I think that's an often overlooked detail and one of the pieces of "sexiness" that makes it very difficult to want to switch away from an XPS 13: it's so damn portable.
System76 needs to come out with something comparable to that before I can switch. The market of people who want something rugged/durable/functional are already taken care of by the Thinkpads. The market that is still untapped is that of the Linux ultrabooks. Developers and other Linux enthusiasts basically just want a MBA/MBP that runs Linux natively. Do that, and people will flock to it.
Are mostly unhappily taken care of by the Thinkpads. The brand has gone downhill since IBM sold to Lenovo, which has steadily eroded the level of quality that can be expected from a Thinkpad-branded laptop. Modern Thinkpads aren't nearly as serviceable or as durable as the Thinkpads of IBM's era.
People who stick with Thinkpads today tend to do so because a) the enterprise support is still relatively solid, b) no real competitors for the Trackpoint, if you want one you need to get a Thinkpad, c) the keyboard, while not as high quality as it used to be, is still great relative to most of the market, d) Thinkpads are still basically reference laptops for Linux, and as a customer, it's reasonable to assume that there will be good hardware support.
If System76 wanted to go after Thinkpads, they probably could.
Edit: I just popped over to System76 to look at their laptops and I must say I really prefer the way Thinkpads look when compared with System76. I realize that this a dumb reason to choose a laptop but I have encountered no better judge of build quality than how a laptop looks. Every stupid looking laptop I've ever bought has been a disaster (parts break off, camera dies, weird crashes), whereas laptops who had a physical design which I liked (macbooks, thinkpads) have held up much better.
>the enterprise support is still relatively solid
That's not the experience I've had with my own company's support requests with Lenovo, and the lousy support relative to Dell is a prime reason why most clients I work with are dropping Lenovo for Dell.
> it doesn't have a "click anywhere" touchpad (it's still a mechanical hinge-based design)
Looking at the pictures, I'm more interested in the physical mouse buttons and trackpoint. I miss the buttons I had on my last computer.
Сlose to what?
FYI https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Carbon-2017... Among other things pay attention to the weight - 1.144 kg and don't forget ThinkPad's still have the best keyboard ever.
A recent ultrabook selecting topic https://www.reddit.com/r/thinkpad/comments/66ad57/why_i_went...
If you're going to get into the laptop market with a focus on maintainability, your competition is the T470, not Ultrabooks in general or the Thinkpad X1 Carbon in particular, which, as your Reddit link pointed out, has a downside in that the memory is soldered to the motherboard.
Soldered memory is not a real downside if 16GB is enough to run all needed tasks, as it helps to make laptop more lightweight and portable (1.144 kg !! and in the same time Carbon has a decent set of ports). So Lenovo provides a good choice for the folks that need to maintain something -
T470 and for the users that do not do any hardware upgrading - X1 Carbon (gen5).
Also looks like the X1 is capped at 8GB ram? 16 GB is a minimum, and you can easily get on an XPS 13.
My goal is to have a 16 GB ultrabook for when away from my desk, and a 64 GB workstation when at my desk.
I always try to find the beefy laptop to replace both, but I am never that happy in either place. Too heavy for the road, too slow for the desk. Been trying for like 10 years, and sad every time at the laptop I end up with.
* In theory the CPU in the XPS-13 supports 32 GB says Intel, but I have never seen a true Ultrabook with 32 GB. Which is a bit sad of course...
So XPS 13 has a similar problem where you need to buy the max CPU to get the 16 GB upgrade.
So comparing side by side..
XPS 13 with 512 GB SSD, 16 GB ram, i7-7560U CPU, 3200 x 1800 screen is about $1900.
X1 Carbon with 512 GB SSD, 16 GB ram, i5-7300U CPU (a touch slower), and 1920x1080 display, and force shipped with Windows (could not find ubuntu version) is about $2800
X1 does look nice, but not sure it is $1000 nicer than XPS 13.
I'm not sure if the link will work, but there is a version of the XPS 13 Developer Edition with Ubuntu and 16 GB of memory for $1,949.99. I find the slightly largest display of the X1 Carbon appealing (seems like a good mid-point between 13" and 15") but it would be hard to justify the price difference, especially since it's lower resolution.
(The X1 Carbon 4th Gen had an option for a high-DPI display; seems weird that the 5th Gen apparently doesn't.)
Linux will even tell you the charge for each battery (Ubuntu Gnome 17.04)
Maybe they could have a tiny low power battery that could last 5-10 mins to reboot-less battery swaps
Companies sometimes say "Yeah but $90* X is too much" ... But it costs a lot to have people wiring/unwiring chargers all the time. 3 minutes at $1 a minute adds up to $90 really fast.
Nearly every time I travel I'm working on a PowerPoint or some kind of documentation for an hour or two in the airport, then two hours on the plane, finishing it up at a coffee shop when I meet up with my coworkers, then presenting it for several hours at the client. None of those places are guaranteed to have power available to me.
Sure a lot of people have laptops that sit at their desk always plugged into an outlet, only running on battery when they pop into a meeting for an hour or two, but plenty more people actually need portable devices. That's the entire reason the MacBook Air was such a smash hit, you see them everywhere with both traveling businessmen and college kids, both of whom need something light and portable with amazing battery life. Both of whom are willing to forego an octo-core i7 and 32gb of RAM in exchange for 10 hours of battery life in a device that weighs less than 3 lbs.
Luckily difference devices exist for the different use cases that different people have.
Yes, almost literally every day.
My typical schedule is to show up for standup at 9, then be at a diner by 9:30. I work from there until noon, then back to the office until 2 to charge my laptop. At 2 I leave and work from a hammock in a park or something similar.
That's ~6 hours every day of working where there isn't a power outlet nearby.
Hell, even the Apple browser is more respectful of battery life than its competitors. Power draw seems to be considered carefully at every level at Apple, and it shows in their results.
Looked at the layout of one, and the right shift (the one I use most) is crossed with the arrow
My laptop is plugged in almost 100% of the time. If it needed to be plugged in a full 100% of the time, that would be at most an extremely minor hit to usability. I need a laptop that I can move, not a laptop that I can use while it's being moved.
I always use my laptops with a mouse plugged in, and disable the trackpad (and pointless touchscreen on my work computer) as one of the first things I do.
I would love to have a laptop with no trackpad at all (or maybe just one of those tiny nubs), leaving more space for a better keyboard.
It at least ships with a draft-n-capable Wi-Fi card, so you could use it for remote desktop? :P
T9300 (2 @ 2.5GHz); 4GB; Intelgrated GM965; 2xMiniPCIe (1 for Wi-Fi); 1024x768 :(
(For reference: I push mine WAY too hard. This is tab 406... I do use The Great Suspender, but, um. It does great (genuinely does hold up) with <15 tabs though, and the GM965 handles 1080p through mplayer and 720p in Chrome really nicely.)
You nailed it. I'm someone who only works in Linux but admires (and desires) the form factor of a MBA.
Then - we got on a video call. To compensate for the bezel, the webcam is on the BOTTOM of the monitor... which meant looking up his nose.
OK, you have lots and lots of pixels that are too small to see individually or in combination. Put in a cheaper screen with the same functional resolution. Lower price, same quality.
Scaling of vector fonts in modern desktop systems doesn't work that way. Scaling is done before rasterization, and you would get perfectly sharp edges with 250% scaling.
Like others have said, Lenovo's Thinkpad contract with Red Hat is tenuous at best and their quality has only been getting worse. Its not a default install, its not first class, and Lenovo is not dedicating staff to driver support in consumer products. We have the XPS developer edition program making great ultraportables for Linux. We need a business class workstation notebook in the 17" form factor with ruggedness and great features that has complete and total Linux support and inclusion out of the box.
The HP Spectre (W2K28UA) I have has three type-c ports. One is USB 3.1 Gen 1, is not Thunderbolt, is power. Two are Thunderbolt 3, USB 3.1 Gen 2, no power. (No power icon anyway, I haven't tried plugging the power adapter into either of them, maybe it'd work.)
Does it really? I say slap anyone that implies that until they stop doing it.
I _love_ the bezel or lack thereof. The only weirdness is that "bottom of screen" webcam, but I barely use it.
And if you get the 9560... wow. 4K display, GTX 1050M, i7 w/ 32GB. I'm very happy.
I must say, however, I don't see that need for desktops. Custom desktops are relatively easy to build, even for customers.
A well designed linux laptop, with no driver issues, good build quality, that doesn't sacrifice performance for thinness? That's what I'm missing.
I've been custom building my desktops since the 90's and I can't remember the last time I had an issue with hardware, I think it was a Geforce MX440 so ~2003.
The driver story on desktop hardware for Linux is absolutely great (in my experience) if the hardware has been out 6mths or more or uses a core chipset/device that has.
These are typically equipped with Xeon CPUs, plenty of memory, sometimes ECC etc. Moreover, since they are usually HP/Dell workstations, they are certified to be compatible with Red Hat Enterprise Linux, so all the hardware is pretty much guaranteed to work.
Just to give one random example:
Xeon CPU, 32 GB RAM, 500 GB SSD for 425 euro.
For example my 2x Xeon 2670 (16 cores/32 threads) is quite the power hog.
Your example is pretty good since V2 Xeons are Ivy Bridge le vel and consume noticably less power than V1 equivalents.
However that particular CPU is basically i5 not i7 (just 4 cores/4 threads).
Only mistake was buying AMD 380x for GPU
I ask because I have been thinking about having my next card be an amd one because I'm tired of having to deal with proprietary drivers with my current nvidia card...
So I thought AMD was going to be better, because they try to be good and nice...
Well, AMD hardware is NOT good as nVidia (example: 380x in particular is really fast, but EXTREMELY power hungry, so much power hungry that AMD had to greatly cripple it, sometimes it starts stuttering heavily in games before it gets hot, and when I look at logs, the reason was it reaching power usage limits).
And they are bad at marketing, but also do the bad things that nVidia do at marketing, for example AMD shills do exist, I got banned from chat rooms after asking how to fix bugs (because they want to give the impression their drivers are bugless... but they are complete crap too, even their Open Source driver for Linux is so much crap it was entirely rejected by the kernel team), they deny their cards have physical bugs (RX480 has same issues as 380X, but ALSO has unbalanced power usage, drawing too much power from the mobo and damaging it), and so on...
I tried asking for help with my card issues with both AMD, Sapphire (the manufacturer) official and non-official channels, and I was treated very badly, people would ignore tickets, give me non-sense information, and several times they told me to just return the card and buy another one (I can't do that because I purchased my computer in US, but I live in Brazil, if I could do that I would have switched my 380x for a nVidia GeForce 970, back when I bought the 380x they were in several countries the same price).
Also AMD drivers don't crash the OS like nVidia ones do, but they crash a lot more, in all OSes, AMD drivers restarting (And taking your game/software with them) is fairly common, also weird error messages (like updater crashing, control panel crashing, etc...)
No, amdgpu was not rejected by the kernel team. A particular implementation of the driver was rejected because it implemented an abstraction layer, and that would make it nearly impossible for kernel devs to maintain.
> drawing too much power from the mobo and damaging it
If you could point to an example of this happening, I'd appreciate it. My knowledge of the situation is that some models of the RX 480 can run slightly out of spec, pulling a little too much power from the motherboard. Any motherboard I've heard of could withstand that. And if you really care you can enable an option in the driver that causes it to run strictly in PCI spec.
I'm not an AMD shill, I just think you've misrepresented some of the issues at hand. AMD make mistakes, for sure. But not every mistake is as crippling as you've implied.
Just look in the AMD own official forums for threads created before they made driver patches, for example in one thread a guy put a photo of his molten blockchain mining rig, and then there was several pages of people calling him a nVidia shill, and noone helping.
The handling of the incidents were so bad I stopped visiting AMD forums entirely, it was just pure hostility to anyone with any problem, even unrelated problems.
Bitcoin mining isn't a great example; if you look further into that thread, it's not just AMD users whose rigs have caught fire in the bitcoin mining situation.
Like you, I always ran NVidia because of their support for Linux, but recently tried to use an AMD card for a Linux build. I ended up buying an NVidia instead, and all my problems have gone away.
With my custom fan curve it starts to get limited in performance while still around 60c (and fan noise is still not 'perceptible' over the sound of a game for example), because it instead hit power limits.
The 380x has same power limit as 380, despite having more GPU power available and double the RAM, I have no idea why they made such crappy decision.
Is power problems are so severe, that undervolting the card make it MORE stable and faster, because it reduces total power usage, and triggers the power limits less often. (same thing apply to 480 by the way, people found out during the 'PCI slot melts' crisis that undervolting it made it behave much better).
[EDIT] Though to be fair, I think they did call out bluetooth as one of the things Ubuntu was going to focus on in their next release IIRC.
Powerline networks are mainly utilized by people living in concrete multi-story houses that either do not wish to install a proper Ethernet backbone to all rooms or take a gamble with WiFi due to higher cost, thickness of walls or other reasons that might seriously affect connectivity as mentioned before.
I used to run my own IT support company with several employees (think Geek Squad) having both enterprise customers aswell as private sector and people running Powerline is actually a lot more common than you might think (my parents for instance are running it along with WiFi in their house - deskop, IPTV and camera surveillance is on Powerline while tablets and phones are on WiFi).
During all my years in IT I've encountered two situations which I can remember where WiFi was used on a desktop machine instead of Ethernet or Powerline - one was a car dealership where they had a salesman sitting in a "glass box" and they were sharing building with another company (so, no Powerline) and other situation was a enthusiast that built himself a new computer and his new Asus motherboard came with 802.11n built-in..
Personally, I am running all my desktop machines on a 10Gbit CAT6a network I have at home (I do have a WiFi as well but it is on another VLAN with no access to network infrastructure - mainly used by kids) where I have possibility to stream multiple 4K streams from my FreeNAS server while downloading huge files of the Internet without even breaking a sweat - try to do that over a WiFi connection and you'll hit into a brick wall pretty fast.
Most people when buying a new house can stomach (not sure why, because it can't be a large portion of the overall cost of a new house) multi-line pulls from each room to a central wiring closet. Plus, you have to have that central closet (or panel at a minimum) somewhere out of the way, and most people just don't get that kind of tech (the idea of a central area for a home server, plus networking stuff, etc).
So - the lines aren't installed (at one time, houses were offered with the option, and if you are willing to pay today, you can still get it - but most people don't). After the fact retrofits aren't done because such an install is very difficult to do (especially in modern houses with horizontal firebreaks between the verticals, little to no attic with vaulted ceilings, etc) - which also means its expensive.
So instead, people go with wifi. It's cheap, no need for a dedicated wiring/network termination panel and/or closet, and can be taken down and taken with you if/when you move.
Personally, I prefer a wired system; when I moved into my house I installed a few drops myself where I knew there'd be some dedicated hardware (TV area, my office, library, and my shop); the other rooms I never installed anything because it didn't matter. For those, the wifi I have fills in those blanks adequately. I ran all the lines back to a custom wiring closet I built in my shop, and terminate everything there (plus a few of my servers live there too).
Now in a house I see maybe 10 APs and they are all at the edge of their range and I rarely need to tinker with it and it works all the way across the street.
Not saying you are wrong, just different areas are different.
More broadly, I think home desktops are getting rarer in the UK. Wifi is the obvious answer for portable devices with wifi capabilities built in, even in dense housing with lots of devices interfering with each other.
also don't underestimate the power of stealing your neighbor's internet. I have a fun little router that's named "dontstealmyinternet". I kept the router's default passwords but have it blocked. It gets about 5 attempts a month from new machines.
I do use one of the Ethernet ports but it just goes to another router next to my desk (connected via crappy Powerline to the rest of my network) for testing w/ KVM.
It's some piece of crap TP-Link but it works 100% of the time so far.
I appreciate that hardware testing is complex and expensive, but I'd love to see an annual "high spec" and "low spec" Ubuntu reference build, with a price tag of maybe $1500 and $600 respectively, that have been tested and confirmed working with the current LTS.
That having been said, I wouldn't pay system76 a premium for it. I'd do what I've done every year so far, which is search a bit and then ultimately buy what I want and cross my fingers.
It exists, it's the Thinkpad T-series.
I don't get all this hand-wringing over the need for hypothetical great Linux machines when we have Thinkpads available right now.
Also it's not supported by the manufacturer. Thinkpads have great support from the Linux community but Lenovo doesn't officially guarantee its use (I would be happy to hear if I'm wrong on that).
I did try some newer kernels a few months ago, but then my wifi stopped working. But this should not be necessary when running a flagship LTS desktop Linux on extremely common hardware from two years ago! I expected more.
No point in doing that. Just use the hardware enablement stack. It gets you the 17.04 kernel/X/etc over the LTS base. Best of both worlds.
But I will reiterate: this is clown shoes. Expecting this kind of effort from desktop users is hostile.
Personally I find all-in-one installers annoying. I find I have to spend a ton of time removing crap I don't want and replacing it with what I do want. It would take me probably as much time or more to install and configure Ubuntu as Arch would.
You might want to check out Fedora too -- I hear the latest release is pretty great. Arch based distributions like Antergos or Manjaro might be good to check out if your only hangup with Arch is the arcane installer.
There are many fine linux laptops in the desk-home type, 14"-17". The selection isn't so fine if you're looking for something that'll fit in your lap on the plane or train, and have 8G of RAM. Or at least 4.
I just used mine on a Ryanair flight a few days ago, cramped in the middle seat for 3 hours. The XPS 13 fit perfectly on the very small folding table, the top of the screen just sticking under the bottom of the pocket-thing that is always full of useless flyers.
I believe it has the same footprint as a MBA 11. And of course, I'm running Linux on it :)
Does Optimus work the way I'd expect it to these days?
Bumblebee has kind of fallen into a 'not officially supported' state as of xenial, but it will work if you are willing to spend a bit of time cajoling it by messing with drivers and blacklists and config files.
Nvidia also has an official solution now called 'nvidia-prime,' but it's awful. You have to log out and back in to change which card you're using, so you can't just spin up the discrete card for one or two taxing programs in your workflow.
But it can work the way you'd expect it to, if that's what you're asking.
Bumblebee and optirun can be better, but it is usable right now.
- Wifi is flaky (ier than on windows)
- Battery life is shit (ier than on windows)
- Sleep mode has one of the following problems
* Does not properly suspend (i.e. wakes up immediately when suspending, shuts down instead of suspending)
* Does not properly resume (i.e. kernel crash on resume)
* Sometimes does not properly resume (even more annoying to debug)
* Resumes randomly, when you don't want, often turning your backpack into a forge.
- Hibernate mode doesn't work (at all, your hardware has been blacklisted).
- Plugging in an external monitor occasionally causes everything to crash (but sometimes just compiz).
These are the most annoying problems I have on my Linux laptop. Admittedly, mine is not Thinkpad, but looking at reviews on the latest Thinkpad, at least the battery life issue seems to be ever present. These are pretty much the same problems I've had for the 10 or so years I've been running Linux on laptops. I would have thought they'd been fixed by now. 10 years ago, Windows had a bunch of these problems too, so it was excusable. Now, it's just embarrassing.
I still run Linux on my laptop because I like the dev environment and tools so very very much, but I would pay serious money for hardware that was guaranteed to just work (tm) with Linux, with all of the above solved by the vendor rather than by me. I used to enjoy these little problems, but now they just annoy.
The sleep mode problems are the most annoying to me, the most elusive to solve, and the most impossible to predict from reviews :/
Wifi works perfectly, suspend/resume, docking/undocking too.
As for battery life, it was around 19W/h when I first switched to linux after FreeBSD. After installing tld and powertop it is stable around 10.8-12W with wifi enabled.
Maybe you might want to try a recent distro, I'm using Fedora and I really like it.
Even my 3G usb dongle worked flawlessly with zero config.
PS: I remember having a flaky wifi under Debian 8, but that was due to an old version of wifi driver. It has since long been fixed in every distro I tried -including Debian-.
PS 2: My laptop is pretty old (x201), so your mileage may vary. You might want to check out thinkwikis for further info.
I had an x201 new, and I ran into all those problems listed above for the first two years. Hell, I had to use a USB WIFI dongle for the first year or so because the drivers hadn't stablized.
> - Wifi is flaky (ier than on windows)
No problem there, always been rock solid. The chipset is likely to matter, my laptop uses an Intel chipset. Performance wise Intel may not be the best, but the Linux support has always been good in my experience.
> - Battery life is shit (ier than on windows)
A very common misunderstanding, and very easy to solve. The thing is, a stock Linux distro is made independently of the PC hardware that will run it. There's no integration like any PC vendor does when installing Windows, making sure the Windows configuration is well tuned. In order to be functional on most devices, a Linux distro is typically conservative, and will typically stay away from enabling low-power modes that are flaky on some crappy PC models.
But for most tier 1 PC brands, the hardware is fine and it's perfectly safe to enable aggressive low-power. So just install a package like The Laptop Project (tlp), or the older laptop-mode, and you're good to go. You can even tune the configuration, it's simple and well commented. For example, with a fast SSD (no spin up/down), one can be very aggressive on putting the drive into low-power.
With this done, taking about 10 mn tops, I have a longer battery life on Linux as on the stock Windows8.1. And this is as reported by the firmware through ACPI, so same estimator on both sides.
> [Various sleep mode issues]
There was a very nasty bug in Linux MMU set-up that's been solved in 4.8. Before this, it could trigger some random and sometimes hard to reproduce bugs on some models, leading to crashes on resume. I've been affected, and it was a pain. The bug was there for a long time apparently.
Since 4.8, it's been rock solid. Zero issues. And it's really night and day in term of user experience. In case some of your issues were related, you may want to make sure you're running a recent enough kernel.
As for the unwanted wake-ups in a bag turned into an oven? Only ever happened to me on my work TP running Win7. From experience, sleep is not perfect there too.
No experience on using an external monitor with my Linux laptop.
One of the main weakness is that there's no ODM integration if you install Linux yourself. With big brands like TP, it's still mostly been smooth in my experience, except for the nasty resume bug fixed in 4.8. If that's a problem for you, there are now vendors with pre-installed Linux. Then it's a similar situation to Windows.
If it were that easy to solve, I would think Linux installers would take care of this.
You make it sound like Windows needs to be fine-tuned (by the vendor) to provide good battery life. This is absolutely not the case. You install a bare Windows 10 on a random laptop, and battery performance will likely be much better than on Linux.
Anecdata, but my desktop Lenovo workstation's suspend function worked well with Linux, but after an update (few months ago) it never resumes successfully. Nothing in logs -- just simply doesn't wake up properly. (4.10 kernel.) These are painful things.
That sounds like my experience with Windows 10 on my gaming PC. I only use that machine when gaming, and while it has a <10 second cold boot time (god I love NVMe), I prefer to leave it running and let it fall asleep after a few minutes of inactivity. Some time last week or so, I noticed it never cycles fully to sleep; it will fall asleep and almost immediately wake up. I'm positive this was due to a Windows update, as I haven't changed any settings on it before or after the incident first occurred.
Now, this is on a PC I built, but I used a common motherboard (Gigabyte Z170M) and never had this issue on my previous build, also based on a Gigabyte Z series board. My wife's computer is a mini-PC made by HP, and it started having the same sleep/wake issues during the same week. Something in a recent Windows update has affected sleep states.
I found that I needed to let the entire thing be wiped (including all software) and re-installed in order to get it working. A long time and complete pain in the ass, but it's much better now.
Just as a piece of warning if you go that route: MS decided that my legit MS office keys were "Pirated" because they were old and wanted me to upgrade (after telling me that it was a valid key 3 hours before) so I told them to pound sand and I was going to buy MAC's from now on, and I'm not a fan of Apple at all. They offered me nothing, but the chance to give them more money.
This happened to me after my first upgrade to Windows 10. I had a legit copy of Office 2010, and when I upgraded my Windows 7 installation to Windows 10 during the free year, I opted to do a clean OS install after 10 was activated. Upon reinstalling Office and inputting my key, at first it activated then it threw my Office install into an unactivated state and told me to contact my administrator. Umm, what? I'm the administrator and this was a retail purchased and licensed copy that worked fine before being installed on Windows 10. I even tried reverting to Windows 7 and installing Office on that, but it never activated and gave me the same message.
Thankfully I don't really rely on Office anymore and can get by with F/OSS alternatives or Office Online, but it definitely sucks that Microsoft appears to try pushing its business customers into O365 subscriptions and away from traditionally licensed software using what I feel should be illegal tactics.
As to how legal their tactics are, I'm not sure. I do know before I would never have considered anything other than MS, I'm now left to moving onto Mac's because I cannot give them more money and the work I do tends to now work in the Linux or alternative OS environments. Lots of industrial software that is touchy enough as it is...
Not much can be done with vendors that are actively hostile.
EVERY single thing has worked with Ubuntu (every single six months release, since 12.04 only used LTS releases) and required little to no effort.
As for a "Desktop" I haven't touched one at work since 2004. TBH I believe only gamers care. And gamers like to build/adapt their own hardware. Unless you can differentiate heavily and have something unique (something like building a RED camera or a super fast Electrical car) how is that going to fly in a marked that is in decline?
Keep yourselves to building a super high end laptop that can rival a Lenovo X series model and we will look into that.
My mum would disagree.
An ordinary desktop, perhaps, but a truly innovative product not so much. Consider something like Microsoft's Surface Studio and Surface Dial:
A Linux desktop with similarly novel modes of interaction would be awesome, and might be just the thing to bring the masses to Linux.
From a personal/consumer standpoint, all I want to see anymore is a competitor to the Macbook Pro, with a comparable track pad, display, keyboard, battery life and form factor. I'd love to move away from my MBP, but the closest competitor I've found is the XPS 13 and, while it's a great laptop, just doesn't hold a candle to the MBP in a few of those areas. I wish System76 luck and would love to see them prove me wrong. This press release, so early in the process, just seems like a lot of pressure for the company to live up to, especially based off of their past offerings.
I agree with you on wanting decent ultrabooks. I have had too much trouble with Dell to risk more of my money on another.
I don't know if I'm the only one, but I really want a 13 inch laptop thats thin/ultrabook format, with low specs and only a HD screen. All I do each day is use a browser and SSH into other machines, I don't need an i5/i7 processor and HiDPI display to do that.
My ideal laptop would be an XPS 13 sized laptop, with a 1080p screen, i3 processor, 8GB of RAM and as much battery life increases as possible.
I've also install crouton for a full Ubuntu environment, which I use occasionally. But mostly I'm ssh'ing into my workstation and servers.
My only annoyance is the caps-lock key, which is now the Google search key. You can press Alt-Search for caps-lock, but it is slow and a little glitchy.
I highly recommend the recent mobile i5 processors. They are ridiculously low power and amazingly fast. I really do not want for anything.
Now you almost certainly can't buy a V63 where you live (only Japan and even then I've heard Toshiba are getting out of the business), but this is the spec I recommend. The 1080p screen is the most important thing for battery life and performance. Don't get a higher resolution screen if you want to do a full day's work away from the power mains.
I absolutely love this machine to death (and take it with me everywhere -- even to the onsen).
Frankly, having used linux on a few different laptops, i'm not really sure how someone who wants everything to always work perfectly and isn't capable of debugging kernel drivers and tossing out patches runs linux. The few times I've seen this situation, it seems people are just putting up with the broken backlight controls, standby that doesn't work, BT drivers that wont pair, etc.. All things i've had to fix on my machines. (the latest being the keyboard hotkey to enable/disable the trackpad needed "tweaking").
No hardware issues that I know of (but I had to uncomment HandleLidSwitchDocked=suspend in /etc/systemd/logind.conf to get it to suspend, and of course XFCE doesn't know what to do with tablet mode, nor do we …). The rather big trackpad might take some getting used to though :-)
XPS 13 sizes, 8GB of RAM, 1080p screen. The lower end CPU choice for the UX330 is i5. At least older UX Zenbooks worked with Ubuntu right away with the exception of ambient light sensor.
I love my Chromebook with coreboot and archlinux, but I need a upgrade to a 1080p screen and more than 4gb of ram without having to pay $1000 for a overpriced laptop with a dual-core i7.
There are many configurations and many redundant options, and silly coupons that work on some models and not others. The buying options are entirely unclear, I think intentionally so. Just like HP and some of the other major OEMs. Please don't read this wrong, I love options, but I dislike foolish inconsistency. When I build a desktop I can choose any CPU, any GPU, any Mobo... When I look at the 4 models (lines, tiers, whatever) of the XPS 13 they have redundant options, 4 different ways to get to the same configuration with no reason I can see for a $200 difference in price. When I spend my money I want to know what I am buying.
Beyond the normal BS is that part of buying System76 is not giving money to microsoft. I think microsoft is evil, not an exaggeration, legitimately evil. Not giving them money is a huge selling point for me. I think this is a discussion for another thread and will not defend this here and now, Just take that I (and at least a few others) won't willingly give money to microsoft. So where is the option for an XPS with Linux, any flavor (or even Freedos or no OS) pre-installed?
Because none of the XPS 13 systems say they support what I choose for my OS, what is my recourse if I do blow away the pre-installed OS and something doesn't work? They are free to change the hardware when they please and I have ordered two dells with identical model numbers and gotten 2 different things (even in their business class of machines). They are making it clear that I am not their intended customer and mine is not their intended use case.
The XPS 13 is available as a developer edition with Ubuntu instead of Windows preinstalled: http://www.dell.com/en-us/work/shop/productdetails/xps-13-93...
To continue with the pit that is Dell BS, why is the "Developer Edition" of this stuck at 4GB of RAM when one of the other tablet-like versions had 8gb. My current machine has 64, my last ultrabook had 16gb, and my father's phone has 6gb (OnePlus 3t).
Why would a phone that costs half as much have an extra 2gb of RAM and twice as much storage? The phone has 128gb internal and we added a 128gb card.
I am quite happy with my 2016 MBP, by no means perfect, but my overall Mac experience did not change that much.
I have personally learned so much from that experience that it is very difficult to overlook when thinking of brand hacks.
Then I ask them to try the same with their Apple laptop.
That normally makes them never ask such questions again.
I learned that from an IBM (and later a Lenovo) sales person when presenting the X series. It's designed and built to tolerate real use. And some abuse :-)
I've used laptops for the last 10-15 years, often 8+ hours a day. I have not once dropped a laptop during those years. I'm completely okay with having a laptop that disintegrates when dropped and is better in other ways (thinner, lighter, longer battery life) as a result of not focusing on resistance to drops.
(Sorry can't watch the video right now because I'm on mobile data)
The ASUS has:
- a larger screen
- a better CPU
- a better GPU
- as much memory
- more storage
-twice the weight
-1/4th the battery hours
-one of the worst touch pads around
The closest real comparison is the MacBook Pro to the Surface Pro, in which case the MacBook is better at every price tier(expect for the touchscreen which is totally useful).
AFAIK this whole System 76 blew up because of the disappointment in the newest Macbook Pro. People say they'd wanted bigger battery and more connectors -- however, I'm a bit skeptical if those would be enough to choose a much heavier, uglier and bulkier model when actually buying a laptop.
The way laptops are built, I'm not sure a 10-20% increase in battery size would mean only a small change in the size of the laptop (everything fits pretty tight in there...).
At a minimum, I would expect standard USB, headphone, sd card reader, standard HDMI, mini displayport.
You're going to have a hard time convincing me that an HDMI connector adds more than a few grams of weight. Thickness, maybe. But even then.
VGA and ethernet could be nice too, but wouldn't see much use in my case.
The battery could be removable (i.e. half internal half external, like the thinkpads).
Optical drive is obviously not much use in a laptop anymore and should be external. (this one actually adds weight and not just thickness)
- No headphone cable, I have bluetooth headphones
- No ethernet, I have wireless
- No hdmi/displayport, I have chromecast/miracast
In general, I don't want to connect all that much to my laptop. And for the things I want to I'd prefer a universal connector such as usb-c. Make a docking station that works over usb-c where I can connect whatever is on my work desk such that I only have to plug in a single cable and everything is good for me.
Personally I find wireless anything to be a persistent pain and not worth the trouble, but since it costs almost nothing to add, I'm totally cool with adding it. Maybe in 10 years it won't suck.
Ethernet is still the premier PHY layer for people who want their shit to work. Wifi is still flaky as crap these days in many places. Thus, there is no Ethernet replacement yet.
As chriswarbo says, the age of the tech is completely irrelevant. Instead, it's the utility / cost tradeoff that matters. A floppy drive would be expensive in terms of weight/size, and would be useful to approximately 100 people (10 if it's 5"). VGA and Ethernet adaptors would be useful to probably 1/2 to 1/4 of the users, and cost almost nothing to have.
Also, VGA specifically is one of those ports that's still really nice to have, just in case. Last thing you want is to show up at a conference room and not be able to plug in your laptop.
you're dead wrong here. it costs space, which is a precious resource in modern laptop builds.
i just feel like companies and people hanging on to these archaic technologies is hindering progress and adoption of newer and better technologies. after all why do you need thunderbolt port if you already have the vga? why do you need better wireless chip if you can always plug in the cable? these stupid decisions are made on a level that impacts the whole industry.
What's wrong with widely used communication standards?
I have a pre-touchbar model and it's more than thin enough. It can be done. To my mind, the question is can a company that doesn't have Apple's resources manufacture on the same level as Apple? I'm not sure.
I don't see myself moving to System 76 unless they bring out an exceptional product. For instance, if they did a desktop that contained two motherboards, one for a 'server' and one for a 'client', then that would really help build web apps where you don't want your 'server' to be slowed down by your IDE, browser tabs and everything else 'client'. Such a system would have to have a SGI style unified file system that was quick from either client or server side, i.e. no NFS mounts.
Given that no such PC has ever existed(!) I don't see System 76 coming up with something crazy niche that 'every developer must have'.
> Laptops are more complex and will follow much later.
Oh... I guess not.
Custom desktops aren't all that interesting. Especially not with the KickStarter / other funding platform culture that caught on with the custom desktop case community. I really don't see System76 being able to outdo enthusiast communities in terms of what people want (SFF, quietness, form factor, etc.). Their best bet is to work with enthusiast communities, take the cases people are supporting/testing, and create verified + supported Linux configs for those systems. I think they'll have far more success in creating truly unique and useful systems going that route.
Edit: When customizing the machine I can see that it has m.2 and 2.5" sata. The wifi is 802.11ac 2x2 or 3x3.
Currently, size wise, it's only the 2016 Macbook that has made an impression on my eye - and I am not really happy with putting so much money on the table for a sub-par performance notebook.
I like the hardware specs of the Galago Pro. Unfortunately, I can't say that for the design. So much wasted real estate (e.g. screen).
It is a little odd that they are starting by re-designing their desktops: their desktops actually work well.
And the keyboard, as well.
I guess that's why they're starting on desktops. You can limit custom fabrication to the cases and then it's just part-picking. There's also good margin on peripherals.
But ultimately where this is going to make or break them is on laptops. The problem there is it's powers more expensive. Mainboard design, screens, batteries and a much lower uptake of high-margin peripherals.
That said, many, many developers are happy to drop a few thousand on a good portable because it's a business expense they can easily justify. There's money to be had if they get it right. In that vein, they need to get away from their current image of rebadging generic hardware. Ergonomics are important.
System76 is not known to do they things they say in the article, though, like building laptops that work perfectly on Ubuntu and will work with future generations.
Hopefully their design will improve, too.
> Phase three moves product design and manufacturing in house. We’re about to build the Model S of computers. Something so brilliant and beautiful that reviewers will have to add an 11 to their scores. Being that we’re System76 and we do things the System76 way, our design principles are polar opposite of the rest of the industry.
Is this serious? The Tesla Model S was a serious gamechangers for the viability of electric cars. Dell and Lenovo have made "OEM computers with Linux support" a solved problem space. These guys think they're going to leap from selling rebadged Taiwanese MacBook clones to coming up with original PC designs so great that they beat what Apple and its mountains of cash can put out? Are they serious?
I think it's entirely possible that a similar situation can happen in the PC space, and System76 believe they're positioned to do it.
Disclaimer, I do happen to be a web developer at System76. But the argument stands; you can disagree that System76 has the ability to execute on this vision, but after building a very successful business around Linux computers for 11 years, I happen to believe it's going to happen.
They're going to build better computers in a few years, is the message I got from it. Are they showing/announcing anything today?
Side note: is the Bonobo really rocking dual GTX 1080's? Like the full-size desktop 1080's?
I don't game as much as I once did so I'm behind the times on mobility graphics (I understand they've come a long way), but that really impresses me.
I bought an ultralight Acer of so-so quality and the thing runs Xubuntu, i3 almost flawlessly out of the box. I'm not going to pretend it's a Macbook Air or XPS but it matches them in function for a lot less money.
And for the laptops: with the rate of tech innovation I am afraid that when they release a laptop it will be one or two generations of CPU behind... and I also doubt they'll be able to produce something that comes into range with the 2015 MBP (not the awful Late 2016 model). Key points are fan loudness (I have yet to see a powerful AND silent x86 laptop other than the MBP), the trackpad (again, Apple wins with size and functionality by far) and the battery life - I can get 4-6h of Netflix on a single charge, hard to beat this given that Apple has literally billions of cash available to tweak OS X to their hardware for maximum power efficiency.
Do the extra money go to a better construction quality and material?
Right now i'm using an asus and i'm a little depressed about the general durability. The one i was using before break after no more than 3.5 year, but i started having problem during the first year of use.
I think i need something a little more "rugged".
My usual price tag is 500€, but i will pay more for a more robust laptop.
This is mainly in response to that Reddit thread from many years ago which basically spread the neg against System76. I was cautious due to being biased from the negative reviews of the past, but would consider my experience evidence that its at least not that way now :).
Really hope this works out - not only do I love seeing Linux plays, quirky plays, contrarian plays, and quirky, contrarian Linux plays, but also, we need more alternatives to Dell/Lenovo.
Also also, they seem like great people.
I ended up buying a XPS 15" in lieu of not buying a MBP.
in germany you can buy a 13,3" FHD laptop with up to 32GiB ram and preinstalled ubuntuflavors starting at 1099€ here:
keyboardlayouts for a lot of countries and plenty of other customization options available. Batterylife is claimed to be 12 hours. Weight is 1,3kg.
edit: added weight, starting price
So I'm not sure there is quite enough incentive for me to pay the extra $500.
If I lose a couple of days to having to figure stuff out with a faulty machine, as opposed to solving the immediate issue of having a box that works right now, I will have lost significantly more than $500.
This is why I buy Apple hardware with Apple Care, by the way. Whenever I've run into an issue I walk into an Apple Store or call customer service and have the issue resolved right away. Sure the up front cost is higher, but the time and money saved on not having to care is priceless.
It has to be said though, that the hardware is only half the story. I also make heavy use of spideroak and iCloud for backup of pretty much everything, as well as init scripts to get a brand new machine configured in less than an hour.
If these guys can provide the same solid hardware + support + cloud story (by themselves or through partners) then I'd say the price tag is competitive.
If there is one certainty in this world, it's the apt comparison of System76 to Tesla.
I know Intel claims otherwise, but an always running background OS feels like a back door to me.
I would buy none of these two btw, unless they tell me that they didn't rip off little children in some remote place... In that case I'd even pay lil bit extra.