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The new MacBook Pros with T2 chips do indeed kernel panic randomly (twitter.com)
257 points by miles 6 months ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 310 comments

IMO the 2015 Macbook Pro is one of the best laptops ever made. Don't know why they went and messed that up.

I solidly regret the 2017 version. I've had one keyboard replacement already (that required the logic board to be replaced, seriously). Since then, I've already lost two keycaps. I've been ordering replacements online because they wanted me to ship it out for repair.

My 2015 Macbook is being used daily by a friend and is still in perfect shape. Worst thing that happened with that one is that I wore the letters off some of the keys.

My next laptop will probably not be a mac.

Completely agree. I have the 15inch 2015 MacBook Pro and a Surface Book 2. It took a bit trial but I now have a setup I like using WSL for development, and have brought all the MacOS keyboard shortcuts over with autohotkey. All Apple needed to do was have a single model without the touchbar and I would have purchased a newer model regardless of potential keyboard issues. Surface Book 2 is the most brilliant hardware I've ever used that actually makes my MacBook feel archaic in comparison. The keyboard in my opinion is the best I've ever used and being able to detatch the screen and write on screen and read books in portrait mode feels like some alien technology. Battery life is also a huge win.

I was very skeptical of Windows as a development environment so bought the 8GB version as mainly a secondary computer/screen and notepad when doing work in cafes alongside my Macbook. I'll probably end up selling it and getting a the 15inch 16gb version. My Surface has only recently dethroned my MacBook as my daily driver after spending time to set it up properly. Also once you get used to a touchscreen it feels unnatural to not have one.

Apple does have one model without a touchbar but it's thirteen inch and has lower specs. I am pretty sure it too has a T2 chip and the same keyboard flaws. It's what I'd buy if I bought a Mac but I don't think I will.

Since the T2 chip is mostly about the Touch Bar / Touch ID / secure enclave then no, the FN MBP doesn't have the T2 chip nor BridgeOS.

Also, the FN MBP hardware hasn't been upgraded at all like the TB ones were, so the CPU is one gen earlier and thus dual core, while keyboard flaws remain since it's a non-fixed keyboard (the one without the rubber thingies)

The T2 chip also controls the secure boot functionality, I don't think that Apple would skip adding it in just because it doesn't have the touch bar.

Here is a link from Apple that says all of their Macbook Pro models have T2 chips from 2018 onward.


But I still may be wrong though where did you read that the MBP without a touch bar doesn't have a T2 chip?

The FN ones haven't been refreshed, therefore they're MacBookPro14,1 (mid 2017). I can't find a link right now for a source but it was mentioned in various sources from teardowns to discussions about provisioned setups and Linux installs.

Found a link to a forum saying exactly what you said. Weird that they don't say anything about this computer. I wonder why they even sell it at all. I guess they still sell the MacBook Air which hasn't been refreshed in a while so that's just one of their business models, sell old tech at modern prices and spend nothing on advertising.


Unfortunately that one is dual core. They don't have a quad core laptop in their line up with a full keyboard.

I just find the touch experience on Surface to be completely lamentable and the hybrid desktop-tablet interface boggles my mind. I agree the hardware is fantastic but I find Windows 10 intolerable.

I agree. Windows 10 is not ready to be used property as a tablet.

For example, the only way to get a slider to adjust display brightness was opening the OS display settings. At least that was the case the last time I tried it.

You can adjust brightness by swiping from the right edge to bring out the notification bar (called action center) and then tap the brightness tile to switch through five modes of brightness.

It's not a slider but it does the job well.

That said overall the tablet experience on Windows 10 is not ready for prime time. I get weirdness with the on-screen keyboard as well as quirks with Explorer and so on.

Brighter = Fn + Del Dimmer = Fn + Backspace

In tablet mode with no keyboard?

"My next laptop will probably not be a mac."

Yeah, you aren't the only one. They are seriously throwing away all the goodwill and reputation they'd built up over the past 20 years, over features no one is asking for like the touch bar and a ridiculously short key throw.

Have to pile on here.

I have a 2017 and use it mostly with an eternal keyboard and monitors but I am shocked when I use the built in keyboard. It is really bad to type on -- all for what? A few fractions of an inch in thickness?

I had a first gen MacBook 12 and was ok with the horrible keyboard given its purpose of maximum portability. But on a desktop replacement / primary machine? What the hell were they thinking?

On this keyboard, 50% of the time when I type a single quote I hit the return key. Makes programming comically bad. It's just a couple of steps off typing on a touch screen at this point. (Which, I fear, is their endgame.)

Other joys of my 2017 (15, maxed out except for the absurdly expensive second TB of SSD):

1. (Un)plugging external monitors will crash the window server

2. Kernel panics -- usually related to IB in Xcode.

3. Unresponsive power key

4. Fingerprint reader that fails without any feedback

5. Serious hacking required to run external monitors in HiDPI mode

6. No more touch typing for the media keys, escape key

I'm professionally tied into the Apple ecosystem to a degree that it would be hard for me to leave, but I'm really unhappy with Apple these days. They seem to live in a fantasy world of unnecessary aesthetic goals and are alienating the small but extremely vocal community that have championed their products.

It's anecdotal, but Linux on my ThinkPad gives:

- Rock solid stability, uptimes of months (until I reboot to upgrade the kernel). I've never had a kernel panic in over a decade of use.

- No problems with WiFi, sleep, printing or monitor hotplugging (dual wide-screen, displayport MST).

Linux is tweaked, optimised and hardened by so many people and organisations, it is seriously fast and robust. The various desktop GUIs available have also matured a lot over the last ten years.

For any developer of server-side software (which likely runs on Linux), it simply makes more sense to develop on a Linux desktop.

I use a X1 Carbon 2015 running Fedora 28 (Since I first installed Fedora 22)

You need to give Linux distros a few months to become mature enough to run flawlessly on newer hardware. I recall having displayport issues when I installed Fedora 22. Aside from that case, I can't remember the last time I've had issues.

I don’t love the new keyboards, but I program without any incident on them, though I try to cultivate a light, clean typing style.

I’ll even go so far as to say that I don’t mind the Touch Bar. But I rarely used media / fn keys to begin with and use C-[ for ESC where I can (e.g, vim). Often when I do use the Touch Bar it is to perform an action that replaces mouse / keyboard gestures (a plus, for me). Do not get me wrong though, the Touch Bar also displays a lot of useless information.

I’m not sure if I’d want fn keys on my next laptop (a fair number of my desktop keyboards don’t even have them), but realize other people’s workflows likely utilize them more.

What I would love is a modern, low profile, programmable mechanical keyboard though!

I’ve been using Macs since 1984. I even made it through the crap the company was producing during Jobs’ first absence (albeit barely). Right now my daily computer (which gets at least 10 hours of use a day) is a maxed out 2014 MBP. I love it...it’s the best laptop I’ve ever used, Windows or Mac. If it were to die today, however, I’d replace it with a 2015 MBP. I’ve been keeping my eye on the Surface too, and if it keeps progressing forward in terms of quality and capability, and Apple keeps on progressing backwards, I’m ready to take the plunge and switch. Microsoft has been making a lot of really smart decisions lately and Apple has been making a lot of stupid ones.

I'm in the same boat as you, but I've got a late 2013 15". I actually picked up a Toshiba Chromebook 2 to run Gallium (xubuntu) on for when I'm outside of the house. I'm half-paranoid about something happening to this macbook pro.

As a graphic designer, I used to be 100% windows -- and even somewhat against the hype of apple products. A friend had an old 2008 macbook pro collecting dust. I figured I'd try out OSX for a time, purely in an effort to fix her laptop. I fell in love with it and picked up the 2013 a few months later.

As time goes on, I don't doubt that we'll see the 2015 maintain its resale value.

I’ve been keeping my eye on the Surface too

You won’t regret Surface, fantastic hardware and W10 is not nearly as bad as the haters say, esp. with WSL now. I’m a switcher from MBP myself and I am very happy with the decision.

Homebrew/Debian (derived) > Cygwin/Chocolatey/WSL any time of the day. Though I'm not sure about Time Machine. Seems to not work with symlinks or hardlinks or something? Why would it still be this terrible given APFS? That should be able to handle snapshots fairly well?

My MBP is luckily the last decent one (MBP 2015) and it has 16 GB DDR3 and 256 GB SSD. However it does have an Intel GPU, and only 2,2 GHz quad core i7.

Since I'm on 400 cycles at about 5% battery loss and a few minor but annoying damages on the screen I'm gonna get the latter repaired. Problem is I'm not sure how they got there in the first place. So I'm not sure how to prevent it. And the time to get such fixed is withering away. Tick tock, 2015 was 3 years ago.

Apple without Steve Jobs is your favorite restaurant with new management. You want it to be the same so you try not to notice that it's gone to shit, but eventually you realize that the guy running the place was what made it so good.

Oh hell yes. They made a mistake, try to fix it, and the problem was gone in the next iteration.

We have been suffering from the same MacBook Pro keyboard issues for 3 years, and the latest 2018 just released still has that keyboard problem. And to add insult to injury T2 now causes panic every now and then.

History will ultimately remember Apple as two distinct entities; Apple With Jobs and Apple After Jobs.

Four really: Apple with Jobs (76-85), Apple without (85-97), Apple with (97-11), and Apple after.

Each period was very unique.

I already switched away from Apple to Linux in the last few months, and it's been awakening my passion for computers again.

Best desktop environment for people who want a very good looking desktop is Deepin, and the Manjaro Community Edition with Deepin has been rock stable, very fast and very beautiful for me during the last few months I've been using it. Highly recommended.

You don't need a MacBook anymore for things to just work and be great looking.

For me, the problem is that I need a mac for iOS development (and sketch). I know I can rent an OSX machine in the cloud, but I foresee a lot of frustration going that route (plus high cost).

I currently own a maxed out 2017 15" model. The control and "H" buttons don't work. So I am using an external keyboard.

I could get them replaced, but service will take three weeks (due to high demand) and they have to have the actual laptop the entire time.

I am of the same opinion. But my reasons are - repairability, cost of parts and service after the warranty ends (in fact cost of extended warranty too).

To be fair, in most cases the consumers don't know what they want. Was anybody asking for a touch screen phone when the first iphone came out ?

I bought my 2017 MBP last November and accumulated a whopping 7 loose keycaps that would come off with my fingers as I typed. It was so unusable that I had to use my 2013 Air to get work done.

I returned to the States 2 weeks ago and took my MBP into an Apple store. The one nice thing I can say was that I was able to book an appointment online, drop my MBP off at the store, and 2 days later my repaired laptop arrived at my front door. That experience was at least more pleasant than I expected.

The high resale value of macbooks doesn’t do you any good when you realize you should keep your previous laptop around because your new one will likely break.

I will definitely be using an external keyboard when possible from now on. Sheesh.

I don't see how that is a pleasant experience. Other manufacturers of laptops in that price range will give you 3 years on-site support where they will send out a technician to replace as much as possible in front of you so you can keep working. Often they will even be able to replace the logic board within half an hour.

Hell, my Thinkpad T420 had complete manufacturer created instructions on how to replace the display and keyboard so I could to it myself after the warranty runs out.

“Other manufacturers have onsite repair” who does that nowadays and how accessible are their stores?

I’ve had friends with HP, Dell, etc, laptops ship them off and wait a week to hear what is wrong and give them an estimate. And they usually had to ship it themselves. I had an Apple repair and it took less than a week with virtual no wait right by my house.

Say what you will about their keyboard problems but people were envious of my repair experience.

> “Other manufacturers have onsite repair” who does that nowadays and how accessible are their stores?

At least Lenovo offers that in some of their models, you may be charged extra, though, if you want onsite warranty, may depend on market. This summer my space bar started to misbehave, created a ticket on Lenovo site, next day a guy arrived to my home and spend about half an hour to disassemble my laptop and replace the keyboard.

No, I am not envious on your repair experience.

Heads up Lenovo lets you take it to any of the certified independent repair shops for warranty work. I've had numerous things done under warranty, and I have a couple repair shops to choose from in Seattle!

I had a very poor experience with a Lenovo-authorized repair shop in Victoria, Canada who replaced the display on my then-brand new T420 when it failed but somehow managed to force the bottom case back together in a way that left 2-3 mm gaps at various spots and cracked the plastic in a few places.

Lenovo refused to replace it.

In my experience you have to buy the business class laptops for that level of service. You pay a bit more but the models are sturdier and the service is usually great. There aren’t “stores”, they just come to your business/house/wherever you are and repair it on the spot. On the rare occasion they don’t have the right part and you have to wait a couple more hours.

>In my experience you have to buy the business class laptops

And these laptops are still cheaper than Apples.

I had a defective keyboard in my XPS 13 9333, many of the keys just straight up didn't register - I called Dell and two days later I had a tech in my dining room tearing the laptop apart and replacing the keyboard. No, I didn't have ProSupport or anything on it - this was the included one year warranty.

It depends on how much you pay for the laptop. If you get the overpriced “enterprise” machines you get the on site support. I found it cheaper to just have extra hardware on hand.

I recently got a 2017 MBP for work, and yeah, whenever I have to type on it for more than a few minutes, I am reaching for my external keyboard. I bought a larger backpack and a separate USB-C hub just so I can carry my keyboard around with the laptop, because it is so inefficient and annoying to type on this thing.

Prior to this, I haven't seriously used an MBP since my '07-ish MBP died, but I can say there were no such issues with that.

And these experience are only and mainly in US, Mac user can try to the same in China, Korea, Japan, Taiwan, or any part of South East Asia, I beg they don't even come close.

In any cases sometimes they put you through to Australia or Singapore representative, but my god they treat you like dirt.

And the funny thing is? They continue to buy from Apple because they cant be bothered to leave the ecosystem and their work depends on it.

I had MBP's from 2010 onwards and re-sold/upgraded every year or so.

Last year the touch bar debacle started and I also wasn't happy with the 16GB memory limitation when others were offering 32GB. Also I need to do a lot of Windows and boot camp isn't very good on MBPs; the trackpad doesn't work much better than a normal trackpad and the fans go wild.

So I made a deal with the devil and switched to a 1080p 32GB Xeon ThinkPad and it's about twice as thick but works fine and has a really decent keyboard. I also read a book by the ThinkPad design team and I feel that they really care about doing the right thing. So that's who I identify with now more than Apple.

I'm watching Apple slowly (and presumably deliberately) further alienate their user base year over year with the touch bar, worse keys, refusal to implement touch, and awful Windows drivers, so that one day they can say, "Well it's not worth it anymore" and stop producing it and focus in iPad/iPhone where all the money is.

It's pretty sad stuff.

I'm running a mid 2012 i7 MBP (bought at release) w/ 16GB & a 2TB SSD (recently upgraded from a 1TB SSD). I also have a keyboard overlay as a precaution, since I've had to replace keyboards on previous Macs due to spills or sloppy cleaning.

My 2012 is decent, but 2013 - 1015 MBPs are the best.

The main issue with a 2012 is that the hard drive cables fail constantly. But the part is cheap and even the technically clueless could replace it themselves with YouTube or ifixit.

Tell me about it! I'm using a 2012 MBP right now, and I love it, except that every 2 - 3 months the hard drive flex cable fails (except for one period where it happened to last 2 years). I'm on my 4th cable, and Apple isn't offering any remedy except "when it breaks again, bring it in again and we'll replace it for free again".

At least the last time I took it in, the guy replaced it on the spot in 15 minutes while I waited. Every other time they've needed to keep the device for a week to replace the cable... I've had a lot of downtime with this machine.

Electrical tape works wonders, especially as a preventative:

MacBook Pro Hard Drive Cable Failure - Free fix and preventative maintenance - Question mark https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Amg5w0rlwDo

Oh wow, that's the first time I've seen the actual damage. It's so small that no wonder I couldn't see it.

I've still got a month left on my AppleCare, but once that expires I'll give it a try. Thank you!

I think the issue will be that either your Mac will be unsupported for OSX Mojave or at most in an year or so while your machine physically will still be in good working condition.

Considering the lackluster updates of OSX / MacOS, and the fact that the platform matured years ago, I'm not really concerned that I won't be able to use Mojave.

I think the only issue will be if I need to use XCode, which tends to be bound to the latest OS.

> I think the issue will be that either your Mac will be unsupported

What precedent do you have for believing that to be true? The only time Apple has done that in the past is major platform changes (aka PowerPC and later 32bit CoreDuos). Unless Apple shifts to ARM (which is easily a couple years out at best) or Intel comes out with a 128bit processor (which isn’t even remotely on the roadmap), I’d say you are safe for at least another five years, even if those shifts do happen.

My 2012 Mac Pro (cheese grater) can’t run Mojave since the GPU doesn’t support Metal.

There are aftermarket GPUs available, but it’s becoming an ongoing chore to keep the machine running the latest macOS features (needed new wifi card to support handoff and watch unlock etc).

New wifi, SSD, usb3 etc are relatively cheap. The new GPU is getting more expensive and is now actually blocking keeping up to date with major OS releases.

There is no other Mac I currently want to buy (desktop, my own display). MacMini is too underspecced, MacProvis about to be updated and aside from GPU isn’t really any better than my current MacPro - feels end of life and outdated from day 1, a non-starter for me.

So I’ll probably get a new GPU and hope that buys me another couple of years.

I’m running Mojave on my cheese grater 2011 Mac Pro, but I’m guessing that’s because I already had upgraded the graphics cards and didn’t realize it (also upgraded CPUs, RAM, and a bunch of other stuff too). The cheese grater Mac Pros were one of the best machines Apple ever shipped imho.

Yep - they're great.

I've put in USB3, replaced the spinning disk with SSD, upgraded the WiFi and RAM, but haven't done the CPUs yet (already got dual 6 cores, so aside from a slight clock bump not much point).

My only concern is that the CPUs don't support something that the next major version will require, forcing a move off the MacPro 5,2 platform.

I also did USB3, upgraded wifi, SSD (also turned it into a custom fusion disk), ram bumped to 128gb, upgraded from dual quad 2.4ghz to dual hexacore 3.3ghz, added a nVidia 1080Ti (which I had to power off an extra SATA connector from the 5.25” drive bays) and upgraded the ATI (kept it split brands as the nVidia can be a momentary pain when doing OS upgrades).

I also share your concern too. :(

What wifi card is needed?

For unlock with watch an AC card with beam forming (factory was N), for handoff/continuity Bluetooth 4 (from memory, may be wrong).

I was looking for a particular model :-P

Oh sorry, I totally misread you question and thought you asked what it is needed for.

I got the kit from OSX wifi:


Works well, had a bit of trouble getting unlock with watch working, but then all of a sudden started, so not sure what that was about, but been good since then.

macOS 10.12 Sierra killed support for Macs with CPUs that didn't support SSE4.1 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MacOS_Sierra#System_requiremen...

I had missed that. Thanks for calling it out!

Even if it can technically run it, speed can be a real issue trying to run modern MacOS versions on older hardware.

Me too have to 2012 no retina MBP, I upgraded the HDD to an SSD 500Gb and the RAM from 4GB to 10BG Im more than satisfied but still stressed when I think about the upgrade

I hate the idea of using a cover, but I probably should. Do you have a recommendation?

The top comment in practically every macbook related HN post is about how top quality the 2015 Macbook pro was and how its successors failed.

Although I'm actually typing this on that very model.

I went from a MacBook Pro 2015 to a Thinkpad T470s because the MBP 2016+ were so unappealing and more expensive for (at the time) outdated processors.

It took some getting used to because I hadn't used Windows in a while, but overall it is working quite well.

No one ever gets a promotion by leaving a 3-year old design intact.

Macbooks have basically looked the same since the TiBook days, getting just a bit slimmer and dropping a few ports every revision.

With the 2016+ you got the option of colors, and it continued on its trajectory of slimming and losing ports.

Or to courage your customers into wasting $70-$400 more per laptop in dongles to retain basic functionality. Like USB-A or HDMI.

Also the loss of the function keys (brightness, volume, etc.) makes the touchbar one slower and less pleasant to interact with. I don't want to have to press a button just to be able to SHOW the play\pause button, I want it to always be in the same place and just press it.

You can set it to work that way in the settings. But I agree; I miss the physical keys.

> IMO the 2015 Macbook Pro is one of the best laptops...

I guess it's just me, but one thing I don't like about the 2015 is the Force Touch haptic trackpad. I think the 2014 might have actually been better because it had a real clickable trackpad (like the MacBook Air still has) with a really satisfying, snappy click. The Force Touch has such a weak click response that I find it hard to use accurately, even when you dial the click intensity to maximum.

The Surface Book 2 and Surface Laptop seem to get that right, they've still got snappy clickable trackpads & the key travel is like the old MacBook Pros before the new keyboards.

I'd be one of minority, I guess, but I don't mind the new macbook at all. It's a bit lighter and thinner, which is already a nice improvement for those who have to carry it around every day.

While using the 2015 model, I couldn't even imagine a laptop that would make it look and feel old-fashioned, but the 2017 one did it. After using it for a couple of weeks the 2015 mac feels bulky and its keyboard – kind of tight. The 2017 keyboard is so light that it takes just a little push by a finger to press, and I really feel that it allows me typing even faster.

I do agree that the keyboard is very easy to contaminate and a little crumb can make a key hardly usable, but it's easily fixed with a bottle of compressed air. Hopefully the measures Apple took in the latest revisions, utilising a kind of a rubber cushion for the keys, will improve the situation.

I just got myself the 2018 13" model after it became clear they addressed the keyboard/dust issue, and I'm pleasantly surprised by the keyboard feel. Initial impressions in the shop are never accurate, but after working on it for a few days, I prefer it over the keyboard of my aging MBA.

Now that said - I haven't experienced any kernel crashes yet, and I expect Apple to fix this in software, so I don't worry too much about it.

I'd agree that as you get used to it, it does definitely feel as a step forward.

I had the 2013 version, and then got the 2017 one.

I don't have a use for the touch strip (in fact it gets in the way, as it can get accidentally touched), hate how easily the keyboard can gather detritus and get stuck, and dislike the bigger trackpad.

On the other hand, I dig the enhanced display (brightness, color), better speakers, and am excited about the powerful i9/32GB/2TB options in this years model.

Not sure what they'll do with the strip, but the keyboard has to be fixed.

If it was up to me, I'd replace the touch strip with actual buttons that have tiny OLED screens and can show pictures on them, and try to come up with a 100% water/dust proof keyboard system that still has proper travel.

>My next laptop will probably not be a mac.

That's not an option for me. Linux of all varieties still sucks on laptops (and for creative use, e.g. video and music), and Windows doesn't have the Unix underpinnings that I rely on, plus the OS and ecosystem is even worse (I've used Windows for 20+ years, and use Linux for work every day since 1998).

> Linux of all varieties still sucks on laptops

Sweeping statements like that are not helpful. The argument is far more nuanced. My wife's MacBookPro sometimes fails to wake from sleep, gets incredibly hot under load and doesn't support my displayport MST monitors, but I wouldn't claim that Mac laptops universally "sucked".

>My wife's MacBookPro sometimes fails to wake from sleep, gets incredibly hot under load and doesn't support my displayport MST monitors, but I wouldn't claim that Mac laptops universally "sucked".

That's because some Mac laptops do those things and others don't (it's a combo of OS version, graphics card, chipset, model, and so on).

Whereas the problems I'm talking about regarding Linux are integral to the OS and ecosystem (and occur for everybody, regardless of setup).

Now, some of those problems might be non-issues for others since they never do X or Y things with their Linux laptops. But for me, that need to do X and Y those are problems. X and Y being for example heavy professional video and music editing.

But there are also lotsa things that are genuine problems in desktop Linux use, regardless of use cases. Having problem with a laptop sleep or getting the 3D acceleration / compositor to play properly etc, for example is not just some rare case on the wrong production run / OS combo, but a constant across distros and laptop brands, and usually the solution is to just carefully research and get a support combo (or just be lucky).

> That's because some Mac laptops do those things and others don't (it's a combo of OS version, graphics card, chipset, model, and so on).

The same is true for Linux, which was my point.

> Having problem with a laptop sleep or getting the 3D acceleration / compositor to play properly etc,

I have absolutely no problems with sleep or 3D acceleration (e.g. Steam works fine), my hardware is very well known (ThinkPad). So I don't agree that these are examples of constant issues.

> Heavy professional video and music editing.

Granted Linux is weak here. But is a MacBookPro really that strong? I would use a Windows 10 ThinkPad P-series Xeon, 64GB RAM and a 4K display.

He's saying Linux hasn't improved. You're saying Macs have become worse. I agree on both counts.

> My next laptop will probably not be a mac.

The Lenovo P1 looks good. 6 core, 64gb ram, 13 hours battery.

> My next laptop will probably not be a mac.

What will it be? To be fair, I am not a fan of Macs but I haven't seen any good GNU/Linux laptops which have proper Wi-Fi, sleep, and battery usage out of the box. Do you have any recommendations?

XPS 13 works fully out of the box with Linux as Dell has all of the drivers ported because they sell the XPS 13 developer edition with Ubuntu.

Best laptop I've ever owned. Starting to roll them out at work too as Linux machines replacing new Macbook Pro's.

I agree the XPS 13 is far superior to any MBP I've attempted to use. I've previously hated clickpads on every device, including the crappy Mac one. The XPS is awesome in that regard.

Not sure what you mean here... You just install Linux on them and usually things work fine. Maybe your fingerprint scanner won't work, stuff like that, but otherwise it's rare to have issues.

> Maybe your fingerprint scanner won't work, stuff like that, but otherwise it's rare to have issues. reply

Exactly. These things add up. Fingerprint scanner won't work, battery life goes down. Occasionally, the device won't come out of sleep. I have used self-managed GNU/Linux on my laptop before and these issues bother you unless GNU/Linux development is your main job.

Pick your distribution wisely. I have no issues with Linux wake-from-sleep or battery life on a ThinkPad, in fact my wife has more issues with her MacBookPro!

I'm quite enjoying my System 76 laptop, have you looked at their offerings? https://system76.com/laptops

I have purchased and returned one before. I admire them but when I tried a few years, the hardware quality as well as battery life was not up to the mark.

My mid 2015 MBP needed its motherboard replaced and Apple was awful about it. One of the OS upgrades revealed a kernel panic related to communicating with the GPU. I remember trying to explain to the Apple Genius about how driver issues can be hardware issues.

I took a Lenovo Yoga as a "burner" laptop to DEFCON. Got so many people asking about it, saying they liked the size, the pen and touch interface, and the look and feel. There are many good options today, and Windows 10 is just fine.

> My 2015 Macbook is being used daily by a friend and is still in perfect shape.

This is the issue that Apple is solving: if your laptop still works, Apple can't milk you for more money.

Short sight solution at best. People will leave on the next purchase.

> My next laptop will probably not be a mac.

maybe it shouldn't even be a laptop

It is an impopular opinion, but switching to a desktop as a daily driver, if your work and lifestyle allows it, has many benefits such as greater power, upgradeability, compatibility (e.g. Linux, FreeBSD), repairability, and relative low cost.


Laptops are portable. If you want something portable, it's gotta be a laptop.

sure, it depends on your use case, but a small bluetooth keyboard with a phone mount is probably more portable... something a bit like this: http://www.tuemarket.com/img/iphone-bluetooth-keyboard.jpg, or if you just need processing power, it could be a back pack server, etc...

It's long past time for the tech world to start realizing that their anecdotal evidence is not valid. Every single tiny glitch some person with a Twitter experiences doesn't warrant a fucking XYZgate level media blitz.

@Apple @timcook my phone's battery discharged a little fast today. WHY ARE YOU HIDING FROM THE TRUTH ON THIS??? #draingate

In a later reply, guy cited a Apple discussion thread as his empirical proof. Do you know what, yes, even a thirty page, forum thread is compared to Apple's daily sales? A rounding error.

It goes both ways. The media will blow up any tiny issue, and Apple and Mac fanboys will dismiss even major issues.

With apple hardware that "every single tiny glitch" usually turns out to be a major software/hardware fault. That leads to extended free replacements or redesigns.

The comments the user typed into the Problem Report screen are not constructive.

I think that comments field would be better used for entering any possibly relevant information the user might be able to provide. For example: what was the computer, or the user, doing before the point of the panic. I'm not saying the user has a strict duty to enter information... just that it's a good idea to add some valuable information if you can. The information doesn't need to be perfect or complete. Apple aggregates information from different users' reports and every bit (well most of it) helps.

Apple is engaged in a huge ongoing long project to make their stuff better and better for their users. It's not ever going to be easy, given the ever increasing complexity in the world. We can help, or we can cheer them on, or we can hate on them or whine when they fail. I vote for helping when we can.

I think the problem that most people have with Apple quality control is that the company has quite a lot of surplus cash and they don't appear to be using it to make their products better. If we could see that Apple recognized that a product had fundamental design problems and used their massive resources to correct it more people would be willing to give them a break.

Saying that "Apple is engaged in a huge ongoing long project to make their stuff better" doesn't really comfort me much. Especially as they just recently were dubbed the first Trillion dollar company. If some smaller systems manufacture (i.e. System76) had a problem with one of their designs and said that they were working to correct it, most people would give them to benefit of the doubt and cheer them on.

The other problem in my eyes is that Apple seems to be deaf to the users of it's product. I understand not listening to every single thing that the users complain about (8 cores vs 16 cores, etc.) but some things are fundamental. Things like making the MBP a desktop replacement, hence we really don't need it to be the thinnest & lightest laptop ever. We want a whole lot of things like a great keyboard and massive battery and if that makes the laptop thick and heavy then so be it.

> I think the problem that most people have with Apple quality control is that the company has quite a lot of surplus cash and they don't appear to be using it to make their products better.

People always think they know how to spend other peoples money better than they do.

This was a constructive comment that didn't deserve to be downvoted.

I'm not totally fond of the current state of Apple's products, but I do agree that I'm seeing signs that they're gradually backing away from the abyss of awfulness. They've got a ways to go, and I'm sure they'll lose people along the way, but I'm hopeful that the next big laptop design they launch will show some lessons learned.

I've been following Apple since the early 90s, and, well.. they've recovered from worse problems than this so many times I've lost count — and yes, even before Jobs came back, and even after he died. Things will get better, new things will get worse.

It's a shame that people feel like venting by pounding on that downvote button, alas.

Came here looking for this reply. I can understand acting that way after a long string of unproductive interactions with Apple support (note, I'm not saying I would excuse it), but typing that into a dialog box and then being proud enough of what you've written to tweet it out to the world? It doesn't leave me with a positive impression of this guy.

In the same Twitter thread the author attacks someone for using an 'accusatory tone' when questioning his claim. Meanwhile he's sending Apple the snarkiest of comments along with a bug report.

Problem is not that T2 chips are causing kernel panic - that stuff happens. Problem is that nobody wanted the touch bar and thus the T2 chip there in the first place - another chip with its own OS running and handling the touch bar crap nobody cares about and many are annoyed by. Apple has gotten into NIH+Something fancy just to jack up the hype and prices too deep.

I might be mistaken - but tell me if I am - how is my X1 Carbon 6th gen meaningfully less secure/functional than the MBP? IOW, what am I getting in return for missing ESC, added complexity of the touch bar and significantly higher price? AFAICT nothing if I am not bound to the OS.

While I’m also not interested in the touch bar, the T2 also handles other security functions like disk encryption and certifying your boot. So you’d still have the T2 even without the bar.

Yep. As evidenced by the iMac Pro also having a T2 despite not having a touch bar. (It also has the kernel panics that are a feature of the T2.)

Ok, understood. But my point is that PC side disk encryption and secure boot are handled in a standard fashion (TPM 2.0/ UEFI Secure Boot / Intel TXT) without needing another ARM chip and it's own proprietary OS. It's the whole solution looking for problem thing. If I run Windows or Linux on the Mac I think I won't be able to use the T2 chip for anything.

> my X1 Carbon 6th gen

probably not what you care about, but the MBC justifies its higher price by significantly higher screen quality... and by the fact that MBPs (and Surface Pros I guess too now) are the only notebooks that manage to pull of the 'amazing screen usable outdoors' + 'battery life keeps being good even if your screen is at a higher brightness' combo...

ALL other laptop manufacturers miss this. Imo <4K and <450 nits for a screen means that it just f sucks, that's not a good enough display!

The MacBook Pro 15" does not have a 4K screen. Lenovo on the other hand do sell workstation-class laptops with 4K screens (3840 x 2160). The X1 Carbon is comparable in size to the 13" MacBook Pro and offers a similar 500 nits IPS panel.

Actually my X1 has a pretty great HDR 500 nits screen. Sure it's WQHD but for a 14" screen that's good enough.

> Problem is that nobody wanted the touch bar and thus the T2 chip there in the first place

I think you are discounting the millions of people who never wanted the F-keys in the first place.

Sure but that doesn't mean the F-key haters wanted touch bar as a replacement! Because it's worse - at least the F keys were usable across the OSes equally without kernel panics.

Holding off buying a new MacBook Pro at the moment. It’s like issues pop up every other week and I simply cannot buy a machine that is not reliable. Also looking into a Lenovo Thinkpad w/ CentOS as an alternative, even though it would be difficult. It’s a pity.

No issues with my 2018 15" MBP. Runs perfect, solid battery life, cool and quiet. No kernel panics or any other crashes in 3 weeks of owning it.

Edit: Should mention I have only restarted it two or three times in those 3 weeks so it has had plenty of time to crash

As much as I dislike the inability to repair or upgrade the new mbp 15", I have to agree. Mine works great.

Yeah it is horrible how you can't repair or replace anything but it does work so damn well and I have had so much hassle with other laptops that I just thought fuck it and went with the MBP.

I had a Surface Book 2 which was one of the worst laptop experiences I have had in the past decade and it was close to the MBP in price. Microsoft waaaay over-engineered the Surface Book just to be unique yet still don't have the software experience good enough to be totally reliable.

I have never had my MBP fail to wake from sleep like my Surface Book for example. Or the daily need to detach/reattach from the base so that the backlight for the keys works properly, etc. So many weird quirks with that thing.

You can get third party parts for your MacBook and replace them yourself.

And there are detailed guides from iFixit about how exactly to do it.

It's technically possible, but they don't seem to have a tonne of parts available, especially for the new models (2016 onwards). Also, pretty much every component is soldered to the logic board (memory, ssd) with a few small exceptions, and the computers can be more difficult to open.

I haven’t found this to be the case at all. Plenty of sellers have components for the newer models as well of course eBay.

And the computers are almost exactly the same to open. I just replaced the thermal paste on my 2017 MBP and it was just as easy as my 2012 one.

Hasn't the inability to upgrade or repair the MBP been true for the last couple of generations of MBP as well though?

Previous generation was slightly more upgradeable. You could upgrade the SSD, though only 1 or 2 vendors sold products that worked, and you might have to jump through some firmware issues.

I am "about" to order one monday. $3,400 with double the ram + tax (NYC). wish me luck! any feedback?

Not really. I got the i9/32GB/1TB model. It is fantastic. The only "issue" I have had is related to the Mojave beta which is kind of to be expected with a beta. Everything about this machine is basically perfect. As I said I even love the keyboard. It is really nice to type on for hours at a time. Yes it feels kinda weird at first but it really isn't as bad as people make out. It is is much, much nicer to type on than my XPS 13 which has very mushy keys that just feel uncomfortable.

>It is is much, much nicer to type on than my XPS 13 which has very mushy keys that just feel uncomfortable.

Going to strongly disagree with you here as this seems like major shilling.

XPS 13 keyboard while not the best, is still miles better than the 2018 Macbook Pro keyboard which is a complete disgrace to typing. I have to jump over to my external keyboard when using my MacBook Pro at work.

Personal preference. I like a distinct "click" over mushy keys.

Did you experience the sound issues?

Nope but I have read about some people who have a horrible crackling sound.

I do have one weird issue which seems related to installing the Mojave beta which is the machine will randomly wake up from sleep and play the power connected chime then go back to sleep. Very strange and only started happening when I installed the Mojave beta so I am assuming it is some kind of firmware bug as it is a beta after all.

Other than that this machine is perfect. Keyboard is great and much quieter than the previous butterfly models. Screen is gorgeous and with the addition of True Tone it is even more lovely. I didn't realise just how blue my XPS 15 screen is compared to the MBP. Plus it is almost always silent and stays cool even with a moderate workload. Obviously if I do anything serious it gets warm and the fans kick in but for regular work in IntelliJ and Xcode it is cool and quiet.

I am getting around 10h battery life as well for normal work, about 12 for web/Netflix.

Buy a 2015 macbook pro, its the last one without any issues, superior keyboard, legacy ports as well. Smaller more compact touchpad as well

The only downside is it is only thunderbolt 2, and they recently went away with external GPU support for new macOS updates.

I paid $1500 for mine in practically brand new mint condition on amazon, buying a new a 2018 version was $2500 roughly for something that also had 512 GB SSD.

I find the macbookpro has way better ergonomic features than windows laptops. Also, programming environment is just so much nicer IMO on mac.

Yeah my laptop of choice is 15" MB Pro mid-2015. Picked up 2 of them over the last couple of years from Apple's refurbished store and I think with OS X it really is still one of the best laptops out there. A little tip - you can use https://refurb-tracker.com/ to get alerts when they get in stock.

TBH it's the MB Pro + OS X combo that works so well. MB Pro + Windows is definitely sub-par... lot of other great laptops for that. I've never tried Linux on a MB Pro.

Ubuntu runs great on my 2013 15" Macbook Pro. It does mess with the boot manager, and can become unstable if you install it simultaneously with boot camp.

The only issue is that the trackpad drivers aren't so good. Stick to OS X if you're a trackpad gesture power user.

Thanks for the tip! I reluctantly bought a 2018 MBP but returned it within a week. I thought I would have to stick with my workhorse 2012 MBP, but now I'll check out refurbished 2015s.

> Also, programming environment is just so much nicer IMO on mac.

Really? I had a Mac for a few years, but I found that I didn't like the environment as much as either Windows or Linux. A lot of programming environments work best on a Linux-like environment and don't do so well on something BSD-like (such as MacOS). There's a lot of open source software that only works on Windows and Linux, too... MacOS has such a small market share that many open source developers just ignore it.

It must depend on niche. For web development sort of things or python sort of scripting, it is Windows that is regularly ignored the most by a wide margin.

I work on Mac OS X and my experience is quite good. Homebrew + IntelliJ and I can get my Java development going guite easily (plus redis, mongodb, tomcat, zookeepper...

Really? In my experience it's Windows that most are ignoring since Linux and macOS are similar enough to support easily.

I guess it dependsd what you are doing. I don't do C#, .net development /.net framework(WPF), game development, SQL-server, or things that are better on a native windows platform. So I don't really reap the benefits using a windows PC.

Native folder navigation and terminal is much nicer on macOS. MacOS has better 3rd party programs for productivity in programming IMO. Iterm2 allows you to have multiple custom terminals all on one screen, and can be a transparent overlay so you don't have to swap between apps as often. The best 3rd party terminal I have found was cmder on windows, but it would always give me path developmental issues that had no explicable causes why something failed. Something that failed in MS-DOS, would work in gitbash, but fail in cmder. The solution was to just uninstall and reinstall everything many times, or just do a restore point.


Docking experience on macOS has a nice native feel to it, I prefer its transitions as well. In windows, I would run a combination of taskbar tweaks include resizing all app icons, adding blank exe spacer shortcuts, and run autohotkey scripts in the background. Windows definitely still has way more customization methods using 3rd party apps than does mac.

Macbook pros have a superior experience when it comes to handling things on a single screen. Its just convenient to use native gestures on the trackpad and move across your terminal VS browser VS website. I prefer a double monitor experience on macbook pros as well. Its just so much easier treating that monitor as a seperate "desktop space" rather than one jointed area like in windows. I've owned 2 windows laptops before this. Also, the hardware on a 2015 macbook pro is definitely much nicer (better form factor for its value) than any windows laptop I've used before.

MacOS handles dependency issues much better than windows. Every app just lives in its own tiny little folder, also downloading and installing things is just so much easier. Using unarchiver on macOS is just a one click install for most things. With windows I ran revo uninstaller, but in MacOS there is an equivalent called AppCleaner.

In macOS, when I install things I use homebrew (e.g. nodeJS). With windows its always been a full uninstall using a fully packaged exe or msi file type.

MacOS does have some programs that really suck compared to windows. My favorite apps in windows are shareX / greenshot, macOS has no close equivalents to it. I use this to make gif documentation logs during webdevelopment all the time, its very handy. I haven't really given Wine (running windows apps on mac) a try though. MacOS doesn't have an app like "timesnapper" which I use in webdevelopment in sysadmin work, which helps me play back my entire day to see what I did. Helps in catching which settings caused which errors during development, and also its good for post documentation reasons as well. MacOS had no equivalent unless you intend on running OBS software all day long or used special custom applescripts


When I develop on a windows machine it seems like there is just so many more potential bugs I have to face. When I go look up a solution, its more scattered because people have windows 8 laptops. Or 8.1, which is just a whole set of other problems. Or they are still using windows 7, some are using the latest windows 10, etc. Sometimes I'll try every possible solution to that issue, none of them work, I'll try it 10 different ways, no go. I end up just giving up honestly, its not fun when you are fighting unforseen issues and can't get into what actually matters.

With macOS its a little more uniform, since things aren't scattered windows7,8,8.1,10 issues. Everyone has the same problem, so chances are higher there's going to be some solutions out there that would actually work. Since the experience is also more consistent across both the hardware+software, there is also less unknowns.

With windows I would run into potential hardware issues and software problems as well. My old windows 8.1 laptop could not upgrade to windows 10 due to intel L2 caching error upgrades, drivers would fail, etc.

I haven't really tried a pure native desktop Mac experience though, but I still definitely prefer windows for this. Probably because I'm so used to windows.


I like having both a windows desktop and macbookpro laptop experience so I can get the best of both worlds

I used a personal linux laptop for 2 years, mostly when my windows laptop went to shit from poor performance issues. Linux just has such a huge lack of apps that I rely on everyday in either macOS or windows.

Also, macOS just has better native multimedia experience and graphic design programs well, so there's that. Nothing really compares to Apple Sketch on windows. iMovie is far superior to windows movie, etc. MacOS just has more batteries included programs that don't suck than windows

I find that in some instances, windows development is treated as an afterthought. In some cases, its macOS. Just depends on what it is IMO. With MacOS, its more tailored toward designers and graphic artists, so webdevelopment (which is what I do) is just a better overall experience

Have you considered virtualization? I tend to use MacOS merely as a hypervisor, where I can step into as many different OS environments as I wish. You mentioned how you like to use Windows; what about using it in a virtual machine?

I don't like using virtual machines, it just adds too much friction to me for getting things done. At least that was my experience on windows OS. I've tried a combination of docker, dockerhub, vagrant, and virtualbox. I'd rather just have a seamless development experience right at startup, macOS is really good at that.

I tend to shy away from tools whenever I can, because everything has a maintenance & learning cost associated with it. Also, because I tend to have a lot of things open at the same time, virtualization really slows me down whenever I have to jump into the virtualized OS's keyboard / mouse / etc.

Down the road I might start using docker images + docker hub if I feel that the benefits (isolating test environments, debugging issues cross platform, deploying) of using virtualization outweighs its cons (maintenance, setting up, memorizing new commands, constantly running commands, etc). As of now I don't have much of a use case for it though.

I'm still holding on to my mid 2012 rMBP despite its battery almost nearing its end of life. Was hoping to upgrade this most recent refresh, but the lack of a non-Touchbar option just turned me off.

Thinking of just getting my battery replaced instead, but I'll consider looking at the 2015s

Well that's not the only downside. You're also nearly $2000 for a laptop with a CPU that is significantly slower than what you'll get in either a new MBP or most Windows alternatives.

True, but I don't really need the extra CPU power

That's what my windows desktop PC is for

> Buy a 2015 macbook pro, its the last one without any issues, superior keyboard, legacy ports as well. Smaller more compact touchpad as well

While I agree, I wouldn't call HDMI, USB and SD Card legacy ports. They are actively being developed and enhanced at the moment. The only thing is that they weren't invented by Apple.

> Smaller more compact touchpad as well

How is that a benefit? I love the new big touchpad on latest macbooks, it works perfectly

People with large hands (like me) often accidentally trigger the touchpad, causing sometimes annoying movements of the mouse cursor mid sentence.

Potentially a large part of that is just visibility into issues on account social media and distribution scale. People keep an eye on Apple hardware issues far closer than any other vendor

I have a 15" 2018 MBP, with 32g of RAM. And, while I don't care for the touchbar or the feels-like-I'm-typing-on-a-hollow-piece-of-wood keyboard, I also haven't had any kernel panics or crackly speakers or any other problems. Which is not to say I won't, but I haven't yet.

And most other vendors sell significantly fewer units across many more SKUs. Thus you would expect with a smaller product portfolio you'd have greater engineering resources to work out the kinks.

Yes, specially since class actions are needed just to make them acknowledge the problem (talking about their keyboards now).

I'm looking at the new Thinkpad P1 and it's everything I hoped the last Macbook Pro update would be.

Way things are going I'll be very surprised if my next machine is a Macbook when my 2015 needs replacing.

Imagine that, it even has all the ports one would expect on a professional's computer. It's going to be hard to give up macOS but Apple is too obsessed with aesthetics. Design can only ever be as good as function and if you sacrifice function for design then it's a failed design.

Except for the off-center trackpad. Why is it so hard to find a PC laptop with a centered trackpad?

I hadn't ever noticed that, but it must be because of the trackpoint. The trackpoint is centered in between the home keys so you can reach it with your index fingers, mouse buttons below that for thumbs, and thus trackpad below buttons. The root issue is that the place you rest your hands on a qwerty keyboard is slightly left of center.

Edit: now I can't unsee that MBP has its trackpad right of home key center :)

Well, it has a thinkpad-sized trackpad directly under the home-key center, plus some extra area to the right ;)

Add lack of 16:10 screen to that. It's getting dumb. Is Apple buying up all laptop screens with this aspect ratio? Also, are non-Apple trackpads getting better?

These two things are the biggest issues every time I ponder moving to Linux (Windows is not an option or I'd look at the Surface alternatives). The P1 does indeed look very interesting otherwise.

HP spectre x360 has a centered trackpad... but I higly advice AGAINST this device for tons of other reasons (including the trackpad, btw, which is top-hinged-real-click and glass-made variety but it's still horrible).

I think the rationale is that it should be centered with the spacebar or something like that. To me it just looks ugly.

The ThinkPad P1 trackpad is centered.

It looks slightly off center to the left https://www.lenovo.com/medias/Thinkpad-p1-hero.png?context=b...

That's a nitpick. When people say off center, they mean numpad. And I can't tell from the render if it is even slightly off center. It's a render for one.

It's off centered relative to the screen

Get a ThinkPad X1 Carbon 6th gen with Arch Linux or Fedora. Forget CentOS.

Time and time again, I cannot believe people recommend a company that installed spyware in their hardware.

I will never ever buy a Lenovo. It doesn't matter that it didn't affect the ThinkPad line.

Almost every larger company these days has done something bad like that. Lenovo had superfish, HP had a keylogger, Dell had its own superfish, Acer still installs search toolbars and browser hijackers, depending on how far back you want to go Sony had the BMG rootkit and a camera backdoor, ... Who are you going to get your laptop from now of you ignore all of those - especially if you're going to reinstall your OS immediately anyway?

> Who are you going to get your laptop from now of you ignore all of those - especially if you're going to reinstall your OS immediately anyway?

Clevo. They are a whitebox laptop manufacturer so you will find they are OEM for several smaller brands like MSI, Sager, and others. Yes they are Chinese market, but every laptop is made in China these days, even the big American names, so that part is unavoidable. If that truly is an issue you can't get around, you'll be happy to know that System76 is moving towards producing its devices in house in the United States[1], though I have no idea if the recent tariff wars have affected that situation.

[1] https://opensource.com/article/18/4/system76-us-manufacturin...

Clevo's hardware is not that great though. I've known several people get System76 Clevo systems and they've all been disappointed. I'm hopeful for System76's new systems, that they will up the quality significantly and make them compare-able to Thinkpads.

Yes, I had a Clevo-produced System76 model and I've had multiple hardware issues with it -- for starters, it failed to POST just days after receiving it, and System76 support did repair it, but they were not very accommodating about it, saying there was no way for them to provide a shipping method faster than ground even if I paid for it, etc. I want to like System76, but the truth is that my experience with them was disappointing.

It may depend on the model; this guy got a lot of mileage out of his Clevo-made laptop:


Almost every company? Except the one this thread is about...

According to https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/apple/8912714/Apple-i... "An unpatched security flaw in Apple’s iTunes software allowed intelligence agencies and police to hack into users’ computers for more than three years" which sounds serious to me if you're an iTunes user (as I guess many Mac and Windows users are).

But I think the real culprit is that all of the organizations the grandparent poster listed distribute proprietary software which is untrustworthy to begin with. Proprietary malware isn't hard to find (see https://www.gnu.org/proprietary/ for an organized set of links) whether it came with the OS pre-installed on the computer or installed later. So long as it adversely affects the user and leaves the user with no permission to inspect, alter, and share the software (only permission to run the malware) the situation is bad.

I listed other companies which did just as bad things. Why would you trust (for example) Dell more than Lenovo in this case?

The thread is about Apple.

They already have that data..

That we we know about.

Well that response could be used to justify about any conspiracy theory.

How about we stick to the facts we know, which is that all manufacturers but Apple have done these incredibly user hostile things.

With the amount of attention on them, if they did it, it’s bound to come out sooner or later.

Until then, though..

Get any laptop and clean the shit out of it, mod the BIOS if you want to. I'm still on Elitebooks (8770w), they're tanks, and Intel hasn't made noticeable improvement in CPU performance since Ivy Bridge.

Zbooks seem to continue the tradition. Dell's Precisions are great, too.

Haven't had experience with the newer Thinkpads, the design, materials and being owned by a Chinese megacorp kind of drove me away.

HP's "keylogger" doesn't belong in this discussion. It was a debug trace to a driver. I've left similar traces as part of debugging. It wasn't even their driver but belonged to Synaptics.

As recently as 2016, Windows Thinkpads were documented to be sending daily usage data to Lenovo. The app is easily disabled, but users may not be aware of the telemetry. You agreed to this in the EULA.


If you're tech saavy it's a bit less important. Scamming average consumers is sad, but ThinkPads to me are IBM, not Lenovo, so they have different boxes in my mind. The hardware is good, linux runs nice on it. Case closed.

You should take into consideration that for both IdeaPad (the superfish one) and ThinkPad Lenovo is not much more than brand. These two lines are designed and manufactured by completely separate corporations. What is somewhat funny in this regard is that the real maker of modern ThinkPads (probably at least since introduction of the letter-number nomenclature) is Acer/Wistron with Acer as a brand being mostly known for having sub-par quality. IdeaPads are AFAIK mostly made by Compal.

I was completely unaware that Acer made ThinkPads, and that blows my mind. A quick google was not able to confirm that, which is not unexpected since that sort of rebranding is usually hushed. Do you have a source? Not saying you need one, but wondering if you already have one. Would be interested to read more. I've had a really bad opinion of Acers since buying one a decade ago, and currently have a high opinion of Thinkpads (and am typing on a 2018 model right now).

I found it, but it's really obscure. Check this out:

1) You can find a couple of threads where people either say Wistron makes Lenovo Thinkpads, and even one where someone finds the Wistron name on a X1 Carbon box they were shipped: http://forum.notebookreview.com/threads/x1-carbon-shipping-t...

2) Wistron is a spinoff of Acer. Specifically the Manufacturing/R&D wing of Acer. However, that spinoff happened in 2000, so there really isn't a connection between Acer and Wistron anymore: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wistron

This is a nice 2009 article about Wistron: https://www.forbes.com/global/2009/1214/technology-wistron-s...

Nice work! Thanks!

I don't know if Acer manufactures Thinkpads but Wistron is not Acer.

Good for you. There was no spyware in the slightest on my X1.

You checked the Windows Platform Binary Table in the BIOS/UEFI? That was how they delivered their crapware before. Even a clean install with your own media would inject a Lenovo exe into Windows directly from the BIOS with no way to disable it. Scary stuff.

Yup. Luckily i've got a friend who knows BIOS stuff like I could never do (Hi Greg) - nothing in there. Besides, it gets Fedora 28 installed and Windows is only used for doing firmware updates.

Which tbf Lenovo cocked up a couple of weeks ago and hosed the SSD firmware so it didn't boot. Luckily i'm not a moron so everything was backed up, they sent a new SSD and they picked up the old one to recover, which I assume will be a hardware firmware flash. I don't need the backup, but I am looking forward to Lenovo spending the money for the pickup/flash/delivery to make sure it costs them as much money as possible so they don't do this again.


I think you either missed or ignored the point the parent comment made regarding their reasons for avoiding Lenovo as a company, rather than strictly wishing to avoid spyware in one's own laptop.

I didn't miss it. Don't have any care or skin in the game when it comes to Lenovo, but their Thinkpads have never had this crap in there. When they do, i'm out. HP have crap in their installs, so do Dell. Hell, even Microsoft put Candy Crush in there and telemetry I can't uninstall.

That you know about.

Good for you. Same goes for every box you use that you don't personally inspect the firmware source code for the NIC, ME, graphics card, USB, Thunderbolt controller, etc. Personally i'll stand on the shoulder of giants (people who do actually inspect this, I don't have the skills) and monitor the shit out of my network instead of worrying about it, because I can actually do that bit.

I don’t use windows. There could be one for Linux but I can’t spent my life worrying about what could be. Gotta get work done eventually and I’ve got encrypted boot and data volume with secureboot.

If you have a larger tinfoil hat you can always libreboot an x220.

installed spyware on their hardware?

Can you explain more?

In 2015, Lenovo (who currently owns the Thinkpad brand) got caught installing adware and certificates into the Windows root certificate store. This is known as Superfish:


What about Apple retaining deleted browsing history in iCloud?[0]

0) https://www.macrumors.com/2017/02/09/icloud-storing-deleted-...

It's the difference between recommending the consumer line and business line, they are not related technically. Lenovo's consumer line is Ideapad, their business line is Thinkpad. If they tried something similar on a business line, they would go bankrupt because they would never get another contract again. It would fall under Industrial Espionage which is illegal. That's why governments and large corporations still buy Thinkpad.

You sound awfully confident. This sort of distinction, where you declare something about the world to be certain as a consequence of a certain arbitrary categorization, I have an urge to call "nominative determinism" (although the phrase is generally used differently)

My advice as well – I'm running Arch Linux on a ThinkPad. Debian (unstable) or a recent Ubuntu version might work pretty well too. CentOS follows RedHat Enterprise Linux and has way too old software for modern desktop use (unless they have a branch hidden somewhere I'm not aware of).

Running old Linux versions on new laptops is going to be a frustrating experience; ideally all the device drivers you need are mainlined into the kernel of your distribution so you won't have to mess with those yourself.

I very much agree that CentOS will not be a good laptop/desktop experience. I have tried it, will not again.

If you like Red Hat stuff (which I do), install Fedora 28. It's on my Thinkpad right now, and works flawless.

Fedora is definitely better on my X1. Stock Fedora 28, rawhide kernel, TLP and iuvolt runs better than Windows 10. Best Dev machine I've ever had and the keyboard is superb.

The X1 is nice but the T480 is only a little bigger, handles heat a lot better, and has (mine does, at least) about 16 hours of battery life under Fedora.

It's hard to really recommend the X1 (or T480s) as a developer machine, IMO.

The current t480 is great, $2500 buys you an incredible rig.

Yeah. I paid $1600 and I'm thrilled with mine. Though, fair warning, dealing with Lenovo-the-company is a profound and terrible shitshow.

I had an X1 Carbon and had so many issues I returned it for a refund after 2 months. I had two replacements and they both had quality control issues. Then the engineer who came to fix it broke the screen, twice! How you ask? Unfortunately with the X1 being so thin the display bezel is a piece of sticky plastic which is a nightmare to align on-site (really should be done in a factory with an alignment machine) and when the engineer tried to remove it to align it again he pulled the polarising film off the screen. Shocking.

Thank god for strong EU consumer laws that I got my money back.

Also the fact Lenovo refuse to offer an option to switch between S3 and S0i3 sleep in the BIOS is very frustrating on a business laptop. They only support S0i3 which doesn't even play well with Microsoft's own Modern Standby so is almost pointless for me. Almost daily I would open my bag up to a super hot laptop and almost zero battery as it didn't actually go to sleep like expected.

Which laptop will you consider next? A 2015 MacBook Pro?

I bought a 2018 15" MBP which so far has been superb. I wish there was a Windows laptop which worked this well. IMHO it is unacceptable that Microsoft's own Surface Book 2 has so many issues. I have not tried a Surface Laptop, perhaps that is better as it is a "normal" laptop and not an over-engineered mess like the Surface Book. I will most likely pick up a Surface Laptop when they are updated to give it a try as I love the 3:2 screen (much how I love the 16:10 screen on the MBP). I am not a fan of the fabric keyboard though :/

The most recent Dell Latitude 7490 looks nice too.

Apple or Samsung laptops for me. Dell has had constant issues with their stuff for 30 years, if they haven't started making a good laptop in 30 years, they aren't going to start now. There's reports that the brand new XPS STILL has stability issues. Just unacceptable.

Yes, I’m using an X1 Carbon with Fedora, no problems thus far. Hardware is solid, and drivers work without issue. Fedora does what you’d expect.

Only issue is battery life, maybe 4-7 hours with VSCode, Slack etc, but maybe you can’t complain too much given these are electron apps.

It’s been a while since I even have a laptop (just a gaming desktop PC with Windows), but I’m glad people recommend Arch Linux.

It certainly was the best I worked with until two years ago, for several years. Sure, it’s got its quirks, but they help you a lot to learn new stuff, and after that, it’s much easier to set it up again in case you needed (I only needed it once every two years or so).

I can't ever go back to CentOS/RHEL or Debian/Ubuntu for my personal machine after having seen the flexibility that Arch provides.

Don't get me wrong, technically you can make Ubuntu just as flexible but you have to try to configure it that way. All the conveniences they brought into these distros for simple package management actually sets you up for failure when you are doing larger upgrades. Not to mention that the packages in their repos are often out of date.

I never had my Arch box fail me across upgrades, allowing me to actually be current in the code I run.

It's a healthy middle between Gentoo and CentOS if you don't want to build it all from source but yet still be current.

Even opkg and some IPAs are better than the package manager experience I had with apt-get or yum/dnf.

You're never going to run Arch in production, so developing against "current" software means "hire a team of sysadmins to package all of these future-versions in to the conservative distro that we have in prod".

With luck it will be less than $1M/yr.

This is why people don't use homebrew anymore, either. If you're running a Mac you dev in a Docker container that reflects your production environment.

I think you're making assumptions here. GP said that Arch allows them to be current in the code they run.

That doesn't mean they're developing against Arch.

My Debian Unstable laptop installation is over ten years old (and on its third laptop), and the packages are pretty recent, since Unstable is a rolling version.

And despite the name, it's pretty solid, I don't remember the last issue I had with it.

Arch is great. If not the wiki, the AUR and Trizen. Almost every piece of software I would want a few commands away.

It's also surprisingly stable.

I love Fedora but the Arch wiki is the best authoritative source of fixes ever.

Agreed, and I have only ever installed Manjaro.

Yup. Used to be that the Ubuntu forums were awesome, but there was something about the Arch forums that weeded all the crap out, i've no idea what. I need to add them to the OSS projects I contribute to this year.

I guess as Linux got more popular, more people who didn't really know what they were doing joined in, usually on Ubuntu. The quality of answers dropped as a result.

I think a higher bar to entry often keeps things better quality (coming from the dev world I am thinking about Django deployment versus PHP deployment). Arch was too much of a pain for me to install last time I checked, and its going to be way too much effort for anyone relatively new to Linux.

Please elaborate. Why using Fedora when I could go with CentOS?

CentOS is an option, but the hardware will perform better under Fedora due to a newer kernel build to support newer hardware. Feature wise, the only difference you really need to know is that Fedora ditched Yum and switched to DNF. Same command structure, and you can still install yum.

fun fact. Fedora is what RedHat uses to test and flesh out all the fancy features coming in CentOS 8 & RHEL 8. I think Fedora 25 or 26 is what those OSs are being build from.

> switched to DNF

Oh I didn’t know that. Will look into that!

Newer drivers. They are the same basic OS but it’s not a server so you actually care about the newness of the drivers and other client software.

I expected that. I run it in a VM and on the server and there this is obviously not that much of a challenge. Thanks for that input.

First never a Lenovo ever again. Second that model doesn't have an Ethernet port, so that's another strike.

When it comes wit a dongle, why is that such a problem? The need to remember it? (Ethernet seems like a pretty uncommon thing these days).

In the enterprise (what the Thinkpad range targets), it’s still pretty common.

I'd get a Dell XPS instead, but agree with Arch Linux or Fedora.

Linux these days is incredibly stable. As long as you have a laptop that has reasonably high quality (read: open) drivers. Intel graphics, Wi-Fi and a decent SSD/HDD from a known brand is usually enough to have a trouble free personal compute platform.

I have a precision 5520 and haven’t had a single Linux/hardware related issue, before that I had a Thinkpad x201s, and an x201 before that- and further back still I had a T400.

It’s been more than a decade since I’ve personally seen a Linux+hardware issue.

That said, the value of a MacBook is the build quality of the device and the application ecosystem. Try getting Skype for business and outlook working on a Linux laptop. :/

I use Linux exclusively across all of my computers. The biggest problem is touch support - you can get drivers working fine, but the ecosystem is terrible. Open Source applications are an entire generation behind on basic gesture support. The best drawing apps on Linux don't even support pinch-to-zoom.

This is a solvable problem that I expect to improve, albeit probably not any time soon, and I'm still incredibly frustrated by it right now. Seriously people, just test your software, even a little bit, on a convertible device.

But... if you're not an artist, and you're not using a tablet, and you have someone who can even just help you get set up a little, you kinda, maybe, probably should be at least looking at Linux? Especially if you're using a computer as a professional.

It used to not be this way at all, but I think that modern Linux is generally way more stable than Mac or Windows, and is generally easier to work with for professionals. It's starting to reach the point where it may be easier for low-tech users as well, since you can get someone else to set up a computer with exactly the stuff you want, and then only install security updates.

It's a major selling point for me to be able to go to someone and say, "Hey, Ubuntu will support an LTS for 5 years. You won't need to change a single thing about your interface, and everything will just keep working."

But Apple hardware have no touch screens. I’m not saying it’s not an issue that Linux has poor touch support- I’m just questioning the validity of the concern; if you’d already decided to get a MacBook then you’ve made your peace with not having touch. Right?

Um... possibly? I know artists that swear by the iPad pencil. In theory you could keep using that and then run Linux on your main computer. But in practice, I don't actually know if Linux support for iPad management is up to snuff.

I'm sure there's some kind of experimental driver support at least, but it has to actually be good.

You're probably not wrong. If you're looking at a new Macbook maybe there's at least good odds you already don't care about touch? In which case, it's not a bad idea to at least think about Linux, especially since you're already familiar with more than a few of the command line conventions.

The commenter seems to mean touch pads instead of touch screens.

Both actually, now that you mention it :)

But no, touch screens are what I meant. There's also a scenario where someone is moving away from Mac specifically because they're looking at convertibles like a Surface Book. Maybe before this point they were doing drawing on an iPad, or a wacom tablet. Apple had and still has a huge userbase of artists.

Say that you're one of those artists trying to transition to (opinion me) a superior hardware medium for doing artwork, where you have more control over buying hardware brands you think will be reliable or flexible or portable, and where you can get the advantages of running a full-fledged OS on your tablet. You can buy a PC convertible and install Linux on it. But you won't be happy with how Linux runs on those devices (also opinion me).

I run Arch on an X1 Yoga (2nd Gen) Krita has good touchscreen and stylus support.

Krita does support pinch-to-zoom and it can distinguish between your stylus and your finger, which admittedly puts it above most other Linux drawing apps. But it does not (as far as I can find anywhere) support touch rotation. This makes it suboptimal for most tablets, especially mounted ones.

Driver support is great, but driver support is not the problem for any Linux touch interface, that's been a solved issue for some time - the applications need to catch up to the usability level of stuff like Clip Studio. I fully expect that it will happen some day, but probably not for a while.

That being said, thanks for the suggestion, I really appreciate it. I'm still running Linux on my drawing tablet, I'm just putting up with everything that comes with it. If you had managed to find an app that had slipped past me when I was testing all of this stuff, you would have just made my tablet experience way better.

You're right on driver support vs application support. There also aren't a lot of new applications in this space. I've been looking for a note taking/diagramming app with both stylus and touch support that will function as "a better piece of paper" in terms of being able to rotate and zoom on an infinite canvas; put down variable lines, grids, and dot grids; easily select and move or resize content; and I've been pretty disappointed by the offerings.

I think the use case is a little esoteric in our community, I've been seriously thinking about trying my hand at creating an application to address my needs when I get some downtime from my contract work.

Desktop Linux has a few problems for a power user IMO.

Docking support is pretty awkward IME.

Multimonitor support is also "rough" to say the least.

They're pretty bad with touch/styluses.

Multi-GPU (while I'm against multiple system GPUs) support is problematic.

Power usage is also inferior, which bothers me as I prefer things greener than not, if possible. Not to mention the inconvenience.

If you're just utilizing a laptop like one would in the 80s or 90s, no problem at all, I agree. If you're trying to push the limits, hook up 3 monitors and expect it to "just work" or worse, "keep working" once you set it up.. dock/undock, use a stylus on the screen. Anything beyond firing up a terminal and a browser? Hasn't ever worked well for me. I prefer Windows10 from everything else, but also don't mind macOS (though it's similarly limited like desktop Linux is) and for a distro to just reach for and install, Linux Mint was impressive for usability. Antergos was my rolling distro goto but I prefer Mint's model of Ubuntu LTS but with continual updates to fix bugs. Constant rolling updates is not good IMO and neither is a (largely) code-frozen Ubuntu LTS release. Linux Mint nails the sweet spot there.

But yeah, other than Linux Mint, I can't really use it with how much I demand out of my machines. I consider myself a power user but I don't want to dig into the X11 codebase ever again when I have other things to take care of, some of that code hasn't been touched in 20 years (and that's a bad thing, because much needs updated).

Luckily, Skype is nothing I need to use. However, I would miss applications, namely Sketch. And I’d need to run Windows in a VM.

I am also not sure about the build quality. Despite the keyboard, MacBooks are very well designed and built devices.

They are. But so are a few PC lines. For my money, the ThinkPad T480 hits the sweet spot--the keyboard is reminiscent of the older rMBPs (but a little more throw, it seems), with a good-enough touchpad and enough battery life to last basically as long as I could ever see needing it.

(I'm not a fan of the XPS 13 or 15; the keyboard is a little clicky and the touchpad is not good.)

I have last years T470P (the i7-7700HQ/2560x1440@14" model) and it's phenomenally good with 32GB of RAM and an m2 SSD it screams, enough that I delayed my new development desktop at home from July last year til Ryzen 2 next year.

So are Thinkpads, Elitebooks, Probooks, Latitudes and Precisions.

> Linux these days is incredibly stable

I can’t subscribe to that. It’s ok, but it still requires permanent hand holding. Stuff randomly breaks with updates, for example since the last update I can’t scan any more. I also can’t print any more on my networked printer that’s connected to my mac server.

I'm running a new (9370) XPS 13 with Arch and it's flawless.

I've spent a lot of time reading reviews over Lenovo, HP and Dell. Honestly, I wouldn't touch any of them. You can get good stuff from them, but they want the same money as you'd pay to Apple, and I don't believe overall any of those have the build quality Apple offers. And, these sorts of flaky issues affect them equally or more. I know that's not popular to say, but it's the truth.

Apple or Samsung is what I've come to. Of the Macbooks, I prefer the MPB13 non-touchbar, it not only misses the touchbar but also has no dGPU for increased reliability. It's just the simple sort of design that I tend to go for and it's solid. But if you don't like that, then take a look at the Samsung 9 Pro. They're available at Best Buy and have the traditional "good price per specs" PC argument going for them (I'll take build quality over specs anyday but that's just me), but reviews and teardowns all give me a ton of confidence in them. They also have the SPen and 2-in-1 capability which is a pretty nice value add. In my experience, Dell/HP/Lenovo never did figure out how to build a good laptop in 30 years, and given the latest Dell XPS reviews, they aren't going to start now. Lenovo's decline is more recent, after the IBM divestiture of course.

I'm sure no one is going to like this, everyone thinks something like a Lenovo X220 with Ubuntu is the only way to go, but I actually prefer Windows 10 to both macOS and desktop Linux (though I have a place in my heart for Linux Mint for sure and I quite liked Antergos for a rolling distro when I used it). With the Samsung 9 Pro, it's almost guaranteed to lose the SPen features if you insist on avoiding Windows not to mention harming the battery life.

>You can get good stuff from them, but they want the same money as you'd pay to Apple, and I don't believe overall any of those have the build quality Apple offers. And, these sorts of flaky issues affect them equally or more. I know that's not popular to say, but it's the truth.


Thinkpad P1 is looking pretty good.

Why use such an old Linux kernel with CentOS? Arch and Debian are very stable operating systems for Desktop use.

No love for Hackintosh? I run all of my machines with High Sierra and they are rock solid.

How much time did/do you spend reading and fiddling? If I knew setting up a machine (incl. picking hardware parts) is no hassle, I would build myself a desktop. For now I’m holding out for a new Mac mini.

Not the OP, but I had a hackintosh awhile back, and it (obviously) wasn’t as easy as a Ubuntu install, but it wasn’t a complete pain in the ass either. After it was installed, most everything worked as good as it does on my macbook. The only annoying thing I encountered were OS updates, because installing them normally would more than likely break the install.

The OSX86 Project[1] is pretty much all you’ll need for instructions for getting a hackintosh setup running. And if you’re interested in building one from scratch, the OSX86 Project lists compatible hardware so you can know what you’re buying will work.

If you don’t mind having to do a bit of reading and tinkering to get it working, it’s a solid way to be able to use OS X on non-Apple hardware. But, if you’d rather have something you can just install and forget, you’re better off just installing your favorite Linux distro, or buying a Mac.

[1] http://wiki.osx86project.org/wiki/index.php/Main_Page

My Hackintoshes take usually 3 days to set up 100% working; mostly issues with setting up Intel HD/NVidia and HDMI/DP audio properly. Obviously I do some research before buying hardware about the success of other people; some machines like most Intel NUCs or ASUS ZenBooks work flawlessly, sometimes even better than with Linux (which is my primary OS). On all Hackintoshes I have Linux, W7, W10 and macOS. Sometimes I have to buy Broadcom WiFi/BT PCIe module and replace Intel one. Frankly, getting W7 running on newer hardware (hello Threadripper!) is sometimes more difficult than installing macOS...

I wonder why apple doesn't allow or support Linux? I would happily buy a Mac pro (trashcan) or a mbp if it had solid Linux support. I think their hardware is awesome. But I have no interest in learning MacOS. The dealbreaker for me is no ctrl key in the corner

I wonder why apple doesn't allow or support Linux?

I wonder if it might be possible somehow under Boot Camp. Or if on a machine as beefy as a Mac Pro if a VM would be good enough. I don't know enough about either to say definitively.

The dealbreaker for me is no ctrl key in the corner

System Preferences > Keyboard > Modifier Keys

You can use this to remap caps lock to control too — I do it.

You can install Linux on Macs.

I asked "why doesn't apple allow or support it", not "why can't it be done?"

What do you mean by "allow"? If the boot isn't restricted to signed OS X and Windows, you are "allowed". I've installed it easily on several older (2007-2010) Macs.

The reason they don't support it is likely because there's not the demand among their customer base, as most people who want a GNU/Linux OS on a laptop go for Thinkpad or Dell due to better compatibility and other reasons.

Have you considered System76? I've been interested in their laptops for a while

System76's laptops tend to be heavy and hot for their size. If I had a choice between one and a ThinkPad, it's not really a hard call.

Highly recommend Matebook X Pro with Manjaro Linux, pure awesomeness.

> Matebook X Pro

Wow, they’re not even trying with the naming.

The Matebook X Pro indeed looks good.

Bit surprised I'm saying this, but consider a System76 machine. Their laptops are still badge-engineered Clevos, but reports indicate the build and component quality of recent Clevo laptops has gone up.


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