It would be nice to boot into a laptop actually designed to use Linux from the ground up. And I don't mean what Dell does - I'm grateful for what they do, but I really want unmodified Linux to work as well on my laptop as it does on nearly any desktop I've built. System76, with both properties that they are going open with firmware and designs, AND building entirely for Linux, seems perfect to me.
I wonder a lot about their stated goal of a completely open compute platform. Sure, there's ISAs like RISC-V on the horizon, but I get the feeling many components like GPUs are quite far away from having open source equivalents that can act as drop-in replacements. There's a whole lot more than raw computation in modern CPUs and certainly more in the motherboard. Id still be moderately pleased with a "mostly" open platform, which is better than today where your choices are basically Lemote Yeeloong or something useful but nearly entirely closed off.
Another thing I really like about Dell is that their products are designed to be repairable. The service manuals for their computers are freely available online and even private customers can buy replacement parts directly from them. I've replaced the keyboard and the hinges on the screen before, and soon I will get a fresh battery to extend the life of this lovely machine even longer.
 e.g. for my laptop: https://downloads.dell.com/manuals/all-products/esuprt_lapto...
You can see the disclaimer that Ubuntu puts on all their certifications:
.. Which may well not apply to this laptop in particular, but it absolutely applies to laptops I've used.
Notably absent from the certification list is the XPS 15, which is sad because personally it's the one I'd want. From what I've seen of Linux running on XPS 15, it isn't great, though it is "functional."
* Resume from suspend didn't work and often left machines in an usable state. Relatively simple workaround was to disable suspend but definitely caught you off guard the first couple times.
* Keyboard would insert multiple characters per key press. This made the machine unusable without an external keyboard.
* There was a null pointer issue in the WiFi driver so if you were connected to WiFi but tried to switch networks it would trigger a full blown kernel panic. Workaround was to buy a USB -> Ethernet adapter so you could line in your network.
* Track pad issues to the point that the laptop required an external mouse.
I don't know if I remember all of the issues, but you can dig through the Dell Sputnik forum to find all sorts of old forum posts about issues...here is one from my own post history:
I spent a lot of time reporting, debugging, fixing, and helping other users try to fix issues in the early days.
In Dell's defense, they upstreamed the fixes so fixing a lot of the issues like resume from suspend and the keyboard was as simple as updating kernels. Additionally, the null pointer WiFi driver bug was fixed in a subsequent driver release.
But these changes didn't get included until several kernel releases later and the only way to unbrick/make the laptop usable was to hotfix/upgrade your kernel to an unstable version. But for a $1500+ laptop to come out of the box in an unusable state was extremely painful for early adopters. And I would say that my experience was far from perfect.
Sounds like they have improved greatly and I am still a tremendous supporter of the Sputnik effort at Dell (and overall fan)...but I (personally) wouldn't dismiss people's comments about it being imperfect.
back in the day (Windows XP era) i bought components and built a gaming computer, nothing extravagant but Windows, because games. there was a very narrow window between the newly installed vanilla OS booting up and BSODing. the problem disappeared once i managed to install drivers from the CD that came with the motherboard (had to act quick before the BSOD would hit).
hardware is crap.
Author: imp <imp@FreeBSD.org>
Date: Thu Oct 25 17:17:11 2018 +0000
Update comment for AMI000 override.
The AML is even stupider than always returning 0. It will only return
non-zero for an OS that reports itself as "Windows 2015", at least
on the Threadripper board's AML that I've examined.
Those AMLs also suggest we may need this quirk for AMI0030 as well.
There may be other cases where we need to override the _STA in a
generic way, so we should consider writing code to do that.
diff --git a/sys/dev/acpica/acpi.c b/sys/dev/acpica/acpi.c
index 515370d5584..bed7ecd411c 100644
@@ -2222,10 +2222,10 @@ acpi_DeviceIsPresent(device_t dev)
status = acpi_GetInteger(h, "_STA", &s);
- * Onboard serial ports on certain AMD motherboards have an invalid _STA
- * method that always returns 0. Force them to always be treated as present.
- * This may solely be a quirk of a preproduction BIOS.
+ * Certain Treadripper boards always returns 0 for FreeBSD because it
+ * only returns non-zero for the OS string "Windows 2015". Otherwise it
+ * will return zero. Force them to always be treated as present.
+ * Beata versions were worse: they always returned 0.
if (acpi_MatchHid(h, "AMDI0020") || acpi_MatchHid(h, "AMDI0010"))
> > I really want unmodified Linux to work as well on my laptop as it does on nearly any desktop I've built.
> I don't understand your assertion ... everything works flawlessly out of the box ... To be fair, kernel patches were necessary to fix some issues ...
While I'm very happy to see the work System76 are doing, I don't think this characterization of Dell is quite right. I'm typing this comment on a Precision 5510 that runs Arch flawlessly. It runs Arch flawlessly because it's not burdened with NVidia graphics -- I can well imagine that would be a nightmare, as I have to deal with NVidia's terrible hardware on several workstations.
Neither is PRIME. PRIME would mean doing something like:
1. Intel Haswell + AMD RX460 (Desktop)
2. Intel Haswell + Nvidia GT750M (XPS 15 9530; Arch Linux)
Ultimately, I switched to using the discrete GPU on both systems.
Desktop: PRIME with Intel + AMD worked quite well (even with Steam applications running on the AMD GPU while the desktop was running on the Intel chip), but every now and then it caused the system to freeze, which was the reason I turned it off again :-/ Maybe I will try it again sometime in the future. But putting the additional energy costs aside, running the system exclusively on the AMD GPU is just fine (stable System + enough 3D performance for most games).
Laptop: Since nouveau had still the frequency issues last time I checked, I was mostly using the Intel GPU. Someday I was fed up with not being able to try any fancy new machine learning/neuronal network/CUDA based examples that I decided to install the proprietary Nvidia driver. I don't know what it is, but for me, the experience with the open source drivers feels much better (maybe the broken v-sync with the proprietary driver?!?). Every single time I come in contact with the Nvidia driver I wish that damn company would either die or provide (or at least support) open source drivers (and I don't really care about the license that much, the open source drivers just have a quality the proprietary ones lack).
Don't use drivers from AMD site, use upstream kernel and latest Mesa release.
I will say Ryzen APU is very janky. The new model should be coming soon. Though it took a year and half for the first mobile apus to become obtainable.
Do you mean ones with Zen 2 / Navi? It might take a while, CPUs and GPUs aren't even out yet.
Esperanto systems will sell an IP core called ET-Graphics that should be able to handle a laptop workload.
The question is just if somebody will actually build end-user computer with that product. Its designed for machine learning after all and that is their core business.
Maybe I've been lucky, but over the last few years my rule has been "buy Dell" and Linux has just worked without any modifications. That includes laptops and desktops (I've replaced everything at home for everyone and at work) and I've never had problems.
I will say all my intel thinkpads were flawless with arch. My new a485(ryzen apu) is almost there
I can throw basically any distro (at least anything that's fresher than debian stable) on it and all the hardware works out of the box
a laptop with open firmware would certainly be nice though
This is amongst the things stacked against people trying to do business in the UK. I know a distributor that wanted a small warehouse with office space. They had the capital to buy and build. But in the ex- industrial that land of the UK no land could be found, despite the acres of tumble down old factories! There is a government controlled project for anyone wanting to build a huge factory, but nothing smaller.
One of the problems in the UK is land-banking and a tax system that encourages you to invest in land and leave it as wasteground.
How and why does that work?
The Guardian argues that it's effectively cartelisation of building land by restricting the rate of building. There is a discussion of whether or not planning permission is a limiting factor - I think this is the main reason why you get almost no individual building in the UK, it's a lot of work to get the approvals so it's only worth doing on a big site for lots of houses.
There's no regular tax on unused land, and there is a tax on selling it, so there's a big incentive to just sit on it. I'd much rather see those two positions reversed. Not to mention the whole pseudo-property-tax system for funding local government needs drastic reform.
There are valid discussions to be had and due diligence involved in investigating the fitness of land for given purposes - it is more appropriate to use a heavy metal contaminated site for a garbage dump or factory than farm or residential for instance and industrial processes at risk of explosion shouldn't be kept near residences and schools.
I could see unused land being a tax break having some utility if there is some positive externality to it - especially if left accessible. Say that if you have some woods at the fringe of your property you could get some degree of property tax relief since keeping some wilderness does larger service to the environment. A derlict brownfield site however should have no bonus - it serves society best to get rid of it as soon as practical. This tax-break land could be developed if it is more lucrative to buy it and do so. The two could combine in a form of urban renewal incentives by at least encouraging landowners to clean up after themselves by transforming abandoned buildings to greenfield or parkland for tax purposes.
In terms of commercial property, in the UK a landlord will have to pay property rates on an empty factory or office related to a theoretical rental value. If you take a piece of wasteground and build a skyscraper on it you will be liable for the rates on all of the offices you can't rent out. This means developing comes with a risk.
This in my view is a good arguement for Land Value Tax, where you would be paying an amount based on the unimproved value of the land. If you put the land to good use you are not penalised.
A lot of commercial property in my part of the UK is owned by the Regional Development Agency, which are EU funded bodies that help regions attract investment. This would seem to suggest that the commercial realities of owning a warehouse are tough.
Government Bureaucracy and red tape is more often the cause than anything else.
And yet the UK is generally thought to be far friendlier to business than say, France or Germany, isn't it? I know that when I set up a business in the UK it took a few days and cost a couple of hundred quid, which compares pretty well to many other countries, as I understand it.
Even if AMD would like to, they probably could not because of cross-licensing.
So these guys just make the case.
What's the point? You're not going to get a more secure machine that way.
"The Talos™ II mainboard is the first modern (post-2013), owner-controllable, workstation- and enterprise-class mainboard. Built around the brand-new IBM POWER9 processor, and leveraging Linux and OpenPOWER™ technology, Talos™ II allows you to secure your data without sacrificing performance. Designed with a fully owner-controlled CPU domain, you can audit and modify any portion of the open source firmware on the Talos™ II mainboard, all the way down to the CPU microcode. This is an unprecedented level of access for any modern workstation- or enterprise-class machine, and one that is increasingly needed to assure safety and compliance with new regulations, such as the EU's GDPR. "
While also not 100% open, it sounds like a lot more important bits are.
The Talos machines sure are pricey though.
I bought the base model and upgraded it with 16gb of RAM (wish I could have done 32gb), 1TB NVMe, and a 1TB SATA SSD.
So far it is great. I've been using it as my daily driver for about 6 months with Manjaro. I get about 8 hours of battery life unless I'm running my Windows VM needed for some work tasks. Otherwise it's just firefox, slack-cli, thunderbird, and webstorm.
I am a stan of your business.
That in-and-of-itself is a pretty impressive investment to me, but I would probably take it off and put arch on it. Honestly I am not too worried, it seems like I can actually call them for support/file bugs/ask for technical help if I actually came across an issue -- surely someone over there knows something if they want to maintain their own distro.
It's the first Linux distro that I've been able to run full-time, after trying the main Ubuntu distro for 6+ years with VMs and dual-booting.
Beyond its stability and compatibility with Nvidia hardware, its design is pretty and touch-friendly.
I'm tired of the stuff Apple pulls, so would be nice to see a good/supported linux distro for hardware. I've been bitten too many times trying to maintain Linux on a primary desktop/laptop (hackintosh has been easier for me).
No mention of machine noise, just that the speakers were not impressive.
I looked around for a bit and no other company had the combination of ports, dual monitor support, OS alignment, ridiculously powerful specs, and price (even if it's kinda high).
The only thing that could possibly put me off is reliability or maybe weight/bulkiness, but it's almost an ultrabook form factor.
That is great but the problem is having to connect Monitor cables, keyboard cables, Power Cables, etc each time you want to travel
a Dock / Port replicator provide all of those things in a Single Cable or bottom mount connection
This it what separates Business Laptops from Consumer Laptops, until System 76 has that they will for ever be a Consumer device not a Business Device.
I also think that this issue is a knock against the product I'm infaturated with (Oryx Pro) but more the surrounding ecosystem -- surely some vendors will pop up (if not System76 themselves) to remedy this.
and you would be in the minority of business users. We had major issues with Lenovo discontinued the Bottom mount connector and moved to a cable based unit, users complained ALOT about having to plug in a single cable.
>if that's what "business device" means
It is not the only factor but it is a factor
>. When I think of "business device" I think of portability and power -- "workstations", not necessarily whether they have docks/port replicators.
No, portable workstations are a class of unit all to their self, most portable workstations are "business class" however
Business or Enterprise vs Consumer is
Dell Latitude Line (Enterprise) vs Dell Precision (Consumer)
ThinkPad branded (Enterprise) vs Lenovo Branded (Consumer)
Generally speaking the consumer products do not have enterprise features including docks, hardware /driver standardization / deployment packs, cheaper in build quality, and a variety of other things that make them enterprise systems
Seriously? I'm looking for <5 seconds.
I think it's safe to say we differ here, and that's fine. No the Oryx Pro doesn't have a enterprise-grade dock/port replicator yet. If that's a deal-breaker then that's that, for now at least.
I'd be curious to know what the noise is like. One of the ways the MBP spoils you is by being almost completely silent most of the time.
As long as you don't run in clamshell mode (which kills airflow) and have reasonably powerful models, MBP fans are usually little more than a gentle whirr when the system is a bit taxed. The big Dell models seem vacuum cleaners in comparison.
I use mostly Jetbrain IDEs, Firefox and VirtualBox, with an external 4k screen, on a late-2016 MBP, and it's silent most of the time.
The reliability from a small company is a concern of mine also, so I intend to purchase the 3 year warranty - a first for me, I have never bought an extended product warranty before.
The specs do look amazing.
Again, I think the Oryx Pro would be able to handle it, but the use case seems just a tad wrong... Unless of course you routinely do your machine learning on the go.
I really don’t want to be encumbered by a desktop computer, so a sem-portable laptop with a GPU makes sense to me.
iFixit doesn't have anything on the Oryx Pro yet so...
I also didn't know Hetzner sold GPU compute! Is it a package or are you going to market and searching "gpu"?
Am I speculating in the right direction?
the hardest part of delivering CPUs was the manufacturing, not the design
Now you basically have to outsource the manufacturing to TSMC and they are very good at what they do so in some sense that's not hard because you aren't doing it.
I bought one (an Oryx) to replace a macbook because it comes all set up and ready to go (no driver problems, no tinkering needed). I know it would have been cheaper to buy a machine and install linux on it but its a lot of extra work. I'd honestly just rather pay them to deal with it.
I'm using there OS (pop!) which is Ubuntu based, and works fine (although I'm not sure why they have there own OS, it gave me pause frankly, they have Ubuntu as well). It works well and seems to have updates quite frequently.
I really like the machine, its had no problems and has been easy to setup and use. There are some minor things I don't love, the battery life isn't great and I have to reboot to switch video cards (the laptop has 2 and only one supports external screens).
But jetbrains software works and the web works fine, so I'm pretty happy.
I think this makes sense. Their core bussiness is producing an integrated Linux hardware/software package. When a compatability issue comes up, they probably don't want to have to wait on a third party to resolve it; especially when they can still leverage most of the work that said third party does (and; I presume, contribute back their work).
It's a matter of branding. Which is great too as long as they keep up to date with security updates and such.
The only issue I have with Pop is the name... and I guess that's something I can get over given how well it works. :)
The fans run a lot, (especially when using the Nvidia graphics). I tend to push the machine a little though.
I used a Pangolin for my personal machine from 2013-2015. Replaced it with a MBP because I wanted to do some iOS/watchOS development, but it still works, and I still go back to it when I need a Linux laptop in a pinch. They're good, solid machines, and I could unbox it and boot up Linux without worrying whether some driver would be incompatible with the hardware.
Since then, the wlan drivers got replaced, disk encryption had to be manually fixed and video hardware acceleration was gone and required patching the distribution.
So much for Macintosh of Linux.
I know where I will be getting my first sls 3d printer from.
Compare to IBM. IBM created the somewhat open "PC" platform in the 80s. Within ten years there were dozens, maybe hundreds, of companies making "PC Compatible" computers. IBM stopped making PCs. Their platform "won" the marketplace but they, as a company, left the marketplace. IBM is still in business because their primary business was not making or selling personal computers.
Another comparison might be Google. Its a stretch because android is not a hardware platform as such, more of software. However Android phone is relatively open. As a platform Android has 'won' the marketplace. But Google's primary business is not selling phones or phone OSes. They make a handful of phones, and might stop at any time.
There was the 3d printer company. Makerbot. They were theoretically supposed to be open. However they, well some of them in the company, wound up deciding it was not possible because of clones. So they went closed. They also sold out to a huge conglomerate whose primary business is not personal 3d printers. I am not sure if you could say their 'platform' has 'won'....
So if I am right, then if System76 creates an 'open platform' then there will be Compatibles springing up all over. System76 'platform' might win the marketplace. But what will happen to them as a company? What is their primary business.
People mention Prusa. Maybe that might work.
There would be no open PC clones if IBM had succeed suing the clone makers or if PS/2 MCA architecture had actually worked out.
We would all be using variants of Atari, Amiga, Mac, Archimedes by now instead.
Which ironically is what laptops, 2-1 and mobile platforms have become.
The open platform already exists, they are merely a player in it. Perhaps they've brought some new hardware, but unless it is x86/64 legacy compatible there is little chance it will succeed.
Trust it's going to work, trust they'll support it and trust that it won't come with spyware built in.
That said, it's a step forward. I look forward to seeing what System76 do next.
- I think we should avoid setting the main bar for system76 at purism or vice versa. I say this as a big Purism fan, reading this post is very exciting for all fans of openness in computing.
Though, do note that it's relatively expensive and it's POWER9 (PowerPC 64 endian-switchable). Also, if it's important, the mainboard and processor are fabbed in the US.
one killer feature i bought this was for the nvidia card, and it's difficult to even type when that thing gets going because the keys get so hot my fingers are like touching hot coals
really i wish i could get my money back
The opinion that it never took of in USA because of Chinese undercut you on labour doesn't hold water. No, automation will not do nothing about America giving you 100 times more reasons to not to do manufacturing there other than the cost of labour.
The marketing seems to hint at premium product / premium price.
A smaller touchpad is better for my workflow as I only use them for 2-finger scrolling and it leaves more space for the keyboard.
I think these days patents are mostly high resistance and very few social value.
The biggest problem with guilds was the massive amount of information lost. So the balance was "tell is how you did it clearly, and you get protections for 20 years-ish".
Turns out the description of what and how is easily games with horrendous legalese language.
I'm guessing the cost is due to being based in the US. I just want a nice laptop for a reasonable cost, I'm not concerned where it's built. Where a laptop was made doesn't make any difference to how I use it or what it does for me. If System76 is close to Apple prices for similar specs I might as well just buy a Macbook Pro.
Here's an interesting exercise: Go to Newegg or Amazon and fill your shopping cart with all of the components you want in your system, then compare the price of all the components separately with the system price you get for a well engineered system that runs Linux flawlessly.
If you are looking for 32GB of RAM and 1TB NVMe SSD in a laptop, you are by definition an early adopter, and should expect to pay an early adopter penalty. If you want the sub-$500 notebook you're going to get the technology that early adopters were buying a few years ago.
For some context, the EC in most laptops is usually a highly proprietary ASIC (good luck even finding a datasheet) running a blob of proprietary firmware on an 8051 core. It's responsible for handling the power and lid switches, sequencing the powering on and off of the main system CPU, controlling fan speed and temperature sensors, etc.
Please keep that in mind.
There's been growing discontent in the US about the loss of our manufacturing capability, but instead of encouraging companies like this to bootstrap (some) manufacturing by building the parts that make sense here, people choose to mock them.
Meanwhile, Apple makes products completely in China, slaps a sticker that says "Proudly designed in California" and everyone is all oohs and aahs are every time they launch a product.
No. The discontent is about less people working in manufacturing. Manufacturing itself is actually fine.
There's also a different issue: strategically. it's pretty bad to depend on a handful of countries (China and Taiwan mostly) to make most of the products we consume. If - $deity forbid - the US and China went to war, it'd take years to get anywhere close to the manufacturing output we currently take for granted.
On the other hand, one could argue that such dependence makes the likelihood of such a war, and the loss of life it'd lead to, almost nil.
This is the old Galago Pro (I reviewed it at ), not the new aluminium one.