Linux Laptop 2008-2012 feedback request

If you have been following this guide, you will know I have been working on it for almost 2 years. A lot of this is related to bad hardware, but some of it was related to having to purge old content and struggling to get rid of it, along with this old content creating lines that were in need of help many times.`

Additional information on what final changes I made can be found here: Updates on the Linux 2008-2012 guides. A link to the guide can be found here.

From the day of this post (7/4/17), the guide will stay up for 1 week to collect feedback.

Before providing feedback, this is a "unique" guide in the sense I have it grouped into 4 unique categories:

  • Guide specific steps
  • Unique steps (these steps will be used as a foundation for other guides and will just be changed to fit each guide)
  • Shared (1:1)
  • Depreciated

The following sections are guide specific:

  • CPU (AMD)
  • CPU (Intel)
  • Wireless 1 (NO WL)
  • Wireless 2 (WL)
  • Wireless 3 (Compatibility)

The following steps are unique, but will be borrowed and adapted for future guides.

These steps are perfect for such adaptations.

  • IGP (Intel HD Graphics and GMA shared, while AMD APU is shared but changed for each specific guide. The rest of these will be unique.)
  • System selection (I have to change this to match each guide. While they are small changes, the change is essential.)
  • Optical drive (I have to change one line to reflect that desktops can accept multiple optical drives. I leave the rest as is and copy it 1:1.)
  • Hard drive (New/formerly shared)

* RAM (Most lines are shared 1:1, but some cannot be.)

The following groups are shared 1:1:

  • dGPU
  • SSD
  • HDD (Used)
  • Media options
  • Disable Secure Boot (Win 8.x only)
  • Linux variants (Good)
  • Linux variants (Bad)

The following steps are depreciated:

  • Chipset

As I have discussed before, Ubuntu is slated to be removed from the bad distro list in the future. At this point, I am waiting for them to release a LTS release that uses GNOME since the specific issues that I have with Ubuntu is related to Unity's privacy problems. I also think EOL for Unity is fitting, once they release fast ring and LTS releases that no longer use Unity are available, but I can't see this happening anytime soon (plus it seems unrealistic). At this point, I think Unity will be a lesson on why you DON'T try and push spyware in a open source project like Ubuntu.

The early fixes were all half steps and never really fixed the Amazon issues from 2012. The shopping module in Unity is still present; all they did was disable it by default by the time 16.04 LTS came out but left the module present. If they made it 100% opt-in where you had to install the Amazon module, I would have been okay with letting go of my grudge against Ubuntu. To provide a reference of how long this has been going on, it's been ~7 years since they decided that this was a good idea (and quickly had it backfire from day one).

6/6/17 UPDATE

I have made some small changes to the guide, which primarily consist of changing how I chose to word the original version I took public. In some cases, I have changed whole lines out, or even removed some things in favor of a shorter, more condensed version of the same thing I said before. So far, the vast majority of late edits are just minor wording changes as I look over the guide one last time before I start to migrate the content I share to the desktop guide. I may even end up replacing whole lines if a line is so bad it's going to need a lot of work.

So far I have made changes to the following steps:

  • 1
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17

I am also considering making the DDR2 reuse warning (relating to cost and hardware age) it's own line again, because I chose to merge it into the first line when I went public, since I didn't think it should get a dedicated line when it's more or less "DDR2 can be expensive and hard to reuse if your system fails", but I also wanted it there as a heads up in case someone doesn't know that.

6/7/17 UPDATE

I have decided to merge the DDR2 reuse warning with the legacy memory list, since it seems to be more fitting there.

I have also started work on the Desktop guide and have copied all of the content I consider "shared", so I only have to work on 3 steps that are unique to the guide (processors, IGP), so I have to dedicate work to 3 whole steps. I have made the applicable tweaks to the steps I consider shared with adaptations, which were easy since the changes are generally minor and do not need many parts changed. Some lines need to be replaced, but the foundation being there makes these easy to manage.

7/13/17 update

While the guide has been pulled for a couple days as this was a temporary release to get feedback, I have corrected more things:

  • I found some mixed in Desktop residuals in the laptop guide in the intro. These have been removed.
  • I dealt with the time issue by maxing out out (1 week is the highest I can go). I primarily did this to prevent readers from adding it because the new UX suggests someone adds a time where the old one did not and I don't see the idea of a option to hide the time coming anytime soon.
  • Intro housekeeping.
  • I did some more housekeeping on the steps in the guide and found some things I didn't like.
  • A note was added about the iFixit app not working with some of my formatting being incompatible with the app.

7/14/17 update

I have made a few small changes to the intro since I have found a lot of problems there.

  • Outside of two AMD processors there is no more socket specific information. I have found it is either incorrect it there are multiple sockets and it should be researched.
  • I have corrected the mobile CPU step to accurately reflect the name for the first gen core i series processors. The 1st generation used different codenames for desktop/server and mobile. This is likely pre guide splitting residual content.
  • The Wesrmere typo was also found in the Intel processor step. This has also been corrected.
  • I have reordered the steps to reflect how I'd advise someone in the real world (worry about RAM, storage and WiFi first. Decide if you want an internal optical drive NOW, so you can decide if you are okay with a laptop that lacks provisions or you want something that makes it easy to add it later. Once you settle on that, look at the parts that generally can't be easily changed later on.)

7/15/17 update

I have made the following changes:

  • Removed Radeon 5000 Series
  • Added a Hybrid GPU warning
  • General grammar and working fixes (Some new lines added)
  • Major revisions (done because I can do 2013-2016 and streamline the current guides at once)

8/1/17

The text is DONE. Now it's a matter of evaluating the current laptop for repair or replacement.

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Comments:

Why I have this error when I use the link to the guide ?

403

FORBIDDEN ACCESS - IFIXIT

You cannot view this guide.

by

@andnerb didn't get anything in the week I put up the first time so I assumed there was no interest and I made it private to fix more things.

I made it public again and will leave another week for feedback. This is fairly normal for me since I don't like to leave unfinished work public for more then a short amount of time, but I also consider public feedback to be better then closed loop feedback.

by

@nick , I could accessed the guide this week, thank you :)

And, congratulation, this is a very complete guide on the world of the hardware and linux !

I think personnaly there is just a missing thing: This guide is dedicated for Linux Laptops, but in the video card (integrated) section (step 12), many of the consumer laptops use 2 GPU (this is called Hybrid graphics), frequently this is an Integrated Intel GPU and a soldered Nvidia (or ATI/ AMD) GPU, this kind of configuration is problematics on linux (from 2010 with the begining of nvidia Optimus configurations until now included) because by default Linux is able to use only Intel GPU and enable Nvidia or AMD GPU and switch to it may be very complicated.

by

@andnerb I get why this is an oversight - the machine I intended to use (but will cost a lot to repair and may not be worth repairing) is one of these nVidia Optimus machines and the DisplayPort is tied to the nVidia graphics (in other words, it doesn't work unless you somehow manage to get the computer to play nice with Optimus). Even worse... IT IS BUSINESS CLASS. Since the machine I intended to use needs somewhat expensive repair work that probably isn't worth it, I didn't think to talk about that issue too much.

If you set the machine to GPU only with the IGP and Optimus detection disabled it does not play nice with the nVidia firmware. Something fails where it goes into software rendering mode so I can fix it and go back to the default driver (novaeu). If you set it to Optimus mode, the GPU gets disabled due to an address conflict and the port doesn't work (or it outputs garbage).

The only mode I have found that doesn't make me want to send nVidia hatemail for being so stubborn is integrated graphics with the GPU hidden. The problem is no DisplayPort since that port is tied to the GPU and cannot be used with the GPU or IGP in the laptop interchangeably.

Is this more of an nVidia problem or is AMD just as guilty? I'll have to sacrifice one of the integrated graphics on the list to add this warning since I maxed out, but I'm sure there's one I can give up that's not worth keeping or nobody would miss (likely Radeon HD 5000 Series).

by

@nick , Yes this is more of an nVidia problem, AMD is also guilty. I have a 2014 "buisness class" laptop with Intel / AMD combo (HP Elitebook 840 G1 with VGA and display port output too... personaly, I hate this laptop I always have problems with it) ! And AMD GPU is unusable on every Linux distro I've try to install on it. I don't know the name of hybrid graphics technology (optimus equivalent) for AMD.

PS: The chispet on the concerned laptop is an AMD Radeon HD 8750M.

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