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FreeBSD On Laptops Is Still A Big Challenge But The Slimbook Could Soon Be Running Well

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  • FreeBSD On Laptops Is Still A Big Challenge But The Slimbook Could Soon Be Running Well

    Phoronix: FreeBSD On Laptops Is Still A Big Challenge But The Slimbook Could Soon Be Running Well

    FreeBSD may be running great on servers at the likes of Netflix, but when it comes to running the BSD operating system on laptops it still is largely a giant mess...

    http://www.phoronix.com/scan.php?pag...2020-Challenge

  • #2
    Slimbook upgraded the wireless to an Intel 9560 on my order for free. It gets reported as an AC9462 in lots of tools, but the card has PCI device ID 0x02f0, which means it’s .. well, a 9462 and not clear whether the 9000 or the 22000 series Linux code supports it, and FreeBSD doesn’t recognize it at all.
    It sounds like the wifi chip that they dumped the author with "for free" is pretty troublesome on most platforms. Rip it out and get something that works . Or ask for the original chip that they actually advertised.

    Other than the fact that this hardware company provides Linux preinstalled, there isn't anything particularly open-source about it. Of course supporting non-windows is certainly a start.
    Last edited by kpedersen; 04-18-2020, 08:50 AM.

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    • #3
      Just thinking, how about the Linux laptops from Dell and HP? Their hardware is better known and more documented so presumably it should be a lot easier to get FreeBSD to work on them.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by jacob View Post
        presumably it should be a lot easier to get FreeBSD to work on them.
        In my experience the Thinkpad range and HP business range work very well with FreeBSD. Mostly because their components are fairly stable and don't get replaced randomly. The model advertised is the exact model you get. From what I understand this is actually a fairly difficult thing to achieve in this day and age because the upstream component manufacturers cannot keep up supply of specific product batches.

        Nothing is more frustrating than being recommended a laptop on a mailing list only to find out that the older model is vastly superior to the "modern" one that you bought XD
        Last edited by kpedersen; 04-18-2020, 11:13 AM.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
          It sounds like the wifi chip that they dumped the author with "for free" is pretty troublesome on most platforms. Rip it out and get something that works . Or ask for the original chip that they actually advertised.
          That 9462 chip is in a M.2 format but it's not a standard PCIe adapter, but rather a "Companion RF module" that uses the M.2 physical connector but with different wiring, the digital part being actually in the CPU. In addition, this specific chip is a feeble 1x1 MIMO, unlike the 2x2 9560 (also a CNVi RF companion module). I had the misfortune of getting one in a ThinkPad X1 Carbon G7, which made it unusable for OpenBSD.

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          • #6
            That's what GhostBSD and NomadBSD are for, and they are putting FreeBSD on laptops quite well.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by andyprough View Post
              That's what GhostBSD and NomadBSD are for.
              These projects basically just tinker with Gnome and desktop environments. Hardware support and drivers are purely the work of the upstream FreeBSD OS.

              Originally posted by fazalmajid View Post
              I had the misfortune of getting one in a ThinkPad X1 Carbon G7, which made it unusable for OpenBSD.
              Funnily I was thinking back to the X1 Carbon. I got a Gen 3 which worked very nicely but certainly not all work quite so smoothly. Newer is no longer better in hardware (or software).
              Last edited by kpedersen; 04-18-2020, 01:44 PM.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by kpedersen View Post
                These projects basically just tinker with Gnome and desktop environments. Hardware support and drivers are purely the work of the upstream FreeBSD OS.
                That's an inaccurate assessment.

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                • #9
                  I stick to laptops with nvidia graphics. You can use Intel graphics too I suppose. Maybe AMD is good now, not sure, but didn't used to be.
                  I have a couple lenovo and couple Dell that work fine. I avoid HP because they won't boot with non-HP hardware installed.

                  I usually swap out the wifi card for Intel. They work. It's like 20 to 30 bucks and two screws. Many Qualcomm cards work too, especially if you get one that was around when the guy who wrote the FreeBSD drivers worked for Qualcomm.

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                  • #10
                    It would be great to see better laptop support in FreeBSD. I converted from Windows and used FreeBSD as my sole desktop OS from ~2008-2012 and it was great.

                    When I got my first laptop (XPS 15z) I ended up having to switch to Linux because the touchpad didn’t work and I couldn’t make use of the stupid Optimus graphics. I couldn’t find a way shut off the nVidia card either, so the laptop had unbelievably terrible battery life and even with the fans running at full tilt would heat up to the point it was uncomfortable to keep on my lap.

                    I have a Mac now and I’m pretty happy with it, but I definitely still follow what’s going on and enjoy seeing how FreeBSD is progressing.

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