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

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  • linuxgeex
    replied
    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.

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  • starshipeleven
    replied
    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.
    Sigh.

    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.

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  • starshipeleven
    replied
    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; 12-18-2019, 05:01 AM.

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  • deppman
    replied
    Hi everyone. I am Michael Mikowski, founder of MindShareManagement, and director of this project. Here are relevant details about me:
    • managed many engineering teams and multiple companies through my career
    • spent the last 10 years as a senior software architect in Silicon Valley.
    • architect of multiple products that have consistently exceeded 100 million end-users per day
    • co-author of Single Page Web Applications (2013)
    • personally sick of watching developers waste months every year futzing with their macbook or w10 machine to poorly support a Linux ecosystem
    If you want to know more, check out michaelmikowski.com. Now here are my answers to your questions.

    tildearrow But why not KDE neon or even openSUSE?

    Ubuntu server (18.04 LTS) is used in approximately 70% of all containers used on AWS. Kubuntu provides 100% compatibility. I love KDE Neon, but this is about bringing the best forces together. Kubuntu + Canonical + Tux Computers is a powerful set of team mates. Contributions from this effort however will support KDE and KDE Neon.

    starshipeleven Yawn, yet another Clevo with Intel and NVIDIA ... What's the point of making a "laptop for Linux" if it is EXACTLY the same as the ones for Windows and requiring the same blob drivers

    This laptop is highly tuned to minimize downtime and be usable right out of the box. From our press release:
    This laptop is the result of years of professional Linux use and focused industrial design. We meticulously tuned dozens of configurations on a single powerful laptop to ensure everything works superbly out of the box. We spent days, for example, determining answers to questions like "what provides the best battery life?", "what kernel performs best?", "what is the best screen capture application?" and "what compositor is the most stable and performant?" We think you will be pleasantly surprised and delighted by the power, usability, and attention to detail.
    The lack of this kind of focus on most Linux products is exactly the kind of shit that keeps Linux out of enterprise desktop

    starshipeleven ...I can buy the same laptop right now [for less] ...

    The Kubuntu Focus MSRP is $2,400, which is less than System76 yet it is better optimized. You can get a completely unsupported device from Sager at around $2,100 once you add the Samsung 970 Evo Pro and 32GB of DDR , 2 year warranty, dead pixel guarantees, custom thermal paste, and the like. But then we're back to how much are you willing to pay to save many weeks optimizing your system less well than we have. If your answer is "less than $300" then you're not our target market.

    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. 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 do you want to spend weeks or months solving problems like these and polishing the system as completely as we did? Or would you rather just buy a device that works out of the box with full support and a two year warranty and pay a small fee for this advantage?

    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.

    In addition, we have to use Nvidia. Their CUDA solutions are far superior to any AMD mobile offering, and is simply required to reach the deep learning developers. This 2060 has over 2x the GPU power compared to the most expensive MBP you can buy. This is a big USA. Check out how Rocket League stays pegged at 144 FPS while running multiple demanding apps - even while video editing! AMD simply has nothing to compete, and the drivers still aren't mature on Linux.

    We aren't targeting religious zealots who use Windows at work and then tinker with a Linux desktop when they get home. We are chasing highly paid professionals that need their system to work every day and work very well. And that's what we're providing.

    Templar82 ...System76...
    We initially approached System76 with this idea. I'm a big fan and have authorized the purchase the perhaps 15 System76 solutions over the last 6 years or so. Buying a system designed for Linux is the right way to go and I've advocated this for a long time. But, they said "thanks but we got our whole new Pop!OS thing going" and besides they "just started building app packs" just like the one we provided them with for free. What a coincidence. So while I love System76, I'm not a fan creating a separate Pop! OS ecosystem. Instead, we are looking to bridge the gap between Linux and MBPs within an powerful EXISTING Ubuntu ecosystem, as I already have been doing for over a decade. See the Kubuntu 19.10 install Guide and this spreadsheet.

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


    ===
    Parting thought:

    The key refrain from MBP lovers is it "just works" and "it's beautiful". The first definitely isn't true, and the second, while true, is why their performance is almost always throttled. The goal of Kubuntu Focus is provide a device that "just works" better. This is user serviceable, runs circles around a MBP and retails for $1,000 less. It's not as beautiful, but it works much better for many tasks.


    Last edited by deppman; 12-18-2019, 11:15 AM. Reason: Clarified that the device is user serviceable

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  • Duff~
    replied
    Sounds like the kind of laptop that would have better benchmarks when using Windows 10.

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  • szymon_g
    replied
    lol, high end 16 incher with 1080p

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  • Templar82
    replied
    Originally posted by madscientist159 View Post

    Problem is, you can't disable the ME -- Intel won't let you. ME must run to boot the platform, no exceptions.
    System76 were selling laptops with disabled ME on 6th-8th gen core processors.

    However I don't think they are currently on their 10th gen models.
    EDIT- They are, see the "security" line under specs. https://system76.com/laptops/darter

    Last edited by Templar82; 12-17-2019, 11:25 PM.

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  • madscientist159
    replied
    Originally posted by starshipeleven View Post
    Yawn, yet another Clevo with Intel and NVIDIA. Seriously what the fuck is "launch in 2020" and "information embargo".

    I can buy the same laptop right now already from Sager or PcSpecialist or whatever other Clevo rebrander OEM with a website https://xoticpc.com/products/sager-np8966-clevo-p960rd

    I really hope this device will have some tweaked (cleaned for Linux) ACPI tables and firmware with ME disabled, as that's the only "added value" it can have.
    Problem is, you can't disable the ME -- Intel won't let you. ME must run to boot the platform, no exceptions.

    Of course, with NVIDIA proprieray drivers required, the ME is probably a minor concern in comparison. Definitely a complete non-starter for me...

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  • ALRBP
    replied
    While I personally prefer AMD (I use it for all my, custom-made, desktops/servers) I am OK with Intel, since they have no specific Linux compatibility issue (Intel's integrated GPUs works even better on Linux than AMD ones, even through they lack power). Bu for Nvidia, that's another story.
    I already bought several Clevo computers. Most had only integrated GPUs or an AMD discrete GPU (that was long time ago). One of them had an Nvidia GPU and I ended-up just disabling it, working only with the (Intel) integrated GPU.
    The advantage of Clevo is that you can choose your configuration precisely but with them still being limited to Nvidia GPUs (and Intel CPUs) I am serious considering changing brand for my next laptop.

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  • Mario Junior
    replied
    >intel
    >Nvidia on Linux
    Another massive disappointment

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