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New System76 Laptop: Lemur Pro (system76.com)
313 points by _jordan 16 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 232 comments

The value of this new Lemur Pro is completely in how well the software works.

I had IT at my job buy me a Lemur Pro (previous model) a year or two ago.

If I just stayed at my desk all day it would have been better than the Macbook Pro.

But software issues were always letting it down, and I was wasting lots of time trying to patch/fix linux configuration issues & bugs. It got to be such a waste of time I gave up and went back to the MBP.

Main issues were:

- Lots of issues with wifi not connecting, wifi setup 1000x more complex than windows/osx.. mostly around linux not having autodetect on the myriad options on wifi

- Switching between wired at the desk and wifi was problematic, difficult to get up with the laptop and go to a meeting

- Lots of issues with applications needing to be restarted when switching from external to internal monitors

- Lots of extreme battery drain when trying to do certain activities.. e.x. video conferencing apps like zoom, webex, etc.. the fan would go 100% the whole time and the CPU would peg due to video acceleration issues. The battery could drain down 100% in a 30 minute meeting, etc..

I tried 2 different distros. It didn't really make a difference.

So realistically.. hardware on this thing is probably fine, if not as fancy looking as a MBP. It has more useful ports, so less need to carry dongles.

But it's a time waster in a lot of office/dev environments if the software integration hasn't improved.

This is the kind of stuff that wouldn't bother me on a personal laptop where the goal was to hack on linux. But it was a deal breaker on a corporate laptop where I needed to focus on the product.

I am not sure if this will ever get better. E.g. Intel GPUs that were perfectly fine for quite a while, now have regular hangs with Linux 5.3 and 5.4 [1]. Since Linux 5.4 is an LTS version, various distributions have already switched to it. I had to downgrade to Linux 4.19 on one of my machines, because my GPU locked up ever 1-2 days.

Nonsense like this make Linux difficult to use on a laptop that you have to carry around and get real work done.

[1] https://linuxreviews.org/Linux_Kernel_5.5_Will_Not_Fix_The_F...

Interestingly, I am running a 10th Gen Intel Iris Pro GPU and had no problems on these kernels, (Arch)/

There were minor issues on 5.5 at the start of the cycle when some patches were overlooked, but that's all fixed now.

I honestly don't experience more problems than with my MacBook, (especially after major upgrades).

Maybe the issue is people just keep defaulting to Ubuntu and equating their experiences there with Linux as a whole. Maybe it just isn't the best distro around.

I'd honestly go with EndeavourOS, Manjaro or if you want to stay in the Ubuntu ecosystem, maybe Mint. I know everybody always says just switch distros, but honestly Ubuntu hasn't been the best distro around for anything for over a decade.

I would be really surprised if Ubuntu had issues that Manjaro or Arch don't have. Debian and Ubuntu is usually pretty ahead on testing different hardware combinations. Most likely this is some hardware-specific issue and you don't own the same hardware as GP.

No doubt Canonical tests more, but there's something about the way they configure the kernel and packages that gave me more problems over the years than most other distros. In fact, the first Ubuntu install ever, back in '06 failed for me completely, while Mandrake worked.

I do appreciate that this is subjective, I just wished Ubuntu isn't the only choice people evaluated when trying Linux.

Ubuntu has been fairly solid for me, over several laptops and almost a decade of releases.

Freezes due to graphics drivers (on Intel) is something from ~3-5 years ago, I'd say.

And let's be realistic, when people are just trying GNU/Linux (for the first time), they will go for the most popular and user-friendly distro available. Or, at least, they should.

I've been using ubuntu since the first release. I have issues with the switch unity gnome plus the odd kernel issue. Battery performance also at times has been an issue.

I stick to several year old thinkpads for hardware and LTS releases though. Mostly I just want the OS to get out of the way.

Normally it just works though.

I am not using Ubuntu or an Ubuntu derivative. Thank god I am using NixOS, which makes it very trivial to switch between kernel versions including external modules such as ZFS.

When it comes to Arch, there is a long thread about this issue in the forums:


As I said, they forgot to include Intel GPU patches at the start of the 5.5 kernel series[1], that's been resolved, I personally haven't seen it elsewhere, but of course incompatibilities happen.

1 - https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-5....

That’s strange, usually if you buy hardware with Linux in mind and use stable software packages then you have little to worry about.

Typically Intel GPUs were a safe bet across the board and you had to avoid some of the other ones.

I’m curious to read more into what went wrong, it seems to be across a few bug reports.

> Linux in mind and use stable software packages then you have little to worry about

Linux, and by that I mean all distros, have always had difficulties with basic things such as wifi or hibernation for the better part of the past twenty years.

It's baffling to me this is still an issue in 2020.

I don't understand why Linux still does not have reliable hibernation. Sleep requires working with BIOS and other hardware components, so I could understand that without proper drivers things might be shaky. But hibernate is hardware-agnostic feature so it should be rock-solid by now.

No, it's not really. There's ACPI, but a combination of wiggle room in the standard and vendors saying fuck you to any attempt at rigorous compliance testing means that there's no way to assure that any ACPI implementation will work with drivers the vendor didn't write. The whole state of the PC industry is "does Windows boot/run with this? It does? Ship it."

Even in Windows they have to workaround some stupid bugs from the OEM or ODM side.

Sounds kinda like most web development: if it runs on Chrome, it's good enough. (Guilty myself)

Perhaps System76 should provide Linus with a free laptop to see what the issues are from a Linux standpoint and get them fixed. I think he was using desktops mostly. Probably because of compile times.

Maybe economics can help.

When anyone else can resell your code, your work becomes a public good.

Public goods are underprovided in equilibrium.

I was reading about who supports i915 and it looks like it was started by a company Tungsten Graphics which got sold to VMWare in 2008. I'm curious if over time the people at VMWare working on it left or put less effort into the codebase (they did a big shakeup of the company in 2016).

If that's the case hopefully it gets more attention eventually. Often with OSS it's some random developer working at some big company supporting these various drivers, not just people in their spare time.

This will always be problem with all software that changes, especially ones supporting hardware that also constantly evolves.

Linux' hardware support for laptops is basically an inverted parabola. It starts off bad, then gets good, then goes bad again, as new bugs seep in that never get fixed (Wifi becoming unreliable, lockups during suspend/resume, audio issues, ...).

Fill in Windows and you get the same shit. I think it is often x86 and shitty drivers all around...

My thinkpads haven't really had issues. Had linux exclusively since 1999.

There's likely more than one bug, but this is the one I've followed as the most egregious experience I've had in quite some time, if ever, on Linux.

GPU hang on transition to idle https://gitlab.freedesktop.org/drm/intel/issues/673

I don't know whether this qualifies as a break with no regressions in user space rule. I didn't run into it on either 5.3 or 5.5. My understanding is the backport to fix on 5.4 would be too complicated. Therefore I wonder why not just revert the whole thing from 5.4? I don't know the answer to that. I gave up on it totally and moved to 5.5rc kernels, rather than deal with 5.4.

Given this fact of 5.4's behavior, I think it's a bad idea for a distribution to pick that kernel to use, if they can't do the backport themselves, and yet expect to support i915 hardware. Yep, it's an LTS kernel. Ordinarily it's reasonable to pick an LTS for a distribution, but not this time around. Maybe Ubuntu should have shipped a late 5.3.x and then updated to 5.4 once fixed? I don't know if it even has been fixed now in 5.4, although I haven't gotten any emails on that bug since March 10.

> wifi setup 1000x more complex than windows/osx

Which DE? Ultimately most DEs use NetworkManager but they have different GUI frontends. KDE Plasma's frontend has all options inside one menu. I never found it more difficult than Windows but that being said, I've left Windows behind about 9 years ago after years of dual booting, so my Windows experience might be outdated.

> Lots of extreme battery drain when trying to do certain activities

I guess that's due to no native video decoding. It's getting there, very slowly. It's being worked on as we speak: https://bugzilla.mozilla.org/show_bug.cgi?id=1610199

“Has everything in one menu” already sounds significantly more complex than Windows and macOS. These days their users don’t meed to do much more than selecting a network (or manually enter hidden SSID) and type in a password. The only other option they need is a button to turn wifi on/off.

That's exactly how it works on my Linux laptop (which is GNOME on Arch). I also use a Macbook Pro regularly and I don't think there's a substantive difference in ease-of-use around WiFi configuration.

There is a substantive difference in WPA Enterprise configuration. When connecting with Gnome there are so many options I have to check a screenshot of the correct ones every time I configure it (which I've done 5ish times because of distro hopping+changing my password). On an iphone, all you need to do is write your username and password, then press the "trust certificate" button.

Android has this problem as well which I've always found odd. Connecting t0 802.1x networks in Windows is very straightforward, but for Android I've had to publish a guide with screenshots for people to follow.

I've been running Ubuntu on a Dell XPS at work since 2016. I had problems using a docking station from the start so I removed it from the equation and haven't had any significant other issues since. Battery life is good, no significant networking problems, etc. I've very much enjoyed the experience.

I just assumed that life would only be better on a System 76 machine. I was very surprised by this post.

I have similarly been running Ubuntu on an XPS15 mostly without any issues. Networking has been fine, standby, battery life, all that has been fine.

Takes a little bit of research and tweaking to get it into a good state, but once one has the right kernel opts and GPU power management stuff worked out, it's a breeze. Not everyone wants to do that, but that's the cost of running Linux.

From that point, I found it to be more reliable and pleasant than Windows 10 or Mac, all of which I use on a regular basis.

I think it really depends on what you're trying to do. I'm the only person at my company running linux and I still can't really do things like seamlessly plug/unplug from an external monitor because while some apps scale correctly from HiDPI to normal resolution, the UI doesn't really. There are thankfully linux version of things like Zoom and Slack, and they work, mostly, but for instance I can't use zoom without headphones because pulseaudio is too problematic, whereas it works fine on a mac.

I have the same problem on a 2017 XPS 13 running Windows 10. When I unplug from the Dell D6000 docking station it's a crapshoot whether or not the apps I had running on the external monitors will scale correctly when they get moved to the internal screen. I also run into problems if I plug into the docking station after booting, it frequently doesn't recognize the external monitors (also Dell branded). In order to get everything to work correctly every time I need to shutdown before connecting to or disconnecting from the docking station, and also make sure the monitors are turned on before booting while connected to the docking station.

I have similar problems with the XPS15 and Windows 10.

I had several critical issues with a 2018 Dell XPS 13 w/Ubuntu 18.10 preloaded; namely the wifi would frequently not return after hibernation (needed reboot) and sometimes the entire system wouldn't come back after hibernation.

I tried many fixes, including new kernels, to no avail. Finally I upgraded to 19.04 and everything has worked flawlessly for the past 6 months.

Atheros WiFi? I have the same problem with XPS 15, and it seems a Qualcomm firmware bug[1], not a Linux fault.

[1] https://bugzilla.kernel.org/show_bug.cgi?id=196649

I am already running a Linux laptop (ThinkPad t460s) as my daily driver, so I've already conquered the Wifi setup issues, and I've never had problems switching monitors. I haven't tried Zoom but most video conferencing and e.g. YouTube seem to work fine with hardware video acceleration.

I wonder if this laptop would make a good upgrade from the T460s for me.

What browser are you using in Linux that lets you use hardware video acceleration? I was using the patched version of Chromium for awhile...

Firefox Nightly has it now on wayland.

About 6 weeks ago I switched from a Thinkpad to a System76 Darter Pro, and it's been pretty solid. I have none of the problems you describe.

It did require Debian testing, because the Intel GPU drivers for the latest Intel CPUs are not in Debian stable yet. But it's a solid machine, and like the new Lemur Pro, it comes with Coreboot preloaded which is excellent.

That whole kernel 5.4 thing with missing critical fixes for the Intel GPUs was a major screwup though, that's true. But they are all in 5.5 I believe, and have also been backported to the 5.4 kernel that's in Debian testing. Since those landed, my machine has been a pleasure to use.

I'm not disputing your experience, just pointing out that I use a laptop from Lenovo (albeit a Galaga Pro), and have not had any of this. The WiFi and Zoom issues I can definitely say have not impacted me; I cannot honestly say I've tried wired networking with it very much. The battery life has also been fine.

Again, not disputing your experience, just saying mine was different. It was a Galaga Pro vs. your Lemur Pro, but I would have thought the software issues would be more similar than that.

> .. software issues were always letting it down, and I was wasting lots of time trying to patch/fix linux configuration issues & bugs ..

Ten year old FUD!

Still true though.

When I bought my System76 laptop 18 months ago, I promised myself that I would stop my 30+ year Linux habit of playing with system configurations - a fun hobby but a time sink.

I have stuck with System76's branded Ubuntu named Pop!_OS and always install their updates. So far it has been fairly trouble free except for a little time spent when updating CUDA drivers for the GPU.

Heck it's impossible to have consistent keyboard shortcuts across programs, no matter the desktop environment. I tried everything, wrote config files, remapped layouts, set Firefox config values for modifier keys, etc. Impossible. I got close with KDE, but eventually gave up.

My Macbook Air recently died and in a hurry (lockdown is tomorrow) I've bought a refurbished Dell Latitude which is a little bit more powerful (last week). Surprised that Desktop Ubuntu 19.10 still does not compress RAM (but easy fixable) although Windows and Mac do that by default. It is super necessary with Chrome (Apps). Biggest downsite is that programs/sites like Slack, conferences or Youtube videos are not as smooth as on Mac although I have more horsepower now in sense of CPU. I have the big feeling that the CPU scheduler on the Mac&Windows does a way better job than Linux on desktop environments. E.g. hitting the 100% CPU area (only with Chrome somehow) I can hear the crackling sounds on conferencing calls.

Have you tried running Windows 10 on it? I wonder if Windows can handle it any better.

The irony in this is highly underappreciated.

Maybe they just did a poor job with that model? You have way way way more issues with your brand new designed for linux machine than I do with my 2015 thinkpad which has basically none of those issues.

Granted the only video conferencing I've done is google hangouts or facebook.

Needing to restart applications when switching monitors seems particularly strange.

Edit: Ubuntu non lts and gnome anything after 2 have been mediocre bug factories for a while. It's not too shocking to find they still are.

Had similar experience with Entroware laptop - when fan started running, it goes with full speed until I turned off the laptop completely. Tried various linux drivers but none has fixed that issue.

The other issue was with the WiFi - sometimes I had to restart it like literally 10 times to make WiFi module work :|

(once it was connected I had no issues until I've turned laptop off / restart it)

I had a similar experience a few years ago with an "n series" Dell, and the solution was to only use the install disk that came with the machine, and not try to do a full OS install.

I tossed ubuntu+mate on my galago pro 4, works like a champ (and the interface works like every other ubuntu+mate that I have)

Is the lemur notably different?

We run linux on dell XPS13 at work unfortunately its the same. We do run debian stable though.

Bought a Darter Pro last year, newest version, and as a long time apple user I just want to say: beware, the build quality is another ballpark. There is a reason mac books are 1k more expensive, they are that much better imo. Even with the shitty butterfly keyboard.

Not trying to shit on System76, it is a fine laptop and in a couple of ways better than a mbp, just not as 'premium'.

Oh, and they have no resale value, I getting offered ~20% of the new price for a laptop that has only been used for a week. Not surprising really, small market and all. And here (NL) nobody knows System76.

That's partially because System76 doesn't currently design and produce their laptops, they rebrand Clevos. This new Lemur Pro appears to be this model [1] so unfortunately it'll also have poor build quality. From System76's careers page and their posts about Thelio it seems like they'll be designing their own laptops soon, and based on the Thelio I'd bet they'll be much more solid.

[1] https://clevo-computer.com/en/laptops-configurator/purpose/b...

Yea, the build quality is the biggest area it's lacking. I have Lemur from 3 years ago or so (and they still look more or less the same) - and the body is very uninspiring chunky black plastic, and feels flimsy/flexy. The keyboard is fine I suppose, generic chiclet keys which I don't mind at all. But the trackpad is quite mediocre compared to any Macbook.

Yeah, the specs on system76 stuff looks nice, but they’ve always had fit and finish issues that are a turnoff.

I would purchase today except there doesn't seem to be any screen options higher than 1080. I can't go back to 1080 after years of 4k monitors and mbp retina for work and x1 carbon 2k screen on personal laptop.

I wish someone else besides Apple would discover the 16:10 ratio. I love my MBP but every company I've worked at has been allergic to OS X. Right now I'm stuck working from home on a 1366x768 screen because it's "business-class".

The 2020 model of Dell XPS 13 has 16:10 @ 4K AFAIK. If you get the Developer Edition, it comes with Linux preinstalled.

4K on a 13.4" panel? https://www.sven.de/dpi/ says that comes out to a crazy 337 PPI. Current Macbook pro is 226.

I have one. It's pretty. But it provides no useful thing other than occasional touch screen use. But it has terrible battery life. 5 hours is good.

Supposedly the fhd (1080p approx) has much better battery life. I regret getting the 4k screen. For OP above, what's your battery life like? Mine is so bad I keep thinking something must be broken. I'm not doing compiling all day either, doing small things in bash, not killing the cpu, web pages.

That depends on use. For working on or reading papers, it's great: I've significantly cut down on the number of drafts and papers I print, as the screen's ppi is high enough that figures will appear at a similar resolution to what most researchers will have on their printers when adjusted to the correct size on the screen.

I used to own the XPS 9550 (15", 1080p non-touch) and the battery life was around 6-7 hours with the Nvidia GPU disabled. I bought it used so it might have been even better new too.

It should look fine in 3x mode although it's a waste of GPU.

Even Apple gave up on 16:10, for half of their computers. The iMac went 16:9 in 2009. The Cinema Display went 16:10 in 2010, and the recent XDR followed suit. The LG they sold in between was also 16:9. Only the MacBook Air and MacBook Pro remain 16:10.

I'm with you. I much prefer using my older non-Retina 16:10 displays than my newer 16:9 Retina display. Microscopic pixels are nice, but an extra 10% height is huge.

Microsoft Surface devices use 3:2 (15:10), I've bought one pretty much only because of that and it's nice.

Dell went 16:10 this year.

1080p at 14" really isn't bad though. The state of high-DPI in Ubuntu (on which Pop_OS is based) is _okay_ but you're not really missing out on much with the bigger pixels.

I really appreciate with System76 is doing and if I were in the market for a laptop I'd consider this. Their desktops are very cool too as they custom-build the cases themselves. They do seem to be in kind of a "no man's land" market-wise, where a lot of people who would want Linux are technically savvy enough to build their own computer or install it on an existing laptop. But I hope they keep it up and hit their stride!

It's not bad but it's also not great. Once you use higher DPI screens you don't want to go back. The 13" MBP with 2560x1600 is great.

There’s a lot of stuff that is aesthetically nicer about Apple machines. But a display is only one attribute of a machine. Many people would rather use software and hardware that protects their freedom, which is why a System76 machine would be a better choice for them.

I have a 2018 MacBook Air (Retina) I use for testing. The display is beautiful. I’m very familiar with running and tweaking MacOS. And honestly I don’t like it. I don’t like fighting with how Apple feels you should be allowed to use -their- hardware. I am way more productive in Linux now that I’m used to it.

> 1080p at 14" really isn't bad though. The state of high-DPI in Ubuntu (on which Pop_OS is based) is _okay_ but you're not really missing out on much with the bigger pixels.

I agree. 1080p on a 27" or even a 24" is pretty bad, but on a 14" is essentially "retina" at normal working distances.

Certainly a 4K would be somewhat smoother, but at the cost of battery life, the need to fiddle with display scaling, etc. I just don't see it being worth it. 2K at most for a display of that size.

Now, a 4K at 32" would be a nice external monitor, and would give plenty of screen real estate (and yet would have a lower PPI than a 1080p at 14").

I run 4K at 32" in Ubuntu and it's perfect. Gnome allows you to specify the scaling of individual apps (if you edit their launch shortcuts), so depending on the app I can run 1:1, 125% or 150%. Effectively a choice between comfort or density.

I've run 1080p at 14" on previous laptops and had no issues with 1:1 pixel scaling. Sure, things are a little squinty but I never felt the need to zoom the UI. I also never felt like things were too pixelated. So yeah, 1080p/14" really is the sweet spot.

> I run 4K at 32" in Ubuntu and it's perfect.

That's actually quite exciting to hear. I run Ubuntu on a 34" 3440 x 1440, and it's been a major step-up from dual 27" 1080p displays, but it has made me wonder what is the optimal display for programming.

4K at 32" seems to be pretty close to the most pixels you can fit into a display without either a) making the display so big it becomes unwieldy, or b) making the pixels so small that you have to use display scaling to see anything.

> Gnome allows you to specify the scaling of individual apps (if you edit their launch shortcuts), so depending on the app I can run 1:1, 125% or 150%

Oh, that's a useful trick.

> So yeah, 1080p/14" really is the sweet spot.

Yep, in general (i.e. typical home office use as well as programming) I would say that displays with a density between 120-150ppi are probably ideal for desktop use, whereas a density between 140-170 is right for laptops.

> I run 4K at 32" in Ubuntu and it's perfect

huh, I have 4K 27" and I still see a bit too much pixels to my taste

Interesting. Do you use 100% scaling?

Can’t upvote enough! It’s also my main beef with many chromebooks - decent specs and just unacceptable screens for productivity.

Even though Linux may not scale resolution as good as a Mac or Windows yet, being able to fit more text on the screen is huge for productivity.

When you factor in new gaming options like Stadia or Nvidia Now, where you can game high end stuff without the high end hardware locally, FHD is just disappointing.

Linux scales leaps and bounds better than mac and windows these days..

What DM do you use? I have endless problems with scaling in both Gnome 3 and Cinnamon, compared to Windows where I've really never had a problem except with some very legacy software. The underlying problem is that the scaling setting in the WM tends to only be observed by software built with the same toolkit, so you have to set scaling up in a different way for each GUI toolkit and there's a decent list of them in common use on Linux.

They sell one laptop with a high-resolution screen but it weighs 8.6 lbs (3.9 kg).


Adder WS also has a 15 inch 4k model. I have one and use it for work. Definitively not the ultimate portable machine but I use it mostly at home and the office plugged in.

I wouldn't say it's the best option for everyone but if you need a machine with discrete GPU and high resolution that you know for sure will run Linux (many gaming laptop have similar spec but non supported RAID setup) then I'd say go for it.

If you want a portable laptop then dell's developer edition got 4k and good specs.

They also sell another that weighs 5.51 lbs (2.5 kg). Still pretty hefty.


Also, 16:9.

Apple laptops are barely usable at 16:10, it's night and day compared to 3:2 on Surface Books (my favorite laptop of all time by far).

Similar boat. A 2k screen like the X1 Carbon would have been a good compromise on screen quality and battery life.

1080p is basically 2K, only 80 more pixels wide

(or 128 px - DCI 2K is 2048 * 1080)

The old Lemur Pro had a high-res screen available. This one probably will too, they must have just failed to put it on this web page.

Ah, at this screen size hires displays arent worth it (for me atleast) Linux is much more of a hassel on hidpi dipslays too.

You really don't want to run HiDPI on Linux, applications will look blurry and ugly. It's better to just stick 1x scaling.

If you scale 2x then things won't be blurry, will they?

This looks cool. There is an important question that won't be answered for a while yet:

How long will the battery continue to give you a 21 hour charge?

Things might have changed since the last non-mac laptop I used regularly, but right now I have a 2013 Macbook Pro on the original battery that I still find usable for several hours at a time. I've never known a laptop other than a Macbook that comes close to that. Like I said, my knowledge of the subject is limited and I would love illumination on widely available battery quality in the 2020s.

In other news, as it became apparent that my 2013 MBP was not really fit for primary use anymore I went back to a desktop for everyday and I actually love it. I still carry the MBP for remote work and just-in-case, but the HEDC is really, really nice (12 cores, of course), since most of my time is spent in the office anyway.

just FYI you can change the battery on that mbp pretty easily


I used shoe laces. just be sure you get the right battery - I had to reorder mine because plug was actually shifted a little.

Looks nice, uses coreboot and disables ME :), i5/i7, "Up to 40 GB DDR4", "2× M.2 SSD. Up to 4TB total." Holy cow that's a powerful machine.

> USB Type-C Power Delivery Compatible

It's capable of charging by USB-C? Then why does it have the old-style circular power jack?

Just a guess, but charging by the old school barrel jacks requires next to no protocol support. You just need to provide the correct voltage, and supply enough current.

Whereas with USB-C, you need to speak USB-C before it'll charge.

EDIT: oh, and it gives you the ability to avoid potential security attack vectors.

I’ve wondered this with systems like my work-provided HP Elitebook as well. Best I can think of is that some customers may require the ability to charge a laptop via a port that doesn’t also double as a data port?

Given some of the crazy hardware security attacks we’ve seen over the years, I’m a lot more paranoid about plugging in a rando USB-C cable than plugging in a barrel connector. That said, knowing to look for tip polarity, voltage, and available amperage is a lot to ask of people. I wish we had a standardized power-only charger option.

Because it only has a single usb-c port. They probably want people to have the option of charging the laptop while also plugging in something over usb-c. Why they didn't just do two usb-c ports, I don't know. Maybe someone from System 76 can answer that.

They don't make their own laptops (yet, it is in the plan but probably not for 10 years), they buy enough laptops to have input on how they are designed, but in the end they don't get everything they want.

Edit: 10 years is my guess. There are hints they might make their own laptops sooner. Time will tell.

You'll need to use the barrel charger for applying firmware updates. The Lemur Pro has additional circuitry to support changing the battery even if it completely drained.

Wait, ignoring firmware... you need to have some charge in order to charge with USB-C? Couldn't it use the lowest power modes until it has enough juice to communicate? This seems like a serious flaw with USB PD.

That seems to be an implementation flaw. USB-C provides 5V by default with no negotiation which should be enough to power the controller and allow it to negotiate a higher voltage.

> USB-C provides 5V by default with no negotiation

Just to be pedantic, USB-C does need negotiation before it provides 5V, but that negotiation is just a pair of resistors of a specific value.

(Since the USB-C cable is symmetric, this negotiation is necessary to decide which end will provide the power. One end has both resistors wired as a pull-down, and the other end has both resistors wired as a pull-up. The end with both resistors wired as a pull-up will initially provide the 5V power.)

I routinely run my chromebook out completely out of battery charge, and it never has any issue charging with USB-C.

This is inaccurate, the Lemur Pro supports charging through USB-C with a dead battery.

Go long enough and even your minimal charge is exhausted

Then how can Macs be charged if they are fully exhausted?

I have no idea. Maybe they can't, but we won't find out for 5 years when someone brings one out of a closet. Maybe there is enough current leakage when in non charging mode for them to run that much electronics.

Backup? Higher current option?

How are barrel connectors still a thing? Apple figured out the correct way to hook up a power supply over a decade ago. Of all the design decisions manufacturers like to copy from Apple, why do they avoid this one like the plague?

If you're taking about magsafe, it's patented. Apple reverted to USB-C charging on all current models, which is not as cool as magsafe, but on the bright side, you can now charge on either side and use the port for other things when not charging.

Somehow Microsoft is able to produce magnetic chargers for their Surface devices though. It'd be nice if Apple would allow the patent to be breached now that they're not using it.

Apple holds a patent on magnetic charging, Microsoft holds a patent on magnetic charging + data ports, as well as a patent on magnetic USB-C now. I'm not sure how well these would hold up against Apple's patents in court, but I think the two companies both have so many lawyers and so many patents that there's a bit of a mutually assured destruction situation with either going after the other on charging technology.

I can appreciate the simplicity and utility of having x identical ports on my laptop and they are all capable of doing everything. That is a worthwhile trade-off in my book, even if I personally would still prefer the option to use MagSafe.

Other manufacturers have figured out how to replicate the experience without infringing on Apple's patents, their solutions just aren't as commonly used as I wish they were.

IMO Razer did it better - on my 13" Stealth, there's one USB-C port on each side and one USB-A as well. Not having to look for the * dongle everytime I need to plug in anything is such a blessing after owning MacBooks - and I can still charge the laptop on both sides, with Apple chargers no less.

I tripped over my USB-C cord recently - having never done so with 'magsafe' - and you know what? it pulled cleanly out, I didn't fall, neither did the laptop. And it wasn't some perfect angle that enabled that either.

In my experience, magsafe just meant that it disconnects on cord tugs so slight that they wouldn't even have moved the laptop if the connection weren't magnetic. Anything with the force to harm you or your laptop disengages connectors other than magsafe too.

The big issue with barrel connectors is how long they are. When the cord is yanked at a wide angle, the outer edge of the barrel connector acts as a fulcrum, turning the inner barrel into a first class lever. With such long barrels, the transfer of force to the tip on the inside can be enough to rip the connector off its solder joints.

USB-C largely mitigates this simply by being a shorter connector than most barrels.

As a counterpoint, at least on the laptop models I'm most familiar with, the power barrel connector is not on any board (it's connected to the motherboard by a wire), so even if it breaks, it won't damage the board (and it's easy to replace). On the other hand, the USB-C socket is soldered directly to the motherboard (though with an extra mechanical support screwed on top).

I could be wrong, but IIRC there is a limit on how much power can be delivered over USB-C that is arguably easy to hit for powerful laptops.

Perhaps that's one reason among others.


Edit: Could the downvoter explain the downvote please?

Edit2: Quick googling tells me USB Type C supports upto 100W power delivery [1], while an example laptop, such as X1 Extreme Gen 2 can go up to 129W of power draw under load [2].

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/USB_hardware#Power

[2] https://www.notebookcheck.net/Lenovo-ThinkPad-X1-Extreme-201...

That just means you can't use such a laptop under near peak load while the battery is empty or absent.

Actually, I like that they don't deviate from the standard on that one. It makes the power supply easy to replace, especially considering all those places in the world where people have never heard of System76.

> Actually, I like that they don't deviate from the standard on that one.

USB C charging is a standard, and it's the standard most laptops and other devices follow these days.

like someone else said, the page confirms this thing supports USB-C PD. but USB-C power delivery adds expensive complexity to the hardware that is not necessary otherwise

FWIW the USB-C port is power delivery compatible.

If it wasn't for the 16:9 screen I'd buy it in an instant. Specs are sufficient for me, the battery life sounds enticing and the screen is matte. I'm just curious if I'm the only one that has such a strong preference for a less wide screen ratio.

No, I would _love_ to go back to 4:3. Maybe not for a laptop, but I desperately miss height. Except for very high end displays, we've spent a decade stuck at 1080 or fewer vertical pixels. Meanwhile way back in the early 2000s we had more vertical pixels (1600x1200).

Still have my fpw2405. The extra 120 pixels make a difference

No, I would also love a laptop with 3:2 or 16:10 screen. And a Ryzen 4000 APU.

Actually System76 might offer self manufactured laptops with AMD Ryzen in the future [1]. I hope they will consider a better display then. Currently they are basically rebranding Chinese laptops (like Clevo).

[1] https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=System76...

Looks like Microsoft surface with ryzen 4000 might be comming. Will be interesting to see if it fares any better than previous Gen vs Intel, though:




Still waiting for full touch support for surface pro 4 in mainline Linux - other than that it's a pretty snazzy machine. The keyboard is great (if not quite IBM era thinkpad great.. But what is?). Would prefer a matte screen though.

> comming

OT: I wonder if this should be spelled with a 'k'.

Is this Lemur Pro yet another marked-up rebrand?

The display is my concern as well. However, for me, it's that there's no option for better than 1920*1080. I'd like a high dpi option. Everything else looks great.

I was beyond excited to see they finally got rid of that infernal 9-key, but 1920x1080 resolution in 2020 is a deal breaker. Not even an option to upgrade to QHD or better.

So close to getting my money System76, so close!

> 1920x1080 resolution in 2020 is a deal breaker

This resolution is perfectly fine up to 17" (for humans, anyway).

Put a 1920x1080 display next to any Mac and tell me it's "perfectly fine". The difference is massive.

For you. Plenty of us aren't interested in lower resolution screens when you can get a laptop with one that's better.

Cool! My wife and I have System76 laptops, and they work quite well.

Congratulations to the System76 team, I look forward to seeing your success as you go forward.

Wow, 2.2 pounds, really light weight. I have had one of their Oryx Pro laptops for 18 months and really like it. I don't need a light weight laptop now, but if something happened to my MacBook I would consider it.

I hate specs that are stated like "up to 40 GB DDR4".

How much RAM does one get in the base $1,099 model? It seems that info is nowhere to be found

That is annoying, but if you really want to know, I suspect it's almost certainly 8GB.

I've been looking for a non-mac machine to replace a 2017 macbook pro, and this looks great, but I can't divorce myself from the higher dpi screen. If this could match the mbp I'd order right now.

I need to update my 8 year old T520 with quad core i7.

I've been looking at the system76 series all year but can't really make myself pull the plug on anything. I can get a two year old T580 with similar specs for probably $600 on ebay.

But honestly, I'm tired of using Intel laptops (been doing that for over 15 years). Really hoping something more promising (and with better linux compatibility) from AMD powered laptops pop up soon. Lenovo already has some AMD stuff in their smaller T series lineup, but almost nonexistent in the used market (for now).

A Lenovo E495 Ryzen 7 U3700 with 32GB RAM and an NVMe will set you back around $600-700 today. Actually more expensive now than it was several months ago, but I would expect these to be inexpensive used within a year. Zero hardware issues in NixOS or Ubuntu, USB-C charging, outputs to 2 external displays plus the internal without any additional fan noise.

I've got zero complaints, especially since this is not Lenovo's top business line.

I have an E495 (but with the 3500U) and the thing runs like a champ. I run Solus on it with no issues. It's build quality is excellent as well: consistent with my work-issued P50s, despite only being a (budget-focused) E-series.

I briefly considered getting a T-series, but the presence of soldered RAM is what killed it for me. Unless the RAM has to be soldered and there is some benefit for the consumer (which is what I've heard for LPDDR4 RAM) then soldering RAM just kills the ROI for me. I purchased my with only 8GB of RAM and will upgrade when I find the right deal.

Great point that I forgot to mention, because I take it for granted- this laptop is upgradeable (SATA, NVMe, and RAM), so you don't have to commit 100% upfront, but can upgrade over the life of the computer.

Regarding an above comment about the resale value of the Lemur, I'll be interested in how my e495 depreciates over time. It included Windows 10 Pro, which I left on a partition, expecting to dual-boot into. I haven't ended up needing it yet, but it will probably contribute a higher resale price- just delete my Linux partition, resize Windows back to 100%, and toss onto eBay.

Yea I just noticed the (much) cheaper E series line. I can't really tell much of a difference between the E495 and T495? Looks like perhaps the T495 used soldered on components in order to be thinner or lighter? Makes it kind of a deal breaker, especially for twice the price.

Any idea of battery charging thresholds are configurable like on the normal T series? (I use this script: https://github.com/teleshoes/tpacpi-bat)

Oh and looks like no docking station other than the usb plug-in types.

Do they have a 4k version? After using a 4k laptop for 5 years I just can't go back to 1080p

It looks definitely a good alternative to XPS, which is what I work with. Both, most importantly, have matte screens. I can't understand how people can code with glossy screens...

I used to think the same, but I think it depends on where you are. Inside, or in fairly low light situations, matte screens are great.

However, as I'm currently working from a suburban house and am able to go outside, I've discovered the glossy screen of my 2013 MBP is actually more legible when the sun's up than a matte external monitor (Dell P2415Q), both set to maximum brightness.

Sure, there are way more reflections and I have to wear dark clothes, but if I use a light background I can see the text fairly well.

On my external display the light is so diffused that the contrast is terrible. Even if there are no reflections, text is so washed out it's much harder to read.

I understand what you say but I prefer not to do workarounds with my working tools. Imagine that, rather than "I wave to wear dark clothes" I said "yes, I must be facing north to work properly" or "I have to hold the USB connection to make work" you would immediately say "no way". :)

The advertised battery life appeals to me, if it does indeed work as advertised. I have a 3-year-old Oryx Pro, which I probably over-indexed on performance on. Everything about it is great with the exception of the battery life which is usually < 1 hour (surfing the net or programming, nothing crazy). I would have gone with a different offering if I had known this.

That's what I've been reading about those a lot. I think they took the feedback seriously and packed this thing with a real whopper of a battery. I'm pretty excited by this development.

720p webcam? I know this is complaining on a high level, but as smartphones come with 16 MP cameras, why are laptops still so behind?

The only complaint I have with a 720p webcam is that I need to glue a cover on top of it myself.

The limiting factor on webcams in laptops is internal USB bus. On phones the camera is wired directly on the board with direct channel to the CPU so the phone can do all the computation processing as fast as possible on the fly. The laptop webcams use standard USB 2.0, which has very limited bandwidth compared to what phones have.

There's no reason this couldn't be circumvented, but some custom webcam bus would significantly increase the cost disproportionate to the value it adds. Ppl just don't care about laptop cameras enough to pay that much more money for a good one.

I don’t think this is true. You can get high quality external USB2 webcams. Even 4K ones!

I’m pretty sure the real reasons are (a) just saving money; most people don’t care and (b) there’s insufficient depth in most laptop lids for decent optics, anyway.

My guesss has to do with the "processing" part. 4K decoding/encoding takes much processing power.*

*Depends on which codec is being used.

Lower res will make you look better on video conferencing, no pimples or poores showing up and there’s considerable bandwidth savings.

Feels good enough. I'm not going to take pictures with it, just communicate.

Never did fullscreen video calls before? I'd love to have 1080p front face webcams.

No one, not even those who love me, need to see my face in High Def.

Turn your lights down low. Sometimes it's like laying in bed next to each other... ;-D

For what purpose are you people even doing video calls for? I've never understood this.

I've only had it when demanded by managers, who generally associate "work" with yakking in person because it's often the only thing they know how to do. I've never been requested by another dev to switch the cam on - what with talking, typing and screen-sharing, it's just an unnecessary thing to distract focus.

More expressive communication.

I was a bit of a sceptic initially, but now that I work in a company with a bunch of remotes (and am temporarily remote myself due to The Plague), it really helps.

Helps how?

I prefer text and voice over video, but for some situations video can be more time efficient. Several people can communicate aspects of their thoughts and opinions with facial expressiond (or head movements) simultaneous with one person talking, without interrupting.

Mostly it is a gimic, but my kids did have a class where the teacher asked them to raise their hands before speaking for which you need video. (there is a raise hand option in the call, but to explain how to use that to kids or teachers...)

Majority of my company is remote. Well, 100% of it is now, with the pandemic. That said, no one streams their face or watches anyone else talk in 1080p. 720p is fine.

Our team is 100% remote at least for the time being, but still no one uses their webcam and it doesn't really seem to be hurting. And usually there's a screen to share anyways, negating any purpose in webcams.


Please don't post like this here.


Snarky questions deserve snarky replies. It's a give and take.

The GP shouldn't have used the trigger phase "you people", but I don't read it as snarky.

In any case, your (or anyone's) response needs to do a little less damage than the stimulus—not more—or else we get a downward spiral.

Absolutely no one at my workplace has ever requested anyone else to put on a webcam. And really the only time I can remember someone enabling their webcam was because they wanted to show off their cat. Meetings have gone well without it as well.

Do you need to broadcast everything pore and hair on your face?

Lids are thin, much thinner than a phone. You can’t really feel bigger optic in there.

The camera could protrude backwards if that was the problem. As bloody-crow mentions here, i think too that the limitation is the internal usb bus

> protrude backwards


They do on phones though. I don't like it there either, but people buy them.

I spent 4000 USD for my MacBook Pro, and the camera is 720p.

Yeah... I think the new iPads have 720p cameras, as well.

if by ipads you mean iPad Pro, I think you might be thinking of the new MAcbook Air, the iPad pro steals the iPhone 11's 7MP front facing camera and does 1080/60 from the front facing camera.

Oh yeah, I totally mixed that up. Well, I think you get the hang of it.

> smartphones come with 16 MP cameras


Oh boy, don't nail me down on the numbers but look at the image quality some of those front facing cameras can get you: https://www.dxomark.com/the-best-smartphone-front-cameras-of...

And we're mostly stuck with blurry pixel mess in devices which cost several times the price of a smartphone.

> And we're mostly stuck with blurry pixel mess in devices which cost several times the price of a smartphone.

It’s not that black and white.

These days you can get $200 laptops and $2000 smart-phones.

Well, as written in another comment: A brand new $4000 MacBook Pro will come with a lousy 720p front facing camera, while some used smartphone for $200 might be able to provide you with a better image quality.

720 is more than plenty of resolution. That's midway between DVD video and Blu-Ray. Resolution is not a major factor image quality. Lens and light sensitivity is.

Wow, I didn't realize that phones had come so far. I'm using budget phones with 2MP front cameras still; sorta missed where the market had gone.

Xiaomi Mi A3 is a $200 phone with 32 MPix front camera.

I've been using linux as my primary operating system for a long time now. The last two laptops I installed linux on, I've had have had multiple problems, even using Pop OS. Dell inspiron bought from costco was awful, had to switch it back to windows. The graphics card never worked, the wifi was flaky. I got a thinkpad e495. Lots of issues, the whole computer freezes when you open chrome, reinstalled everything several times, tried the latest kernel, it won't come back from sleep sometimes and I lose all the things I had open.

If system76 can offer solid experience in terms of hardware support on modern specs, I'm happy to pay a premium to get the best experience. I guess it would be also useful if there was some site that ranked new laptops by linux compatibility, I don't want to pay a premium either if it takes 10 minutes to install linux from a USB stick, and people could confirm a machine works well.

I got the ThinkPad E585 also with an AMD SOC. There were some difficulties with the new AMD hardware.


Very cool overall, but to me USB-C is the default port I use. Most of my cables are USB-C on one end, not USB-A. I can't see myself buying a laptop with just one USB-C port. Does it even charge via USB-C? It says "USB Type-C Power Delivery Compatible" but I don't know if that's just power out or power in as well.

How the tables have turned.

It does though the barrel connection needs to be used for firmware updates. The Lemur Pro has additional circuitry to charge the battery even if it is dead.

This model finally fixes the arrow keys issue I had with the previous ones- because the up arrow key takes up space from the right shift, I was frequently hitting up, instead of shift.

16:9 is ok for 14in laptop, but would be great if we get a 16:10. Still, not a dealbreaker.

Everything else sounds great!

It would be nice if the keyboard comes in other layout like ISO. It would help map keys better in other languages like spanish. I want a key for the Ñ.

Looking forward to seeing reviews of this one. I have a Galago Pro and my biggest issue is the battery size, so it's good that they went with a larger battery here. But I have lots of other issues with it so hopefully this model is better overall.

Also curious what "USB Type-C Power Delivery Compatible" means. I can charge over USB but the included charger is an old-style one?


Waiting for reports on build quality...

> *Tested at the default display brightness measuring watts consumed while separately watching videos on YouTube, reading articles on Wikipedia, and editing in VIM separately.

So, they didn't actually measure the 16hr Wikipedia / 21hr vim?

They just extrapolated from a non-linear power curve?

They know the Watt-hour capacity of the battery (~70 Wh) and they now know how many watts each activity takes in steady state (W). What's the non-linearity? Does the power usage of those activities change with time, or does the integral capacity of the battery change?

Looks pretty nice. A pity there's no option for the 6-core Comet Lake CPU (10710U). I assume the 40GB RAM limit is from 8GB soldered on, plus 2 slots. 16GB soldered would have been great too.

I wonder how Linux's support for USB-C docking stations is these days.

USBC 3.1. Slim design. Integrated gpu. I'm all in. Can't wait.

No ethernet port, what a shame.

Imagine just a few mm thicker, but a dozen extra ports.

You can purchase a USB3 to 1G ethernet adapter for $10.

A right pain, but more importantly you lose your only usb3 port

Not if the gigabit ethernet adapter is also a USB3 hub, like so: https://www.amazon.com/USB-Ethernet-Splitter-HUB-Network/dp/...


But then you get a VGA port.

How are System76 trackpads these days? I bought one of their laptops five years ago and the trackpad was near unusable, the cursor jumped all over the place.

I want an ethernet port. Don't laptop makers get it? Even one of those slim ones that flip up would work.

Looks interesting! How does it compare against Chromebooks in a similar price range and specifications?

Now might not be a good time to buy laptops with the new AMD 4000 APUs coming in the next few weeks.

Are they planning on making one that has discrete video? These specs look pretty nice other than that.

>Security - Disabled ME

Does this mean I can (eventually?) run libreboot (coreboot with no binary blobs)?

The ME and the FSP blobs have nothing to do with each other.

They are showing off that their laptop unfolds flat, but what is the use case for that?

When you're using the laptop's keyboard but a larger external monitor in front of you.

Thinkpads have had this ability for as long as I can remember.

I hadn't ever considered that.

I'm also not sure I want my desk cat walking across the flattened screen.

Having used Thinkpads exclusively for decades, I had no idea it was a unique feature and nearly broke the hinge on my ex's Macbook Air when she was sitting across from me and wanted me too see something on her screen.

I reached across the table and grabbed the top of her screen pulling it down to horizontal while I leaned over to look down on it while she exclaimed "stop! you're breaking it!" as her keyboard elevated her hands...

Fortunately I had my Thinkpad in front of me and immediately demonstrated I wasn't completely insane for expecting it to be fine.

That's a great configuration laptop. Looking forward to try my hands-on it.

As someone who has never heard of system76: what is this / why should I care?

I'm curious, but the "about us" doesn't describe what the business is trying to do, just who's doing it. I assume it's on here for a HN-relevant reason, but I'm not really seeing what it is...

They sell high end Linux systems, and maintain the Ubuntu-based Pop!_OS Linux distribution. The Lemur Pro — and other Intel-only laptops — are running open source firmware developed by System76 in collaboration with Intel.

Who buys computers from System76? People that care about buying hardware that's guaranteed to work with Linux, from a company that supports Linux. That ranges from web developers to NASA.

A physical toggle for 1660ti & this would be the best laptop

They have made the mistake of including a 720p camera, which, according to some of the comments on MacBook-related posts, makes a laptop nigh unusable and is totally unacceptable in this day and age.

720p is perfectly fine for a laptop camera.

73Wh battery, not bad in such a slim design!

So epic. They got lots of complaints of battery life in the earlier models, and that was the one thing keeping me from pulling the trigger. With this huge battery and these specs I will have a really hard time not buying this to replace my old Vaio.

is it made of aluminum yet?

Still no TPM? Seriously?

I think the System76 crowd would pay extra to not have a TPM.

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