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A Kubuntu-Powered Laptop Is Launching In 2020 For High-End KDE Computing

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  • #11
    Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post
    Problem is, you can't disable the ME
    Yes, if you are an OEM (or the ME is new enough to support the "disable bit" mandated by USA gov) you can. For board init you need blobs anyway, after board init a "disabled" ME will hang and stop responding to anything.
    Last edited by starshipeleven; 18 December 2019, 05:01 AM.


    • #12
      Originally posted by deppman View Post
      From our press release:
      The press release means nothing. I'm in open source world because I want to know what is happening under the hood so please use reasonably technical terms of what was changed and how, or accept I'm not your target and ignore me.

      Kubuntu is oh-so-close to more-than-good-enough to replace MBPs, but there are some serious issues that have to be worked out.
      Yeah, Ubuntu sucks big way, it's no secret.

      For example, we found under some circumstances that the CPU ran far too hot and intel pstate was not working correctly, so we fixed that. And then we found the compositor was prone to crash, so we fixed that. Then sound wouldn't work, so we fixed that. The keyboard LED's needed to work. We needed a Kubuntu meta key. Battery life was initially poor so we found solutions to more than double that. The browser needed to be optimized for GPU acceleration. And the list continues. Some issues were show stoppers, some were just polish.
      So you hacked around Kubuntu OS to make it run well on the laptop? I hope this was upstreamed?
      Because as I said above (only thing I care is a good firmware) I'm not interested in getting a "optimized" firmware-like OS that breaks the moment I try to update it or will go out of support when you stop maintaining it a few years later. There is Android already for that kind of user experience.

      I do believe Intel ME is disabled here, but I will need to check and report back.

      This device runs circles around a MBP and retails for $1,000 less. It's not as beautiful, but it works much better for many tasks.
      Good luck with taking a random gamey OEM laptop and trying to pull an Apple maneuver.


      • #13
        It's perfectly understandable to go with NVidia for a low-volume laptop product. When selling a low-volume product, you should always target a market segment that can provide you a healthy return on your small number of units. Selling low volume at a low price is a formula for bankruptcy. At the high end, NVidia is pwning AMD both for FPS per watt, and for FPS, period. Their drivers also come with a minimum of drama, and excellent launch-day performance. AMD on the other hand offer launch day drivers sometimes, and drivers that start out generally performing below the previous generation in the same performance class, but overtaking over the course of a year or two, and achieving better FPS per watt toward the end of their lifetime, which makes their used parts excellent value... but used parts are not the target market for a high-end, low-volume product... so NVidia is really the only choice. And even the relative "open"-ness of the drivers is moot since there doesn't exist an AMD GPU driver stack that comes without blobs.


        • #14
          What in Beelzebub's name would this be "unapproved"?


          • #15
            Originally posted by linuxgeex View Post
            What in Beelzebub's name would this be "unapproved"?
            Since when Clevo laptops are "low volume"? It's a highly mass-produced commercial OEM product.

            Also I'd like to question the claim that "openness of drivers is moot because AMD GPu stack without blobs don't exist". We are talking of drivers here, not firmware. Firmware does not block me to use only specific Xorg versions, for example.


            • #16
              Originally posted by deppman View Post
              Battery life was initially poor so we found solutions to more than double that.
              So how long does the battery last then? Retailers commonly quote 2-3h battery life for that laptop. Do you mean initially your battery life was even less than that and you went back to those (presumably Windows) values? Maybe you managed to squeeze out 4h on not-too-demanding workloads? How does that compare to a MBP?

              I think I might have been in your target market. A while ago I got a reasonably specced Dell Precision 5520 with Nvidia graphics, installed Kubuntu, and while the battery life is acceptable, the thermal performance is so abysmal that I cannot run any meaningful workload (scientific image processing) on the machine without the CPU throttling. But if your machine does not get me through a few lectures in a row on battery, then I will still prefer my crappy Precision 5520 with non-optimized Kubuntu.


              • #17
                Originally posted by deppman View Post
                Mario Junior ... Nvidia ...
                Nvidia is a great company that make great products. Do I wish they were more open with Linux? Sure. But remember, they have been using Ubuntu exclusively for their Tegra Hardware for over 5 years now and have had very good Linux drivers for 15 years. Once we tuned for the graphics card, we found some surprising results. For example, battery life is better using the GPU! That makes hybrid and switchable graphics simply not worth the trouble and the system is far more stable.
                Nvidia (or Intel) is not the problem. The problem is the lack of choice.
                For example, every company that offers Linux as a pre-installed OS is Intel-based. Not a single one through the market is AMD-based. This is silly. And a missed opportunity.
                There should be:
                AMD+Nvidia (well, why not?)
                We are not talking about a hundred combinations, it's just 4.

                Originally posted by deppman View Post
                The key refrain from MBP lovers is it "just works" and "it's beautiful"
                For Apple users, it's just about doing whatever the fake cool mass is underlyingly suggesting them to. They're followers to a(ny) current trend, they gulb whatever is thrown at them even if they don't get choices, as long as it can make them (think they're) popular. Forget about ease of use. Change the trend and Apple becomes obsolete.
                Hence that key refrain is absolutely moot.

                Linux users are much less impressionable and will research and decide for their own (and I'm not just talking about IT). Offering a choice is really important in these conditions. Because people are informed and know their stuff.
                I understand why you would want to overturn that and have something that "just works" for original non-Linux users, but bear in mind Linux enthusiasts would still be your first target (if you're not, it's less likely you'll go for a Linux-based computer), so hearing their requests of a choice might be a safeguard.


                • #18
                  Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
                  Since when Clevo laptops are "low volume"? It's a highly mass-produced commercial OEM product.

                  Also I'd like to question the claim that "openness of drivers is moot because AMD GPu stack without blobs don't exist". We are talking of drivers here, not firmware. Firmware does not block me to use only specific Xorg versions, for example.
                  There is no mass market for a Linux laptop with Xorg with updates that aren't managed by a package manager. Or I guess you need to define your concept of "mass market" better. For me, that means many thousands of units sold. Enough that I can support at least a 9-5 call center, warehouse, install/repair team, and still make it worthwhile to risk the capital investment to get all that going. Bearing in mind that hiring Millennials means that your cost of acquisition of 1 staff for a 3 month period is about $16,000USD, and you're probably going to need 3 of them to get 2 person's worth of work done, since they will slack off on their phones and call in sick every monday, friday, or any day they feel stressed because they are lying about every aspect of their lives, lol, and/or know they are going to get fired because they're so unreliable, and or because they have no concept of a career path, no sense of loyalty, and so they have no faith in any kind of a future where they can succeed and thrive without self-imposed endless stress by turning every long-term opportunity into a 'gig'. If you're lucky, you will spend 1 month training them and get 1 month of work out of them over a 3-month period, and then they will quit and if you're lucky you will spend a month at 2 hours a day on Indeed finding a replacement, only to have the next one equally flake out, which will drive your cost of labour to more than double what it would be if they would stop lying about having flu on monday and having family in the hospital on friday and worring that you're going to look them up on their social media and see they were actually partying out of town, or trying to create they own startup which they don't have the motivation to see through, which they'll blame on you because you're getting in their way by paying them regular wages, lol. if if you're super lucky your lawyer will be able to talk them out of launching a human rights lawsuit against you for calling them on the carpet when you catch them lying, saying that you're creating a 'toxic work environment' by holding them accountable. If you're not lucky then you'll end up paying out an extra 3 months wages for the 1 month of work they actually ever intended to do, in the settlement hearing of their nuisance suit... you really gotta read some of the stuff these guys are coming up with to sue their employers... it's hilarious... and sad at the same time because they're training employers to create rotating-door jobs so the employers can get rid of them when they need to.

                  Anyhow, digressing... so say 8 staff * $64,000 per year cost and $32,000 paid each, 3 managers at $96,000 cost and $48,000 paid each, = $800,000 plus payroll taxes is an even million. $10,000 per month for a small warehouse/call center/workshop/office space within 20 minute transit ride of an urban center. We're now at $1,120,000 for basic annual overhead. If we sell a $2240 laptop with a 50% gross margin aka "Keystone" and we sell 1000 of them per year then we'll exactly break even, assuming we pay the owner nothing, there's no debt costs whatsoever, no lawsuits, and the owner does all the licensing and accounting, hand-delivers each and every laptop out of the goodness of their heart, and no customer returns a single one. Sell 2000 $2,240 laptops and you might start to reliably pay for shipping and warranty costs, if your product is well-received by your target market. Sell 3000 and the risks involved in running this business might actually start to make sense. Have a sale with 30% off on 1000 laptops and you'll need to sell nearly 4000 units to make the business worthwhile. AKA participating in "black friday".

                  So really, 4000 is "low volume" for a company selling a $2,240 laptop.

                  OMG I completely forgot advertising... a startup needs to spend a minimum of 10% gross revenue on advertising. That would bring the minimum closer to 5000 units.
                  Last edited by linuxgeex; 18 December 2019, 07:19 AM.


                  • #19
                    Originally posted by JanW View Post
                    So how long does the battery last then?
                    double that

                    How does that compare to a MBP?
                    mac laptops have bigger battery, for example the 16-inch new one has "100Wh battery".

                    This is comparable to what is available as optional on businness laptops. Is your Precision using the optional "6-cell 97Wh Lithium Ion battery " I see offered in the configurator?

                    Then it has the same battery of a MacBook that claims to last 9-10 hours (of light use I guess).

                    This laptop has only a "4 cells Polymer battery pack 62Wh" and I doubt that even "double that" is close to 9-10 hours of light use.


                    • #20
                      Originally posted by linuxgeex View Post
                      There is no mass market for a Linux laptop
                      Or I guess you need to define your concept of "mass market" better. For me, that means thousands of units sold.
                      Yeah that's about right for me too.

                      Bearing in mind that hiring Millennials
                      Oh my sweet summer child... If only people slacking on the job and calling sick to not work (when they can) was a new thing.