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.
Nonsense like this make Linux difficult to use on a laptop that you have to carry around and get real work done.
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 do appreciate that this is subjective, I just wished Ubuntu isn't the only choice people evaluated when trying Linux.
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 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.
When it comes to Arch, there is a long thread about this issue in the forums:
1 - https://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?page=news_item&px=Linux-5....
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, 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.
When anyone else can resell your code, your work becomes a public good.
Public goods are underprovided in equilibrium.
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.
My thinkpads haven't really had issues. Had linux exclusively since 1999.
GPU hang on transition to idle
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.
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
I just assumed that life would only be better on a System 76 machine. I was very surprised by this post.
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 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.
I wonder if this laptop would make a good upgrade from the T460s for me.
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.
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.
Ten year old FUD!
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.
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.
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)
Is the lemur notably different?
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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'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.
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.
huh, I have 4K 27" and I still see a bit too much pixels to my taste
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.
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.
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).
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.
I used shoe laces. just be sure you get the right battery - I had to reorder mine because plug was actually shifted a little.
> 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?
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.
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.
Edit: 10 years is my guess. There are hints they might make their own laptops sooner. Time will tell.
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.)
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.
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.
USB-C largely mitigates this simply by being a shorter connector than most barrels.
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 , while an example laptop, such as X1 Extreme Gen 2 can go up to 129W of power draw under load .
USB C charging is a standard, and it's the standard most laptops and other devices follow these days.
Actually System76 might offer self manufactured laptops with AMD Ryzen in the future . I hope they will consider a better display then. Currently they are basically rebranding Chinese laptops (like Clevo).
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.
OT: I wonder if this should be spelled with a 'k'.
So close to getting my money System76, so close!
This resolution is perfectly fine up to 17" (for humans, anyway).
Congratulations to the System76 team, I look forward to seeing your success as you go forward.
How much RAM does one get in the base $1,099 model? It seems that info is nowhere to be found
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).
I've got zero complaints, especially since this is not Lenovo's top business line.
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.
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.
Any idea of battery charging thresholds are configurable like on the normal T series? (I use this script: https://github.com/teleshoes/tpacpi-bat)
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.
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’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.
*Depends on which codec is being used.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Also curious what "USB Type-C Power Delivery Compatible" means. I can charge over USB but the included charger is an old-style one?
So, they didn't actually measure the 16hr Wikipedia / 21hr vim?
They just extrapolated from a non-linear power curve?
I wonder how Linux's support for USB-C docking stations is these days.
Imagine just a few mm thicker, but a dozen extra ports.
Does this mean I can (eventually?) run libreboot (coreboot with no binary blobs)?
Thinkpads have had this ability for as long as I can remember.
I'm also not sure I want my desk cat walking across the flattened 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.
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...
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.