much flawlessly.
In modern laptops, you usually have the complication of 'optimus' which allows you to switch between the onboard Intel graphics and the Nvidia GPU. This can be a bit awkward to get working, but it's improved recently. I've had plenty of issues getting it working right on Windows too.
All three work great in Windows of course. For Linux, integrated-only is best, followed by discrete-only, and I've never had success with optimus.
It's my understanding that newer Thinkpads don't have the BIOS option to switch and that this is much more of a PITA to get working.
You shouldn't have issues with Nvidia hardware though.
You also want to avoid AMD Radeon, which is even more problematic than nVidia. I think the best advice is "as long as you go for Intel graphics".
The X260 will likely work as an exact replica, but I haven't updated to Skylake yet so it's hard to say (ISTR there being some GPU buginess with Skylake at first). Otherwise everything should work almost perfectly out of the box, in my experience, though you'll probably want to tweak your power settings. The X260 will have a far superior screen, which if you're coming from a Macbook or anything will probably be important.
One of these days I'll upgrade and take my X220 down to the local hackerspace and get Coreboot put on it probably...
I'm a huge fan of the X1 series, which has about the same weight as the X260 but a bigger and higher-resolution screen. The X260 has the advantage of a hot-swappable, externally chargeable battery, and a better docking station; if you don't need either of those, go with the X1 and its awesome screen.
That's where System76 comes in for me.
Moreover, the XPS 13 is the first laptop that can charge using a battery pack (Dell Companion ) and runs brilliantly on Fedora 24.
Ubuntu has consistently performed badly on the xps 13. There is no thinkpad that comes at the price vs performance vs size ratio as the thinkpad. Obviously, there is no comparison for the thinkpad keyboard :(
I think Korona is a spin of Fedora that has this stuff included by default, so if you want Linux that works out of the box, Korona + any Thinkpad is probably your best bet.
See Dell: http://arstechnica.com/gadgets/2016/06/the-xps-13-de-dell-co....
Red Hat isn't a company that makes money by taking open source projects as a base and adding proprietary features on top, everything they make is under an open source license and anyone (regardless of whether the paid for it or not) can grab the source packages off their FTP server and build it themselves. Contrast this to Canonical who sells proprietary tools for Ubuntu (Landscape, a big sore spot for me), kept Launchpad proprietary for the longest time, Ubuntu One (though this is now dead).
And then we have the other big name in "Enterprise" Linux, SUSE, and we've got loads of proprietary software their sister companies sell (Novell, NetIQ) from eDirectory to GroupWise, the list here goes on.
Red Hat is an engineering organization dedicated to one thing. Sure, they have a sales channel and a large partner ecosystem, but at the core of their business is making fully open source products that people want to use (and hopefully buy support for).
Ideologically, I like this. I'll be sure to evaluate Red Hat when the opportunity arises.
From what i understand they are hardly the same.
That they are employed by the same company, yes.
One has faster development cycle, the other is regularly branched off and has longer support.
Watch out though. Some of the Baytrail netbooks are unfun for a variety of reasons with Linux. (Also with Windows). One of the longest threads on the Ubuntu forums is people trying to get Linux to run on an Asus X205TA.
You mean the guy wrote codes for card reader or the card reader manufacturer? :)
Sample size of one but as part of working down the Redhat certifications track I purchased an Intel NUC http://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/nuc/nuc-kit-nuc6i5syk... for a low power lab machine; it's really just a laptop squeezed into a cube but everything I've needed to use it for works fine. Admittedly I have not tried wireless or bluetooth.
Hopefully that means laptops built off reference Intel designs will also Just Work. Interestingly NUCs are showing up now in the Hackintosh community because despite moderate specs next to a modern desktop, they're still competitive with Apple's current hardware. No doubt Apple will refresh this year; they seem to be overdue.
For instance, getting the Broadcom wifi card that comes with my Dell XPS 13 to work on Fedora has been such a pain in the ass (proprietary driver only) that most people recommend tearing it out and replacing it with an Intel card that has a more Linux-friendly driver.
If Redhat really wants better Linux penetration in the laptop world, at some point they're probably going to have to make a decision to either go the Linux Mint route and include proprietary drivers by default, or try to engage some of the hardware manufacturers to open-source their drivers.
Certainly they can try to push the "Sell laptops with Linux preloaded and make sure everything works" approach (because let's face it, that's pretty much the only reason why Windows laptops are pervasive), but if you're trying to increase the number of people using Linux, I'd suggest that they might get better results as the thing one uses to repurpose their existing laptop.
Linux support isn't 100% perfect for me, by the way, but it's very usable. The main problem I still have is that power management is mediocre (I can't get it below about 8 watts idle generally), and the USB-C dongle you need for ethernet is very flaky under the current kernels. It works, but often requires unplugging and replugging for it to be recognized, and (very) occasionally completely hangs the machine a few seconds after I plug it in.
(I do think it's fair to call out Dell for selling a Linux developer machine that can't even connect to the internet without proprietary drivers. There's no Ethernet port either.)
On the plus side, the retina touch screen works great. Even on my custom NixOS setup it gives me smooth scrolling and even pinch-to-zoom in Chromium Google Maps. Pretty cool.
The Intel cards are nothing to write home about, either. Their only redeeming qualities are the availability of a free driver and Just Works experience in Linux. Otherwise, they are quite slow - so I understand why Dell puts Broadcom into Windows version.
Additionally, I was fine running Windows 10 at first and doing all my dev work in a Fedora VM, but the Anniversary Update has pissed me off considerably, leading me to want to migrate to a bare-metal Linux installation.
No real problems so far, except the ones that were caused by me because it was the first time I've ever set up a linux on a laptop.
If you want something a bit bigger, but that just works, the E5510 is excellent, especially once you have Ubuntu 16.04.1 (or a distro with the 4.4.0 kernel) on it.
Broadcom showed up suddenly, dumped a badly written set of kernel patches and then disappeared into the ether, frustrating just about everybody involved
On second thought, I have also had a few issues back when I thought BTRFS would be a good idea. (It's not). Those were my own fault, though.
If your laptop has enough ports, you could actually buy a USB wifi dongle for ~3$.
But both of my issues were not specifically Korora's fault, so no biggie. I love the distro otherwise.
The one inside the XPS 9343 is BCM4352. I'm not seeing any indication of compatibility with a BCM4352 using a brcmfmac driver.
Firmware. Install it.
It was so frustrating for me that the 'Linux on the Desktop' effort started right after the numbers showed that everyone was trading in their desktops for laptops.
I wanted to program ON my laptop, not program my laptop.
After spending almost 18 months trying to get all of the hardware on my laptop to work with linux (this included swapping out the wifi card and learning ACPI scripting so I could cobble together partial fixes from four other sources, and learning Crusoe CPU registers to contribute a power saving fix back to Transmeta, both things I have absolutely no interest in whatsoever), I said screw it and bought a Macbook. I'm on my fourth now, and aside for some difficulty installing command line tools, it's entirely removed hardware as a source of stress and procrastination.
New issues since Arch Linux's update to Mesa 12 are some weird drawing bugs that surface as flickering of the content for a few cycles (redraws) a couple times during the day. It's not screen flickering. The content is sometimes displayed partially and then, say, you type something, content flicker on each event for a few redraw cycles until it cures itself. If I had to guess, I'd guess something in mesa 12 and/or current X11 intel stack is very buggy.
How bad is this with the binary nvidia drivers? I couldn't use Wayland with that, but if there's zero tearing with nvidia, there's less incentive to use Wayland anyway.
Also DRI3 is a far better solution than the various TearFree hacks, less performance overhead, better integration with the compositor, and not hardware specific.
Nvidia drivers don't support DRI3 but they have their own double compositing hack that work as well as any other.
DRI3 actually has a weird bug when opening a video with mpv, where you can watch for a split second how a small rectangle is resized to the desired video window's size. This doesn't happen with DRI2 or Wayland.
All of this is most likely very GPU-dependent, so Debian cannot make a decision like that with confidence. I understand that the simple modesetting driver relies on Mesa and there's no UXA or SNA code which can introduce bugs, but I can assure you that when I tried the generic modesetting driver, it was one big tearing party.
BTW, DRI2 and DRI3 in Glamor mode is pretty much the same as the generic modesetting driver, because the SNA code isn't used at all.
I've been tyring my best to migrate to Wayland compositors, but Xwayland integration is still too buggy. But it might be an easier solution than messing around with xorg.conf.
Alas not aware of any initiative or indeed reason that such drivers could exist, even in binary blobs it would be a step forward.
There was also Forth Fcode used in Open Firmware. It was never widely adopted.
Basically any universal driver framework is going to be compromised in some way that you won't like. Either it'll be too slow because it cannot use specific features of the operating system. Or it will annoy OS developers by tying them to an ABI which they don't want to support forever. Or (like EBC) it won't be widely supported and/or won't work at all because in reality no one cares about this.
The one thing I love about it that I can't find on any new laptops is that all the ports are on the back; power, Ethernet, displays USB etc. I can show up at a plant and plug in to the network and power and have a mousepad beside the laptop keyboard and binders and notebooks on the other side without getting tangled up in cords. For bigger stays at a site I bring a 27" monitor too but still no cords out the side. No new laptops have all ports on the back!!
What i would really love to see is a cross distribution effort in the same direction : People from the main distribution coming together, identifying the main experience pain point a fixing them upstream.
I really think there is an under served (from both hardware manufacturer and distros) market of people who wants a better linux desktop/laptop experience. But until someone figure out a way to monetized that (like linux is on the server side), it will be hard to build on the desktop side the same kind of momentum that linux is enjoy on servers.
because it is RedHat i'd guess they would target enterprise deployments and that would allow to focus on narrow set of hardware. Making good on those would allow the stuff to trickle down into the open wilderness.
I would hope these kinds of efforts lead to better collaboration and coordination between the different distros for improving compatibility with desktop, laptop, tablet, and even phone hardware...
...but Unfortunately I don't think we should expect better collaboration and coordination, due to the usual political and quasi-religious barriers between distros.
I have triple monitor setup, GNOME always crashes. I am using XFCE with some success on F22.
I do have a few annoyances, eg the insert key is shared with prt sc and there is no right hand ctrl key (I remapped "menu" in gnome shell). Actually I do miss my x220 keyboard layout quite a bit :)
Linux should be used incidentally to the device or laptop itself. Or it should be spared for those who really want to know and understand more about it.
I used Linux on a laptop for a couple of years and, mostly, loved it. I hope Red Hat doesn't brand it as such.
Unfortunately, the Linux community has such faith in their project that they're ill at ease with hearing about its failings. It's not clear why they should be, though: Linux is a (relatively) great OS for its intended purposes, and there's no need for it to extend to every possible use case. Linux on the desktop is a somewhat pointless goal, and the community would benefit from embracing that fact.
Please no. Linux works great on the desktop, even for casual users. I have installed Linux on a few friends old laptops and they've all loved it. Distro's like Elementry, Manjaro, Mint and Ubuntu make it easy for casual users.
There are only 2 problems with Linux on the desktop remaining.
1) Games. A lot of gamers would love to switch but love their games that are currently Windows only at the moment. This situation is slowly improving.
2) The fact that almost everyone uses MS Office. MS works hard at making sure it doesn't follow standards so LibreOffice et al. won't be 100% compatible with it, so most businesses/people just revert back to MSOffice due to compatibility reasons. But if they all just switched to LibreOffice they'd get just as much shit done.
given the way a lot of typical consumers use desktops/laptops - web browsing, skype, plus may be some business software, i.e. almost tablet use case, they would actually wouldn't even notice if their windows were replaced by a nice looking Linux with good power management and printing and in general working without a glitch. That one - working without a glitch is the main threshold it has to jump over.