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My New FreeBSD Laptop: Dell Latitude 7390 (daemonology.net)
146 points by cperciva 8 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 128 comments





I've been given this laptop at work, I use it with Ubuntu.

It's an amazing machine. Perfect under every aspect. Way better than the XPS13.

It's really, really remarkable. It's thin yet it has ALL the ports you might wish for in a modern laptop, 2xUSB type A, USB-c/Thunderbolt, HDMI, Ethernet, regular power plug, audio jack, sim card, micro-sd.

I'm glad it only has the intel integrated video card so I don't have to deal with proprietary drivers. The only downside is that the fingerprint reader isn't recognized and doesn't seem to be supported under gnu/linux.

Otherwise it would be 100% supported.

Wifi, bluetooth and camera all work out of the box. There's an IR camera, but I haven't tested it.

Had it had the trackpoint, I would have declared the TinkPad definitively dead and would have switched my personal laptop to this exact dell model (I currently use a ThinkPad T440 for personal stuff).

Mine came with a 4c/8t i7, 16 gb ram and a 512gb nvme disk.

It's really, really a remarkable small but capable machine.


It sounds to me like you just described the t480s, I'm having a hard time imagining why I would choose the Dell over the Thinkpad. How is the screen on the dell? The T480s is still a killer daily driver. Is the Dell as serviceable as a thinkpad? Easy disassembly?

> Is the Dell as serviceable as a thinkpad? Easy disassembly?

You can check it for yourself, every Dell model has the full repair instructions posted somewhere on the Dell site (go to the Support page, select the model, and open the manuals tab). For instance, https://topics-cdn.dell.com/pdf/latitude-13-7390-laptop_owne... is the one for the Dell Latitude 7390. I always check these guides before buying a laptop, to make sure I'm not getting something like non-replaceable RAM.


It's much easier to unscrew and take the back off the Latitudes than the Thinkpads and their hidden plastic clips that you risk breaking. For some reason, even recent Thinkpads are way over-valued on EBay, this is not the case for Latitudes which you can pick up cheap from ex-corporate deployments. The 7390 also has a WWAN slot and you can use any $30 card, not a specific one on the Lenovo whitelist. The battery is also bigger, lasts 10-15 hours dependent on radios/screen brightness.

I am a recent Thinkpad to Latitude convert, the Dells are just better, less cost, better hardware, maybe less Chinese malware.


I don't understand how anyone can support Lenovo after the spyware incident.

Is there any reason to believe the current line of Lenovo laptops shouldn’t be trusted?

I mean, an more or less than any other brand or manufacturer?


Well Lenovo is based in China, so suffers from the exact same security issues as Huawei, HikVision, Zoom and other arms of the government of China's intelligence services who's goal is to siphon off all commercially valuable information and pass it on to private companies like Huawei . And as mentioned, Lenovo have already been caught bundling spyware.

There's no need to install overt spyware once caught the first time: It's easy to hide a backdoor in bundleware or a driver (whether proprietary or open source) to say, allow a well crafted network packet to pwn your machine while maintaining plausible deniability that it wasn't inserted on purpose. Like it or not you need to trust your vendors.

I take my chances with a US owned company, because even with a free press and whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, the US has not been caught doing mass scale theft of commercial information to give to private companies with the goal of saving them R&D costs to be internationally competitive.


I’ll agree that is a valid concern, if your threat-model includes sensitive / secret data and state-level actor.

Anybody who works at a company which produces goods or services and uses communication networks is a target.

Even an Excel spreadsheet showing the financial forecasts of a 10 person company is very sensitive information. It can be used to craft compelling buyout offers.

If the conversation between the CEO and the CFO of a 10 person company are discussing a Chinese buyout offer and are using a communications platform owned by China (whether a Motorola smartphone, a Huawei network router, or Zoom) the government of China has shown it is very interested the conversation is taking place, very interested in the contents of the conversation, and is willing to give the contents of its state espionage to its private companies to better compete.


I’m not going to deny that is a concern.

Zoom is an American company.

and apple is an irish company, and the cruiselines are barbados companies. it's crazy there's someone who doesn't know zoom is developed in and by chinese in china, yet here we are..


Zoom is a US owned company.

Why would you ever trust a company that did that in the first place?

Often because there is little practical choice. For example, Dell seems to have done the same type of thing after the Superfish incident:

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/11/superfish-20-now-dell-...

Personally, I try to avoid Dell because they set up their laptops such that the display doesn't work if the backup battery is dead, a move that seems entirely designed to make customers think that something more serious is wrong. Relatedly, they make the battery hard to reach (or at least made in two previous models I've seen).

The trick is finding companies that are minimally decent.


Oh gosh yuck, I didn't know about this. At least, the cert seems to be installed at OS level (https://duo.com/assets/pdf/Dude,_You_Got_Dell_d.pdf) instead of BIOS (like on Lenovo) - but now I'm as wary of Dell as I am of Lenovo =/

Why would you ever trust Hardware and or proprietary Soft/Firmware.

I mean, if we're never trusting anyone who ever did anything wrong, we might as well give up now.

I'm presuming either the people who transgressed in that scenario have learned, or they're no longer in a position to make those decisions, or there's more oversight etc etc etc, and / or that the community is more vigilant.


Same reason I now trust Dell even though the did the same.

Besides, the Thinkpad line was never affected.


Perhaps ignorance - link?

“Alert (TA15-051A)- Lenovo Superfish Adware Vulnerable to HTTPS Spoofing”:

https://www.us-cert.gov/ncas/alerts/TA15-051A


If I recall correctly, this is the (one of) HN threads from the time:

https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9072424


Lenovo screens are generally pretty terrible. For example, the T480s has an average screen brightness of 302 cd/m^2 and a miserable contrast ratio of 864:1. In comparison the dell 7390 has an average brightness of 315 cd/m^2 and a contrast ratio of 1316:1. Double the contrast makes a very noticeable improvement in how good the screen looks.

I've got two T480s (a personal one and a work issued one). I've been really happy with linux on these machines. My previous machine was an XPS 13. The XPS had nicer specs but I've been happier with the T480s. Specifically, the T480s has a better keyboard, no coil whine and more expansion options.

It seems like the T480s is more similar to the Latitude line than the XPS line.


I have one of them for work and I like it in general. Nice screen. Quite fast. Having the function key in the bottom left gets me (I use control+[ as my vim escape key) is slightly annoying but nothing to do there.

There are two issues that seem like there should be a fix for but I can't find:

* Having a left and right side of the trackpad. I would prefer to disable that and just use two fingers to right-click anywhere on the track pad.

* Cursor doesn't disappear when typing. I'm some apps it does and in others it doesn't. I would prefer it do it all the time.


I think you can swap the fn and ctrl key in the BIOS under sth like Config -> Keyboard/Mouse -> Fn and Ctrl Key swap. While I don't have the exact model, I think this has been possible for all ThinkPads for some time.

Yes! That's something I really appreciate about ThinkPads.

The trackpad criticism is fair. I switched to using tap-to-click on trackpads a long time ago (because of how bad linux handled MacBook trackpads) so thats not something that I particularly notice.

My biggest complaint is the poor quality of the speakers.


FWIW, my old Dell XPS had a much better monitor and trackpad than my current Thinkpad, and was very easy to open to change the battery. Unfortunately, it also was necessary to change the battery because it swell up :( It's just my anecdata, and the comparison is really bogus since I'm not even using a regular T4xx (just an E495/Ryzen budget Thinkpad I picked up in retail because my XPS was dying), but I personally think still the Dell has a better keyboard as well. The Thinkpad is a solid notebook that is much bulkier and thus has better airflow, and runs Linux OOTB a little bit better than the Dell (and Dell currently doesn't have Ryzen notebooks I believe), but given the choice, overall I'd clearly prefer Dell.

Talking about Killer, that is the worst Wi-Fi adapter I have ever used, surprisingly used in Dell XPS.


Why was it so bad?

Constant disconnects and failure to connect to the same network again, usually after sleep. Luckily I have two networks (2.4GHz & 5GHz) so I switch between the two.

I also suspect that the Killer adapter was the source of some bluescreens I got, usually after sleep. After some driver updates it has disappeared.


I have both a Thinkpad and a Dell. I prefer the Dell hands down. The Thinkpad has multiple compatibility issues on linux where things occasionally just stop working. I have never had similar trouble with a Dell laptop. Everything just works. Always.

Mostly, yes.

The Latitude 7390 is a bit smaller than the T480s (13 vs 14 inches).

If the latitude 7390 had the trackpoint, i would prefer that to a thinkpad.


The 7490 (14'') model has trackpoint.

The Dell doesn't have that obnoxious Thinkpad logo.

Haha I have this exact same thought, but it feels so petty!

in fairness, the dell logo is quite visible and centered on dell latitude laptops too.

My work laptop is a 7490, and it's great. Dell really blew it out of the water with this model.

Also: I appreciate that it comes with a "regular" power plug, but mine also supports charging over USB-C. I think more laptops should give that option.


Unfortunately dell doesn't sell this model anymore, they've replaced it with the Latitude 7300 which is basically the same laptop except they removed the eth port for no real reason as the dimensions aren't discernibly different. Kinda frustrating, especially bec it means that if someone wants to logon to the domain for the first time you need to give them an eth adapter.

> regular power plug

What's a 'regular' power plug? I thought these weren't standardised beyond USB-C?


It's the traditional barrel power plug. It might not be standardized outside Dell, but it's standardized within Dell: the same power supply can be used for a long list of Dell laptop models (there are two power supply capacities, 65W and 90W; the list of compatible models for the 90W power supply I found at Dell's site has nearly 250 compatible laptop models).

My 7390 is compatible with the power adapter from a circa 2008 Vostro 14! Threw that laptop away a long time ago but still have the power adapter. And because of this compatibility, generic or replacement Dell power adapters are cheap on EBay. The same is also true for replacement batteries.

Dell now seems to use 2 types of barrel connectors, the older ones are 7.4mm and the newer ones are 4.5mm, usually for the thinner (e.g. XPS, Precision 55xx) laptops. Fortunately, you can get 4.5mm-to-7.4mm converter dongles and velcro them to the older power cords. As a side note, Dell power supplies also come in flavors of 130W, 180W and 230W. The 230W power brick is a monster.

Does anyone prefer a barrel plug over USB-C?

I've owned many laptops, and the barrel plug on every one got loose over time. Sometimes slight, and power continued; but other times it was enough to require delicate jiggling to keep the power flowing; once or twice an accident was catastrophic, the plug and even the surrounding frame was damaged.

It's why I won't buy a Dell laptop, now that the other brands offer USB-C.


The Precisions can power from either the barrel plug or USB-C, I just plug in a C connector in the office and it's got power, ethernet and monitors. Tasty.

The Latitude 7390 has a thunderbolt port. I power the laptop through the usb-c/thunderbolt port when I am in the office via the thunderbolt docking station.

Your argument is invalid.


You can draw more power on some laptops than usbc can offer

you won't buy the dell because other brands offer only low wattage usb-c, while dells also have fast-charge ports that go up to 230w. oof. i don't even want to argue with that logic. thank you sir for existing.

> Perfect under every aspect.

The display is 1920x1080 and 167ppi.

4k content is common now, as are vector fonts.

I feel like to be called “perfect” a laptop display should be at least 200ppi, and at least 1500 pixels tall.

Historically “PC” display standards seem to be closer to 2000 than 2020.


A 13" screen is too small for 4K resolution without a dGPU, scaling still kinda sucks for most apps that don't have a lot of support/development.

The 12” Macbook shipped several years ago with integrated Intel GPU (fanless!) and a 12” 2304x1440, 226ppi display. It’s a bit slow, but it is a workable display. I recently got Gentoo running on mine.

The fact that PC graphics software is still stuck in the 90s isn’t a good reason to ship low res displays.


> I'm glad it only has the intel integrated video card so I don't have to deal with proprietary drivers.

I'm not sure if there is a model with an AMD GPU, if there was I'd go with that.


I don't know.

But I can tell that intel cpu + intel graphics are a dream for gnu+linux compatibility.


better than the xps13 dev aka ubuntu edition?

Hah yeah, it’s probably any thinkpad.

The X1 carbon is such a better built machine that there isn’t even a comparison. The XPS13 looks good but feels cheap, also good luck getting service from dell if anything breaks.


One thing I can't find in any other laptop other than XPS 13 and X1 Carbon is the smooth glass touchpad. I almost never use mouse with my XPS 13 and it became a habit. But unfortunately I haven't seen any other laptops having glass touchpads other than XPS 13 and X1 Carbon.

Well and a MacBook of course.

Good luck upgrading your X1 Ram ;)

yes. more ports, removable disk and ram. bigger battery. better screen. pretty much the same weight.

I have the XPS 13 9360 which I believe was released around the same time as the notebook mentioned in the article.

Mine has i5-8250u, 8GB RAM, 1TB Intel 660p NVMe, Intel AX200 Wi-Fi 6/BT 5.0 card, 1080P matte display, 2xUSB 3.0 Type-A ports, 1xUSB-C/TB3 port, SD card slot, and a Headphone jack. I don't believe the RAM can be upgraded but the storage and the wireless card definitely can as mine originally came with a 128GB M.2 SSD and a shit Killer Wi-Fi card.


eh, that's the point: the xps 13 costs more and gives you less.

for the same money you could have bought a latitude that you could upgrade if you need to.


The 7xxx latitude line def costs more than the xps line. At least that's been my exp browsing the site. but the value is worth it, you get a more serviceable machine that comes with a better std warranty.

OP writes:

> my System76 Galago Pro had its second experience with a dead/swelling battery.

I used to have a Dell laptop which had exactly the same problem with my first battery. Running laptop plugged into AC adapter 99% of the time was one reason for that happening, I imagine.

Fix was ridiculously simple - I bought a new battery (original) + a knock-off power adapter (a more expensive one - hoping it's built well enough so it wouldn't burn my house down - and as luck had it, it didn't). Knock-off adapter doesn't speak magic Dell charging protocol, so laptop runs off of it, but refuses to charge.

I kept original AC adapter for (infrequent) travel only, all the other time powering from a knock-off. Worked a charm - second battery held something like 90% of charge 3 years later, with no signs of swell whatsoever. Compare that to first battery, that lived on constant top-up charge (original adapter), and after less than a year swell up to the point it wouldn't clip in anymore.


You can tell your Dell laptop to not charge the battery to 100% in bios now. Since mine is often plugged in I enabled this setting and the capacity seems to stay stable (I've had it for two years now)

Have you measured the loss in battery capacity (battery wear), to quantify the stability?

ThinkPad and some Asus laptops also have the feature. In fact, my Asus laptop stops charging at 60%. Not sure if that's significantly better than stopping at 80%.


You can set charging options in BIOS. It is possible to disable battery completely.

Despite bad intentions, DRM helped once

>I used to have a Dell laptop which had exactly the same problem with my first battery. Running laptop plugged into AC adapter 99% of the time was one reason for that happening, I imagine.

Except Dell laptops have a configuration in the BIOS to better handle to be always plugged. I changed this BIOS option, and it basically never uses or charges the battery unless AC is off.

So, the fix is even more ridiculously simpler than you thought.


I am always impressed by the serviceability of Dell computers, including this laptop. Servers, for example, can be opened and services without tools. Blue plastic levers and knobs are for parts that can be removed with the power off; red plastic is for parts like internal cooling fans that can be hot swapped while the server is running.

I wish Apple hadn’t completely given up on the market that includes most of the computer purchases I want to make: software development, a few network servers, NAS, content creation, home automation, gaming.


I have no major beef with the rackables, despite having just had ALL 8 2.5"SAS drives RMA. They do understand 'no screw' replace issues in cramped locations. (iDrac is crap. just sayin)

But I got burned on the laptops, and the company got burned on the laptops, and repeatedly the worldwide warranty experience was poor, compared to what was IBM and is now Lenovo. We moved to ThinkPad and apart from a cooked batch of R- series with faulty ethernet, never regretted it.

I am glad Dell is maybe back on form in Laptop land. I probably won't be trying yet.


Eight drives! That's bad. I always order my Dell machines with the minimum cost single drive option so that I can buy my own drives.

I got this model refurbished or resold (not sure) from Newegg for 500USD and it's worked perfect under Debian out of the box[1]. For those wondering about using Linux, you don't need fancy mac hardware. You don't need the retina display and multi-gesture touchpad and you don't miss them when they're gone. This things got a battery that lasts forever, all kinds of ports, lightweight, and a nice keyboard. But most importantly, everything just works and was trivial to setup if it required it: UEFI secureboot, full disk encryption with luks, suspend and lid close, WiFi, sound, function keys. My model is the one without the finger print reader, so as far I know, everything is supported. "The Law of Linux Threads" states that every anecdote will replied with an equal and opposite anecdote, but this was a night and day experience from the old 2012 MacBook Air that I ran and a suite of weird Asus 200-300USD range laptops that were always sketchily supported at best.

[1] Using the firmware ISO image instead of the regular one so that the intel-wifi package would be in the image at install time.


> You don't need the retina display and multi-gesture touchpad

I may not need those things, but I definitely want them.

When you work with text all day, a high dpi screen is wonderful. I'd like to see it get to the point where it's comparable to a page out of a laser printer.


I agree.

I've tried using various distros on a Lenovo T480 recently. The laptop itself is decent though the screen is a little small for my tastes. Regardless, no matter what combination of OS and hardware that I've tried, nothing holds a candle to a Macbook. I'd really like to be able to use Linux on whatever piece of hardware I want, though things like the retina display and trackpad (among other things) keep me from leaving. Macbooks are such a joy to use, which I can't say about most other hardware/software unfortunately.


That's certainly have an informed comparison if you have a T480 that you've tested! I'm not trying to be combative and say that various features are pointless, just that they are nice-to-haves and not really that necessary in my view. I primarily code and make my font size large anyway, so am not a category that benefits much from a high-density display.

Consensus can't be divined from comment threads, but many threads on HN related to Apple hardware generally bring people out of the wood-work venting about keyboards, battery life, touch bar, mag-safe, ports, software regressions, etc. with sentiments of "if I wasn't beholden to macOS/Photoshop/Final-Cut-Pro I'd switch to something else". So it may not be obvious from someone who just reads about Macs from HN comments that they are either (1) the best hardware or (2) a joy to use (although let me be the first to admit that's a completely flawed way to form an opinion about anything lol).

Personally I think the largest reason people move or stick to Linux/BSD is that there are unique features that can't be found in other OSs, and that these balance out the utility of features lost. This would be in contrast to fulfilling full feature-parity with no switching cost. For Linux/BSD, I would consider this things related to the nature of free software and user control.


> I think the largest reason people move or stick to Linux/BSD is that there are unique features that can't be found in other OSs

I was going to argue with you, but now that I think about it more, I believe you are right. People use Windows or Mac generally to run some specific software (for example if you need Visual Studio or want to play certain games, you are going to use Windows and probably don't think about the OS very often).

Conversely, users pick Linux because they want to run Linux.

Considering both Linux and MacOS are Unix, what kinds of things can you do in Linux (or BSD) that you can't do in MacOS? Is it all about the window manager?


What does "Retina" mean to you? I use a ThinkPad T480S with the WQHD display option and have never been able to spot individual pixels.

Apple defines retina as 220 dpi for laptops. WQHD at 14 inch is 210 dpi, so basically retina. FHD at 14 inch, the most common resolution these days, is 157 dpi, and quite clearly not retina.

Another big difference is aspect ratio. Lenovo ships 16:9 displays. WQHD gives an effective vertical resolution of 720px at 2x. FHD at 1.5x is also an effective vertical resolution of 720px, or 864px at 1.25x. Apple on the other hand ships 16:10 displays with an effective vertical resolution of 900 px at 2x. That means a 13 inch macbook pro fits more lines of code on the screen than a 14 inch FHD or WQHD thinkpad.


LInes of code on the screen … How small do you make your font size? I mean, it must be pretty small, so that you cannot read it with one display but can read it with a so called retina display.

Not sure that's practical at all and thus whether it makes any difference.


I feel you may be looking at this through too narrow of a lens since it's not just about lines of code, though that's one part of it. I think the point is that a 13 inch Retina screen can fit more "stuff" than a 14 inch non-Retina FHD/WQHD screen.

Sorry for not making it clearer. I meant lines of code the same apparent size, whatever your preferred size is.

I will agree that the WQHD screen is nice. If you only compared the screens themselves (Retina vs WQHD) then I don't think there would be a significant difference. But the problem for me comes from resolution scaling. Fractional scaling on the distros I tried was poor. I think that this is a software issue more than a hardware issue, but Retina screens come with software that supports them well.

Another thing that didn't work well at all was when I tried to use an external monitor with the T480. I had to go back and adjust the fractional scaling settings to make it look decent, and then revert those changes when I went back to just the laptop screen.

Edit: forgot about the aspect ratio too, that's a nice feature of the Retina screens.


i've just got an upgrade and gnome on xorg on ubuntu seems to have really great retina support, such that i feel like i must be dreaming. last week, windows was better (altho important programs occasionally crashed). right now, gnome/xorg seems perfect.

just wheo i was thinking of switching to a tiling wm if i could find a mouse-friendly one


To me, "Retina" also means 2x scaling.

The advantage of having 1280x800 scaled resolution on a 2560x1600-capable screen is the incredible sharpness of text. I personally find it very noticeable, it's so much easier on my eyes.


Thin laptops with QHD displays generally cost around the same as a MacBook (and still have crappy trackpads).

I've got Dell XPS 9575 with 4k display and full Prime support via DRI_PRIME=1. This thing is a truly nice Linux experience, except some problems with HiDPI and external monitors.

> This thing is truly nice Linux experience, except some problems with HiDPI and external monitors.

So except the thing that was important to OP.


Please show me where OP was talking about HiDPI and scaling.

except literally not.

For me the issue hasn't been losing things like the display or the touchpad as much as the ecosystem. The ability to copy and paste between my devices, the ability to receive a text that I can interact with, the ability to quickly switch my earbud connection between my phone and laptop, the ability to use one device to tell me where another device is or made a locating sound, the ability to use my tablet as an external display, etc

I can do the same with my OnePlus 6 and Fedora 32 with GSConnect or KDE connect.

Display screen, you will need another program for that, but it's possible.


It does look like KDE Connect would give me a lot of what I'm looking for, and is worth a look.

I also have the Intel 8265 chipset in my T480. Currently only 802.11g speeds are supported in FreeBSD, but good news is that work is starting on bringing AC support to the relevant driver: https://lists.freebsd.org/pipermail/freebsd-wireless/2020-Ap...

I've tried doing PCI passthrough to get full wireless speeds but never figured out how to make it all work with suspend/resume https://www.davidschlachter.com/misc/t480-bhyve-wifi-pci-pas...

Other than frustrations with WiFi, using FreeBSD as my main OS has been an interesting learning experience.


> PCI passthrough to get full wireless speeds

Wow! I've been thinking about this (for unsupported Broadcrap etc. cards) ages ago, very nice to see that someone actually did it :)


Why is sendmail even an option? And worse, a default?

Why qmail? Is it really original qmail, or qmail with freebsd patches, or notqmail, or what?

(In light of https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23247196)

Why not postfix?


As far as I can tell it is pretty much up to the user, in the port [0] there is 16 config options for what you want to have, it also seems that the above referenced bug got fixed only a few hours ago in the commit history.

[0]: https://www.freshports.org/mail/qmail/


Considering replacing my t410. Is this a good contender for Linux? I’m reading the fan is loud, speakers subpar (quiet), and the keyboard isn’t great with very low travel.

The fan on my laptop is quiet unless I'm doing something very power-intensive like an 8-way parallel compile. It will probably depend on the CPU model you get though.

The speakers and keyboard feel fine to me, but that's very subjective. Speaking of subjective, this feels like the most solidly constructed laptop I've ever used.


Thanks for the info. So yours isn't the so-called "2 in 1", right? It cannot be flipped over as some kind of tablet, and doesn't have the touchscreen.

Correct. No touchscreen, lid opens ~180 degrees but not 360 degrees.

I wish Dell wouldn't use the same model number for different models. :-/


How come some config goes in /etc/sysctl.conf, and some goes in /boot/loader.conf?

Is there a systematic way to know what config goes in a syctl-style file, and what goes in a rc-style file (via sysrc)?

I have never used FreeBSD, but i am excited to see that there are only four (?) config interfaces used in these instructions!


> How come some config goes in /etc/sysctl.conf, and some goes in /boot/loader.conf?

As cperciva notes, sysctl.conf is read by userland during rc(8) "multiuser" boot. loader.conf is used by the bootloader to set tunables (knobs that can only be changed at boot time), load kernel modules early, and configure other bootloader settings.

Some sysctls are also tunables; for backwards compatibility or in case it is useful for the value to be set during boot before userspace runs.

> Is there a systematic way to know what config goes in a syctl-style file, and what goes in a rc-style file (via sysrc)?

Sure:

loader.conf: https://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=loader.conf

rc.conf: https://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=rc.conf

sysctl.conf: https://www.freebsd.org/cgi/man.cgi?query=sysctl.conf


The things in /boot/loader.conf are things which are needed early in the boot process -- typically for driver initialization. /etc/sysctl.conf is processed later, as part of the (userland) boot.

I have never used FreeBSD, but i am excited to see that there are only four (?) config interfaces used in these instructions!

That sounds about right, depending on how you count "copy this sample configuration file into place".

FreeBSD has the concept that /etc/rc.conf is a "master configuration file", not just for turning features on and off but also for setting command line options. More complex daemons -- e.g. devd and crond -- have their own configuration files as well, but in most cases they also have configuration directories allowing you to add configuration by creating new files rather than editing an existing one.


>a syctl-style file, and what goes in a rc-style file?

sysctl.conf controls the system example: kern.randompid=1

Booting the system (modules driver etc)loader.conf: fuse_load="YES" << mind the _load

Start Services after loader and sysctl (rc.conf): hald_enable="YES" << mind the _enable


These are really nice machines, compatible with Linux and upgrade able. Almost as nice as a thinkpad.

But the work at home rush on laptops made them hard to find. You could get them for $100-200 less than a similar spec T-series.


Isn’t there an XPS 13 model 7390 too?

I know that when I bought my XPS15 Dell didn’t officially support Linux on it. I think I was told I could order the more expensive equivalent latitude model. However the XPS15 has been well supported, with plenty of Linux specific BIOS fixes (auto updated on Ubuntu).

Aside to author: your page breaks mobile Safari hard on an iPad! Looks like a Safari bug (unless author is being tricky!). Anyone else wanting to read on iPad, use reader view.


Yes, but they're different series: XPS vs Latitude.

The XPS13 7390 is basically the marketing-grade full-BS laptop: no ports and soldered ram on some models.

The latitude 7390 is the good laptop with user-replaceable ram and disk, thin bezels. Looks a bit boring but delivers.


Aside to author: your page breaks mobile Safari hard on an iPad!

That's very weird. I haven't changed the CSS on that site since... uhh... some time around 2006, actually.


Mobile Safari gets into a bistable loop - I’m guessing due to an interaction between widths and font reflow (maybe font or weight is dependent on something in CSS).

I’ve seen it before with mouse :hover changing to bold, causing reflow due to increased text width, causing element to shift from under mouse, causing not(:hover), causing normal font (start loop again, repeat forever).

Some browsers are better at detecting looping reflow problems and halting them.


Is it still having issues? I manually wrapped a <pre> tag which was causing issues for some people.

It the casing plastic?

I love my Dell Latitude 7280 that I got for €300 (second hand). Almost brand new. I shelled out €150 for the `official` dell dock later (second hand) and then €150 later to upgrade the nvme drive from 256gb to 1tb and the RAM from 8gb to 16gb.

Only thing I miss and somehow can feel is the lack of dual channel. I'd trade one 16gb dd4 for two ddr3 slots any day.

edit: forgot why I wrote it down: it runs linux fine ^^ (kubuntu 18.04)


> the 'official' dell dock

Do you use Linux? One of the reasons why I chose a thinkpad is having a docking station that reliably works on linux. Any past experience with thinkpad docks? How do they compare?


It's my first dock so I can't compare but so far everything's working fine. Only one screen plugged in, mirror and extended mode works fine though.

I sometimes have hiccups (black screen, needs to plug it back in and out) when unplugging from the dock but I think it only shows up after a kernel upgrade.

It's the wd15.


It looks like Dell no longer sells this model. What other Dell models would have similar hardware compatibilities?

If you're still interested in this specific one, consider the Dell outlet:

https://outlet.us.dell.com/ARBOnlineSales/Online/InventorySe...


Do people have a problem opening the site?

It keeps resizing the font for every second on my iPad.


Totally fine on my iPad

Can anyone tell me what the 15" equivalent of this laptop would be?

What a nightmare.

This has already been posted, so I'll paste my comment on that post:

I've been given this laptop at work, I use it with Ubuntu.

It's an amazing machine. Perfect under every aspect. Way better than the XPS13.

It's really, really remarkable. It's thin yet it has ALL the ports you might wish for in a modern laptop, 2xUSB type A, USB-c/Thunderbolt, HDMI, Ethernet, regular power plug, audio jack, sim card, micro-sd.

I'm glad it only has the intel integrated video card so I don't have to deal with proprietary drivers. The only downside is that the fingerprint reader isn't recognized and doesn't seem to be supported under gnu/linux.

Otherwise it would be 100% supported.

Wifi, bluetooth and camera all work out of the box. There's an IR camera, but I haven't tested it.

Had it had the trackpoint, I would have declared the TinkPad definitively dead and would have switched my personal laptop to this exact dell model (I currently use a ThinkPad T440 for personal stuff).

Mine came with a 4c/8t i7, 16 gb ram and a 512gb nvme disk.

It's really, really a remarkable small but capable machine.


Please don't copy/paste comments on HN. It lowers the signal/noise ratio and makes for pain when we go to merge duplicate threads. I've consolidated all the replies to your comment under the other one (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=23269802).

If you want to refer to something you posted elsewhere, please use a link. Better still, when you see a split discussion, email hn@ycombinator.com so we can merge them. We'll make sure your comment ends up in the winning thread.

https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que...


well duplicate posting lowers the signal/noise ratio too.

how about, maybe, deleting the duplicate posting instead of bothering people that contributes with genuine personal opinions based on first-hand experience?


HN's software deliberately allows reposts as a way of giving good submissions multiple cracks at the bat. We want to mitigate the randomness of what gets noticed on the /newest page, which can be something of a lottery. When there are duplicate threads, we resolve the signal/noise issue by merging them: https://hn.algolia.com/?dateRange=all&page=0&prefix=true&que.... That's one reason we ask people not to copy/paste their comments, as I mentioned.



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